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Tag Archives: Tristan Stephenson
  • Posted on August 14, 2017

    Mai Tai cocktail recipe

    To celebrate the start of National Rum Week, who better to turn to than Tristan Stephenson and his book Rum Revolution for a classic rum cocktail recipe...

    MaiTai

    Mai Tai

    Ingredients:

    55 ml/2 fl . oz. Wray & Nephew 17-year-old substitute blend or use Extra-aged pot-still rum

    25 ml/1 fl . oz. lime juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons Pierre Ferrand

    dry orange curacao

    10 ml/2 teaspoons rock candy syrup

    10 ml/2 teaspoons Orgeat

     

    Wray & Nephew 17-year-old substitute blends (mix in equal parts):

    • For a fruity and spicy Mai Tai: Banks 5-Year-Old and Plantation Original Dark
    • For a full-bodied, vegetal Mai Tai: El Dorado 15-Year-Old and Saint James Rhum Vieux
    • For an aromatic and waxy Mai Tai: Depaz Hors d’age 2002 Vintage and Doorly’s 12-Year-Old

     

    You can swizzle this drink straight in the glass if you prefer, but the proper way is to shake it. Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker along with 200 g (7 oz.) of crushed ice. If your ice is a little wet, it’s worth putting it through a salad spinner to dry it out first as this will limit the dilution of the finished drink. Shake well, then pour the entire contents of the shaker into a large rocks glass. Use the spent lime shell to garnish the top, and add a sprig of mint to decorate.

     

    For more rum recipes, check out The Curious Bartender's Rum Revolution by Tristan Stephenson.

    Rum Revolution

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    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, News, News, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with drinks, Tristan Stephenson, cocktail, rum, recipe, The Curious Bartender

  • Posted on June 13, 2016

    Win a bottle of Hepple Gin and The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace

    SIMPLY TELL US YOUR FAVOURITE GIN DRINK AND ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS BELOW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A GIN LOVER'S BUNDLE FROM HEPPLE GIN AND RYLAND PETERS & SMALL

    Hepple Gin  The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace

     

    TRISTAN STEPHENSON SHARES HIS TASTING NOTES FOR HEPPLE GIN BELOW AND YOU CAN FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BOOK HERE:

    Ripe, oily, juniper; pine and moss, fading to spice: cardamom and curry. Green citrus too. There's just a touch of blackcurrant there, but the juniper is the star of the show. No change on the palate: grippy, slightly tannic juniper hits in waves, leaping to the forefront off the flavour profile. It's supported by freshness from the lemon, but the green juniper notes power through, too. The finish is dry spice and an oily, resinous, but clean feel. Benchmark stuff. Good for anything you can throw at it, but accomplishing the most in a G&T.


    This post was posted in Competitions, News, UK and was tagged with drinks, Tristan Stephenson, gin, 2016

  • Posted on June 9, 2016

    World Gin Day

    Here at RPS and CICO Books towers we are very appreciative of gin so naturally we are very excited about Tristan Stephenson’s new book,  The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace. An ice cold G&T with a zingy garnish is pretty hard to beat in our books but sometimes the occasion calls for something a little fancier and if World Gin Day on Saturday 11 June isn’t such an occasion, we don’t know what is...We’ll be celebrating with a Clover Club and we think you should too! Check out the video of Tristan making the drink at his bar, the Worship Street Whistling Shop, and then shake up your new favourite cocktail using the recipe below. Cheers!

