Org de Rac – a Brand New Organic South African Estate for the UK

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Org de Rac is an award-winning, organically certified estate located in the fashionable region of Swartland, today the source of many of South Africa’s most exciting wines. Org de Rac was established in 2001 as one of the first fully organic producers of South Africa and in 2005, the first wines were produced from low-yielding vineyards on well-drained south facing slopes. The wines are crafted by talented veteran winemaker Frank Meaker who has also overseen the shift towards completely vegan production methods. This pioneering producer makes a wide range of wines, all with the common thread of great value and varietal definition.

Across the board the wines frequently receive 4 stars and above from the influential John Platter guide, as well as regular gold medals from the South African Michelangelo wine awards.

odr sauvignon blanc 2017

Our first shipment includes a fresh, citrus and herb-driven Sauvignon Blanc, a Merlot of incredible complexity for the price, a rich, textured Chardonnay and a Rhone-style Syrah. In addition, a pair of stunning red and white blends under their Die Waghuis label have been imported.

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Amathus Head of Wine Jeremy Lithgow MW said: “We’re really pleased to be representing Org de Rac in the UK. We were bowled over by the quality/value ratio of these wines when we tried them and it’s particularly important to us that they are at the forefront of the South African organic movement, as this is a direction in which we are increasingly heading as a business.”

 

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The Latest Additions to the Amathus Wine Portfolio

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Leading Bierzo winery Bodega del Abad has just joined the wine portfolio of Amathus Drinks. The Bierzo region located in Northwest Spain is experiencing a surge of popularity as sommeliers and consumers are attracted by the combination of ripe yet fresh, elegant, mineral wines which pair superbly with food. The region enjoys a unique microclimate, resulting from the combination of both Atlantic and Mediterranean continental climates, while the steep slate-soiled hillsides are perfect for the production of high-quality grapes. Bodega del Abad was founded in 2000 with a hi-tech winery, and now has 35 hectares of vines split between the red Mencia grape, and the white Godello. The majority of the vineyards are at high altitude and some are over 100 years old. Both red and white wines range from light, fresh unoaked styles to powerful complex barrel aged wines. The value for money across the board is outstanding.

The last 12 months has seen a burst of activity for the wine division of Amathus drinks, with 12 new producers added to their growing portfolio of wine agencies.

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The year started with the high profile signing of leading Champagne house Duval-Leroy, and continued with the addition of organic estates Petit Roubiéand Château La Liquière from the Languedoc, alongside Mas Cristine and Champ des Soeurs from the Roussillon. Other additions include Prosecco producer 8cento and from the Northern Rhône Roland Grangier in St-Joseph and Condrieu, plus the organic Laurent Habrard in Crozes-Hermitage. Progressive Greek producer Avantis Estate further increased the diversity of the portfolio, as did the high-scoring Addendum Napa Cabernets from the team behind Fess Parker. A range of petit château Bordeaux from across the region has added increased depth to the range.

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Further new listings from Spain, South Africa, France and Japan amongst others are to be confirmed very soon, while the rest of 2019 promises a similar wave of new agencies from across the globe as Amathus continue to build a wine range to match the wide-ranging spirit selection for which they are renowned.

Amathus Head of Wine, Jeremy Lithgow MW, said recently: “What Amathus is building is truly exciting; the route to market established by our diverse spirits agencies alongside our ability to offer a comprehensive wholesale package has given us the foundation to build a wine business with the ability to compete against the more established players in the market. Not only are we looking to provide a range of great value every day essentials, but also to offer a diverse range of wines at all levels from quality-driven estates delivering real excitement from all corners of the globe.”

 

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For the Love of Cocktails

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The infamous love day comes with a few givens – chocolates, roses and, of course, Champagne. No matter what you are planning for Valentine’s Day, we suggest cocktails be a big part, but don’t subject yourself to any over-syruped, overly sweet, extremely fruity, red, pink drink specials. Keep them refreshing, easy to mix and utterly delicious. Right this way for the only Valentine’s Day cocktail inspo you’ll need…

ma cherry

Ma Cherry 

40ml Joseph Cartron Cherry Brandy
10ml Lemon juice
1 bar spoon of Joseph Cartron Eau-de-Vie de Poire Williams
3 drops of Chocolate Bitters
Crémant de Bourgogne

Shake all the ingredients except the Crémant. Double filter on ice cubes or a block of ice in a Highball glass. Top with Crémant de Bourgogne and garnish with a slice of cucumber and a Cerise de Monsieur Joseph.

