Van Wees Masterclass and Cocktail Competition

20151012_141759On Monday, 12th October we joined together with Van Wees to host a masterclass and cocktail competition at The Library, London.

Established in 1782, A.Van Wees distillery de Ooievaar claims to be the last authentic distillery left in Amsterdam, producing a range of Old Dutch genevers, bitters and liqueurs. Their products are made from pure natural raw materials, including combinations of fruits, flowers, plants, roots and seeds. This combined with the knowledge passed down through generations is the key to the Van Wees recipes. Today the company is run by Fenny Van Wees and a small loyal crew in Amsterdam.


So the afternoon kick started at 2 pm with a Van Wees masterclass hosted by Fenny Van Wees herself. Some of the products on tasting were Van Wees Heaven on Earth, Van Wees Very Old Genever, Van Wees Amsterdamsche Old Genever and Van Wees Three Corners Gin. Each going down a treat!

After a quick break it was straight into the cocktail competition, the part everyone had been waiting for!




After playing around with the Van Wees products, each bartender had to come up with cocktails on the spot. They could enter as many drinks as they liked and were judged purely on taste alone – not presentation.  Behind the bar was all the equipment, glassware and ingredients anyone would need so no preparation beforehand was necessary.

For the lucky winner,  the prize was a trip to Amsterdam, home of Van Wees, and for all runners up, a product from the Van Wees collection. With so many  prizes to be won, it was clear from the outset that the standard of competition would be high. Our 4 judges, Fenny Van Wees (of course), Nick Bell (Amathus Retail Manager), Chris Turner and Dimitris Gryparis (Bar manager at The Library), would have a very hard decision to make.




Right from the word go, each bartender showed passion and determination, taking the time to perfect the taste of each cocktail they made. Given the fact they were all surrounded by the same ingredients, each cocktail brought its own individual taste and uniqueness. After a good few hours and numerous attempts at making cocktails, the time had arrived for the judges to make their decision.


After a lot of back and forth our judges had reached a decision. It’s with great pleasure that I can announce that the winners of the Van Wees cocktail competition were:

4th Place Ben from Keystone Crescent

3rd Place Alessandro from Black Foot Exmouth Market

2nd Place Simon Epale from Evans and Peel

and last but not least, in first place and winner of the trip to Amsterdam was, drum roll please…….. Sam from Portside Parlour. Congratulations to all you and Sam… of to Amsterdam you go!

Finally, I’d just like to say a big thank you to Fenny Van Wees and her family for coming over from Amsterdam to host the masterclass and judge the cocktail competition for us.

Also, thanks to Nick, Chris and Dimitris (our three other judges), job well done guys. And finally to the Library for kindly offering to host the event at your wonderful bar.

Next up we have a Contratto masterclass and cocktail competition on Monday the 9th November at Evans and Peel, London. If you would like to take part, just RSVP to

See you there!

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Ti’Punch Cup London Final 2015 – Rock N Roll Agricole

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So last week, the Ti’Punch Cocktail Competition took us to The Beachcomber, Queensway for the UK final. The Beachcomber is London’s one and only ‘Tik-Easy’ bar serving up Tiki classics, speakeasy twists and in- house concoctions, making it the ideal spot for the Ti’Punch final.

If you’re not familiar with the Ti’Punch Cup or even a Ti’Punch for that matter, then here’s what you need to know.

The Ti’Punch is a cocktail made up of three key ingredients: Rhum Agricole (White, Gold or Aged rhum), Sugarcane syrup or raw sugar and fresh lime. The Ti’Punch is more than just a cocktail, it’s the heart of Martinique’s culture and the taste is celebrated as a simple piece of art. It’s very famous for being an aperitif that is served as a welcome drink or at the start of a meal or celebration. Historically some people have Ti’Punch in the morning, to kick start their day. This is better known as ‘Décollage’ translated ‘Take off’ in English.

So to celebrate the ‘Art of the Ti’Punch’, Rhum Clément launched the Ti’Punch Cup where bartenders from all over the world create their own version of the Ti’Punch. The winning prize is a ticket entry for the world final in Martinique, the birthplace of Rhum Agricole.


The competition kick started at 2 pm, the place was rammed from start to finish. Free Ti’Punch was constantly on flow as well as nibbles made by  Vanessa Bolosie from her cookbook, Creole Kitchen. Delish!