    Clover Club

    FOR THE RASPBERRY SYRUP

    250 g/ 2 cups fresh raspberries

    2 g/ 1/16 oz. salt

    250 g/ 1¼ cups caster/superfine sugar

    250 ml/1 cup water

    Toss the raspberries in the salt and sugar then place in a 1-litre (35-fl. oz.) mason jar (you can also use a zip-lock bag) and pop it in the fridge overnight. In the morning add the water to the jar. Using a temperature probe, bring a saucepan of water up to 50°C (122°F) and turn the temperature right down so that it holds there. Pop the mason jar in the water and leave it for 2 hours, giving it the occasional wiggle. When the 2 hours are up, carefully remove the jar then strain the contents through a sieve/strainer. You may need to strain a second time using muslin/cheesecloth. To prolong the lifespan of your syrup it’s often useful to add a splash of gin or vodka. Store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

    CLOVER CLUB

    40 ml/1 ½ fl. oz. gin (Darnley’s view or any gin with a spicy kick)

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz lemon juice

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz raspberry syrup

    15 ml/ ½ fl. oz martini extra dry vermouth

    15 g/ ½ oz. egg white

    Shake all the ingredients with ice then strain into a separate mixing glass or shaker and shake again with no ice. This ‘dry shake’ has the effect of whipping air into the cocktail. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and drink it quickly. You can leave the egg white out if you prefer, but it adds a lovely sherbet effect to the palate.­­

    The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace by Tristan Stephenson is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, event, recipe for the weekend, Tristan Stephenson, video, quick, gin, world gin day, 2016, The Curious Bartender

  • Posted on December 30, 2015

    Happy New Year!!

    Happy New Year!! We hope 2015 has been a good year for you all and that 2016 brings successes, health, and happiness. For our part, we’ve published some beautiful books this year, and have loved sharing them with you, and hope to do much more of the same in the coming 12 months. For now though, we’re looking forward to celebrating New Year’s Eve with our friends and families, and hopefully one or two of these champagne cocktails!

    Kir Royal

    The most classic of cocktails, fabulous as an aperitif.

    2 tablespoons crème de cassis

    1 bottle sparkling wine or Champagne

    MAKES 6

    Divide the cassis among 6 glasses then top up with champagne. It’s one of the most simple yet delicious cocktails.

    Rossini

    A great variation on the Bellini, the Rossini can be spiced up with a little Chambord and a dash of orange bitters – two of a bartender’s favourite ingredients.

    15 ml/½ oz. raspberry purée

    1 barspoon Chambord (optional)

    2 dashes of orange bitters

    Champagne, to top up

    Add the purée, Chambord (if using) and bitters to a champagne flute and top gently with champagne. Stir gently and serve.

    Or for something really special, try The Curious Bartender’s

    Champagne Gin Fizz

    For the Lemon & Lime Gomme

    50g/2 oz. lemon zest

    40g/1⅓ oz. lime zest

    270ml/9 oz. water

    600g/1 lb. 5 oz. sugar

    30ml/1 oz. vodka

    3g citric acid

    2g malic acid

    Sous vide the lemon and lime zest with the water at 60ºC/140ºF for 2 hours. Filter the liquid through muslin cheesecloth, then transfer it to a saucepan. Add the sugar, and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then add the vodka and acids. Bottle and refrigerate until required.

    For the Champagne Gin Fizz

    400ml/13½ oz. water

    10g/1⁄3 oz. Lalvin EC-1118 Champagne yeast brand

    170ml/5¾ oz. Tanqueray London dry gin

    90ml/3 oz. ‘lemon & Lime gomme’

    Orange flower water, to serve

    MAKES 6

    Heat 100 ml/3⅓ oz. of the water to 35ºC/95ºF. Add the yeast, stir fast, then set aside for 5 minutes. Mix the gin, Lemon & Lime Gomme and remaining water in a large mixing bowl. Pour the yeast into the bowl and whisk vigourously to fully aerate the drink. Once fully mixed, transfer the mixture to a sterilized champagne bottle and apply the cork and cage. Store at around 30ºC/86ºF for 9 days, then put in the fridge, standing up, for a further 2 days.

    To serve, spritz chilled Champagne flutes with orange flower water and fill to the brim!

    These recipes are taken from (in order):

    Winter Cabin Cooking by Lizzie Kamenetzky, available here.

    The Pocket Book of Cocktails, available to pre-order here.

    The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson, available here.

    Make sure you don't miss any of our news and delicious recipes in 2016 by signing up to The Pantry! Happy New Year!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, drinks, Tristan Stephenson, cocktail, 2015, champagne, The Curious Bartender

  • Posted on April 30, 2015

    Win The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee!