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Fraise Kiss

25ml Rives Pink Gin
10ml Cartron Grapefruit Liqueur
20ml Dolin Chambéryzette
15ml Lemon juice

Top with Dr. Polidori’s Cucumber Tonic Water and garnish with a mint sprig.

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Dark & Cherry

30ml Joseph Cartron Guignolet Kirsch de Bourgogne
15ml Lemon juice
15ml Grape juice
5ml Vanilla syrup
60ml Ginger beer

Pour all the ingredients (except the Ginger Beer) into a highball glass. Add a few ice cubes then the Ginger Beer. Mix gently with a spoon to refresh the cocktail. Top up with ice cubes,then squeeze a drop of lemon over the glass. Garnish with black chocolate.

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Drink Up Honey

45ml Grappa
15ml Joseph Cartron Honey Liqueur
15ml Suze
15ml Fresh lemon juice
2 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Pour all the ingredients in a shaker. Shake then serve on ice in a Champagne flute and garnish with grapefruit zest.

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Jack Rose

50ml Laird’s Straight Applejack 86
20ml Fresh lemon juice
10ml Grenadine

Shake and strain into a chilled Martini glass.

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Last Bloom 

40ml Rives London Dry Gin
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
15 ml Joseph Cartron Marasquin Liqueur 
10ml Joseph Cartron Liqueur de Violette
2 dashes of Liquoristerie de Provence Versinthe La Blanche Absinthe

Pour all the ingredients directly in a shaker. Shake then serve in a Champagne glass full of ice. Stir slightly and serve immediately. Garnish with a sprig of dill.

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Honeymoon

30 ml Joseph Cartron Honey Liqueur
30 ml Joseph Cartron Eau-de-Vie de Poire Williams des Monts de la Côte d’Or
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Kummel liqueur
Dr. Polidori’s Dry Tonic Water

Pour all the ingredients in a shaker. Shake then serve on ice in a highball
glass. Top with tonic water and garnish with a citrus fruit leaf.

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The Naked Champagne

125ml Duval-Leroy Rose Prestige 1er Cru NV

Sip as it comes… nothing else needed!

 

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Aquavit & Vermouth 101

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On the 22nd November, our very own Claire Best spent the afternoon at TT Liquor talking all things Aquavit and Vermouth with Harvey Johnson (Marketing Assistant at TT Liquor). Get all the low down below…

1. First off the bat, tell us your name and your role within Amathus?

Hi, my name is Claire Best and I work for Amathus Drinks looking after Gin, Vermouth and European spirits and recently Aquavit.

2. So let’s start from the start. How did you get into the drinks industry to begin with?

I started working in hospitality when I was about 15 in Burger King. I then moved on to working in some proper dodgy boozers up in Hull. I went to uni because I knew I really didn’t want to work in these places! Then worked my way up at The Harley in Sheffield which was this sort of club, bar, hotel, restaurant hybrid. The Harley had a sister which did cocktails. I kind of always wanted to learn how to make cocktails, I always found it interesting and it’s a skill I didn’t have, so I wanted to learn something new and I eventually left aged around 25 to go and manage my own bar. So my cocktail making ability is somewhat self-taught, but then I’ve also definitely had some outside help along the way!

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3. Let’s talk a bit about a couple of your passions, then – Akvavit and Vermouth. Before we go into the current state of things, talk us through each of them in layman’s terms – how are they made? What is some of their history? Where are they found? etc.

