Drinks

Kapronca's Cordials

Mid-way into February, and we're pleased to report that our ongoing health kick is still just holding-up! One thing we initially struggled with at The Amazing Blog, was finding alternatives to our favourite processed fizzy drinks. Thankfully, that issue is no longer, thanks to the discovery of Kapronca, a brand providing delicious and refreshing cordials for generations. Based in Northern Croatia, their diligence to top-quality cordials has made our quest for healthier alternatives all the more simple.

Now it would be wrong to assume that these are 'healthy' cordials, as they contain sugar. However, we love that the ingredients are both natural, and locally sourced - so much better than the over-processed and artificial flavourings in many other drinks. We were sent these three flavours to try: Elderflower, Raspberry and Mint - all of which proved to be a hit in the office. Using fresh and hand-picked elderflowers from the local region of Northern Croatia, the Elderflower Cordial is made by infusing top-notch ingredients with water and is subsequently our favourite flavour. That said, the Raspberry Cordial is a close second, made with the equally natural ingredient: cold-pressed raspberry juice. The third cordial, Mint Cordial, is perhaps more of an acquired taste - but was one I personally love. By infusing fresh mint, it has an authentic and natural flavour, and we're pleased to say that it doesn't taste artificial in the slightest.

Drawing back to our original point about healthy beverages, you might be wondering how we consume these cordials. We found them delicious when mixed sparkling water (for a fizzy drink without the artificial flavours), but have also become quite partial to the Raspberry Cordial when consumed with boiling water and cinnamon - the perfect way to warm up given the current cold temperatures! That said, on days when we're feeling a little more adventurous (and indulgent), we have discovered the Mint Cordial to be the perfect addition to a mojito mixture, and all three to work well with prosecco. If that's not enough, then all three are also lovely when drizzled over a good quality vanilla ice cream.

Equally tempted to up your cordial game? Then you can order each cordial (0.75l) directly for £8. This includes the shipping cost, but a minimum of 6 bottles must be purchased (to fill a box). London based readers (or anyone planning to visit) will also be able to find Kapronca available at the Taste Croatia Deli in Borough Market from Spring 2019. Enjoy!

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!

Equinox Kombucha

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Micro-breweries appear to be popping up everywhere you look these days. At The Amazing Blog, we’re big supporters of the fledgeling companies who produce innovative and exciting new libations, to tickle the taste buds. One of the most interesting examples of this trend is from the Equinox Kombucha team, who began their story from a makeshift brewery in a Yorkshire bedroom, Hebden Bridge to be exact. Their history reads like a classic success story: friends take off around the world, head to East Asia, try a local tea, bring the concept back to Blighty, and embark on a whirlwind business, which grows and grows. It has not always been plain sailing for the team, particularly when the floods of 2015 threatened their future. Commendably, they have picked themselves up, dried themselves out, and returned even stronger; with a range of delicious products which can be found online, on their website, from other online retailers and in many supermarkets.

Green Tea fans will love the diverse flavours available. Our ultimate favourite is the Ginger infusion, closely followed by Raspberry and Elderflower. Both provide a fresh and unique alternative to common sparkling drinks, with a zing that could brighten you up even on the dullest of days. All of the ingredients are natural, and the fermenting process creates plenty of bubbles, to add some sparkle to the palate. There are two further flavours, the original, which compromises of simple, yet delicious flavours; and wild berry, which has a refreshingly fruity taste. Whichever you choose, however, you'll be safe in the knowledge that you are consuming a drink that is delicious, yet packed full of goodness.

Each bottle is priced according to the number of units purchased; however, a 12 pack brings the price to just £1.83 for a 275ml measure. Check out the Equinox Kombucha website to choose your favourite flavour. If that doesn't tickle your fancy, or if you're unsure of which delightful flavour to try, then there is also the popular option of a four elements tasting set. This compromises of 4 bottles, each in a different flavour, and can be purchased here for £7.99.

It's no surprise that Equinox Kombucha are picking up awards left, right and centre; having claimed two Great Taste Awards in both 2016 and 2017. Count us into the Equinox Kombucha revolution!

 

 

 

Turmerlicious

Everyone is jumping aboard the Turmeric bandwagon, due to its amazing health benefits, and we here at The Amazing Blog think incorporating it into a latte is the perfect way. Turmerlicious has created a range of delicious instant turmeric lattes and we were lucky enough to try the Ginger, the Choco, the Vanilla and the Chilli Choc.

This wonder spice has been renowned for its healing abilities for over 4000 years. So much so, the Sanskrit translations for turmeric is ‘one that wins over diseases’. Even science says so, and in the last 30 years there have been over 6000 peer reviewed publications supporting the benefits of Turmeric. Turmeric is hailed for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and is said to be beneficial in reducing heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and more. Add this goodness into a delicious drink, and you have a winning combination.

All of the powders are caffeine-free and are a combination of natural ingredients; turmeric, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. This aromatic blend of spices create a soothing and delicious hot drink, and all you need to do is add three teaspoons of the mix to hot water. This gem of a product is ideal if you are trying to cut down on your caffeine intake. Just replace one of your cups of coffee a day to Turmerlicious and you’ll be left happy and healthy!

Turmerlicious powders are free from dairy, gluten, artificial flavours and GMO’s.

Purchase Turmerlicious here for £6.95 (200g) or £1 for a single serving (20g).

