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


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!

Brut Reserve in situation 1

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.


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!


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!


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!).


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…


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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The Rise (and Comeback) of Vermouth


If you were asked to identify the key turning points for cocktails at the moment, what are you going to say? Gin, small batch whisky? What about vermouth?

Back in the eighties, every household had a bottle of vermouth stashed away in the drinks cabinet. But vermouth quickly fell out of fashion and was only ever used as an ingredient in the odd cocktail or two. Now it’s making a comeback, quickly becoming one of the most ‘on trend’ things you can drink.


Vermouth is a bartenders dream; finely crafted, layers of flavour, centuries of tradition and perfection, unique production methodology and secret formulas; so it’s hardly surprising that nowadays it’s one of the key ingredients in the ever-growing cocktail culture.

We take so much care to extract the finest nuances of flavour for our cocktails, experimenting with scientific and creative details, yet the element that will modify our drinks more radically than any other is in danger of being an afterthought, or at least a poorly informed choice of the usual suspects. But that is changing; some of us have taking to modifying our modifiers or even producing our own.

Before taking such steps it seems sensible to explore the rich tapestry of available products more fully. There is a panoply of houses, maisons and bodegas, producing wholly unique labours of love, of all house styles. New players are entering the market – seeing the inevitability of demand – old recipes are being unearthed and the global marketplace is bringing ancient producers to new markets.

Dry vermouth - ice and lemon

The rise of the aromatic cocktail is only beginning and the consumption of vermouth is set to change as well. The Negroni twist is the mark of every bartender’s creativity and countless cocktail competitions. The Americano and long, vermouth-based coolers, particularly the V&T, are appearing on more and more cocktail lists as our palates, lifestyle (often opting for a lower alcohol option in pursuit of a healthier lifestyle) and our fashion-sense, seeks even more authenticity and sophistication.

We strive to keep ahead of this revolutionising trend with our ever expanding portfolio of vermouths. Ranging from the classic dry vermouths such as Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry to the not so classics, made form all sorts of weird and wonderful botanicals, including Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Riesling Vermouth, infused with vintage Grand Cru Riesling and Italian vermouth brand Contratto.

For something a little more off the radar try L.N Mattei Cap Corse from Corsica. Rather than the usual wormwood, which is typically used to make vermouth, this apéritif wine is aromatised with quinquina (a bush tree from central America producing quinine); making it the ideal aromatic filler for your favourite cocktails.

So depending on what you’re after, we’ve got an extremely versatile range that taste just as good on their own, served over ice as they do mixed in cocktails.


Contratto, Italy
‘Viliant vermouths steeped in history from Piedmont’

Contratto Vermouth Bianco 

An aromatic blend of herbs and spices gently infused with white wine and Italian brandy.

Contratto Vermouth Rosso

A well-balanced boutique apéritif, made from a concoction of white wine fortified with Italian brandy with 30 delicately infused with herbs and spices.

Contratto Americano Rosso

The americano draws from much the same pool of botanicals and serves a similar function to each of the Contratto Vermouths.


Otto’s, Greece
Created by the founders of the world class Athens bar The Clumsies

Otto’s Athens Vermouth 

Slightly bitter with fresh rose petal, citric and vanilla tones.


Dolin, France
‘The last remaining producer of Vermouth de Chambéry and the only vermouth AOC in the world’ 

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Blanc 

Rich orange citrus aromas, with a luscious, toffee character.

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Dry 

A gentle sweetness, with tropical, almost lychee flavours, followed by a bitter clove finish.

Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry Rouge 

An abundance of herbs and spices of almond, citrus, pear and violet.


Ferdinand’s, Germany
‘The first Riesling vermouth in the world’ 

Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Riesling Vermouth 

The very first dry Riesling vermouth from the Saar region; a floral yet spicy character, promising supreme drinking pleasure.

Ferdinand’s Saar White Riesling Vermouth (Barrel Aged)

Made from vintage Grand Cru Riesling, infused with 12 carefully selected botanicals.


