Drink

Nouri Herbal Shots

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You might associate Herbology with Harry Potter fandom, rather than health and wellbeing; and although we love Ms. Sprouts’ classes, the newly growing herbal community is showing us at The Amazing Blog, that it can work it’s magic even on us common muggles. Newly founded company, NOURI is proving it’s worth in this domain, taking us back to our natural roots, with a range of alcohol-free and highly concentrated herbal shots.

Founders, Lia Schmökel and Danielle Sheridan wanted to create products that help us to integrate a healthy routine into busy lifestyles. Their herbal shots make it easy to treat our bodies to some natural goodness without being dogmatic about it, allowing us busy bees to keep our bodies and minds at their optimum. The shots come in different forms, you can buy their Focus, Boost or Lust shots seperately, or you can choose from a ready-made pack. Whichever you choose, you can be sure that the contents have been designed to aid the human biorhythm.

We tried their individual shots, Focus, Boost and Lust. Focus contains energising ingredients, such as eleuthera and Siberian ginseng. These power ingredients help boost physical and psychological performance, without any side effects, while, green tea extracts help to awaken our senses. Limes, liquorice root and bitter orange create a powerful and refreshing taste that makes your mornings feel light and fresh, even if they are packed with invoices and tax returns.

Boost provided us with the will to carry on, after we had our third back-to-back meeting of the day. The use of Inca herb maca is noteworthy, a specialist ingredient when it comes to fighting against drowsiness, which creates an energetic outcome when combined with ginger, oregano, guarana and nutmeg. In addition, it also provides our aching muscles with the uplifting kick they deserve, boosting our energy levels for a sustained period of time, as opposed to the kick that we lose quickly after consuming sugary energy drinks.

Finally, we tried Lust, which contains the South African plant damiana, traditionally used as an aphrodisiac during shamanic rituals. This acts as a natural viagra for men and woman, and with additional ingredients like schisandra and cardamom, balance and stamina are notable. The use of chilli also enlightens inner fire, and rosemary, a known herb of passion, strengthens the libido naturally.

If you too would like to enlighten your senses, then visit the NOURI website here, where you can purchase your own bottles of Focus, Boost and Lust. They’re available either as a single purchase (a minimum of 6 bottles), or as part of a monthly package.

 

Blackbook Winery

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Battersea was not the first place that sprung to mind when we heard about an exciting new winery at The Amazing Blog. However, that is precisely what Sergio Verillo and his wife Lynsey have done, underneath one of the many railway arches in the area, lining the commuter routes into London. Working with a select group of English vineyards, based in East Anglia, Essex and Oxfordshire, this entrepreneurial couple have introduced a range of wines of superior quality … but don’t just take our word for it - ‘Chez Bruce’ in Wandsworth is just one of the Michelin starred restaurants to carry their bottles of magic. 

Blackbook is part of a dynamic and growing wine scene in London. Urban wineries are fast becoming commonplace in major cities around the world. An urban winery sources its grapes from a variety of growers, and produces all wine on its site. Blackbook source their grapes from carefully selected English growers, in order to produce still and sparkling single vineyard English wines. Although their concentration is on pinot noir and chardonnay, they include some additional varietals each year. Blackbook follows a traditional winemaking approach with low sulphur wines, and indigenous ferments as a means to preserve the varietal character.

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Blackbook’s inaugural wine was a 2017 English Rosé, made from pinot noir grapes from Clayhill Vineyard in Essex. This was awarded a silver medal at the Drinks Business Global Rosé Masters, and is now listed within a number of high end wine bars and restaurants across London. Following hot on the heels of the Rosé, comes a 2017 Pinot Noir, and a 2017 Chardonnay - all of which stem from the soil in our very own country. Nurtured by the micro climate which East Anglia enjoys, this is particularly good for the high sugar content in the Pinot Noir and Bacchus grapes, and similarly, the sandy loam soils of Oxfordshire are ideal for sourcing theur Seyval Blanc.