    We're super excited that it's The London Coffee Festival and wanted to celebrate by offering you a chance to win the brilliant new coffee book by Tristan Stephenson. Full of fascinating information - from growing and roasting to brewing and serving the perfect cup - as well as some coffee drink recipes; this is the perfect guide for both baristas and coffee lovers at home! If you love to make and drink good coffee, you will love this book.

    The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee by Tristan Stephenson

    To read a bit about what Tristan has to say on grinding coffee and his advice about fineness, check out this blog post. For more information about the book, click here, and to enter, simply tell us your favourite coffee drink below!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    This post was posted in Competitions, UK, What's new and was tagged with coffee, Tristan Stephenson, 2015

  • Posted on April 30, 2015

    Grinding Coffee with the Curious Barista

    As the London Coffee Festival is kicking off today, we’re getting to grips with grinding over our morning brew with a little help from our go-to coffee expert, Tristan Stephenson. Taken from his new book, The Curious Barista’s Guide to Coffee, Tristan tells us about the basics of grinding coffee beans with some great advice on fineness of the grind. With a delicious mug of French pressed, pre-ground (sorry Tristan!) coffee in hand, we’re going to pass over to the expert…

    Coffee Grinder

    In the most basic sense, grinders take coffee beans and break them up into smaller pieces. Coffee cannot be brewed as whole beans, and the increase in surface area provided by smaller particles allows better access to the inner sanctum of the bean’s porous structure. The smaller you go, the more the bean’s surface is exposed, which means flavour is extracted faster. Put simply, if you grind finer, the brewing time is decreased; if you grind coarser, brewing time increases.

    The grinding of coffee also marks a significant point of no return in the brewing process as, once ground, the coffee is more exposed and vulnerable to the effects of oxidation, and so it remains potent only for a brief spell. If you want to make better coffee at home, probably the best piece of advice that I can give you is to grind it fresh; it is no exaggeration to suggest that doing so will produce a dramatically improved drink when compared with a cup made from pre-ground beans.

    Taking this a step further, I would advise you buy the best grinder that you can afford. A good grinder will last years, require less in the way of tweaking and adjustment, and consistently produce better-tasting drinks. You see, chopping up coffee beans might seem like only a minor part of making a tasty beverage, a basic but necessary step before the real skill of brewing comes into play, but shoddy work at this early stage of coffee’s precarious journey has big consequences later down the line.

    Grinding Coffee

    Fineness

    The finer the grind, the higher the surface area of the coffee. Greater surface area means a quicker extraction, because the water has better access to the flavourful compounds that the coffee holds.

    For percolated coffee, where water lets gravity do the work and flows through a bed of coffee, the surface area needs to be relatively high. The first reason for this is that during percolation brewing the water has a limited contact period with the coffee. It washes through, extracting flavour as it goes. The second reason is that finer ground coffee acts as a barrier of hydraulic resistance during percolation, preventing the water from washing through and underextracting. In other words, a finer grind both speeds up and draws out extraction. A coarse grind means the water flows quickly through the bed of coffee, as well as having a slower rate of extraction. Getting the right balance means fine-tuning the grinder to reach a desirable contact period between water and coffee, and a grind particle size that corresponds to that contact period.

    When immersion brewing, with a French press, for example, the fineness of the grind affects only the rate of extraction, since the water and coffee contact period is determined by the person pushing the plunger. There is, perhaps, an exception where an excessively fine grind is used in a French press, leading to filter clogging, and rendering it impossible to depress fully.

    Tristan Stephenson's Coffee Grind Size Table

    One of the biggest issues that the speciality coffee industry faces is the language and communication of grind fineness. It is perhaps the most important variable in brewing a cup of coffee and yet, even now, it is impossible for me to tell you how fine or coarse to grind your coffee. It’s not even possible to draw comparisons between identical models of grinder, since even minuscule deviations in the manufacture and assembly of the grinder will give rise to a subtle reworking of the grind size. In a properly equipped lab, it is of course possible to measure particle size (in microns) and to grade different samples accordingly, but for most of us this is not a day-to-day option.