Vermouth falls under the bracket of ‘aromatised wine’. Realistically, there are only two types of Vermouth: the dry and French, and the sweet and Italian, but of course the Italians can make dry, and the French can make sweet. Vermouth, legally has to be 75% wine, it has to be fortified, at least 14.5% ABV and no more than 21%. Most importantly, it’s always infused with botanicals – and one botanical is always wormwood, which looks a bit like a weed and gives the liquid a bitter flavour. You’ve realistically only got two Vermouths with an appellation – Vermouth de Chambery, or Dolin which is one of mine, and then you have Vermouth di Torino, which is essentially Cocchi. The first one on the market was officially Carpano – but Cinzano argue otherwise – but basically it wasn’t actually the Italians that came up with Vermouth. It was the Greeks before them, who used it mainly for medicinal purposes. They were initially fortifying their wine for flavour, not necessarily just because it was going off, but they soon realised that some of the things they were putting into it were actually good for you. Although you have to take these claims with a pinch of salt, because often they followed the same logic as juniper being the cure for the bubonic plague. So, they’d put all this stuff in there and claim it’ll get rid of wind, or help with your sex drive, and all this kind of stuff! But before the Greeks the Chinese were fortifying their wine, and the Egyptians before them, so it’s a category that has ancient roots.

drinking akvavit, sweden, early 20th century

4. What about Akvavit?

Akvavit or aquavit is basically what I like to call gin’s Scandi cousin (laughs). Essentially it can only be made with agricultural ethanol, which means that it can’t be synthesised. It’s often drunk alongside food, around Easter, Midsummer and Christmas, it’s usually for a celebration. It has to taste of either dill or caraway, and the reason I like to call it gin’s Scandi cousin is because they’re two spirits that are legally defined by their tastes. So, gin has to taste like juniper and akvavit has to taste like dill or caraway. Akvavits come from all over Europe but seldom comes from anywhere else but Sweden, Denmark or Norway. Swedish akvavits tend to be unaged, a little bit lighter, and a little bit fresher. Norwegian akvavits are heavily influenced by whisky production, so they’re almost always aged and are made from potato.

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5. Tell us a bit about the particular brands of Vermouths and Akvavits you look after and how they stand out from the crowd.

Dolin is probably our flagship Vermouth, if you like, and it’s used worldwide. Probably the reason for this, and it’s definitely the reason I used it so much as a bartender, is that it’s cheap and nice, you know what I mean? (laughs). The dry is pretty much perfect for Martinis, it’s really dry at only 33% sugar, it’s really floral, really vegetal, and for that reason it works almost perfectly alongside gin. Dolin also invented blanc Vermouth – which is essentially dry Vermouth with extra sugar – and they were also the first Vermouth producers with an appellation. They also have Chamberyzette, strawberry Vermouth, which is probably the most delicious liquid on the face of the Earth in my eyes!

Outside of Dolin, we also have Otto’s which is a Greek Vermouth, and it’s made by the two guys who own The Clumsies, Nikos and Vasilis. Otto’s is essentially a Rose Vermouth and it doesn’t really behave like a sweet, it’s got things in there like olive leaf, oregano, it’s got rose petals, some Madagascan vanilla. The wine comes from the Nemea region in Greece and it’s honestly outstanding, probably one of the best Vermouths I’ve tasted. But, at the same time it doesn’t really fall into the category of sweet, it’s basically a standalone product. It goes really well with anything really green, like tequila, mezcal, cachaça, pisco, things like that. And then we’ve also got Contratto which is from Italy. Contratto was actually the official bubble supplier to the Vatican in the 1930’s. Other than Vermouth they also make a bitter and an aperitif, their branding is beautiful, but I also think it’s important to note that it’s completely natural and vegan-friendly. Increasingly the latter is a question that gets asked a lot and does have quite a big impact on people’s drinking habits – you know, it’s one thing when you can’t eat something but a whole other thing when you can’t enjoy a cocktail! But yeah, the aperitif is this bright orange colour and it’s flavoured with carrot and saffron and it’s really beautiful. And the bitter behaves like a Campari – it’s flavoured with sage, cloves, juniper, hibiscus, and has an amazing colour.

Also falling into the category of aperitif wine we have Cap Mattei an amazing quinquina from Corsica. They have a blanc and a rouge and both are delicious, the blanc has a nose of tropical fruits its just fantastic. The rouge is outstanding with spirits such as Calvados and Cognac in particular.