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The competition was extremely high, making it a tough decision for our 3 wonderful judges Audrey Bruisson (Global Ambassador of Rhum Clément & Rhum J.M), Emilie Campesato-M and Peter Holland from the Floating Rum Shack.

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Each contestant had 5 minutes to make 2 servings of their cocktail, for the judges to try (lucky for us, we got to try them as well). For every 30 seconds they went over their 5 mins, a point was deducted from their total score. The pressure was on!

Check out some of the contestants and their cocktails below.


Considering the Ti’Punch is based around 3 main ingredients I assumed all the cocktails would,  in some respects, taste the same. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was amazing to see each bartender’s individual take on such a simple cocktail recipe.

 Here’s an example of one of the cocktails: ‘La Josephine’, by Christina Schneider. Made with Canne Bleue Rhum Clément, Floc de Gascogne White Chateau de Laubade, Velvet Falernum, Creme de Peche Joseph Cartron Liqueurs and Eaux-de-Vie.


So after each contestant had made their cocktail and done all they could to wow the judges. It was decision time..who was going to win a trip to Martinique?!

Here we go:

3rd place went to Giamcomo Di Matteo and 2nd place went to Ben Clarenn, each receiving a bottle from the Rhum Clément collection.

Congratulations guys!

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Finally and what we had all been waiting for… the winner of the 2015 London final was Tiago Semblano from The Hospital Club. Congratulations Tiago, next stop for you is Martinique!

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Last but not least, a big thank you to all the bartenders who took part, the 3 judges, Audrey, Emilie and Peter and finally to The Beachcomber for kindly letting us host the Ti’Punch Cup final at your bar.DSC09331

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‘Rum is more than a Spirit, it’s a Lifestyle’ RumFest 2015


Last weekend we joined hundreds of rum lovers at the 2015 RumFest. For 2 days straight the ILEC Conference Centre became home to the world’s largest rum festival, bringing trade and consumer experts together for a weekend of great food, entertainment and most importantly the finest rum around.


Joining in on the action with us and showcasing their exceptional rum collections was Ron Barceló, Rhum J.M and Rhum Clément. On top of the tastings, Audrey Bruisson (Global Ambassador of Rhum J.M and Rhum Clément) hosted a Rhum J.M masterclass on the Sunday.  She taught people about the wonders of Rhum Agricole, how Rhum J.M is made and the lengths they go to, to ensure good quality rhum.

But wait, it didn’t just stop there. The main stages were taken over by food professionals cooking up the mouth-watering food from all over the world, as well as presentations, holiday giveaways, live music and dancing during Carnival Hour.

It really couldn’t get any better than that!

If you missed out, catch a glimpse of the action below!





What a fantastic weekend, spent with fantastic people, best RumFest so far. Let the countdown to next year begin!

Finally, we’d just like to say a big thank you to Audrey Bruisson (Rhum Clément & JM), Maxim Baiko, Fernando Barrera and Stijin Bracke (Ron Barceló) for coming all the way from France and the Dominican Republic to support us.

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‘Neighbor Next Door’ London Cocktail Club Takeover


This Saturday Evan Rage (former London Cocktail Club team member) presents to you Neighbor Next Door. Instead of being your regular bar hopper at London Cocktail Week, this year Evan has decided to set up his very own pop-up bar at London Cocktail Club, Islington.

To get those taste buds tingling, he will be serving up all kinds of cocktails, including Nordic Penicillin, Sea Merchant, Norwegian Choc-kick and Moves like Ragey. All of which combine Norwegian Lysholm Linie Aquavit with a range of other goodies.


On top of that he’ll also be shaking up Cinnamon Smoked Old Fashioned’s and Orange Tango’s. All this will be available for just £9 a cocktail.

Check out the full cocktail list below.

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So come on down to LCC Islington this Saturday night to see if Evans cocktail skills are as good as they say they are!

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A Night at the Movies

On Wednesday, the 30th September, we spent the evening at Regent Street Cinema for the screening of the 2004 box office hit, Sideways.

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Sideways tells the story of two disillusioned forty-somethings on a wine infused week -long road trip around California, starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church.


Paul Giamatti plays an aspiring, but unsuccessful, writer/borderline alcoholic named Miles Raymond. Miles and his actor friend/college roommate, Jack Cole (Church) take to the roads for Cole’s last week of freedom. Miles wants to spend the week relaxing, golfing, enjoying good food and wine, but unbeknown to him, Jack is on the prowl one last time before he settles down and ties the knot.

