Amathus Drinks has become the UK distributor for Kanpai, Britain’s first Sake brewery.

Kanpai is the Japanese for ‘Cheers!’. Founders, Tom and Lucy Wilson, were so inspired by what they saw and tasted in Japan that a few years ago they began home-brewing Sake with great success. Thanks to great word of mouth and the fantastic quality of what they produced, 2 years ago this hobby expanded to become a commercial operation operating out of the unlikely surrounds of Peckham, Southeast London where they have recently opened the doors of their taproom.

Traditionally, milled rice is sourced from both Japan and California and traditional Japanese Koji and yeasts are used. Kanpai sakes have already begun to win awards and national recognition with presence in traditional Japanese restaurants, cocktail bars and even Michelin-starred establishments. The quality more than matches that of their Japanese counterparts, who have been supportive in recognising the work done by Tom and Lucy.

                 Kanpai’s Founders – Tom and Lucy Wilson

The core range consists of 3 sakes, from the classic Junmai Sumi, to the Nigori / cloudy Kumo and a special hopped sparkling sake called Fizu; a unique product, which appeals to sake, wine and beer lovers alike. The sparkling sake is also available on tap and a range of seasonal specials is also produced.

Amathus Drinks’ Head of Wine, Jeremy Lithgow MW said: “We are really excited to begin this partnership with Kanpai. This is a properly artisanal operation, which is highly focused on quality and innovation. Tom and Lucy’s enthusiasm and passion is infectious and we think the potential is enormous for this ground-breaking product. At a time when demand for sake is booming, what better than to offer something made in our own backyard? ”.

Tom Wilson added: “As the UK’s first sake brewery, we’re excited to be working with Amathus to take the next leap in the sake revolution. We’re proud to join their interesting line up of exclusive and unique drinks, to reach all corners of the UK”.


Amathus has assumed exclusive distribution of Sassy Cidre in the UK market

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Sassy is the new, disruptive face of traditional Normandy Cidre. Its vision is to revolutionise the perception of artisanal cidre for a new generation. Its home – the Château de Sassy in Normandy – has preserved the tradition of cider and calvados making since 1852, thanks to co-founder Xavier d’Audiffret Pasquier’s family and their love for the terroir. In order to develop an innovative product that still respects these traditional techniques, the founders worked with a renowned cellar master to create carefully reworked recipes.

The result – a production process that relies only on extracting the fruit juice itself and which creates a product that is 100% natural, free from additives and concentrates. This ensures a fresh, smooth drink and reveals a well-balanced flavour across three varieties – Brut, Rosé and Poiré. From these carefully selected varieties of apples and pears, to the bottling, Sassy is proud to say that everything is locally-sourced.


”We are delighted to be partnering with Amathus as our UK distributor and exclusive importer. Our mission is to change the perception of cider and reinvigorate the category, finally putting Normandy on the map – and we firmly believe that Amathus is ideally-placed to help us achieve this. Their premium portfolio and mindset closely align with our values and ambitions at Maison Sassy and we are looking forward to working closely together” says Xavier.

Simon Bradbury, Sales and Marketing Director at Amathus comments, ‘“We are thrilled to be welcoming Sassy to our portfolio of exclusive, quality products. The combination of 167 years of expertise in making great tasting cider along with a modern design, lower ABVs, to appeal to the growing number of consumers who want a lighter alternative, and its mixability in long drinks and cocktails makes it a great fit for us and our ever expanding portfolio.”


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Amathus Drinks is now the exclusive importer of Sherry producer Bodegas Argüeso

Bodega Argueso 1

Amathus Drinks is now the exclusive distributor of Sherry producer Bodegas Argüeso for the UK market.

Bodegas Argüeso was founded in 1822 in coastal Sanlucar de Barrameda, one of the three great towns of the Sherry triangle and the home of Manzanilla. They work with old vineyards in the highly regarded coastal Miraflores sector to produce a range of award-winning Sherries in all the major styles.

Bodega Argueso 3

Recently, Argüeso have benefited from substantial investment allowing them to upgrade the cellars and take the quality of their wines to a new level. This has included the installation of a team of in-house coopers to maintain and improve the quality of their hundreds of mature barrels.

Amathus has worked closely with the winery to develop the inaugural release of the “Argüeso 1822” range, which delivers a superb selection of older wines and smart, modern packaging to the market for the first time. This represents an uplift in quality from the standard range of Argüeso sherries.

The first Amathus shipment also includes the Manzanilla San Léon, winner of the 2017 IWC Trophy for Best Manzanilla.

Bodega Argueso Manzanilla San León

Amathus Drinks’ Head of Wine, Jeremy Lithgow MW said: “It has been a real pleasure working closely with Bodegas Argüeso to select, blend and develop this range. Argüeso are a great house with a tremendous inventory of older sherry, and we are delighted to be playing a part in their revival. The potential here is enormous and we are excited by the numerous possibilities this collaboration offers”.

Argueso PX

Amathus Drinks and Bodegas Argüeso will display their new range of sherries for the first time at The Big Fortified tasting on April 16th.


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Easter wines and all things nice…


On this particularly long weekend, most of us are well versed in what food to serve and when. From fish on Good Friday to roast lamb on Easter Sunday with lashings of chocolate in between. When it comes to pairing these foods with wine, however, not everyone knows where to start – especially when your Easter wines have some bold flavours to stand up too.

Fear not, as we have been busy compiling a list of our top picks to make choosing your Easter wines a walk in the park.


The Aperitif 

Every celebration should begin with the obligatory glass of fizz; our go-to is the award-winning Champagne Duval-Leroy or Fox & Fox – an outstanding selection of sparkling wines with an English twist.


