The Redemption Brewing Company

RedemptionI don’t get to North London much and don’t know much about the area. However even I, despite my lack of footballing knowledge, know White Hart Lane, one of the closest (as it is conveniently located an equally not-short walk away from three) stations to the site of the Redemption Brewery in Tottenham. Coming up to a year old (with their first brew being run on January 10th 2010 according to the last entry of their short lived brewery building blog) they are one of the only (maybe the only) brewer in North London and are now distributing beer to a number of pubs across town. However, when I say ‘they’ I mainly mean ‘Andy’ – Andy Moffat, former banker turned brewer, who is head brewer, delivery man, cleaner, PR and generally everything at the brewery.

Andy quit his job in 2008 and started working on setting up his own brewery, signing the lease on an empty industrial unit in September 2009 and getting everything ready to brew (including building the brewery inside his warehouse) at the beginning of 2010. They can make more but at the time of my visit (September 2010) are producing about 20 casks a week of their two beers – Redemption Pale Ale and Urban Dusk.

The brewery...Brewing is on quite a different scale to most of the brewery tours you might see, with the brewery being a warehouse divided into five chunks – the main brewing floor (with mash tun (for mashing), copper (for boiling), and hot and cold liquor tanks (for holding hot and cold liquor…)), the fermenting room (with fermentation vessels, where the yeast does its magic), the conditioning room (with conditioning tanks, where the beer can sit and think about what it’s done before going into a barrel), cold room (full of barrels of beer) and the loft (with sacks of malt and leftover bits of brewery). Rather than the chemical plant feel of a big brewery this has more of an edge of scaled up home brewing, with a lot of homemade equipment as key parts of the process. The main brewing kit was bought from Slater’s when they upgraded to a larger capacity, but there are also a number of bits joining together the beer making process that were manufactured slightly closer to home – the wooden malt hopper for dropping malt into the mashtun more easily than carrying it up a ladder, the long drainpipe for running liquids around and even the barrel washer, bolted together from pipes, pumps and a water tank.

Despite the slightly jury rigged feel it’s very much a modern brewery, with careful measurement, knowledge of the science of brewing and lots of cleaning all going along with the hard work of making the beer. Andy knows what he’s talking about, as you’d expect, running us through the brewing process as we wandered around. It’s the regular beer making thing – mash malted barley with hot water, drain the liquid into a copper and boil it, with hops being added at various stages, cool it down to a temperature that yeast likes (20-26°C), add some yeast, leave it to become boozy, drain it into a tank to settle and age a bit before filling it into casks and shipping it to pubs. The trick is getting tasty beer out of the end of the process – happily Andy does.

Redemption PA

Urban Dusk

The two brews Rdempetion makes are quite different – one dark and one light. The Redemption Pale Ale is a golden ale with a sour citrus start leading to a lightly malty body, all bittered up with some nice overarching hoppiness. It finishes with a nice bit of fizziness and some lingering hops and is very much to my summer taste. The Urban Dusk is almost the opposite – a dark browny red beer with a chocolate malt nose. Hazelnuts and coffee grounds come out in the taste, with a dry slightly bitter body and dryer, more grainy bitter finish. I stuck with the PA on the night but I’ll be looking out for Urban Dusk as the nights start to draw in.

At the moment Redemption beer is only available in cask, although in a casking-for-bottling trade with Evin O’Riordain of The Kernel Brewery (who I very much approve of) Andy has done some experimenting and one day we might see bottles appearing as well. At the moment distribution is limited to the London area (as Andy has only so much time to drive the beer to the pubs in his van) but if you drop him an email I’m sure he’ll tell you where it’s gone. In the meantime the Bree Louise and Doric Arch by Euston station often have the beers on (and are both good pubs anyway).

Redemption Pale Ale
3.8% cask conditioned pale ale

Urban Dusk
4.6% cask conditioned bitter

Many thanks to Andy for letting us play in his brewery for an evening, and to Sian and Qype for organising the trip. As usual I took more piccies than have appeared here and you can see them over on flickr.