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6. And so how long have you been working with Vermouth and Akvavit? Are they something that you developed an affection for after you got into the industry, or have you always been an avid fan?

No, I think anyone who first stepped behind a bar when they were young would have discovered that bottle of Martini on the back bar and wouldn’t have known what to do with it. But it wasn’t really until I started cocktail bartending and had people asking me for Martinis and Manhattans that I really knew what it was and started exploring and using it. But yeah I’d definitely say my relationship with Vermouth goes way further back than the one I share with Akvavit. Akvavit, for me, is actually relatively new because I came from a kind of different background where I never really got the chance to play around with it all that much. When I was working at Callooh Callay we used it in a couple of drinks there. We actually used one of the Akvavits I now look after, Aalborg, in a twist on a Woo-Woo which I thought was absolutely delicious. One of our guys at Amathus sadly left not too long ago, and then I basically just turned around to my boss and just said: ‘Can I have it?’ Because it’s a category I’ve found very interesting and, as the saying goes, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. We’ve actually been importing it for around 15 years now, Amathus was one of the first to bring it into the UK and we’ve got some really great stuff in the category. For example, O.P. Anderson is Sweden’s oldest and probably most popular Akvavit Linie, from Norway, is aged at sea and spends four months in sherry casks dotted around the ocean, and then we have Aalborg from Denmark. When I first started, I didn’t actually know all that much about them, so you’re naturally inclined to ask questions and learn as you go. But yeah, I basically just nicked it (laughs).

7. So, a bit like other more obscure categories like Mezcal, Akvavit and Vermouth have been going through something of a renaissance in recent years. In your opinion, what factors do you think have been driving this growth and added interest?

Bobby Hiddleston once said when he was at Callooh Callay that the most effective way to grow a spirit category and drive awareness is to stick it in a cocktail, and for me he’s totally right. You know, it’s unlikely that somebody is going to walk in off the street and say: ‘Excuse me, can I see your Akvavit selection?’ or ‘What Vermouths have you got?’. But when you start putting them into drinks and putting them on menus, people are naturally inclined to start talking about them. Bartenders will always be interested in something new, something different, something they can experiment with and impose their own style on – they really just want to play around with flavours. Also, I think that consumers palates are starting to evolve. They’ve started ordering Negronis, Martinis and Manhattans. I definitely wasn’t doing it for a LONG time, I don’t think I ordered my first Old Fashioned until I was about 25? Then I think another factor is that they are really starting to be pushed by spirit companies themselves – for example, Pernod have just released their own Akvavit, Maverick has just released an Akvavit which is amazing. So you also have companies like that which are pushing the categories along and broadening people’s horizons in the process. Despite this, though, most of the credit still has to go to the bartenders because of their passion for what they do.

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8. Traditionally these are drinks that have been consumed neat in the past, but increasingly they’re finding themselves on the speed rails of mixologists country-wide. What type of serves are these liquids most comfortable in? In what surroundings do their interesting taste profiles work best?

 Vermouth, for me, is always most at home in the classics because it was one of the most commonly used products back in the early days of cocktail bartending.  Back then they didn’t have things like pineapple juice, for example, because things like that were expensive.   So yeah, for me Vermouth is always best in a classic cocktail, that’s just how I see it. Obviously that’s not to say that you can’t use it in modern classics too, or for your own signature or whatever, but that’s just where I feel it’s most comfortable.

Akvavit is a little different.  We obviously don’t have the same drinking culture and behaviours as the Scandinavians do. For instance, in the same way the Dutch drink Jenever and the English haven’t really gotten on board with it.  So, there’s always a bit of a translation process when you bring something like that to the UK. For me, though, most aged spirits like Akvavit work very similarly to whisk(e)y – especially the Norwegian varieties like Linie. You know, it’s supposed to be served at room temperature, it’s intended to be served in a tulip glass and served neat. But you also have Akvavits that have crazy flavour profiles, too. Like there’s one from O.P. Anderson that’s an apple and Kümmel Akvavit. You’re actually not allowed to technically call it an Akvavit, because it’s been sweetened, but it has Akvavit at its base, it’s incredible stuff. But yeah, I’d definitely say the unaged stuff like that is much better suited to a mixed drink rather than neat.  Or Aalborg Dild and Tonic, it’s a refreshing twist on a traditional G&T.