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Sergio and Lynsey are justifiably proud of Blackbook, and are allowing us all the chance to go along and find out more from the founders themselves. They are currently running winery tours twice weekly: Wednesdays at 6pm and Saturdays at 4pm. The tour lasts for an hour and costs just £15 per person; all aspects of the wine making process are covered by Sergio himself, and each guest receives an exclusive ‘Cellar Door Discount’ on the wines available. Gift vouchers can also be purchased, and redeemed against any available date through their shop here.

The Blackbook wines are also available online with the 2017 Rosé priced at £17.50, and both the 2017 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at £18.50 each. For further details, contact Blackbook directly - understandably all visits are by appointment. You’ll find them located at the following address: Blackbook Winery - Arch 41, London Stone Business Estate, London, SW8 3QR, and the nearest station is Queenstown Road. Enjoy!

The Lakes Distillery Gin

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In recent years, the gin market has boomed, emerging a plethora of different tipples that we certainly enjoy exploring at The Amazing Blog. Recently, we were introduced to The Lakes Distillery's offerings, and I suppose you could say that our Friday afternoons have become much more interesting in the name of research!

From Cumbria myself, I was thrilled to introduce The Lakes Distillery to my colleagues. The company is based near Keswick, in the heart of the North Lakes, where co-founder Paul Currie and his team operate their distillery. The team compromises of multiple industry experts; production is overseen by whisky expert Alan Rutherford and distilling by Scottish expert Chris Anderson. You can therefore be safe in the knowledge that the Lakes Distillery's spirits are produced to the highest standard. Equally, the distillery is environmentally conscious - only fuel from sustainable sources is used, and barley waste from their whisky production is fed to local cattle. The considerations even go as far as to bear in mind the transport routes, choosing to refurbish an old barn on the main bus route to and from Keswick, encouraging staff and visitors alike to minimise the use of cars.

We tried The Lakes Gin, part of the Lakes Distillery’s core range, including 'The One Whisky' and 'The Lakes Vodka'. This gin is a special one; it is the only gin with true Cumbria provenance, made from local Cumbrian juniper, as well as a multitude of other specially selected botanicals, such as bilberry, heather and hawthorn. These are steeped overnight in both wheat spirit and Cumbrian water (sourced from the River Derwent), creating a truly Cumbrian outcome. Once steeped, the gin is distilled for up to 8 hours in a traditional and handmade copper pot, creating a smooth and refreshing taste. We found this gin pleasantly fruity in taste, with a citrusy zing that makes this tipple particularly fresh. The packaging is also sleek and elegant, the perfect addition to any spirit cabinet. I like to chill this gin and drink it neatly over ice. However, if you're feeling less adventurous, then it is equally delicious when mixed with a good quality tonic, and garnished with pink grapefruit.

We were also fortunate to try The Lakes Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, a liqueur with a fruity and floral taste that is delicious when mixed with apple presse. It can also be mixed with prosecco, for a sophisticated twist. As with the traditional The Lakes Gin, this liqueur is made with Cumbrian juniper and 13 other native Lake District National Park botanicals. We're sure this is one of the reasons that this gin was a Silver award winner in The Global Travel Retail Spirits awards this year. We must also point out the pretty packaging of this product, characteristically pink in colour; it is both enticing and aesthetically pleasing. This liqueur could easily be added to a vast array of cocktails or is particularly refreshing when mixed with ginger ale.

If you would like to try these Cumbrian delights for yourself, then you can purchase The Lakes Gin here or the Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur here, both for £15.00 (20cl). They are great as a present for Christmas (if we're allowed to mention that yet) or simply to treat yourself as the cold weather creeps in!

Summerdown Mint Teas - Peppermint Tea and Spearmint & Camomile Tea

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As the weather cools, there is nothing nicer than hugging a comforting cuppa. Besides the warming effect, tea can do so much for our systems. Dandelion tea helps with bloating and promotes liver health, green tea is full of antioxidants, ginger tea helps with nausea associated with motion sickness, and peppermint tea is known to aid digestion. The Amazing Blog was thrilled to receive a selection of teas from Summerdown Mint, a specialist British peppermint company.