Supper with Jim Haynes and Fernandez & Leluu

IMG_4810_2My occasional flirting with Qype and the London food blogging community leads to fairly random events popping up on my radar – this Tuesday I ended up at one. The idea of supper clubs isn’t particularly new: a bunch of people, some you know, some you don’t, turn up at your house and you make them dinner. The phenomena has entered my consciousness recently with the emergence of an underground dining movement in London (which veers from the ‘please kick in some cash for the dinner or at least bring me some presents’ to ‘minimum donation is £115. Please tip your waiter’ depending on the people organising) and the buzz that it has created online. However, I’ve not been along and hadn’t really considered it until I got an invite from the PR people behind a chunk of After Eight’s most recent campaign, focused around veteran supper clubber Jim Haynes. He’s been running Sunday night parties at his flat in Paris for the last 30 years and is a thoroughly nice chap – annoyingly I got to have a quick chat with him at the beginning of the night when I had no clue who he was or what was going on. Luckily the obsessive bloggers of Olde Londone Towne were present and there’s some video of him talking later.

Anyways, our hosts for the evening were Simon and Uyen (aka Fernandez & Leluu), rather lovely providers of meals to the randoms of London. Rather than their regular plan of doing a sit down meal for 10-15 people they went with a more Jim-style affair, ramming their flat with 40 bloggers and qypers and serving up plates of rather good food that could be eaten with one beforked hand. The food was rather good – starting on a mixed plate with a marvellous summer roll in the middle (that started a train of thought that ended with me face down in a bowl of vietnamese duck soup the next day), moving on to some excellent beef carpaccio surrounded by tasty trimmings and finishing with a solid glass of baked croissants with strawberries and cointreau (well, they said cointreau when describing the menu but it said whisky on the piece of paper I have – it was boozy and delightful [and cointreau, I reckons]).


As usual, my eye turned towards the bar. Not knowing much about the traditions of supper clubs I arrived empty handed, rather than with the bottle of wine (at least one) which is The Proper Thing To Do. Luckily this had been considered and Johan Svensson of DrinksFusion was on hand to supply us with cocktails all night. We started off with some prosecco or a Bellini. I initially avoided the cocktail due to the Archer’s stained memories of working in a bar at university – after a night of making jugs of Sex on the Beach for drunken rugby players the fake peach stench of Archer’s sticks to the skin, a smell that taunts me to this day. However, after a quick chat with Johan I was tempted in – pinky peach puree with prosecco, a touch of real peach liqueur and crisp slice of peach. Not even a hint of fakeness, it wasn’t particularly sweet, with the prosecco toning down the mild sweetness of the puree and even the garnish working as a contrast – suffice to say I liked it.

After the food appeared, the sky appropriately darkened and a cocktail menu appeared on the bar. I am much remiss in my duties as I didn’t get through all of them (nice people were talking to me, which is very annoying and gets in the way of the drinking. I am prepared to forgive them on this occasion), missing out on the Spring Tom Collins (Gin and lemon juice with elderflower cordial and soda, served in a long glass over ice). While we tucked in to our starters I had a chat with Johan about the wonderful world of booze and he has annoyingly added more things to my ‘find and taste’ list – agave tequila, interesting rums, genever and dutch liqueurs. My annoying eye for faces (but without the accompanying mind to remember where I’d seen the face) kicked in and it seems that I’ve probably bumped into him at Whisky Live on one of my pair of attendances, probably serving me some rather good Van Winkle bourbon. That reminds me, I need to stock up on bourbon…

mosaicecbd9fe2338ea01a702b7aa4b37ec5f9a4464e68The most popular of the other drinks on the menu was the Rose-Club Cocktail, and after a chat with Johan earlier about the secret ingredient I was keen to try one – Gin shaken with vermouth, rose liqueur (‘secret’ ingredient), raspberries and lemon juice, sweetened and soured with simple syrup and campari respectively, and then served straight up in a coupe with a pair of rose petals floating around. It was interestingly sweet and sour with an undercurrent of rose running through it. It was a touch too strong for my liking, though, but I can forgive that as Johan was in production line mode, pumping out cocktails by the jug – a couple more shakes and I suspect it would have been excellent.

