alcohol

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. 

Smith & Sinclair - Cocktail Pastilles

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. That’s the motto for this time of year. But what if we here at The Amazing Blog told you that you could have your drink... and eat it too? Smith & Sinclair has adopted the eat-drink-and-be-merry motto by creating delicious Cocktail Pastilles. Each pastille is made by hand, using high quality alcohol, fresh fruit and rich spices. Completely free from preservatives, dairy and gluten, we can guarantee that these treats will be perfect for your New Year’s festivities.

At first, I didn’t trust that candy with alcohol could ever actually taste good. Thank God Smith & Sinclair proved me wrong. The chewy sweets are infused with a deep complexity of flavours that are found in cocktails, but you would hardly guess! I could taste a hint of alcohol, but other than that, it was like any other sweet, which, if forgotten, could be potentially dangerous.

With a choice between Whisky Sour, Cake Icing, Berry Daiquiri, Spiced Rum, Gin & Tonic and Spring Clean, these Cocktail Pastilles are perfect for any event. Each pack comes with 6 pastilles and contains 6% abv. If you want a treat before New Year’s Eve, order these Cocktail Pastilles here. Make sure you eat responsibly and enjoy!

Friday Favourites - Christmas Alcohol

The end of November has arrived and the festive season is upon us. Glittery decorations are taking over the streets and various Santa Claus impersonators can be spotted walking around your local town. We have put together some of our favourite Christmassy alcohol treats so that everyone can enjoy them this month. We girls at The Amazing Blog won't deny that we do like to indulge in various flavoursome alcoholic beverages at Christmas so have some exciting drinks to tell you about. We have treats from BrewDog, Ophir, Baileys, Stoli,  Dows, and Demijohn. watt

First up on our alcohol likes this month is BrewDog, and their Watt Dickie. This is available in BrewDog Bars and Ales By Mail. Described as a ‘liquid science fiction’, this is definitely an interesting new beverage worth paying attention to. It’s also a great gift for any friends with an interest in weird and wonderful inventions. This is a faux spirit, originating as an India Pale Ale. Watt Dickie has undergone a secret transformation, turning into an abundance of extravagant and unusual flavours. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the Watt Dickie, be it as a spirit or blended into a mysterious cocktail. Christmas is filled with resolution and promise, we often tell ourselves to try new things and become a ‘yes man’ for a bit. Don’t be afraid of this curious drink this Christmas, you may be surprised by how much you enjoy it.

11425The Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin is one of the most Christmassy sounding drinks we have in our collection. The spice in the gin induces an immediate excitement for Christmas as all the smells remind you of those that come out this time of year. I find it inspires a sense of nostalgia, thinking about parties and previous Christmas festivities. The bottle is great for display with its oriental design, there are no holiday season restrictions with this drink as the smell, taste and design are perfect for holidays throughout the year. This is one of our favourite bottles as you want it on your shelf so that its displayed for the world to see. The gin encorporates flavours from around the globe to add something a bit different to this December. Why not welcome in the New Year by treating your tastebuds to a flavour inspired by global spices. This drink is great for cocktails and showing off at those Christmas parties you've fallen into hosting. You can buy the gin in Harvey Nichols for £30.

Baileys-Chocolate-LuxeNow, Baileys is a household treat at Christmas for a lot of you I’m sure, but what about Chocolate Baileys? This beauty is the new addition to the family. Luckily, it doesn’t wander away from Baileys established ingredients, because that is after all, what we love about the brand. It merely blends an additional complimentary ingredient that we Brits just can’t seem to get enough of this time of the year, Chocolate. Irish Whiskey, Cream and Chocolate, is there really anything not to enjoy about that perfect union of flavours?  Lead scientist Anthony Wilson has travelled the world to discover the finest chocolates, as Baileys deserves only the finest of ingredients of course. You can buy this drink at all your local big supermarkets and prices start from as little as £15.

STOLI_SALTED_KARAMELSomething a little different but just as sweet is the Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka. This is a great drink for making creative and flavoursome blends and ideal for impressing your friends and family at parties. The sweet and savoury mix makes it a very enjoyable treat. A gorgeous combination of sweet caramelised sugar and English toffee, levelled out with a light saltines. Delicious! It's always nice to have a more interesting drink at Christmas because the bog standard choices are available to you all year which makes them a bit dull. This Salted Karamel Vodka would make a great little extra to your chocolate selection whilst you're playing charades after that big roast dinner. You can find this vodka for around £20 and from many online stockists so have a read on Stoli to find out more.

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Now for something which may appeal more to mature taste buds, Dows Port. The name Dow has been associated with the finest ports for over 200 years. They have a stunning collection of Port including a selection of luxury vintage ports. Along with this they have also won two of the most prestigious wine competitions around and this is due to the company’s genuine passion for creating excellent tastes. You can visit Dows website to read about the wine and the family history which just adds heritage and more interest to the brand. The inspirational journey surrounding the development of these ports is told here where you can also browse their variety of products.

