Newsletter – Tiki Rum Cocktails

Newsletter – Wednesday 3rd June 2020

Happy Wednesday Team!

And how are we doing this week? Still looking out for each other and hasn’t the weather been so beautiful? 

What with all this sun, I wanted to continue on from last week with the idea of sunshine drinks. Now, I don’t know about you, but one of the ultimate sunshine drinks for me is a Tiki Cocktail. Tiki Cocktails are amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to visit a specialist Tiki Bar in San Francisco called Voodoo Village and their cocktails are next level. So, without further delay, pour yourself a drink and get yourselves comfortable for a little bit of Tiki history, followed by recipes for some of the stars of the show and some suitable rums for the job.

The History dates back to Polynesia, in the South Pacific. The word Tiki, is the name of the first man created in Maori mythology. Carved wooden statues representing Gods inspire the ‘typical serve’ ceramic cups found in Tiki Bars, apparently stemming from one of the first, a bar called Donn the Beachcomber, in Hollywood, California, opened by a chap called Donn Beach in the 1930s. Inspired by his travels, he began recreating the flavours he experienced with rum and fruit like pineapple and guava.  

The next important development is the invention of the Mai Tai, renowned king of the Tiki cocktails. There is more than one story as to its invention (often the way with drinks), but a common story is that the Maitai was invented in the 1940 by a man called Victor Jules Bergeron, or ‘Trader Vic’ as he’s now known, and rival of Don Beach. Vic tested his recipe (pineapple juice, orange curacao liqueur, light rum and dark rum) on a couple of friends from Tahiti, to which one exclaimed “Mai tai-roa ae” or “Out of this world – The best”. This is supposedly where the drink gets its name. 

Tiki Bars found another surge in popularity during the 1950’s when air travel from the US to Hawaii became more common. Tiki Bars are still popular on the West Coast of the US, although I’d say we do need a few more of them here in the UK, although the Mai Tai has found its way onto the menu of many bars.

I’m thirsty now. Let’s whip up some cocktails, starting with the Mai Tai. For this I refer you to Difford’s Guide which has the original Trader Vic recipe, along with the story.

https://www.diffordsguide.com/cocktails/recipe/1219/mai-tai-trader-vics-cocktail

 Next up, one of my favourites, the Zombie. The Zombie actually a creation of Donn Beaches. The Zombie is pretty simple in concept. All the rums and all the fruits! Most people make them in different ways, but often you’ll see light, anejo and dark rums in the mix. They pack a powerful punch and are definitely a drink to drink responsibly. Here you have a handy link that gives you three different recipes of this cocktail.

https://www.thespruceeats.com/zombie-cocktail-recipe-761643

Final, another classic, the Hurricane. The Hurricane is top draw delicious and often served in a rather generous glass based on the design of the hurricane lamp. Created in New Orleans at Pat O’Briens Bar during WW2, when there was a lack of whisk. The drink is super fruit with orange, passionfruit and lime. Here is a great little recipe from Liqour.com

https://www.liquor.com/recipes/hurricane/

And as always, some recommendations of suitable rums from our shop to help you create some real Tiki masterpieces. Considering the recipes, I thought it best to suggest a light, a dark and something inbetween.

El Dorado 12-Year-Old: Awards the gold medal at the Caribbean Rum Taste Test (hld annually in London) no fewer than seven times in the first ten years that the competition was held. A good base for any cocktail. Buy it here

Old J Tiki Fire Spiced Rum: The clue is in the name, right? A blast of vanilla and lime. Perfect served on it’s own over ice with a couple of fresh lime wedges or served with your favourite mixer, this will knock your socks up. Exactly what you need to give you cocktail some extra oomph. Buy it here

 

Unconventional Distillery Original White: They use a 12 plate reflux still rather than a traditional pot to create a smooth, clean and flavourful spirit. Using white oak barrels, they get flavours of caramel vanilla, cream and almond. Just what you need for smoothing that cocktail into something delicious. Buy it here

Ta-da! I’m super excited for you guys! The world of Tiki cocktails is a bright and beautiful place. Enjoy!

Newsletter – Beverage Day + The French 75

Newsletter – Wednesday 6th May

Happy Wednesday Team!