I’d not tried rose liqueur before and I think the one in this cocktail was from the Wees distillery in Amsterdam – it’s made in small runs with a combination of distilling with roses in the still and later maceration, with flowers from an old rose gardener who specialises in old fashioned varieties with interesting aromas. It was specially liked by Niamh, who had been trying to get a rose flavour into a cocktail a while back with little success, as rose water didn’t quite cut it – this really does add an interesting slug of rosiness to whatever it touches.

Next I tried a Bramble – another on the ‘by Dick Bradsell’ list, this is a London cocktail bar mainstay (having been invented here) and one that I have rubbishly never got round to trying. Gin and lemon juice sweetened with a drop of sugar, stirred with ice, floated with crème de mure, and garnished with a blackberry and a curl of lemon peel. It tasted exactly as one would expect, with the sourness of the lemon juice tempered by the crème de mure – it’s gone onto my list of cocktails I will consider ordering, despite it containing way too much non-booze for my liking…

To finish off the evening, and to keep the corporate overlords happy, the After Eight Alexander was rolled out – cognac shaken with melted After Eights, vanilla and cream, served straight with a dusting of chocolate. This was surprisingly nice, with the richness I was expecting cut by the booze to give almost an After Eight scented liqueur chocolate filling, after you got through the creamy head.

Anyways, it was a good night – a weird mix of mate’s party and formal event that worked well. Anyone going to Paris with a Sunday to spare should look into going to one of Jim Haynes’s parties, he’s a lovely chap with a pile of stories and the streak of awesome madness that hosting parties for randoms every week for thirty years suggests.

This post was powered by an explosive bottle of Hop Back Taiphoon and an alarming percentage of a freebie box of After Eights.
Many thanks to Simon of Fernandez & Leluu for looking after my camera when I left it behind and then offering me booze when I went to collect it.
There are some more write-ups on the interwebs: Qype, London Eater, Domestic Sluttery

Vodka Tasting at Bob Bob Ricard

The lovely people of Qype, especially organisatrix extraordinaire SianySianySiany, have looked after me again, this time be helping with one of my missions for the year: learning more about vodka – somehow I managed to wangle may onto one of Bob Bob Ricard‘s rather exclusive vodka tastings. At first I felt this rather strange as I’d thought that BBR was a english restaurant with a continental twist, but after a few minutes talking to Richard Howarth, the Ricard of the name, I discovered the error of my ways – Bob, the other owner, is actually a chap by the name of Leonid whose Russian influence is the twist on the restaurant that I’d assumed to be from a bit further west. Part of Bob’s introduction of Russian culture into the fabric of the restaurant is his love of vodka, hence the freezer (chilling the vodkas to -18°C), selection of zakuski (Russian nibbly food) and, following on naturally, this tasting.

BBR Vodka Tasting We started off with BBR’s signature cocktail – a Pink Rhubarb Gin and Tonic. It was both sweet and tart, with a slug of rhubarby goodness running through it, and topped with a fairly stiff head that we assumed to be under the influence of egg white. For a G&T it wasn’t at all fizzy, which is good as I suspect that making it gassy wouldn’t have worked. We asked a waitress about the preparation and after a quick disappearance to consult with the bar she came back with a rough recipe: add rhubarb and sugar to Bombay Sapphire and heat until things are about to start bubbling; turn off the heat and leave overnight; strain the liquor to give a rhubarb infused gin; mix with tonic and ice, shake and serve. The egg whitey head is actually brought about the high sugar content and our theories of rhubarb syrups were all shown to be rather pedestrian – a nice drink with an impressive effort behind it.