050909-Demijohn-The Brandy Tower-lightLast but not least is a drink that comes in an attractive and unique bottle which is further complimented by the exciting and modern liquor flavouring. It’s the DemiJohn Brandy Tower, in which you can choose from a delightful selection of liquors. We have been spoilt with Butterscotch Cream, Apricot Brandy, and Somerset Pomona. The blend of different colours stacked upon one another is very stylish and creates a beautiful display piece for your home this Christmas. This alcohol would definitely be a conversation starter for dinners and parties this month.  The choice of liquors means that you can fill the tower with flavours to suit the whole family. There’s nothing to fault as this alcohol both looks and tastes great so is a welcomed addition to the drinks cabinet. We might as well treat ourselves this year to an alcohol tower tailored specifically to our likes, right? If you visit the DemiJohn website, you can explore the different mixtures and create your own invention for the brandy tower.

 

 

Shake Up Your Cocktail Recipes with Alchemist Dreams Liqueurs

new blog image At The Amazing Blog, there is one thing that we can all agree on when the weather is warm and the sun is shining, we love to make (and drink!) cocktails. However, sometimes we get stuck in a rut of making the same old drinks time after time, so we were looking for something new to spice up our cocktail recipes ready for the approaching bank holiday weekend! When we discovered Alchemist Dreams, we thought we had died and gone to cocktail heaven!

Alchemist Dreams offer a bespoke liqueur service, allowing you to create your very own liqueurs! To create your signature liqueur, you have to first choose from a range of delicious fruits to create a base for your liqueur. Then you can select a couple of accent flavours such as vanilla, wormwood or cacao to create a truly unique flavour based around your own personal taste, meaning you get exactly what you want from your liqueur!

When creating your own liqueur you can also select from a range of bottle shapes and sizes to cater for your needs. We think that the Alchemist Dreams liqueurs would make a fantastic present for friends or family as it is a truly unique idea that everyone is bound to be impressed by.

If the thought of designing your own liqueur seems a bit too confusing for you, don’t worry, under each ingredient the types of accent or base flavour that would compliment it have been listed, so you can’t really go wrong! You can also choose from a range of tried and tested home blends if you are feeling less creative!

We sampled the home blend Summer Storm, which  is a concoction of lime, ginger, and Elderflower. This is a perfectly summery liqueur; it is light and perfect for a relaxing summer evening. We also tried out Twisted Mocha, a combination of coffee, cacao, orange, and cinnamon. We loved it! It tastes like an orange latte, and is very energizing and uplifting. Other home blends that are available are: Black(berry) Magic, Broken Temperance, and High Tea, all of which have a unique combination of flavours and we think they sound amazing!

You can drink these liqueurs in a variety of ways so you will never tire of your blend. Alchemist Dreams suggest that you first try the liqueur on its own, as it is perfectly tasty neat or on the rocks. You can mix it with soda or tonic water to create a long drink out of your liqueur. One very interesting idea is pouring it over ice-cream – something we are definitely going to try with the Twisted Mocha flavour! Best of all though, these liqueurs can be used to create bespoke cocktails of your own design, which is sure to impress at parties or dinner events!

If you fancy testing your mixology skills to add a twist to your home-made cocktails we recommend creating your own bespoke concoction in the  Alchemist Dreams website, prices start from just £5 for a 50ml miniature.

Pastis Henri Bardouin

With the end of the Summer around the corner, at The Amazing Blog we've been enjoying the summer parties the French way with Pastis Henri Bardouin, 'le Grand Cru du Pastis'. It's the only pastis produced in Forcalquier, an area of Provence famous for its herbs and anise. At the beginning of the last century there were 10 distilleries in Forcalquier producing pastis, but only one remains today: Distillers et Domaines de Provence, an independent company founded in 1898 which is still produces the finest pastis named after its founder Henri Bardouin. Pastis Henri Bardouin is a complex of 50 natural Provencal herbs and imported spices rich in aroma and flavour such as: mugwort, bluebonnet, sage, star anise, cardamon, black and white pepper, tonka bean, grains of paradise, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. These spices and herbs are purchased directly from the growers surrounding the region or from specialist spice importers. Each ingredient of Pastis Herni Bardouin is individually infused in 96% alcohol to extract the aroma and flavour for 3 months. After that and in a month time, the blend takes place and the final result is bottled with a 45% of alcohol.

Pastis Henri Bardouin is recognised in France as the ultimate pastis, to be enjoyed as an aperitif or as a thirst-quenching drink mixed with water, which only requires one part of Pastis and 5 or 6 part of water. Pastis should be poured into a glass first and then add water from a jug containing ice - putting ice in the glass isn't recommended as it will kill the aromas of the pastis.

The taste of Pastis Henri Bardouin is intense and refreshing, the largest selling spirit drink in France, where over 6 million cases are consumed annually over vodka and whisky.

At The Amazing Blog we really enjoyed mixing Pastis Henri Bardouin with cola to make our own Mazout cocktail and enjoying it in the sun.

Pastis Henri Bardouin is available in Harrods, Waitrose and Independent Retailers at £20.75.