I won’t give too much more away, but I’m pretty sure you can guess that things don’t quite go to plan.

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Before the film, the audience were given the opportunity to taste one of the latest releases from the Fess Parker winery (featured in the ‘spit bucket’ scene in the film)… and this is where we came in. Alex Down, our wine expert, served up a fresh and lively Pinot Noir to all Sideways ticket holders that could be enjoyed with some nibbles from behind the bar.


The doors opened at 6.30 pm, which gave us enough time to serve the wine and meet everyone before the film started at 8.00 pm.

Live music from the Sideways soundtrack accompanied the tasting to help set the scene before the film started. Classics included Lonely Day, Bowling Tango and Asphalt Groovin which were all originally composed and produced by Rolfe Kent back in 2004.



The movie was such a hit that, believe it or not, it actually had an effect on U.S wine sales. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, Miles throughout speaks really fondly of Pinot Noir whilst completely slating the red wine varietal Merlot. Following the release in 2004, Merlot sales dropped by 2% whilst Pinot Noir sales increased by around 16%. The price of Pinot Noir and overall wine consumption was also said to have increased. Crazy!

Overall, the movie went down a storm and the wine just as much. If you haven’t already seen Sideways, you definitely have to now. I think all there is left for me to say is a big thank you to Regent Street Cinema for letting us be part of such a brilliant event.

To keep track of all our upcoming events, please click here.

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For everything good Mezcal, for everything bad Mezcal!

On the 16th September (a very wet Wednesday) we invited Julio Mestre, owner of Los Siete Misterios Mezcal, to our Soho and Shoreditch stores for an evening of mezcal masterclasses.


Let me start by giving you a little Los Siete Misterios history lesson:

Los Siete Misterios is inspired by the land, legends and mysteries of Mexico. It was established in 2010 by Julio Mestre and his brother Eduardo. They had one objective in mind, to produce mezcals that symbolise the countries rich heritage, passion and culture.. and that they did!

Los Siete Misterios is produced in the district of Sola de Vega in the Sierra Sur Region of the State of Oaxaca. The natural climate and terrain is the ideal spot for agave growth.The agave is cooked in underground ovens before it is hand smashed using wooden mallets. Once the mezcal has fermented in sabino vats for 10 days it is then distilled using a clay pot technique that has been around for centuries. This gives it its unique and very powerful flavour.

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On tasting that evening was the Los Siete Misterios Doba-yej, Los Siete Misterios Espandin, Los Siete Coyote and the Los Siete Misterios Tobala.. and I couldn’t wait to try them all!

Mezcal varies hugely in flavour and you’ll notice this if you’ve tried it yourself. The flavours change slightly because of the way it’s cooked and the type of wood used.

Just a few little interesting facts for you here, or if you’re planning to produce your own mezcal, some things you should definitely take note of.

  1. Mezcal shouldn’t be left too long to ferment as it can overpower the flavour, due to the acidity.
  2. To prevent damaging the agave you need to restrict the amount of water which gets to it.

So first up was the Los Siete Misterios Doba-yej.

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This is distilled in copper pots, giving it a slight rubbery taste. It had citrusy aromas of lemon, lime and grapefruit and delicate notes of toasted caramel, floral and sweet agave. This mezcal tends to improve with air as it develops the fruity and floral notes. Similar to wine I’d advise you leave it to breath for a bit before you decide to taste it.

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Next up was the Los Siete Misterios Espandin. Instead of a copper pot this is distilled using a clay pot, giving it a more refined flavour. It has fruity aromas of cherries, raspberries, bananas and delicate flashes of smoked olive and wet earth with a powerful long finish.

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After the Espadin it was time for the Los Siete Coyote. This had fruity tones of strawberry, cherry, banana, mango and well-cooked agave. It had delicate tones of liquorice anise, mint, vanilla and floral flashes.

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And last but not least was the Los Siete Misterios Tobala which had delicate notes of chocolate, tar, prunes, smoked chipotle and cooked agave with a delicious sweet finish. Note to self: Leave it in the glass for a few minutes before sipping, helps to bring out the best aromatic qualities!

To finish up, I’d like to say a huge thank you to Julio for introducing us to the world of mezcal and for letting us sample the delicious Los Siete range. Cheers!

If you missed out on this masterclass then don’t worry, you can keep an eye on upcoming masterclass by visiting our website.