    In this book, I refer to different degrees of fineness in words that describe how they might be used, i.e filter grind, Turkish grind. They are ambiguous phrases, highly inexact and only a few steps away from being utterly useless – this admission alone should illustrate the severity of the situation! The table above, however, may go some way towards helping you understand your grinder, so that you can get the best results possible in the cup. Please do not take it as gospel, however; part of the fun of making great coffee is tinkering with the grinder and analysing the shift in flavour. Note that the table is not linear, i.e. a coarse filter (6) is not necessarily the halfway point between filter (5) and coarse (7).

    The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee

    For more coffee advice from Tristan, check out this article on The Telegraph and learn how to cold-brew coffee at home. For more information about his new book or to buy a copy, please click here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, coffee, Tristan Stephenson, 2015

  • Posted on March 17, 2015

    St Patrick's Day Irish Coffee

    Happy St Patrick’s Day everyone! We couldn’t let today go by without sharing a special Irish Coffee recipe from our coffee, whisky and cocktail expert, Tristan Stephenson (though he has some thoughts on the subject that might surprise you). If you love the traditional combination of cold cream floating on top of a very sweet whisky and coffee mix, then we hope you have a lovely evening celebrating and enjoy your drink! If, however, you’ve always wondered why those three delicious ingredients don’t quite hit the spot as you would expect, then Tristan has some ideas to update the classic and create something truly wonderful for you to make, taste, and experience. Don’t worry though, the basic elements of this drink are unchanged so you can still raise a glass of the Stephenson Irish Coffee to St Patrick... Have a good one!

    Tristan Stephenson's thoughts on Irish Coffee... 

    This is the second book in which I have featured an Irish coffee, and if you’ve read my comments on the drink in The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Whiskies, you will no doubt find this an ironic turn of events.

    My passion for cocktails, whiskey and coffee ought to elevate my personal appreciation of the Irish coffee above all other worldly things. In fact, the opposite is true. I possess such a senseless hostility towards this iconic drink that an Irish bartender presuming to serve me one would be reduced to tears by cold stare alone – did I mention that I am of Irish descent? And so the paradox deepens…

    Recently my distaste has developed into a morbid curiosity. It has become a personal mission to make this drink taste good, while at the same time convincing others that the classic version is bad.

    You see, on paper Irish Coffee should work. We have the combined powers of fat, sugar, alcohol and caffeine – some of life’s greatest pleasures – all working towards a common goal of deliciousness. But in mixing sweetened coffee and whiskey together we discover not a grand unification but an abomination of epic proportions. Nuances are lost, subtleties abandoned and we are left with only wood-flavoured coffee and hot alcohol fumes. The purpose of the cream is to temper the heat of the coffee and the burn of the alcohol – a kind of chilled safety blanket – but the damage has been done and no amount of cream can save us. The problem lies less in the ingredients and more in the execution: balance and ratio have been sacrificed for simplicity and ease of service.

    My new recipe is effectively a reverse of the classic where warm whiskey-flavoured cream is floated on top of chilled sweetened black coffee. The effect of warm cream on the lips is far more pleasant than dipping your lip into cold cream on top of a classic Irish Coffee only to have it burnt a moment later by the hot coffee underneath. I have also mixed the whiskey with the cream, rather than the coffee, since together these two have proven a powerful affinity (see exhibit A: Bailey’s).

    For the coffee I recommend using something a little darker roasted, as it’s chocolate, caramel and vanilla characteristics we’re looking for here. Brew as iced coffee, or cold drip, then sweeten it slightly in the service of after-dinner appeal.