The plan for the tasting was to try five vodkas, each with a different piece of zakuski. At this point the difference to a whisky or wine tasting became apparent – the vodka wasn’t particularly meant to be tasted. Very specifically, the history of vodka production has involved continued refinement of the process to try and remove more and more of the bad products of distillation, giving as clean and light a taste as possible (as well as minimal headaches and a continued ability to see) – cheap vodkas may taste of petrol cut with meths, but expensive ones will barely taste at all. Luckily Leonid was away for the day and Richard was not quite as harsh a tasting master as his colleague rumoured to be, allowing me to have a bit of a sniff and sip as long as I knocked back a chunk of the booze, as is the Proper Way Of Doing Things.

First up we had a Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006 – Kauffman’s vodka is made using grains of a specific year, hence the use of a vintage in the description, and produced in very small batches. As with wine, certain years are said to have produced especially good vintages, with 2003 and 2006 being singled out recently. That said, they haven’t been producing the spirit for long, with their website only listing the 2002, 2003 and 2005 vintages. A quick knock back of the first half the glass showed a surprising smoothness, with a fairly even distribution of flavour, a good mouthfeel and a nice warmth (rather than burn) on the way down. A bit more of a sip and savour revealed a honeyed sweetness across the whole tongue and a long grainy finish.

Next we followed along the range with a taste of the Kauffman Private Collection Luxury Vintage 2003, a name with way too many qualifiers in it for my liking. This was one of 25,000 bottles to be produced from the harvest (the Special Selected Vintages run to about 45,000) and was the most expensive vodka of the afternoon, coming in at about £12 a shot on the BBR menu. The initial chuck down the throat gave a more aquavit-y sensation, with the centre of the tongue going almost untouched by taste, with a bit more of a sensation down the throat and a gentle warming feeling spreading out across the chest. With a bit more of a swill around the mouth the centre of the tongue stayed unworried, but a pleasant pepperiness crept across the sides of the tongue to go with a sweetness similar to the 2006. Very clean tasting, I can see why this is a favourite amongst ‘real’ vodka drinkers.

BBR Vodka TastingAfter these two we took a break for food, as previous tastings had seen a marked decline in tasters who drank through without a break. Accompanying the first two vodkas we’d had jellied ox tongue with quails eggs and horseradish (which I thought was excellent, despite the jelly fear in some of the other tasters – the horseradish was especially good and quite happily edible on its own with a long spoon), and salmon roe on hard-boiled quail’s eggs (which, due to a rather serious love of big roe, happily went down my neck). We were now confronted with some slightly larger dishes to share, with the week’s special of scallop, black pudding and cox’s apple with watercress and chives (not my fave – a bit too dry a black pudding for my liking, although Richard did say that they deliberately went for such a beast, and I don’t really see what the fuss about scallops is, even if these were rather nice), blaeberry wine cured Orkney beef with celeriac, blueberries and hazelnuts (this was rather excellent, although the bluberries were confused for olives and then grapes before a final realisation of their identity), goat’s cheese salad with pickled beetroot (which I avoided due to a dislike of goaty cheese), and potted shrimp with watercress, croutons and lemon (which I started craving while writing this after seeing the picture – butter with a few prawns in on crunchy toast…tasty). It was all rather tasty and definitely a good bit of fortification for the next few drinks.

After a quick table clearing we were presented with glasses of Beluga Vodka. There was some discussion as to the nature of its relationship to the Beluga sturgeon, spawner of tasty caviar, and eventually we came down on the side of associating itself with luxury. The vodka is made in the middle of nowhere, pulling its water from a local well with no industry within 300km of the distillery, a big flag displaying the spirits march towards purity. On the quick throw down the throat it came across as much more prickly, raising the hackles of my tongue, and causing more of a reaction as it wandered down to the stomach. Going slower, it had much more flavour, with grain coming through a lot more than the sweetness of the earlier vodkas. This may be a fault for the Russian connoisseurs, but it’s the sort of thing I like – being able to actually taste my drink – and I thought it to be rather good.