9. All-time favourite serve?

I’ve got to give a shout out to the Naked and Famous, which is essentially equal parts mezcal, lime, yellow Chartreuse, and Aperol. It’s pink and delicious and boozy. It does depend on the mezcal you use though – we used one before when I worked at Milk & Honey that was so smoky that it was just too much. But if you get your hands on some that just dials back the smoke a little bit, it makes a tasty drink. For Aquavit, it’s a drink called The Trident, which is equal parts Linie Aquavit, dry sherry and Cynar and two dashes of peach bitters. For Vermouth, my all-time favourite drink would be a 2:1 Martini with Hven Organic Gin and Dolin Dry Vermouth.

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10. Pick from our shelves? (outside of your portfolio!)

Well I’m not entirely sure if you have it on your shelves, but one I definitely have to mention is Maverick’s new ‘Aquavit’ and it’s honestly one of the nicest things I’ve tried in ages. Then in terms of mezcal the whole Del Maguey range is fantastic, especially the Chichicapa.

11. Any plans for future collaboration with TT?

ALWAYS. I am excited to hear about the roof terrace opening. The space you guys have upstairs is fantastic also. I will definitely have a think!

Visit TT Liquor – www.ttliquor.co.uk

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Penley Estate’s Kate Goodman Wins Winemaker of the Year

Penley Estate

It is with great honour that we can announce that Kate Goodman of Penley Estate has been awarded the Australian Women in Wine Awards, Winemaker of the Year.
The head winemaker of Penley Estate in Coonawarra, South Australia and the owner/winemaker of Goodman Wines in the Yarra Valley, Kate has established a career across two states making the styles of wine she loves.

Kate was presented with the award at Quay Restaurant, Sydney on Friday, 16 November by Garry King of Tonnellerie Saint Martin, sponsor of the Australian Women in Wine Awards. Kate was acknowledged for her deftness and agility to create a new generation of Penley Estate wines, while simultaneously establishing her own wine company in a few short years. Kate’s career spans nearly 30 years across familiar wine brands such as Wirra Wirra, Seppelt, Tim Knappstein and Punt Road Wines.

“While gender doesn’t necessarily make you a better winemaker, it is heart-warming to feel the support of other women in the industry and to use this award to encourage young women to achieve what they set out to do in the wine industry,” said Kate. “It can be a tough industry for anyone. It’s physical and can be dirty work but there is an active and strong community of women who make it easy for us to share, learn and acknowledge the challenges we can face so others find it easier to forge a rewarding career in wine. Importantly awards like this also demonstrates that anything is possible; it’s not just about being the loudest voice in the room.”

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Goodman Wines became a reality in 2014 and in 2016 Kate’s long time friend Ang Tolley asked her to join the Penley Estate team as their chief winemaker to help them turn the company into a shining new light in Coonawarra. Ang said, “I knew Kate would bring something special to the Penley brand, owing to her love of Cabernet and her desire to push the boundaries. Bec and I are thrilled for Kate in receiving this award.” Bec was similarly impressed by Kate’s achievement, stating: “This award is well-deserved recognition of Kate’s incredible talents, we are so proud to have her as part of our Penley team.”

Ang and her sister Bec Tolley took the reins of Penley Estate from their brother Kym in 2015. As direct descendants of the Penfold family with lifelong ties to the South Australian wine industry they recognised the heart, talent and expertise of Kate to transform their wines into more bright, contemporary and universally attractive wines. She has worked with their heritage vineyard to create a more fresh and vibrant expression of Penley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Shiraz.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Shortly after Kate was awarded Winemaker of the Year, the Wine Spectator Top 100 was released and the Penley Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon made it into the top 100 for the second year in a row, coming in at number 28 with 93 points. A triumphant win for the Penley team and a true indication of Kate’s outstanding work. We can’t wait to see what’s next to come from Penley Estate.