    Stephenson Irish Coffee Recipe

    INGREDIENTS

    SERVES 1

    For the Coffee

    150 g (150 ml/5 fl. oz) cold drip/chilled black coffee

    5 g/1 teaspoon granulated sugar (or to taste)

    For the Cream

    300 ml/10 fl. oz whipping cream

    100 g (100 ml/3 1/2 fl. oz) Teeling Single Grain Irish Whiskey

    0.8 g/ 1/32 oz xanthan gum

    20 g/ 3/4 oz granulated sugar

    1. Brew the coffee using your chosen method and sweeten to taste.

    2. Use a balloon whisk or a free-standing mixer to whisk the cream, whiskey, xanthan gum and sugar until fully combined and smooth.

    3. Carefully lay the cream mixture on top of the coffee using a wooden spoon or a ladle. Alternatively, if you happen to own a 500 ml/1 pint cream whipper and a nitrogen oxide (N2O) cartridge, add the cream to the whipper and charge it with one 8 g/3⁄4 oz N2O cartridge. Hold the whipper in a warm-water bath or pan at 60°C/140°F, and shake briefly before dispensing onto the surface of the drink.

    Note: Both elements of this drink can be stored for up to a week in the fridge, then built together to order.

     

    Find out more about The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee by Tristan Stephenson or buy the book here!


    This post was posted in Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with drinks, coffee, Tristan Stephenson, St Patrick's Day, whisky, 2015

  • Posted on January 22, 2015

    All about Scotch

    This Sunday is Burns Night, celebrating the life and poetry of Robert Burns. But it also tends to celebrate all things Scottish, including another famous Scottish export: uisge beatha…the water of life…whisky! The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson has taught us that there is so much more to this golden liquid than a dram of Famous Grouse. So in celebration of the Scottish poet, this extract helpfully explains the difference between the different categories of Scotch. And check back to the blog tomorrow, when we’ll have a recipe so that everyone can have a bit of a Burns’ supper this weekend! But for now, over to Tristan…

    SCOTCH

    The term Scotch Whisky by itself is a bit useless, since any given product must reside in one of the sub-categories listed below. But broadly speaking, Scotch whisky must abide by the following rules (according to the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009: it must be made in Scotland from water, cereal and yeast only, whereby sugars are obtained through malt enzymes (diastase). Mashing, fermentation and distillation must take place in the distillery and it must be distilled to less than 94.8% ABV. It must then be aged in oak casks no bigger than 700 litres/739 quarts, for a minimum of three years. Before the three years are up, it is known simply as ‘British New-Make Spirit’. Plain caramel colouring may be added.

    SCOTCH SINGLE MALT WHISKY

    Single Malt Whisky must be made from 100% malted barley, but the barley can be grown and malted anywhere in the world. It must be distilled a minimum of two times in a copper pot still; you can distill three times (like Auchentoshan), or even more, but it’s not all that common. As with all Scotch Whisky, the maximum permitted distillate strength is 94.8% ABV, but most Single Malt Whiskies run off at 65–75% ABV.

    Ageing must take place in Scotland, but not necessarily on the site of the distillery. Obviously most bottlings are much older than the required three years, but it is possible to get young whiskies that exhibit a lot more distillery character than the 12-year+ drams most of us are familiar with. During the period in which the whisky is kept in barrels, it’s stored in a government-bonded warehouse.

    As with all types of Scotch, the age statement on the bottle must refer to the youngest whisky in the bottle. Vintage Single Malt Whisky poses another challenge, as it can be a little confusing when deciphering its age. These whiskies are permitted to list only one year on the label, and it can be either the ‘distilled on’, or ‘bottled on’ date, accompanied by an age statement. As of 2009, all Single Malt Whisky must be bottled in Scotland.

    SCOTCH BLENDED MALT WHISKY

    As the name eloquently suggests, this type of whisky is a blend of two or more single Malt Whiskies. In the past, Blended Malt has gone by the title ‘Vatted Malt’ and ‘Pure Malt’, but 2009 legislation put a stop to that. This type of whisky is usually big, bold and not all that often seen, since most people would rather drink a Blended Scotch or a Single Malt rather than something inbetween.

    As is the norm, the age statement on a Blended Malt refers to the youngest whisky. Johnnie Walker Green Label is a great example of a smoky Blended Malt (partly down to the inclusion of both Talisker and Caol Isla in the blend), and I also love Compass Box’s Spice Tree, which controversially spent a brief spell out of production over a dispute with the Scotch Whisky Association.

     SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY

    Like Single Malt, Single Grain must be the product of one single distillery, but it can be made from any combination of malted barley and other unmalted cereals (but not other malted cereals). It is typically produced in a column still, which produces a much lighter spirit than a pot still. Single Grain Whisky is seldom bottled for consumption on its own, and almost all of the Single Grain Whisky in Scotland is used in blends.

    If you are in the market for a bottle, check out Cameron Brig, which makes up the backbone of many famous blends.

     BLENDED SCOTCH WHISKY

    Despite the growing demand for Single Malt in the past 20 years, blended Scotch makes up over 90% of the global Scotch Whisky sales today. It must be made from at least one Single Malt and one Single Grain Whisky. As far as I am aware, there are no blends that contain more than one Single Grain Whisky, but many contain over 30 Single Malts.

    The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskies by Tristan Stephenson is available here.

    If whisky straight up makes you a little nervous, you can get your Burns Supper off to a great start with this whisky cocktail recipe. Enjoy!


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Interviews, Interviews, UK, US and was tagged with drinks, Tristan Stephenson, 2014, Burns Night, Scotland, whisky

  • Posted on December 3, 2014

    Drinks Week: Whiskies

    Did we mention that we’re celebrating Drinks Week? We think it might have come up once or twice… Today we’ve been getting to know a bit more about whisky, thanks to The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskiesby Tristan Stephenson and we thought we’d share a recipe.

    Some of us in the office (a.k.a. Not Me) are going skiing over New Year and getting super excited about it, whilst others (a.k.a Me) are getting jealous. This Malt Blanc cocktail has a lovely wintery, skiing holiday, chalet-living sort of a feel to it so everyone can enjoy some snow, and if you have to hunt a bit for the ingredients…well, we just know it’ll taste really special.

    Malt Blanc

    20 ml/¾ fl. oz. Brewed Milk Oolong Tea

    35 ml/1¼  fl. oz. Dalwhinnie 16-Year-Old

    120 ml/4¼ fl. oz. Unsweetened Soy Milk

    15 g/1 Tablespoon Wildflower honey (according to taste)

    Brew the tea at 90°C (195°F) at a ratio of one part tea to 20 parts water and allow to infuse for 5 minutes.

    Strain the leaves out and leave to cool. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake with ice.

    Remove the ice, then ‘dry shake’ the liquid to introduce plenty of air. Pour the drink into a tall glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick dusted with icing/confectioners’ sugar.

    Glass: Sundae Garnish: cinnamon stick dusted with icing/confectioners’ sugar

     

    This is a drink I invented for L’Aubergaude hotel in Morzine, France. The aim was to create a whisky cocktail that was highly approachable, but that also drew influence from the French Alps. The obvious route was to make a white-coloured drink, which typically means milk, cream or yoghurt, but I wanted to avoid the heaviness of those ingredients so instead opted to use soy milk. Soy milk, and rice milk for that matter, do have a certain affinity with malt whisky, a kind of nutty sweetness that tastes very wholesome and ‘of the earth’.

    That nutty characteristic led me to the next ingredient: tea. Chilled green tea is a very popular whisky mixer in China, where the almost citrus-like grassiness of the tea lengthens the spirit, but remains sympathetic to its character. Green tea didn’t deliver quite the flavour I wanted, though, so I turned to oolong, and more specifically, milk oolong. This particular type of is prized for its milky texture; it’s oily, naturally sweet and not at all bitter when prepared correctly.

    The drink required some sweetening, which would improve the texture, and also balance out the dryness of the other ingredients and suppress some of the volatile alcohol characteristics. I quickly found that too much alcohol heat in a milky drink was especially unpleasant – milk shouldn’t burn; it simply isn’t natural. I settled on wildflower honey, which contributed fruitiness along with its delicate sweet flavour, once again making a good partner to malt whisky.