We quickly followed on to Russian Standard Imperia. This was the first producer of the day that I’d heard of already, as I use the basic Russian Standard as my regular vodka at home. I don’t drink a lot of it on its own, but mainly use it to extract flavours from things to make flavoured spirits. I suspect I will write up my experiments sometime in the future, but for now the regular vodka is quite rough, but good at having its flavour masked by other things. The Imperia is a different kettle of fish, based on a recipe by Dmitri Mendeleev, the inventor of the periodic table, it’s been around for a while and had its recipe declared to be ‘The Standard of Vodka’ in 1894. The production process strikes me as maybe going too far, with 8 distillations and two filterings through quartz (I don’t even know how that would work…). I chucked half of it down my throat, as was becoming usual by now, and got much more of a burn than previously, with a much bigger taste of grain. On the nose this was the first to be easily discernible, with hints of caraway in with the regular alcoholic whiff, and in the mouth it had a touch of vanilla and a long warm finish – nice, but not quite as smooth as the others.

Finally we got to the last vodka of the tasting – Stolichnaya Vodka Elite. Described as being much rougher than the rest despite being an expensive premium vodka, this one was included to show us how refined the top vodkas at BBR are. True to form I necked half of it and got a nice burn down the throat and a chunk of grain across the tongue, definitely a bit more to it than the earlier ones. It had a slightly sweet smell and lots of flavour – honey and grain rolling around the mouth. Again, this was up my street and I quite enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not as close to the Russian ideal of clean flavour that was displayed by the Kauffmans.

BBR Vodka Tasting The last three vodkas were accompanied by some more zakuski and we were treated to Meat Pelmeni (meatballs wrapped in noodles – a russian ravioli – served with vinegar and sour cream. These were my favourite thing of the day, excellently moreish and enough to get me to return on their own), Malosol Cucumbers (baby cucumbers cured in brine until crispy, an easy win for someone who likes both salty food and crunchy cucumber like me. I may have to make some of these at home) and Salo on Rye Bread (wafer thin slices of cured pork fat on rye bread. The fat melted in the mouth into a smoky butter that then infused the highly flavoured bread – it was almost great, but there was a bit too much bread for the [still quite large] amount of salo, so it turned into a bit too much of a rye fest for my liking) which continued the filling process to the extent that we turned down en masse an offer of Sunday lunch. We were, however, offered another go at whichever vodka the group liked the best, and after some umming and ahhing the consensus appeared to be the first one that we tasted – the Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006. It balanced the lack of flavour that the producers were going for with some very pleasant flavours, making it a very worthy favourite. I may not be grabbing a bottle for my freezer (at about £70 a go) but I may have to have a try next time I see some.

My favourite of the tasting was the Beluga – prickly and full of flavour while still rather smooth and easy to throw down the throat if need be. I may seek out a bottle and then offend the Russians by drinking the occasional shot slowly over ice. I wonder how cold my freezer is…

Many thanks again to Richard for leading us through the vodka, telling tales of running a restaurant and filling us with food; Siany for organising the thing (and letting me go along) and Qype for keeping their website going so that I can go and do such things.

Vodka Kauffman Special Selected Vintage 2006
40%. Approx £70 per 70cl bottle

Vodka Kauffman Private Collection Luxury Vintage 2003
40%. Approx £140 per 70cl bottle

Beluga Vodka
40%. Approx £40 per 70cl bottle

Imperia by Russian Standard
40%. Approx £30 per 70cl bottle

Vodka Elite by Stolichnaya
40%. Approx £40 per 70cl bottle

Bob Bob Ricard is at 1 Upper James Street, Soho, London W1F 9DF and they are lovely.