L.N Mattei Cap Corse, Corsica
‘It is a quinquina, not a vermouth’

L.N Mattei Cap Corse Grande Réserve Blanc

Fresh citrus and floral notes, with a smooth and delicate profile at first sip.

L.N Mattei Cap Corse Réserve Rouge 

Rich citrus and floral flavours, with a powerful dry quinquina bitterness on the palate.


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Amathus Marks 40th Anniversary with Special Releases


To help celebrate Amathus’ 40th birthday, we’ve teamed up with some of our long-standing brand agency partners to create some exceptional and unique bottlings of iconic spirits. Personally selected by Harry Georgiou, Managing Director and Owner of Amathus, with Yves Calabre of our expert spirits category team, in collaboration with master distillers and blenders, these are extremely rare examples of some of the best spirits on the planet.

Harry explains: “We are extremely proud of our history, and this unique selection of fine and rare spirits is the perfect way to celebrate 40 years at the forefront of the UK drinks trade. These extraordinary brandies, whiskies and rum expressions are the result of a collaboration with some of the finest spirits producers in the world and stand as a testament both to the skill and passion of these producers, and to our ongoing commitment to bringing the finest examples of drinks to the world.”

The Sensational Six 

all together (4)

François Voyer Vieux Cognac Grande Champagne

 43% ABV · 70cl · £157.35 · Allocation: 457 bottles

François Voyer occupies 29ha in the heart of the prestigious cru of Grande Champagne on some of the highest quality soils – the area known as the ‘golden triangle’. From this tiny estate Maître de Chai Pierre Vaudon produces cognacs of breath-taking elegance and complexity. This one-off bottling is based on a single vintage from the 1970s, and is testament to what this unique region is capable of. An intense, delicate cognac with a complex rancio and a finish that lasts a month or more. Quite simply perfect.

all together

Château de Laubade Bas Armagnac 40 Years Old 

40% ABV · 70cl · £105.50 · Allocation: 300 bottles

The Château de Laubade is located in the Bas Armagnac region and has been in the stewardship of the Lesgourgues family since 1974. This 40-year is a classic old armagnac and a masterclass in ageing the Baco grape. The high proportion of Baco (over 50%) gives a velvety richness with plum, dried fruit and tobacco notes; the Ugni Blanc and Colombard making up the blend provide the elegance and freshness to back this up. Stunning with a cigar. And without a cigar.

all together (3)

Château du Breuil 20 Years Old, Fut No. 63

47.7% ABV · 70cl · £93.55 · Allocation: 300 bottles

Château du Breuil has 42ha of orchards in the Pays d’Auge region, where the climatic conditions are perfect for growing apples for brandy. Distillation over a naked flame and twenty years in wood have resulted in this single cask of perfectly aged Calvados, which has been bottled at full strength – a rarity in the region. It combines a beautiful baked apple crumble aroma with a fresh green apple flavour mingled with soft spice; it really opens up in the glass after 15 minutes or so, if you can manage to wait that long.


all together (6)

Rhum J.M Single Barrel Tres Vieux Rhum Agricole 

44.3% ABV · 50cl · £75.00 · Allocation: 386 bottles

From the volcanic soils of the Northern tip of Martinique, the much-loved JM estate specialises in fine old and vintage rhum agricoles. The distillery gets its water from a volcanic spring within the grounds and – incredibly – the cane is pressed within one hour of harvest, preserving all its freshness. This is a single cask of 11-year-old rhum with an incredible complexity: tropical fruit, spices and nuts with a beautiful toastiness. Impossible to drink without smiling, even in the absence of the Martinique sun.

all together (2)

The English Whisky Company B1-423

57.1% ABV · 70cl · £85.05 · Allocation: 211 bottles

The English Whisky Company was established in 2006, becoming England’s first whisky distillery in over a century. Based in Norfolk, with plentiful supplies of barley and water, they have now been producing award-winning whiskies for over a decade. This is an exceptionally smokey whisky (peated to 62ppm) aged in a single bourbon cask and bottled at the high strength of 57.1%. This combination delivers huge amounts of smoke on the nose and the palate, backed up with the fruity esters and balance that characterise David Fitt’s cracking whiskies.