    Speaking of the whisky, I chose Dalwhinnie 16-year-old. There were two good reasons for this, the first being Dalwhinnie’s dessert-like qualities of caramel, chocolate and silky vanilla custard. The second, less important but very apt, reason is that Dalwhinnie is Scotland’s highest distillery – the perfect choice for a drink named after the highest mountain in Western Europe.

    The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt, Bourbon & Rye Whiskiesby Tristan Stephenson is available here.

    If you've missed Drinks Week so far, we've got a fab recipe for mussels here, and a great extract discussing taste from Natural Wine by Isabelle Legeron MW here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Featured, Recipes, Recipes, UK, US, What's new, What's new and was tagged with christmas, Tristan Stephenson, 2014, Drinks Week 2014, whisky, Curious Bartender

  • Posted on June 13, 2014

    Recipe for the weekend

    Not only is it Fathers’ Day on Sunday, tomorrow is also World Gin Day. Naturally you’ve had both of these momentous events marked on your calendar for months, but just in case you’re in need of a last minute double-whammy, we’ve got the perfect recipe to help you celebrate in style. Tristan Stephenson’s The Curious Bartender is the perfect present for Dad whether he is a budding mixologist or just enjoys a tipple and we just know that you’ll totally be the favourite if you present it along with one of these fab cocktails!

    Negroni

    Ask any cocktail bartender what their favourite drink is and they’ll probably beat about the bush suggesting different drinks for different times of the day, or simply say ‘a beer’. Ask them what their second favourite drink is and they’ll quite possibly tell you that it’s a Negroni.
    Here is a drink that ingeniously combines herbal aromatics, a bitter-sweet balance as addictive as crack and a decent backbone of booze to make the whole thing worthwhile. The gin provides the bulk of the alcohol content, along with a dry, earthy quality. The vermouth gives a little bit of dilution, some sweetness and a decent herbal flourish. Finally, Campari gives a huge spiced bitter orange sting and a decent glug of sugar to boot.
    The commonly accepted story of the Negroni’s creation takes us back to 1920s’ Florence, and a man named Count Camillo Negroni. He orders an Americano (Campari, Italian vermouth and soda), but with gin in place of soda. The truth is a little more muddy and a matter of some contention. In fact, the debate has raged on enough to have now involved members of the Negroni family and Italian historians. My best understanding comes from the book Sulle Tracce del Conte (‘On the
    Trail of the Count’, 2002) by Luca Picchi, which, backed up by a considerable amount of historical documentation, intimates that the drink is named after [deep breath] Cammillo Luigi Manfredo Maria Negroni, who originally asked Fosco Scarselli, bartender at Cafe Casoni, to fortify his Americano with gin. This happened at some time in either 1919 and 1920. One of the ways in which the story is qualified is by a letter sent from Frances Harper of London to [the evidently unwell] Negroni on 13th October 1920: ‘You say you can drink, smoke and I am sure laugh, just as much as ever. I feel you are not much to be pitied! You must not take more than 20 Negronis in one day!’ Clearly the Count was fond of his own drink!
    Even though the history is not all that clear, making a Negroni is very easy indeed. You might prefer to go slightly heavier on the gin, or drop the Campari down a touch, but the recipe above is widely accepted as the proper way. The garnish can have a big impact on this drink – an orange twist is common, but I also like a grapefruit twist and have been known to put a slice of cucumber in there too. In the US, the Negroni is more often served straight up (in a martini glass), but in Europe we still serve it on the rocks.

    25 ml Tanqueray no. ten gin
    25 ml Campari
    25 ml Martini rosso vermouth
    a slice of lemon (or grapefruit), to garnish

    Stir all the ingredients over cubed ice for 60 seconds, then strain into a chilled rocks glass with cubed ice (or use a large hand-cracked piece of ice). Garnish with a slice of lemon.

    The Curious Bartender by Tristan Stephenson is available here.

    We hope all you Dads out there have a wonderful weekend. Cheers!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with 2013, Dad, recipe for the weekend, Tristan Stephenson, gin, world gin day

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