Siany’s Qype blog post is up and there are a bunch of reviews appearing on BBR’s page

Pre-Burns Night Talisker Tasting @ The Salt Bar

I can date the beginning of my love of good whisky fairly accurately to December 1997. I’d been working in my student Union bar for about 6 months and had recently tried single malt whisky, rather than my usual foray into the spirits world of Bells and Coke, and found that It Was Good. To keep me going through Christmas I decided to splash out in rather a large way for a student and grab two bottles of good whisky. I picked up a bottle of regular Lagavulin (16 year old?) and a bottle of Talisker 10.

These days I can’t really remember the Lagavulin, other than it was fairly ballsy and I enjoyed it, but I have been a fan of Talisker ever since. So, when I saw that Chris Osburn had lined up, through Qype, a whisky tasting event with the Diageo’s chosen PR company for Talisker at a whisky bar in London that I’d not been to I may have been slightly heavy handed in my claiming to be an excellent potential invitee. It seemed to work and on Wednesday evening I found myself at Salt Bar on Edgware Road for some whisky.

I’ll write in greater length about the Salt Bar at sometime in the future, I’m on their mailing list now and it looks like they have some interesting tastings coming up soon (including a night of Bowmore and Suntory whiskies in February), so I’ll keep my general description of the bar short – it’s pretty good. They have a good whisky selection, containing the complete set of the varied Good whisky that you find in pubs as well as some interesting extras and a shelf of eye-watering expensive bottles (some bought at auction, including the £100 a shot Dalmore, which the bar manager I spoke to happily blamed Richard Paterson for), and do cocktails, tastings and an interesting selection of food. It’s well worth a look in, although I hear that the average clientele all need to be taken outside and shot for crimes against drinking.

I rounded the corner at the bottom of Edgware Road and kept an eye out for the bar, not having been there before. I thought I saw it ahead and removed my headphones only to be hit by the sound of bagpipes – it certainly was the right place, there was a piper standing outside the front door, tooting away. Rather than the small informal tasting that I’d been expecting the PR folks had decided to put on a bit of an event, with a piper, a Burns Night MC and one of Diageo’s whisky ambassadors on hand to roll the evening along.

IMGP3569 We started with an opening cocktail described as a Skye Manhattan. I’m wary of using as peaty a whisky as Talisker in a cocktail, as it’s quite an overpowering flavour, but was surprised at first how well this worked. It was made as a sweet Manhattan using a double shot of Talisker 10 and (according to the recipe I was given) 15ml of Antica Vermouth (which I’ve not seen before and is sweet, according to a quick google and a quicker chat with the very busy barman) along with the traditional dash of Angostura bitters and a pile of ice to stir it with. I wasn’t that big a fan of the drink, preferring my Manhattan’s dry and with bourbon (probably sacrilege to someone, but meh), but the orangey note from the peel garnish worked quite well with the peat from the whisky. However, peaty whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters are all strong flavours which didn’t marry well in the glass and by the time I’d reached the end of mine I was not a fan.

The event was not all about the booze – with Burns night less than a week away they decided to put on a show. So, we had Clark McGinn giving us the full Burns host bit, with the now traditional talk of Burns as the first blogger (as he stuck his writings up on gorse bushes to see, just like we spray our work onto the internet…there’s some water in it) as well as a an impressive Address to a Haggis, complete with fantastic delivery and some cutting wi’ ready sleight.

Along with Clark we had Colin Dunn, from Diageo, running the tasting of the Taliskers, and as the first burst of Burns based wisdom faded we were presented with our first dram of the night – the Talisker 10. Colin’s approach to running the tasting involve improbably precise numbers, oozing enthusiasm, holding the whisky in your mouth for a long time and a bit of hugging of grinning people.