all together (5)

Michel Couvreur 16 Years Old PX Cask 

51% ABV · 50cl · £199.75 · Allocation: 100 bottles

Michel Couvreur source malt whiskies from Scotland and mature them in their caves in Burgundy, moving between different cellars to perfect the ageing process. This is a single cask single malt, distilled in 2002 and matured in a sweet Pedro Ximenez cask for 16 years, in both dry and humid cellars, and at only 100 bottles is one of the rarest whiskies they’ve ever produced. It is a beautiful deep red colour, with rich sherry notes and a round fruitiness that holds its alcohol level well. Like an exceptionally classy hug.


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Aquavit – Spirit of the Summer


It turns out we’re in the middle of a gin boom. Still. For those of us who were bartending back when Mojitos were the latest thing and Aperol hadn’t yet been Spritzed, there’s a certain feeling of ‘job done’: having spent years extolling the virtues of gin to a largely uninterested vodka-swilling crowd, we can now hardly keep up with the barrage of new gins, gin newspaper features and gin festivals.


In the on-trade this is old news, of course. Gin started outselling vodka in some of the more cocktail-oriented venues several years ago, although it’s probably fair to say that none of us could have predicted the subsequent deluge. On the other hand, as a friend pointed out, looking at the bigger picture it’s simply back to business as usual: the British drank an awful lot of gin from the 1690s right through to the 1960s, when the rise of vodka proved something of a distraction. From this angle, we’ve merely taken a 50-year break from gin and will now have another 300 or so of riots, acts, bathtubs, martinis, sophistication and everything else associated with our national nip.


So, gin is unquestionably ‘now’. The question, as ever, is: what’s next? Aquavit, close cousin of gin, is starting to make waves outside of its traditional Scandinavian situation and is increasingly finding its way onto bars and cocktail lists. In many ways, this is a natural progression: gin is essentially alcohol flavoured with juniper plus other stuff, aquavit is alcohol flavoured with caraway and/or dill and other stuff. The difference in their flavour profiles is largely based on the choice of botanicals. As gins have pushed and challenged the limits of the category, with juniper firmly taking a back seat in many modern styles and brands have sought to differentiate themselves with different botanicals (there’s even one made using Harley Davidson motorbike parts as a ‘botanical’. Seriously, look it up.), the distance to aquavit has steadily decreased, making aquavit a logical next step for the inquisitive gin enthusiast.

OP Anderson

Aquavit is remarkably easy to make drinks with; it happily replaces gin in many cocktails – O.P Anderson makes a great Negroni, Aalborg Dild & Tonic is a wonderful apéritif. For those looking for a wider palate of flavours to mix with, aquvait provides an exciting base, which is how bars at the vanguard are giving their drinks lists, a new twist. Check out our upcoming ‘Aquavit Cocktail of the Month’ blog for more details and inspiration. Aquavit has long been the spirit of the summer in Scandinavia, where it lubricates many a naked Midsummer party*; this summer we’re seeing the spirit reach a wider public. Possibly with less nudity.

*this may not actually be true.

By Phil Duffy (Amathus Head of Spirits) 

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The Birth of a New Tequila – Calle 23 Criollo

In the old-town of Guadalajara is a square called Nueve Esquinas – ‘Nine Corners’ – that encapsulates everything Sophie Decobecq loves about Mexico. It has a bustling yet tranquil atmosphere, punctuated by the sounds of children playing around the fountain and thick with the hum of live music and mariachis overflowing from the birrierías, the restaurants that serve the traditional goat stew – birria – that is a regional speciality of Jalisco. The colours are bright and vibrant, and a calm exhilaration permeates the whole scene, enticing and inviting. It is a wonderful place.

