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Drinks News


The latest spirits and beer news and launches compiled by Clinton Cawood

The 100 Clubdrinksnews4 - green_and_red_DOM1277.jpg

Mexican eatery Green & Red has launched a Tequila Club to reward its most committed Tequila drinkers. Membership is free, and the first shot ordered comes with a Tequila Club Card, listing the 200-plus Tequilas available behind the bar. Cards are marked each time a new Tequila is ordered and members are awarded prizes on reaching 25, 50 and 75 different Tequilas. At 100, the member is pronounced a ‘Green & Red Agave Ambassador’, and their framed picture is hung in the bar. And, in case 100 shots of Tequila sounds like too many, the club runs indefinitely and the Tequila still counts even if it goes into a margarita.
Green & Red, 51 Bethnal Green Road,
E1 6LA; 020 7749 9670

drinksnews5 - Hibiki_12yo_high_rez1.jpgThe spirit of harmony

Get a real taste of Japan with the latest addition to the Hibiki blended whisky range: the impressive 12 year old. The spirit is aged in Japanese plum liqueur casks and then filtered through bamboo charcoal. This results in an approachable, sweet whisky, with big tropical fruit and raspberry aromas. Hibiki, which means ‘harmony’ in Japanese, is made by the same company that produces acclaimed Japanese single malt, Yamazaki.
RRP £39.99/70cl, from specialist whisky retailers nationwide

Where Scotland meets Spaindrinksnews3 - Glenmorangie_Sonnalta_PX.jpg

Be sure to pick up the latest release from Glenmorangie next time you fly. Sonnalta PX is the first in a new Private Collection range, and is only available in duty-free stores. This punchy malt spends its final two years in casks that once held Pedro Ximénez sherry. The result is big and warming, with dark chocolate, raisins, spice and orange peel. Available in limited quantities only.
£62.99/litre, exclusive to duty-free stores

DRINKSNEWS7 - Book_copy.jpgAdvice for Life

You might not think you need a book entitled How to Drink (£15.99, Granta), but given the vast array of beverages it covers, Guardian columnist Victoria Moore’s tome is bound to improve the quality of at least one aspect of your drinking. Straightforward and practical, it covers every drinking occasion, offering advice on topics from tea and coffee at breakfast, to a warming Cognac by the fire late at night. Plus there’s interesting drinks trivia and cocktail recipes.

The art of cognacdrinksnews1 - Courvoisier_ertebottles_group.jpg

Courvoisier is offering a rare opportunity for a simultaneous investment in Cognac and art, with the re-release of its Erté- designed art deco decanters. The Russian artist, who died in 1990, created seven designs depicting various aspects of Cognac production, such as harvest and distillation. The decanters, which contain a blend of Courvoisier’s oldest reserves, were originally launched in 1988. This is expected to be the final release – and only eight sets are available.
$1,500 per decanter or $10,000 for the set of seven, from www.1-877-spirits.com

Match of the day

drinksnews - Beer_Seafd-28apr09-IMG_6833.jpg

Beer-and-food matching pioneers made significant progress at a recent tasting at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill in Mayfair, where seafood is the order of the day. The most popular match was a dish of yellow-fin tuna tartare with Blue Moon, a wheat beer from Colorado brewed in the Belgian style. Grolsch Weizen paired well with cured salmon and pickled cucumber, while Belgian ale Duvel was found to be a good accompaniment to oysters. The tasting was hosted by Rupert Ponsonby, co-founder of the Beer Academy.
For more information, visit www.beeracademy.co.uk

Packing a punchdrinksnews2 - Croft_pink_cocktailP-LIWF09-013.jpg

Croft has created a range of refreshing cocktail recipes for its pink port, just in time for summer. Recipes range from simple punches combining the port with cold jasmine tea and diced strawberries, to more elaborate julep-style creations. The cocktails show the versatility of the port, which works well with the likes of melon, chilli and red pepper.
RRP £9.99/75cl, available from Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s

A taste of summer

Jo Hilditch British Framboise mixed with sparkling white wine might be just the drink for those sunny summer days. This rich  liqueur is made from raspberries grown in Herefordshire, and is the latest addition to the highly acclaimed British Cassis range.
RRP £12.90/375ml, for stockists visit www.britishcassis.co.uk


drinksnews6 - Leo_Besant_CREDIT-_Elsa_Quarsell.jpg

The Face: Leo Besant  The Place: El Camino

You’re working at El Camino. Isn’t that bring-your-own?

At the moment, but we’re applying for a licence. It’s quite fun being BYO, it makes the place feel like a house party. When we get the licence though, it’ll be 98% Tequila.

How did you become such a proponent of Tequila?

It was always the shot of choice for bartenders, but I got into it more seriously, and into Mexican culture too. I love dressing up, so the clothes – mariarchi outfits – appeal, too.

Why does it have such a following with bartenders?

It’s unique. Some spirits take a year to produce, but agave grows under the Mexican sun for up to 10 years, absorbing more of the its power. And because of the four age categories it’s easy to match with food, preferably neat – the way I like it.

There’ll be some cocktail mixing at the new bar though?

There will be… One of the things we’re trying to figure out is a Tequila bramble, so we’ve been looking for the Tequila that tastes most like gin! We’ll also be doing all the classic drinks, like margaritas, palomas and batangas.

What’s with all the new bar openings in West London?

The nice thing is that everyone helps each other out. On your break, when you run down to the next bar, like Portobello Star, for a quick Tequila, everyone from all the other bars is there as well. It has a real family-like feeling.

Speaking of family…

Yes, we’re all involved in bars or restaurants. I was a chef in West Sussex, then my brother Henry offered me a job in the kitchen at Lonsdale. On my first day he stuck me behind the bar to replace someone who hadn’t arrived. I never went back to the kitchen.

El Camino, 272 Portobello Road, W10 5TY; 020 8960 8556

Editorial feature from Square Meal Lifestyle Magazine Summer 2009

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