I know the 10 rather well, but haven’t really bothered to properly taste it for a while. On the nose it’s prickly with alcohol, peat and sweet smokiness, with an undertone of the sea. In the mouth it’s similar – a punchy kick of booze with sweet peat smoke and salt. It’s a long taste and although the claims of it lasting for 4.6 minutes maybe going a bit far, it does linger for a good while. It’s not a subtle whisky, laying its cards most definitely on the table, but it’s a good’un. It was paired with smoked salmon piled crumpets, which worked quite well, although the whisky was quite overpowering compared to the more delicate salmon.

This led on to the aforementioned haggis address, complete with kilt clad piper piping it around the room, before Clark slayed it with poetry and a knife. To accompany the beast we were presented with our second dram of the night – the Talisker Distillers Edition. Matured for 10 years in oak and 2 in Moscatel barrels (although the website contradicts Colin with a claim that it’s Amoroso barrels) it’s part of a series of “Distiller’s Editions” from the distilleries that make up Diageo’s Classic Malts collection. I’ve had the Cragganmore before and for a few years (going through a phase of loving Speyside whiskies) it was my favourite bottle I’d bought, but I’ve not tried the others. It was quite obviously sherried on the nose with a lot less peat than in the 10, but still a noticeable Talisker tang. It tasted much more refined, with lots of fruit coming through from the finishing cask and a lingering smoky aftertaste to ensure you didn’t forget it was a Talisker. It’s much more reined in than the the 10 year old, and hides the 45.8% strength behind a smoothness that the 10 year old (at the same ABV) doesn’t quite achieve. A nicely balanced dram and a nice accompaniment to the haggis, neeps and tatties, happily working with the sweetness in the mash.

IMGP3601This brought us to the last dram of the evening – the Talisker 57°North. Named after the distillery’s latitude it’s bottled at 57% and holds quite a powerful punch. It combines some of the characteristics of the other two whiskies, with the distinctive salty sweet, peaty initial punch of the 10 year old combined with a more refined and smooth finish similar to the Distillers Edition. It was matched up with a good chocolate mousse which don’t go all that well – bitter chocolate dusted, dark chocolate mousse and a powerful whisky didn’t make for a good combination, although both survived the eating and drinking when taken separately. The 57°North was a favourite for many, but I preferred the slightly less over the top flavours of the Distiller’s Edition. I suspect this means I’m getting old…

With the official tasting out of the way the crowd started dispersing and more cocktails appeared – the Cool Walker (that I didn’t try, made with 40ml of Talisker 10, 15ml of Drambuie, 10ml lime juice and 10ml gomme shaken with ice and topped with ginger ale according to my menu) and a Hebrides’ Old Fashioned, made pretty much as I’ve mentioned before but with the now ubiquitous Talisker 10 as the spirit, and a honey and ginger syrup instead of simple. Being an Old Fashioned obsessive I was prepared to dislike the cocktail on principle, but was pleasantly surprised. Again, I don’t think it entirely worked, with the peatiness still coming over as quite overpowering, but the dilution, gingery honeyness and another slice of orange peel took some of the edge off and made it my favourite cocktail of the evening – a bit like a cold hot toddy.

All in all a great night – well put together by the Diageo PR posse, drinks presented well by Vamsi and his team at Salt Bar, and well compered by Colin and Clark. I suspect that some of the effort was slightly wasted on me, as I arrived liking Talisker, left liking Talisker and had a glass of Talisker when I got home while gazing out of the window at the glowing red Diageo sign that shines across the park by my flat from their West London offices, but I did very much enjoy it and it’s great seeing more companies from different industries trying to tap into the blogging market.

My camera was not being my friend, so not many photos from me, but there’s a bunch up from Chris Osburn and Kelsie Mortimer
There’s also some other write-ups from Chris and IanVisits

Talisker 10 Year Old

Talisker Distiller’s Edition
45.8%, 12 years old

Talisker 57°North
57%, No age statement.

The first two are widely available and the latter pops up in supermarkets as well as being a mainstay of duty free.