Friday Favourites Irish Alcohol

We at The Amazing Blog were lucky enough to be guests of Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), at their Spirit of Sharing event at the Irish Consulate earlier this year. Bord Bia brought together 20 Irish drinks companies to introduce them to the UK market, and we have picked an initial few here of our favourites that we discovered (we'll be featuring a few more later in the summer for you to read about). It is no secret that Ireland is renowned for its quality alcoholic drinks - from Cider to Whiskey to Irish Cream, and Bord Bia presented some drinks that are truly authentic in quality, history and flavour. 

For all you who want lower alcohol content without compromising on taste then do we have the perfect drink for you; Finnbarra's Tobairín. This cider is crisp and light, ideal for a mid-day drink with lunch in the hot sunshine. Despite being just 1.5%abv the cider’s complexity and character doesn't suffer in any way. Light in colour, the drink has a distinguished ‘nose’ and a smoothness which is in part due to the naturally cultured champagne yeast included in the recipe. 

The apples in the cider are meticulously selected and are grown elsewhere in Ireland as the distillery is located by the sea which is not good for the growth of apples. This careful selection process helps the cider remain crisp and pristine.  Everything about this drink has been carefully selected, including the name. Tobar means “well” (as in wishing well) and “ín” means small or light, coming together as Tobairín. 

So, if you are looking for a low alcohol, refreshing and almost champagne-like tasting beverage, then this is the one for you. 

As Finnbarra is currently looking for a distributor if you would like more information on pricing or to find your local stockist you can contact them at info@finnbarra.com

 

 

Another cider from Finnbarra has made it onto our list, and it’s Stonewell Tawny. If you enjoy a more opulent and rich cider, you should look no further than this delightfully dark drink. This viscous cider possesses a blend of complex bittersweet flavours that is deliciously moreish. The cider is created by chaptalizing the blends of Michelin and Dabinett apple juice while it ferments. Once the fermentation is complete, and the alcohol content reaches 15% Stonewell arrest the fermentation. This leaves residual sugars which encourage the developments of the cider's highly complex flavours to flourish during the minimum 12-month ageing process. 

The Tawny cider is produced in incredibly small quantities, around 3000 litres a year. Each bottle is sealed with food grade beeswax and an individual label identifying the bottle number.  This is a still cider and perfect for a leisurely picnic in the sun, as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to cheese or desserts. This cider reminded us a little of Calvados.

As Finnbarra/Stonewell is currently looking for a distributor, should you want more information on pricing information, or to find your local stockist you can contact them at info@finnbarra.com

Now,  when one thinks about Irish alcohol, Irish Cream is always one of the first to come to mind, and for us, Feeney’s Irish Cream is a really good example. Feeney’s know that to create the freshest and richest tasting Irish Cream you need to look after and nurture the cows being milked. It is this belief that has given their products the high-quality taste and has helped them win award after award; including a 2015 Platinum Sip Award and a 2015 Great Taste Award.

The cream produced by these pampered cows is then combined with a fine three-year-old barrel aged Irish whiskey. All of this careful selection leads to a scrumptious product where every sip tastes sweet, creamy and indulgent. This is delicious on its own, but our favourite way to enjoy Feeney's is to pour some over a bowl of vanilla ice cream!

Trust us, you cannot go wrong with this drink and you can purchase it here from Tesco for £15.50

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For those of you looking for a delicious, traditional and aged whiskey then we recommend you try Hyde. Made in County Cork on the wild Atlantic Southwest Coast of Ireland, Hyde is producing some beautiful smooth Irish Whiskeys using traditional old age craft techniques. The family have been involved in the drinks business for over 12 generations since 1640, so you know that when they say they use traditional methods, you know that they truly do. 

Originally distilled in a traditional copper pot still, Hyde Irish Whiskey is double matured. We particularly love the Sherry Finish, which is a single malt aged in flame-charred, first fill, 200l oak bourbon barrel (giving a sweet vanilla flavour), before being transferred to a vintage Oloroso sherry cask for the final ten months. The sherry casks add a nutty, spice and dried fruit flavour to the last dram. The barrels and casks chosen are significant; as they put it, it’s all about the wood! Named after Ireland's first President, Douglas Hyde, the whiskey has an exceptional quality befitting its presidential namesake. Made in small, handcrafted and limited batches each sip of Hyde whiskey is filled with character

You can purchase a bottle for yourself here for £50.88
 

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And Finally, but by no means least, for all of you honey whiskey fans out there is The Dubliner’s Honeycomb Whiskey. The Dubliner Whiskey and Honeycomb is a delicious blend of welcoming Irish Whiskey and honeycomb and caramel flavours, which have a smooth and easy finish. The Dubliner’s value the importance of the ingredients that are in their whiskeys, as such they use only the best ingredients in their products. As they say, “only the best goes in, no exceptions, no substitutions.” 

This whiskey was created by John Drennan and is one to savour and share. We guarantee you will want more, as the warm whiskey tones blended with the soft sweet honeycomb and caramel are incredibly potent!

You can purchase a bottle to share with friends here for £19.95

All of these brands are wonderfully authentic and have created some truly delicious and refreshing products for you to enjoy. We guarantee that all of them will help bring an added sparkle and Irish flavour to your next summer event! So what are you waiting for, purchase yourself and your friends a bottle or two now.