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London Cocktail Week

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London Cocktail Week is almost upon us! To make sure we don’t miss out on any of the action, we’re bringing LCW into our stores.

At Soho, City and Knightsbridge we’ll be filling their enomatics with spirits that make up 3 different types of cocktails, Martini, Negroni and Ti’Punch. If you’re a cocktail enthusiast it’s your chance to create your very own version of each cocktail. All you need is your LCW wristband in hand and you’ll get 2 tastings for only £5.

So here’s what cocktails and ingredients will be in each of the stores.


Cocktail: Martini

4 Gins
Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin
Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin
Greenhook Ginsmiths
Rives Special Gin

4 Vermouths
Dolin Chambery Dry
Dolin Chambery Blanc
Contratto Bianco
Ferdinand’s Dry Vermouth


Cocktail – Negroni

3 Gins
Rives Special Gin 
Greenhook Ginsmiths
Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

3 Rouge Vermouths
Contratto Rosso Vermouth
Contratto Rosso Americano
Dolin Rouge

2 Bitters
Contratto Aperitif
Contratto Bitter


Cocktail – Ti’Punch

4 Agricole Rums
Clément Blanc
Clément Vieux Select Barrel
Clément Canne Blue
Rhum JM Blanc 

Other ingredients include: 
Creole Shrub
Lime Juice
Teisseire Gomme Cocktail Syrup
Sirop de Sucre de Canne


Our Shoreditch store will also be transformed into the Contratto Hub and we’ll be offering wristband wearers the chance to sample the products throughout the week.

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 29: For Features. Contratto spritzer cocktail is pictured at L'Amico restaurant on September 29, 2015. (Anne Wermiel/NY Post)

London Cocktail Week is the biggest party of its kind, from pop-ups to parties, masterclasses to make your own and £5 cocktail tours….So what better way to celebrate the week with the chance to recreate your favourite cocktails and try some of our new and exciting products.

See you on the 5th!

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California vs Burgundy


On the 16th September,  Alex Down, Amathus Wine Expert, hosted a California vs Burgundy masterclass at our City store in Leadenhall Market. The idea of the masterclass was to get everyone to try something a bit different and pull them away from the usual Chardonnays, Chablis, Pinot Noirs that we’re all guilty of buying.

So to avoid any reservations or pre consumptions Alex decided to turn the masterclass into a blind tasting. On tasting was a selection of California and Burgundy wines, three red and three white.

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Down the side of the tasting sheet was a list of the 6 wines on tasting that night. The idea was to taste the wines first, see if people could pull out any crucial flavours and then from there decide which one they thought it might be. Trust me this wasn’t as easy as it sounds..


So up first and in no particular order was the whites which included a Domaine Charley Nicolle 1er Cru Chablis 2013, a George’s Burrier St Veran ‘En Faux’ 2013 and a Fess Parker Chardonnay 2013. 

So let’s have a look at some of the flavours our masterclass attendees could taste, (the majority of which were spot on).

The Domaine Charley Nicolle Chablis (from Burgundy) was described as light and fresh with a burst of citrus and acidity that hit the mouth. The George’s Burrier St Veran (again from Burgundy) had some toasted and honeyed notes with grapefruit savours. It’s typically described as having a long finish but surprisingly compared to the Domaine it didn’t. The final white was the Fess Parker Chardonnay 2013, the only white from California. This had aromas of citrus, lemon and honey and flavours of vanilla and spice. This was a favourite of mine that goes perfectly with a bowl of creamy pasta. Bon Appetite!

Before we move onto the reds, I’d like to give you a quick tip. You might already know this but if not here goes… The sign of a good wine is not necessarily where it comes from or how it is made but can be determined by how long the flavours remain in your mouth. So next time you have a glass of wine bare this in mind!


So on the red side, again in no particular order, was the Fess Parker Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir 2012, the Patrick Clemencent Pimont Rouge 2012 and the Fess Parker ‘Ashley’s’ Pinot Noir 2012.

The Fess Parker Sta. Rita hills (from California) was described as a bit spicy, it had pepper and red cherry qualities but was light at the same time. The Patrick Clemencent Pimont Rouge 2012 (from Burgundy) was much more dryer than the Rita Hills and was quite subtle in flavour. Finally we had the Fess Parker ‘Ashley’s’ Pinot Noir, again from California. This had more depth with scents of blackberry, black cherry, sage, vanilla and baking spices on the nose and provided a long lingering finish on the palate. This particular pinot noir actually comes from Fess Parker’s daughters winery who is, believe it or not, called Ashley!