Calle 23 sign

Halfway up the wall of one of the birrierías is a defunct old street sign, identifying a road that no longer exists. It is above eye level and blends in subtly with the wall behind it, so is easy to miss, but its dated appearance combined with the fact that it is there at all gives it a shabby charm: there’s something enjoyably quaint about signage that has outstayed its relevance or utility. This is the sign that Sophie spotted during a laid-back lunch with some close friends, when every part of her tequila was finished, other than the name. As a snapshot of a moment and of the Mexico that Sophie loves it was perfect, and so the obsolete sign for ‘23rd Street’ found new life as the name of Sophie’s tequila: Calle 23.

Sophie Decobecq Calle 23 Tequila 244 - Simon Difford

Sophie has been in Mexico for over 17 years and now lives a short walk away from the square and the sign, in a beautiful house that we visited to see her two new arrivals. As we settle into the most comfortable tasting I’ve ever been to (a wicker chair with a cushion, under an open sky, in the gentle warmth of a Mexican ‘winter’ – honestly, nothing short of a comparative Piña Colada tasting in a hammock is going to beat it) Sophie’s young son, Abel, comes to see his mum and play around us.

The Creation of Calle 23

C23-Trío70cl bot antigua

We begin with a tasting of the Calle 23 range – blanco, reposado & añejo – which until recently was the whole family. I’ve known and worked with Calle since the start and it’s still always a pleasure to hear Sophie talk about it. Firstly, it’s a good story: a French biological chemist specialising in fermentation gets a posting to Mexico, falls in love with the country and with tequila, decides to make her own for personal use and ultimately ends up exporting it to the whole world. Beyond that is a treasure trove of geeky delight, as you would expect when someone with Sophie’s background develops a passion for something.

C23. Campo agave #5

Right from the conception of her tequila, Sophie brought an expertise to her new passion that led her into the agave fields with a stack of petri dishes and a needle. Sterilising the needle – primitively but effectively – with a cigarette lighter she gently scraped different parts of the agaves to collect wild yeasts native to the fields, which she then incubated in her petri dishes. Once these cultures had developed she began separating the yeasts: taking sections of each petri dish, transferring it to a new one and incubating again, then repeating the process, progressively having fewer strains until each yeast was isolated in its own dish. Having decided on highland agaves as being perfect for the tequila she envisioned, she then set to work fermenting batches of cooked agave with different yeasts and combinations of yeasts.

This gave her a number of suitable bases to distil and she began making different tequilas with them, blind-tasting the results until finally she arrived at the blanco she wanted, bursting with the distinctive flavour and aroma of cooked agave. At the same time, she tested and blind-tasted between autoclave– and horno-cooked distillates, settling on the former (this is one of the things I love about Sophie’s methods: she, like many of us, would have preferred a horno for the appearance and the romance, but through strict blind-tasting she discovered that the result she wanted was best achieved through autoclave). The blanco was then put into old ex-bourbon casks to create the reposado. Sophie always uses old casks as the character she looks for in all her tequilas is that of agave, of the aroma she fell in love with on her first visit to a tequila distillery. After about eight months – and tasting every step of the way – the reposado was ready. There was, however, a complication. During this time Sophie had carried on experimenting and had found a different set of yeasts that made a blanco that she preferred, meaning she had two blanco tequilas.

Calle 23 - Cocktail Cullinan - Le 1905 - Paris

A further complication arose after this second blanco was aged: when it was ready she found she preferred her initial reposado. Leaving both versions in the casks for around 16 months to create two añejos, her preference was different again. The result of this is that Sophie effectively makes two blanco tequilas, differentiated by the yeast strains they are fermented with. One of these is released as the blanco, and also put into cask to become the añejo; the other is all put into casks and becomes the reposado. As far as I’m aware this is unique in the whole of tequila. This relentlessly scientific approach to taste may also be the secret to the consistency of Calle 23. Tequila as a category can be hugely variable, with even great brands tasting different from year to year (something that Ocho does a brilliant job of celebrating with their terroir-focussed releases). Calle is still the liquid I remember first tasting a decade ago and is still delicious.