 

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Amathus Drinks Expands its Premium Drinks Retail Estate 

Amathus Bath

New Openings in Brighton and Bath

Amathus Drinks Plc, the family owned and operated expanding premium drinks wholesaler, has announced that it has acquired two new retail stores: on Bath’s Green Street and on Prince Albert Street, Brighton. The new stores officially started trading on the 8th November 2018 and join the group’s existing retail outlets in Shoreditch, Leadenhall Market and the flagship store in Soho.

Harry Georgiou, Managing Director, said, “We’ve always believed that our premium stores played a vital role in bringing our rarer and unusual wines and exclusive spirits to the increasingly knowledgeable consumer, as well as fellow enthusiasts and on trade clientele. Our stores play a significant role in showcasing our exclusive agency portfolio, support our suppliers in reaching wider markets and enable us to fulfil our mission to bring ‘Drinks To The World’.”

Phil Duffy, Head of Spirits comments ‘’Our stores are a brilliant asset in London and provide both consumers and on-trade establishments with excellent service and access to our unrivalled portfolio. Moving into markets outside London is at once a logical next step and hugely exciting, allowing us to bring our exclusive products to a wider market.‘’

Jeremy Lithgow MW, who joined Amathus Drinks in 2017 to strengthen its wholesale wines offer, added, “Our growing retail presence allows us to work with a broader and more varied range of wines than we would have previously considered for the wholesale side of the business, including small parcels of fine and rare releases. They also give us the ideal platform for our producers to open and present their wines to our clients.”

This is the first new venture for the company since it acquired Coventry & Bristol wholesaler, Bablake Wines in 2015. Georgiou explained, “This investment is part of our strategy to expand nationally. The 2015 deal gave our wholesale operation a footprint that stretches from the south coast all the way to the borders and beyond.”

About Amathus 

Established in 1978, The Amathus Drinks Group is a fast growing, family owned drinks importer, distributor and specialist retailer. Our direct to trade serviced distribution area covers most parts of England and Wales with distribution centres in London, Bristol and Coventry and retail/wholesale stores in central London, Bath, Brighton and further beyond.

In addition to supplying a comprehensive range of global brands, Amathus prides itself on its portfolio of exclusive agencies with provenance and distinction that are best in class, often unique and sourced from all corners of the world. Supported with our own modern delivery fleet and our resourceful business development specialists, as part of our two hundred strong team, our mission is to provide first class products and services to our customers.

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The Amathus Festive Drinks Guide

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Tis the season for eggnog, cocktails and hot cocoa. With summer now a distant memory and December slowly setting in, we’re officially gearing up for all things winter and warming. Our afterwork and weekend tipple choice, changes from the obligatory Aperol Spritz and G&T, to winter warmers such as hot cider and mulled wine.

It’s time to get in the party spirit with festive fizz, classic cocktails and Christmas punch – bottoms up!

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On the top of everyone’s festive drinks menu and probably one of the first alcoholic drinks people consume on Christmas Day, is fizz. Whether your go-to is Champagne, Cava, Crémant or Prosecco, we’ve got the ultimate selection to suit all tastes. Our Champagne of choice has to be Duval-Leroy Brut Réserve NV; a Champagne of beautiful refinement and elegance, with flavours of dark chocolate, cinnamon and roasted yellow figs… sublime!

If you sway more towards Prosecco, then opt for 8Cento Prosecco Millesimato 2017. This is perhaps the best value vintage Prosecco around, displaying classic ripe melon, peach and pear aromas.

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When it comes to Christmas dinner, what is the first thing that springs to mind? Turkey? Well of course… Christmas would not be Christmas without turkey. It’s been a traditional favourite in the UK and the US since as far back as the 16th century, although it was the Victorians who really cemented its place at the festive lunch table.

With turkey in mind, let’s have a look at what white and red wine we’d recommend to match. Turkey is not a powerful flavoured meat so you need to go for wines that will compliment this flavour and that won’t be too overpowering – either a full-bodied medium white wine or a medium-bodied red. Tannins are a no no with turkey. Abad San Salvador Bierzo Godello 2015 would be our choice of white and Pierre Maiziere Nuits Saint Georges 2014 for the red.