After the tasting it was time to decide on our favourite red and white from the ones we’d tasted. Let me remind you that it was a Califonia vs Burgundy masterclass so we were intrigued to find out which one came out on top.

The clear winners of the masterclass was the  Fess Parker Chardonnay 2013 and the Fess Parker ‘Ashley’s’ Pinot Noir 2012, both from California, Santa Barbara County. For me this was quite surprising, I assumed that the Burgundy wines would be the favourite, simply because they’re very established in the wine world.

Not to sound like a clique but you should never judge a book by its cover. When it comes to wine you should always try it before you decide whether you like it or not. Don’t not try it because of the region it comes from, a lot of the time you’d be very surprised!

To keep an eye on our upcoming masterclasses please visit our website.

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Tequila & Mezcal Fest 2015

It was almost as if we were in Mexico this weekend when we joined 100’s of people at the 2015 Tequila and Mezcal Fest at Old Spitalfields Market in London. The festival is a unique celebration of Mexico’s most popular and ancestral agave spirits.

The weekend was jam packed full of seminars and masterclasses by industry experts, live entertainment, Mexican food and Mexican art… and obviously not forgetting the most important of all, plenty of Tequila and Mezcal. The atmosphere was fantastic, the venue spot on and the Tequila and Mezcal was constantly flowing.. what more could you want at a festival!

So here’s a sneaky peek of what Amathus got up to..

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A big thank you to everyone who came to see us and a special thank you goes to Julio from Mezcal Los Siete Misterio and Hector from AlipúsLos Danzantes who came over from Mexico to support us. Not forgetting our other great brands; Del Maguey Mezcal, Zignum Mezcal, Tequila Calle 23, and Tequila Casa Centinela and Cabrito.

A great weekend had by all.. see you again next year!

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Mezcal is up in the UK Spirit Market


One of the most noticeable new trends in the UK spirit market is the rise of mezcal and we’re certainly very proud to have the best and most exclusive selection of mezcal available in the UK.

Not everyone will be familiar with the spirit mezcal and a lot of the time it can be mistaken to be the same as tequila. There are however a few major factors that set these two Mexican spirits apart.

Just a general fact for you all; tequila and mezcal can only be called tequila and mezcal if they are made in specific regions of Mexico. Where they’re made and how they’re made are the key differences that set these two apart. Here’s how…

Tequila is produced only in three small regions, Jalisco, Nayarit and Guanajuato, the most common of the regions being Jalisco. Mezcal, on the other hand, can be produced in most Mexican states with the majority of production taking place in Oaxaca. Tequila can only be called tequila if it is made with Blue Agave whereas mezcal can be produced using over 30 varieties of different agaves. Because of this each mezcal varies hugely in flavour as opposed to tequila which tends to be of a similar taste. When it comes to cooking tequilas, the piñas are baked in steam ovens whereas traditionally with mezcal the piñas are roasted in an underground pit filled with wood and charcoal.

Basically, think of it like this: mezcal is to tequila as scotch single malt is to bourbon, in that it’s a lot smokier and has a much more earthier flavour. Simple.. yes!?


So when Jon Anders, Amathus Brand Champion, spoke to the Morning Advertiser, it was interesting to hear his view on the sudden rise of mezcal in the UK spirits market.

Here’s what he had to say:

‘Mezcal is the big one. It happened almost overnight, two or three years ago no one had heard of mezcal, now you can get it in bars all over the country’.

‘It taps into the same trend that gets people interested in whisky, as there’s so many different expressions out there. It’s a premium spirit, we sell small volumes but consistently, which is over the odds for a high price imported spirit’.

‘People will be willing to search out places that serve drinks that have that authenticity and quality. They are willing to learn, they read about something on the internet then they want to come to the bar and try some of the drink they hear about, to experiment’.

This just shows how much the spirit market can change over time. Something that people had never heard of 3 or 4 years ago is now fast becoming a must have in bars, restaurants and people’s alcohol cabinets.

If mezcal is your thing then stay tuned…we have a Mezcal Alipus & Los Danzantes masterclass coming soon to our Soho store. In the meantime have a browse of our great selection of mezcal, available in store and online. Happy shopping!

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