The Fish Course

Tradition says that fish is the meal of choice on Good Friday. No wonder fish and chip shops across the country do a roaring trade on this particular bank holiday. With fish in mind, whether you’re having cod from the chippy or cooking a delightful fish dish at home, your wine of choice should be the Domaine Gueguen Chablis 1er Cru Vogros or the Abad Dom Bueno Bierzo Mencia if you’re partial to a glass of red.

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The Main Meal 

As at Christmas with turkey, Easter has long been associated with lamb (otherwise known as the king of Easter dinner). A succulent leg of lamb deserves the finest of wines to accompany and a long-time favourite of ours is the Fess Parker Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, closely followed by the Org de Rac Die Waghuis Red Blend from the region of Swartland in South Africa, today the source of many of the country’s most exciting wines.

Ham is another favourite entree for Easter dinner, with so many great wines that pair perfectly with this extra-savoury meat. On top of our list is the Amastuola Primitivo Centosassi IGT, bursting with intense fruitiness, hints of prunes, Marasca cherries and cinnamon… yum!


The Sweet Stuff

Easter weekend is definitely a weekend many of us look forward to, as it means the Lent fast can be broken and I’m sure that fast for many includes chocolate and sweets. With the mountain of sweet treats consumed over the Easter period it would be rude not to have some wines to match.

Starting with the obvious… being chocolate of course. Chocolate and wine are two of life’s greatest pleasures. However, when pairing wine with chocolate you need to be extremely careful as very few wines pair well with it. Opting for something, which is equally as sweet, is key to finding the ideal match. The sugar in chocolate tends to coat the month when it melts, which can mask the fruity flavours of a lot of wines and leave them tasting bitter – so the sweeter the wine the better. Go for the Mas Cristine Rivesaltes Ambré or the Woodstock Muscat.

Hot cross buns are another Easter tradition, paired perfectly with a sweet wine or a Tawny Port. It has to be the Château Haut-Mayne Sauternes for the sweet and the Cálem 10yr Tawny for the Port.

After copious amounts of chocolate no doubt already consumed, something citrusy and refreshing seems fitting for dessert on Easter Sunday and lemon tart is a definite crowd pleaser. Roland Grangier Chante Louve VDF is a textbook Viognier from Northern Rhône, with intense flavours of fresh apricot and honeysuckle, which will pair perfectly with your lemon dessert. Another option if you’re white wined out is cracking open a bottle of Sherry, in particular the Argüeso 1822 Fino.

Wishing you all a very happy Easter from the Amathus team!


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Mistelle – Wine’s not-so-distant cousin


The story tends to be the same regardless of the region: at some point in history, a careless worker at an unknown distillery or winery tipped some brandy into a barrel, not realising it was two-thirds full of juice, thus serendipitously creating the local aperitif. Versions of this happy accident are told in pretty much every brandy-producing region of France. The story itself is certainly apocryphal (this drinker is more persuaded that our heroic workers simply combined two delicious liquids in the age-old spirit of enquiry: see also the Miami Vice cocktail) but is found in all of France’s major brandy-producing areas, and has been a traditional drink for the producers in these areas for around 300 years.

Regardless of the area the method is effectively the same: take 1 part young brandy and 2 parts unfermented grape or apple juice, mix them together and put it in a barrel for a period. There are variations – notably that Cognac and Armagnac use grapes and Calvados uses apples – but the principle is identical. The high-ABV brandy – typically 65-72% – fortifies the must to a strength at which yeast can’t act; this process is known as mutage. This means all the sugars in the juice remain unfermented, and a wine-like liquid with an ABV of 17-20% is the result. If done in Cognac the mistelle is called ‘Pineau des Charentes’, in Armagnac ‘Floc de Gasgogne’, in Calvados ‘Pommeau’ and in Burgundy and Champagne ‘Ratafia’.

Mistelles are closely related to dessert wines, fortified wines, vermouths & quinquinas (L.N. Mattei Cap Corse is actually based on a mistelle) but the production process leads to a different flavour profile and mouthfeel. The natural sugars in the juice give them a sweetness, balanced by a crisp acidity, and ageing in barrels gives them delicate nutty flavours and floral aromas – ‘Floc’ is actually a Gascon word meaning ‘bouquet of flowers’. Traditionally they are paired with foods (foie gras, apple tart), served chilled as an aperitif or over cantaloupe melon, but more and more bartenders are waking up to the possibilities offered by these delicate and complex liqueurs – as substitutes for vermouths or as ingredients in their own right, especially for lower ABV drinks.

Mistelle Mixed 

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Gascon Martini

50ml Laubade AOC Blanche
20ml Laubade Floc de Gasgogne Blanc
1 dash F Bitters Sweet Symphony Winerose Lavender

Stir and strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with a lemon twist.

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Norman Cobbler

1 Orange wedge
1 Pineapple
1 Lemon wedge
70ml Château du Breuil Pommeau
10ml Sugar
15ml Cartron Sureau (Elderflower)

Muddle the fruit briefly then shake and strain into a highball over crushed ice. Garnish with an apple fan.

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Cantaloupe Spritz

40ml François Voyer Pineau des Charentes
15ml Cartron Melon Liqueur
Top with tonic

Pour all ingredients in a wine glass over cubed ice; garnish with a slice of grapefruit.


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


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.

org de rac die waghuis - syrah grenache mourvedre verdelho 20171005_0252

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


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.


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


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.



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.

dark et cherry

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.

lune de miel


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.

rosé prestige 1er cru in situation 1

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!


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.


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.


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.


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.

launch night-london mezcal week 2018-tt liquor-kingsland road-edit-01

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!

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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.”

PE Range

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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