You may have noted our little change from Fridays to Wednesdays. I hope that works well with everyone. Whilst it’s nice to get a mail on the Friday with some excitement to set up the weekend, I can’t help but think it’s nice to get a bit of a weekend heads up, especially if there’s recipes you want to try and ingredients you need to get. This week, we’ll be looking at beverage day and of course, offering you an associated cocktail recipe and spirits that would work well for them. Plus, we held our first ever virtual event over the weekend, so let’s catch up on that quickly. Who was there? I stuck my head in on the Saturday to watch one half of Northern Epidemic doing their thing and there was a lovely sense of familiarity to the DJ set after, paying some classics from the festival. It definitely got me in the mood for a Saturday, and those of us who were present for Dan Walsh’s talk on Mumbai gin and Rascal gin were subjected to his regular high standard of masterclass, comprising his infamous dulcet tones giving some great explanations of the gins, general gin knowledge and outrageous humor. I am hoping to catch up with Dan in the coming days to write something in a little more detail so keep your eyes on our site. And heads up! We’ve got another talk this Saturday with Kuro Gin, so head over to our Facebook page for a live video at 3pm Sunday 10th May. 

So, how are we all keeping? Good I hope? Looking out for each other? Good stuff! Now this week is a bit of a strange one, moving to a Wednesday means different holiday days to take inspiration from. Now, as luck would have it, today happens to be ‘Beverage Day’, as precise and vague as it gets! So firstly, let’s find out a little about that. According to the ‘Days of the Year’ website:

“Beverages have existed, in one form or another, almost since the beginning of mankind. Of course, people had to drink something, so before there was Coca-Cola there was water, simple as that. However, as the millenia went by, people began to create new and interesting types of beverages. Today, beverages are divided into at least 19 categories including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, caffeine based beverages, barley based beverages, maize beverages, rice drinks and so on. The first recorded beers were made in ancient Egypt, where it was so weak that even children drank it. However, it is suspected that beer could date back to the Neolithic period. The world’s first coffee as we know it today is thought to have been made by a Yemeni named Omar in the 16th century. Coca-Cola, on the other hand, was created relatively recently. In the late 19th century, few among us can imagine our lives without at least one of these three beverages in it, which just goes to show how very important beverages are in our culture, and have been, for hundreds of thousands of years.”

A nice little sum up there. Looking at the etymology of the word (the history of its make up), it seems that the word beverage actually means a ‘drink of any kind’. The word dates from the mid 13th century, from Anglo-French beverage, Old French bevrage from Old French boivre which means ‘to drink’. In fact, the Modern French term boire, actually comes from the Latin term bibre ‘to imbibe’.

So, it seems appropriate to celebrate Beverage Day by looking at classic French cocktail, and one of my favourites. Simple, but totally luxurious, it’s the French 75.

The French 75 is THE cocktail I pull out for special occasions. Said to date back to WW1, and an early form from 1915, created at the New York Bar in Paris by barman Harry MacElhone, the combination of gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar was said to have such a kick that it felt like being shelled by the French 75mm field gun. There is an earlier history to the drink before it became its namesake, in the 19th century the combination minus the gin was called a Champagne cup and was a popular drink.

And don’t worry guys, although the traditional recipe is champagne based, I say this works just fine with prosecco. So, how about we make some? Now, I normally share recipes for cocktails and twists that I find online. But hey, hows about this week I give you my own recipe?

The French 75

Now, I would use a cocktail shaker to make the ‘base’, but if you don’t have one you can stir it up. I use a good measure of gin, somewhere inbetween a single (25ml) and a double (50ml), say 40-45ml depending on how you like it, 15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice and a dash of sugar syrup, if you’ve got some. If not, 1 – 1.5 (depending on taste) teaspoons powdered (icing sugar) will do the trick. Shake (or stir) with ice, ensuring the sugar has dissolved, and you’ve got your base. Strain into a flute and top with champagne/prosecco as to your liking and en voila! One straight up, amazing fresh drink to make you feel like royalty. To make it even more special, you could always add a small twist of lemon to the top, garnish really does make the difference to the final effect so don’t be lazy now, you should have some lemon left so give it a go.

And the important question, what gins would you use with this? Well, this is a difficult one to answer, because you could go all sorts of ways with it. As a safe bet, any gin that is built around citrus is going to work with this, but you can experiment. Gins have an element of citrus to them, so it’s hard to go too wrong, perhaps remember that there is a sweet element to this cocktail so don’t go with anything too savoury or herbaceous or it could taste a little funky…although saying that grapefruit goes brilliantly with rosemary so some savoury gins would work. It’s really just a case of trying it out. To give you a starting point, I’ve pulled out three from our collection that should do a pretty good job:

Rascal Gin – Care of our own Daniel Walsh, Rascal Gin would give an excellent twist to this cocktail. Passionfruit and raspberry take classic citrus to another level. Premium strength no added sugar. A must try for any Pornstar fans. Plus, I believe there is a second Rascal out now with added notes of Blood Orange, which would give your French 75 some extra oomph. Buy it here