A New Arrival

For 15 years the blanco, reposado and añejo have been the whole Calle 23 family, but over time Sophie has kept a notebook of various ideas and experiments she would like to do. From her first visits to the agave fields of Los Altos – the highlands of Jalisco – she had noticed plants known as criollos. These are blue agave, but of a type that remains at a smaller size even when fully mature; they are occasionally in whole fields, occasionally just in part of a field, and are usually just combined with the rest of the crop. Watching them being harvested she discovered they have a distinctive aroma and are sticky to the touch, indicating high sugar content. Immediately the idea of a tequila made exclusively from criollos came to mind, which she wrote down in her notebook.


This was all but forgotten until a couple of years ago when she became pregnant with her son. Wanting to mark the occasion with a special tequila to celebrate her new arrival she began rifling through her notebook where – amongst ideas for yeasts, cooking methods and ageing – she remembered the blue agave criollos and the idea of a tequila made only using these special plants. There was some difficulty in convincing her distillery that this was a good thing to do – or even whether it would be any different – so, characteristically, Sophie did a blind-tasting of blue agave alongside criollo blue agave. That, ultimately, was enough to persuade the doubters and so Calle 23 Criollo was born: a single batch, utterly unique, one-off tequila.


This being a unique release, Sophie wanted to make every part special. The bottle is hand-blown, and the liquid is bottled at a higher strength than usual. Sophie’s preferred strength – decided by blind-tasting, of course – was 49%, but as the water was added little by little during the dilution phase the tequila tasted so good at 49.3% that she stopped there. Serendipity also played a large part in the beautiful label. At a tasting that overran (by a few hours) Sophie met the brother of an artist, Rose Guerrero, another French lady with a passion for Mexico. Rose’s artwork is rich in Mexican symbols and imagery and was exactly what Sophie was looking for, so she asked Rose to create the hand-drawn design. The blue agave and the smaller criollo are on one side; a snake – an important symbol in Mexican culture – carries a penca stolen from the latter. A rose – the artist’s name – nestles alongside another important Mexican symbol, the skull. On the other side the swallow, symbolising new arrivals, carries an image of Mayahuel (the goddess of agave) on her wings and wears a necklace announcing the two arrivals: an agave for Tequila Calle 23 Criollo and the letter ‘A’, for Abel: Sophie’s son. Framed by all these images is an old street sign, with a shabby charm, which will be familiar to anyone who has looked up at the wall of the Birriería las 9 Esquinas in the old town of Guadalajara.

By Phil Duffy (Amathus Head of Spirits) 


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A superb family owned and sustainably managed Champagne house

Brut Reserve in situation 1

Amathus Drinks is delighted to announce the partnership with Champagne Duval-Leroy. From April 2nd Amathus will be the exclusive UK distributor for this prestigious house. Family-owned since 1859, today Duval-Leroy is under the stewardship of Carol Duval-Leroy, ably supported by her three sons Julien, Charles and Louis. Located in Vertus in the Côte des Blancs, the house works with an unusually high proportion of their own 1er and Grand Cru vineyards, many of which are worked organically. Chardonnay is the dominant grape throughout the range and top quality rosé is also made alongside a selection of special cuvées from historic varieties. A combination of stainless steel, oak barrels and old reserve wines are used to create wines of great precision and complexity.

Duval-Leroy is a leader in promoting sustainability in both winery and vineyard, not only listing a fully organic wine but also certified completely vegan across the range. Widely carried by Michelin-starred restaurants, Relais et Châteaux and prestigious hotels across the globe, in addition Duval-Leroy has been awarded Best Champagne in the World by CSWC (Champagne and Sparkling Wine World Championships) for three consecutive years, confirming their reputation as a producer of the highest quality.

Jeremy Lithgow MW, Amathus Drinks’ Head of Wine said “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a prestigious house. The quality across the range is outstanding and we’re excited to be working with another family owned company which shares our desire for quality and ambitions for growth in the UK market.”

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