Summerdown Mint was founded by Sir Michael Colman over twenty years ago, in green and leafy Hampshire. He decided to cultivate a unique variety of Black Mitcham peppermint, a type of mint that was grown in England over 100 years ago. Summerdown Mint also produce a variety of other mint infused products, such as chocolates and sweets, and products for the bath, body, and home. We wrote about their fragrant Lemongrass & Mint Body Wash here. Many of their products have already achieved great accolades, being winners in The 2018 Beauty Shortlist Awards and the Great Taste Awards. Best of all, with Summerdown Mint, you know you’re getting an authentic home-grown English peppermint oil. An added bonus is that all of the products are 98% natural, and are free of sulfates, parabens, PEGs, petrochemicals and artificial colourings.

The English Peppermint tea consists of Black Mitcham mint leaves and oil. It comes either in regular tea bags or their rather charming pyramid shaped bags, which not only give the loose-leaf tea more room to steep, but they are biodegradable too. The dried leaves are infused with their oil from the distillery, which is where you get a wonderful, authentic English Peppermint tea taste. This packs a bit of punch, with a crisp, bright and full fresh mint flavour, and apparently it does wonders to calm the nerves! We also tried the English Spearmint & Camomile tea and found that this had a gently sweet and refreshing taste, while the ingredients help to aid digestion and reduce tension. First, the camomile flowers are harvested and dried, and then they are brewed with spearmint oil. We’d definitely recommend trying these teas, as they make a terrific break from our regular black tea.

 

If you would like to try Summerdown Mint’s English Peppermint tea (either the pyramid tea bags with 15 sachets, or regular tea bags containing 20 tea envelopes) or the English Spearmint & Camomile tea (20 tea envelopes), they can be all be purchased here from £3.40 per box. There is free delivery when you spent £25 or more within the UK.

Botanicals for Cocktails

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With the explosion of microbreweries and distilleries forging their way ahead in the production of uniquely artisan beverage options, we began to wonder just how feasible it would be to create our own bottle of mellow magic. This sent all of us at The Amazing Blog into a tailspin at the water cooler, as we all came up with appropriate cocktails. How about The Amazing Daiquiri or even The Amazing White Russian perhaps …?

Once the germination of an idea starts, of course, there’s always someone who takes it to the next level - and we may well have found the perfect solution to what has become a challenge for everyone in the office. Originally created by The Old Hamlet Wine & Spice Co. the Botanicals For Cocktails range gives us three options for turning a run of the mill bottle of gin or vodka into something far more interesting. - It has been quite the conversation piece for the Christmas shindig at The Amazing Blog Towers … if we are permitted to mention the festivities yet?

All of the required ingredients are handily packaged in signature calico pouches, so you need only to add a bottle of your spirit of choice. The Orange Gin sounds quite a straight forward affair, but actually once you start mixing those spices, it is quite clear just how many different flavours are there to tempt us. Let us warn you, the aroma can be quite intoxicating, especially in a cramped kitchenette, so make sure there is plenty of ventilation. As with all the best things in life, a little bit of patience is required in the production process here, and so we have to wait at least 8 weeks until we can properly taste the fruits of our labours - but for the REAL magic to happen, we have to ideally wait 2 years.

However, the first signs are good, and are as enticing as the offerings we might get from a bar’s cocktail list. The Gingerbread Vodka is a heady mix and planned for consumption at the above festive party in a couple of month’s time, with the Gin version being kept as a possible tasting option. In fact, there is a wide and comprehensive range available primarily through the Steenburgs website, an organic spice merchants based in Yorkshire, who bought The Old Hamlet Wine & Spice Co in 2017. These pouches of perfection can additionally be sourced with a price of around £3.80 for a single bag - trust us, it’s well worth the effort!