Malfy Con Limone Italian Gin – A staple lemon based offering, this gin would marry in super easily to your cocktail. Malfy Gin is an Italian gin made using a selection of six botanicals, as well as an infusion of lemons, including some from the Almalfi coast. Buy it here

Wenneker Elderflower Gin – Lemon and Elderflower, what a wonderful combination. And with the French 75s lush sweet citrus element, the addition of elderflower would lift that flavour and add an element of complexity with those floral notes. Wenneker is an elderflower based gin. To create the fragrant tipple, they combine distillates of six botanicals – juniper, lime-tree blossom, orange, lemon, coriander, and (obvious) elderflower. Buy it here

So there we are! Hope you enjoyed this Wednesday edition, a little bit of education in there, and a delightful cocktail too. Have a great weekend and hopefully see you at the Kuro gin talk, 3pm this Sunday (10th May) on our fb page.

Big love, stay safe!

Newsletter – Good Friday

Newsletter – Friday 10th April

Happy Friday Team! And Happy Good Friday to you too!

And here we are, edging through the weeks, patiently waiting to pick up from where we left off. I don’t know about you, but during these difficult times I’ve taken great pleasure in picking up some things that I just didn’t have the time for before. Baking, gardening and learning the keyboard have been thoroughly enjoyable things to spend time. How are you all doing? And what have you been having a go at whilst passing the time?

So, it’s Good Friday. And, although a lot of us are at home at the moment, it’s important to snatch this opportunity to make the day a little special. And I’ve got some top tips on how to. First things first, I’ve found it’s all about replicating that bit of normality as much as you can. If you normally spend the Easter weekend with your family, how about you organise a video call? If you normally sit round the table together, you might not be able to do that, but perhaps you could. Organise a video call for the pudding, and sit the phone at one end of the table so it feels the same? Do you normally take the opportunity for a bit of DIY or gardening? Well you can still do that. You may not be able to take a trip out to get some materials, but I’ll bet you’ve got some stuff around your place that you can put to good use. If you’ve got kids, now’s a great time to get out the arts and crafts. Plus, if you’re a rum fan then do keep your eye out for our social media on Monday, we’ve got a great little competition for you.

Now, for this week’s drinks. There are so many amazing Easter Cocktails out there! I’ve found a few crackers to share below and I’d also like to focus on the ‘Good Friday’ and some interesting twists we can put on this by using some flavoured gins instead of aperol.

So first up, Easter Cocktails! 

And for our showcase this week we’ve got some fabulous Easter cocktails for you!

For those chocholics out there, here’s a cracker of a recipe from Prima, bringing rum into the mix to create a cocktail from a true easter favourite.

https://www.prima.co.uk/all-recipes/quick-recipes/a38431/creme-egg-cocktail-recipe/

A bit of a wildcard, this. But, I just couldn’t resist the recipe from Lidl. It can use any classic gin, and a nice way to use any leftover sherry from Christmas, plus drinks so often use the egg white and it’s really interesting to see something using the yolk!

https://recipes.lidl.co.uk/Recipes/The-Golden-Goose

And although we’re due some great weather, here’s a little something just in case the rain comes. Care of Butternut Mountain Farm, here’s a really simple but lovely recipe for something a little more warming.

http://butternutmountainfarm.com/about-maple/recipes/noreaster-rum-cocktail

And secondly, the Good Friday. Now, I found this cocktail care of an Australian website that posted it way back in 2013. Firstly, check out the recipe here care of Pola Dot Bride’s make it yourself section:

https://www.polkadotbride.com/2013/03/cocktail-good-friday-aperol-orange-aperitif/

Now, cocktails are a creative thing, and as much as you want recipes to have a go out and make yourself, it’s also worth remembering that you can twist and remake the drinks in all sorts of different ways, inventiveness is the key to a good cocktail. So with that in mind. I wanted to give you a showcase of 3 different flavoured gins that would work really well:

Sacred Pink Grapefruit Gin: From the Sacred craft distillery in Highgate comes the Pink Grapefruit Gin, made using every but of the grapefruit, from the flesh to the peel even to the pips! It may sound obvious, but by golly does this have some phenomenal pink grapefruit flavours. Grab a bottle here

Sanction Pomegranate and Jasmin Gin: Sanction Pomegranate and Jasmin presents a fruity forward taste with a delicate floral aftertaste. Buy it here

KURO Peach Gin: A premium flavoured gin with a deliciously fruity Japanese inspired twist from KURO Gin. Plenty of peach flavours running through this one. Smooth and sweet, with plenty of soft peach notes and hints of floral juniper. Get a bottle

So there we have it! Hope this has given you a little something ex

tra for the long weekend. Whatever you are doing, we hope you have a wonderful time. Happy Easter!