The mighty mains of Christmas doesn’t begin and end with turkey. Lamb is a definite contender, and is best served alongside a bottle of red. The Penley Estate Gryphon Bordeaux Blend 2016 would be the ideal match. White wine with lamb isn’t your usual combination but it doesn’t mean it’s a no go; try a bottle of Laurent Habrard Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2016… delightful!

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Sweet wine and Port have to make an appearance around the Christmas table at some point, especially Port. Port and Christmas is one of the greatest things and Cálem 10 Years Old Tawny definitely deserves a seat at the table. Winner of this year’s IWC best in class trophy, Cálem 10 Years Old Tawny is a wine of supreme sophistication, laden with flavours of dried red fruits and gentle spice.

Château Haut-Mayne Sauternes 2015 is the classic sweet wine for the festive season. Made from 100% botryised Sémillon, this has all the typical ripe pineapple, mango and honeyed vanilla notes you would expect from the home of the world’s greatest dessert wines.

Norfol Nog

If you’re not a huge fan of sweet wine and Port, then you should try The Norfolk Nog – a unique blend of the finest English Whisky Co. Single Malt Whisky and cream, creating a luxurious liqueur full of flavour and perfect served over ice. Or how about The Norfolk PX? The best way to describe this is liquid Christmas pudding in a bottle… enough said!

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Beer can’t go unmentioned, especially at this time of the year. The king of all seasonal beers is the winter beer; brewed stronger, richer and more full bodied – bringing with it a far more diverse selection of offerings than any other seasonal beer. It’s a beer lovers dream.

Septem 8th Day India Pale Ale is top on our list – a fresh, unpasteurized beer, characterised by its impressive aromas of tangerine, citrus and lychee. Closely followed by Coedo Beniaka, an imperial amber brewed from roasted Kintoki sweet potatoes, and Hite Ice Point. In South Korea, where Hite originates, it is traditionally served as a J-Beer (Somaek), which is soju mixed with beer. The most popular ratio is 30% Jinro Soju to 70% Hite (maybe save this one until after Christmas dinner!).

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Now for the cocktails…

You can sip a Martini any day of the week, but there is something particularly pleasurable about a cocktail designed for a particular time of year. This could simply mean updating your favourite cocktail recipes, by switching your choice of spirit or by adding in flavours of Christmas – such as allspice, cinnamon and clove. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a selection of cocktail recipes designed to beat those winter blues…

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Agric’Old Fashioned
60ml Rhum J.M V.O
15ml Shrubb J.M
3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Stir and garnish with orange zest… simples!

Mocha Manhattan

Mocha Manhattan
50ml Whiskey Thief
25ml Contratto Americano Rosso
2 dashes of Bonpland Chocolate & Mace Flower Bitters

Stir and strain into a chilled coupette glass.

Mulled Gin n Juice

Mulled Gin n Juice
1 x bottle of Bobby’s Dry Gin
1 x litre Cloudy apple juice
200g Demerara sugar
6 x Cinnamon sticks
10 x Cloves
2 x Oranges
1 x Lemon
4 x Star anise
Good pinch of nutmeg

Cut the citrus into wheels or chunks, depending on preference. Heat up all the ingredients in a pan or tea urn, stir to dissolve the sugar, and then leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. Serve in punch glasses with a piece of orange and a grating of nutmeg to garnish.

Note: if the mix is to be kept warm for an extended time, the spices should be removed once you are happy with the flavour, otherwise it will become astringent.

jump sturdy

Jump Sturdy
45ml L.N.Mattei Cap Corse Rouge
45ml François Voyer Cognac Terres de Grande Champagne
5ml Cartron Cacao Blanc
A dash of Absinthe

Stir and strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with an orange twist.

Pisco Punch

Pisco Punch
10 x Dried cloves
300ml Pisco 1615 Italia 
150ml Freshly squeezed pineapple juice
75ml Freshly squeezed orange juice
75ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
75ml Sugar syrup
75ml Nicolo & Paradis Brut NV 

Muddle the cloves in the base of a shaker. Add the next 5 ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a jug. Finally, serve in a coupe glass and top with Champagne. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Bon appétit!

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