Stay safe, big love

G&R

Newsletter – Veganuary Cocktails and Alcoholic Cakes

Newsletter – Friday 24th January

Happy Friday Team!

We are nearly at the end of January! Whether you’re doing Veganuary, started at a gym, or even just holding out until payday, you’re nearly there!

And hey, when it comes to the ‘new year, new me’ change of habit, if there has been a slip here and there, don’t punish yourself too much. By all means, absolute winner to do the entire month, but it’s also about your frame of mind. I spent the latter part of last year as a ‘flexitarian’, mostly veg but if something really took my fancy, I’d eat it. Taking that option definitely meant me eating less meat than normal and I felt better in myself for it. This year, the fella and me are going Vegetarian, but if there’s a slip, that’s ok. If I eat meat, I’m not going back to just eating meat all the time, I’m carrying on bring more and more veg in and I know in the near future that’ll be it. We love to think we can make an immediate change because we want that change immediately. But give yourself a little patience if it takes a bit of time to incorporate it. Be kind to yourself while you adjust.

And that leads me on to the focus of this newsletter. Veganuary. I hope you guys appreciate the support in Dry January for the first couple of weeks, but I’m feeling it’s right to turn my eye onto those doing Veganuary and give them a little love too.

Now the good news is that most spirits are vegan. There are some obvious examples of spirits containing animal products, for example, Ant Gin. But on the whole, you’ll find that most gins and rums are vegan. So that got my thinking, cocktail recipes are kind of out. However, there are components of cocktails to be wary of. Things like egg white for example, that has been commonly used in Sours amongst others for well over a century. Its main purpose is to give the cocktail a thicker, creamier consistency and a foamy top without altering the flavour of the drink itself. Vegan alternatives to this can be a little tricky, so it’s worth trying and testing to see what ones work for you. A common alternative is chickpea water, otherwise known as Aquafaba, which is often drained from a can and then thrown away. This makes a great alternative, but does alter the flavour, so think about what you’re putting it with. Another great thing you can do with chickpea water is whisk it up with sugar and add some melted chocolate, to create an amazing vegan chocolate mousse. Why not slip a little rum or whisky in there to make it pop? I’d suggest adding it to the melted chocolate before folding it in, so you don’t lose the fluffiness.

And this leads me nicely onto a couple of vegan recipes. A little while ago, I shared recipes for Gin and Tonic Cake and Chocolate Rum Cake. So, I thought I’d hunt out a coupe of vegan alternatives. Yes, you can have your cake and eat it!

Firstly, the Gin and Tonic cake. This cake has become a staple of the gin world. Online you can find hundreds of variations. This one from BBC food took my fancy. It looks absolutely gorgeous! Let me know how it turns out:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/user/5577196/recipe/vegan-gin-and-tonic-cake

Secondly, for those chocoholics out there, you just can’t beat rum and chocolate. What a tremendous duo! I’ve found this great little recipe from Onegreenplanet.org. And my, it’s not just chocolate, this is a Chocolate Coconut Rum cake. Ooderlally!

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/chocolate-coconut-rum-cake/

So, I hope this has been a nice little issue for you. Do let me know how you get on and if you’ve got any vegan friendly boozy recipes to share, drop them my way! Bernadette@ginandrumfestival.com

Have a great week you lovely lot. And remember, you’re nearly there! Next week we celebrate the last day of January.

Big Love, all of us at G&R.

Soul Rum – Soul Salty & Soul Passion!

Soul rum liqueurs are the result of rather clever idea from a group of friends who love their rum. They spotted that the rum industry is growing into something much like the gin industry, with discerning drinkers looking to try different rums, understanding the complexity of flavour, along with a historical story or two.

They also spotted the growing trend in gin liqueurs in recent years. The boom in gin liqueurs has created a huge industry, with an equally large variety of different flavoured liqueurs appealing to a vast number of consumers, some of which don’t normally drink gin, but have found the liqueurs to be a nice stepping stone before getting into the harder stuff and sometimes just enough on its own.

Well then, isn’t about time for rum liqueurs? Something a little gentler on the palate, a little bit sweeter and something that can be sipped over ice? Something pleasant and tasty for those that find the heavy hit of straight rum a little too much. Well, look no further than Soul. Aimed at those that like their drink a little softer, with an image of a lioness on the label for strength and a name as deep as it gets, it’s a well thought out and well-made little drink. The guys that thought it up don’t own a distillery so they worked with a third party distillery to create the liqueur and were heavily involved in constructing the flavour profile and tastings to hone the spirit. A little birdy tells me that there may be some other varieties on the way too.

 

Soul Passion is a wonderful, rum punch kind of drink with mango, pineapple and passionfruit. It’s beautifully sweet and fruity on its own. It perks up fresh juice, predominantly pineapple or mango but it would work in orange to keep it simple. You could also splash some into some lemonade or soda water, and it would be fab in prosecco. It also lends itself ever so well to tiki cocktail recipes, already nursing those vibrant key flavours. With summer coming, it would be great to freeze some in sorbets or dribble over ice cream to make your own boozy Solero style desert. It’s a delicious and incredibly versatile libation.

How To Make A Soul Passion Cocktail:

50ml soul passion rum
25ml Fresh lime juice
75-100ml Pineapple juice
Drizzle of Raspberry syrup

Soul Salty is something entirely different. Flavoured with Salted Caramel, it is absolutely divine on the rocks! Rich sweetness twists with the tingle of salt and velvet caramel flavours all melding together in a beautiful fashion. How to drink it? If you’re a fan of White Russians, try replacing the Kaluha for this and you are in for a tasty treat indeed. As far as I’m concerned you can’t beat it on it’s own, or slipping it into a hot chocolate. Keep it simple and add a 25ml measure to your favourite chocolate, or if you really want to go to town then build the hot chocolate into a freakshake with all the trimmings.

How To Make A Salted Caramel Espresso Rumtini:

50ml Soul Salted Caramel Rum
25ml Coffee liqueur
Double Shot Espresso
Monin Caramel syrup to taste

I’ve got a friend who doesn’t drink very much. She finds the taste of straight spirits far too much and she’s got quite the sweet tooth. I suggested she try a little bit of the Soul Salty when she came to visit recently, and she loved it! I had to tear the bottle away from her in order to finish this write up. Soul is definitely a great starting point for people wanting to get into rum, whilst not having a palate for so much of the heavier stuff. They’re beautiful drinks and I predict they’ll be opening the door to the rum world for many a drinker indeed.

 

Bernie @ The G&R Team

Did you know that April is Jazz appreciation month?

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Gin and Jazz have a relationship stretching back a whole century. Well, gin is more well know. However, any spirit has it’s place in the time of prohibition. There are some that say jazz was indirectly fuelled by prohibition. When I first read the Great Gatsby, set in that amazing era, I was enamoured by the glitz and glamour of prohibition parties. 

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“The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.”

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Some things are timeless. Prohibition has such a profound effect on our creation of cocktails. To celebrate I thought I share a few you could try at home. Just make sure you crank that jazz up before you get started.

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The Mint Julip

The Mint Julip is a landmark cocktail. Born in the US in the 18th century, the cocktail itself is mentioned in Gatsby and is both simple and beautiful. Originally bourbon based, it adapts fantastically to gin or rum. Ideally, it’s made in a pewter cup, although a highball glass is suitable. All it takes is a teaspoon of sugar mixed with a splash of water. Add a handful of mint and give it a gentle squish and add your spirit. Simple and full of flavour.

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The South Side

Although the history of this cocktail isn’t very clear, there is speculation that the drink may have been a favourite of Al Capone’s. The gin that his gang importer had a rougher finish to the smoother gin of his rivals, so it needed a little sweetening and the story goes, that’s how the South Side was born. This cocktail works with gin, vodka or white rum.  Mix your spirit with lemon juice, 2 tsp or sugar and 4 mint leaves. Give it all a good shake and strain. You can garnish with mint, or lemon, or maybe add a twist to it with a little rosemary.

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The Bees Knees

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The Bees knees a beautiful cocktail and slightly more honey yellow colour than what I’ve shown here. The sweetness of the honey and the sharp citrus would have done a good job at masking any bad quality prohibition spirit, although I’m not certain that was the purpose. Easy to make. Pop a big dollop of honey and a splash of room temperature in a cocktail shaker, add gin lemon juice, ice and shake. That’s all it takes! Perfectly served in a French martini glass, it’s a fab little cocktail.

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So, there we have it. 3 to get you started. I’d love to see some photos of your efforts. Feel free to get in touch with a photo or two and tell me about how it went. Bonus points for a group photo!

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