Hawksmoor

Time travel in a bourbon bottle

 

Usually the b&t blog is written by Dan, but today I’m pushing him to one side and taking my turn in the spotlight. The reason for this is simple; we wanted to write about Four Roses but as many of you will know Dan works for the brand as an ambassador, and so I felt that he might be biased on this particular subject! We try never to blur the line between our personal writing and the brand that Dan works for, but when we found out the Master Distiller from Four Roses was coming to the Uk and bringing a new bourbon with him, we knew we had to share it with you.

 

I am a big fan of bourbon; some I love simply because they’re easily enjoyed and are sympathetic to my female palate, no matter the serve. Others because their aroma transports me back to precise moment in time; a hot, sweet rick house in Kentucky, a September evening with wood smoke and blankets. Sometimes a bourbon manages both and in fact this week I tasted a limited edition that I knew I would like, but also (rather unexpectedly) instantly reminded me of the first time that I ever tried a whiskey straight out of the barrel. 

Love it or hate it... it's vodka!

What is it about vodka that makes it so popular? It sells by the bucket load in the UK, in fact it is the top selling spirit by a country mile. Consumers can’t seem to get enough of it and a new brand seems to launch every week. Personally I’ve never understood its popularity, dress it up any way you want (and brands find some of the most ridiculous ways to dress up a bottle of vodka these days) it still seems like pretty boring stuff to me. No colour, very little flavour, not much happening on the aroma front either. I hold it personally responsible for the bastardisation of the Martini and couldn’t tell you the last time I was even tempted to order a vodka based cocktail… It’s safe to say I’m not a huge fan of the stuff.
 
 
The bitters&twisted drinking room is fairly well stocked with most spirits, there are over 60 American whiskies, 50 or so rums, 25+ tequilas, hell I even have 25 gins to choose from, but when it comes to vodka there are currently only 5 gracing the shelves. While in the past I was quietly proud of this fact, it recently occurred to me that maybe I should at least attempt to get over this bias and see if it’s possible for me to gain an appreciation of this popular spirit.
 

Why drink cocktails?

I’ve been lucky recently to have had some nights that were better than average. You know the sort of evening where everything comes together just right. A good bar, with a talented bartender making drinks, great company and good tunes, the sort of evening where you have a ‘drinking experience’. It got me thinking about the little things that elevate the experience of sipping a cocktail.

 

I’ve always been startled by people who say that cocktails are too expensive but who don’t mind paying over the odds for a bottle of beer or a glass of wine. I admit that it galls me to pay £7.50 for an overly sweetened daiquiri made using the cheapest ingredients by someone who would rather be anywhere other than behind the bar. But when you go to a good bar and your drinks are made by a bartender who does their job because they love it (well they don’t do it for the money that’s for sure!) and you sip a perfectly balanced drink, well that’s worth paying for!

blue blazers, batidas and bartenders of the year?

It turns out that creating a huge database of drinks recipes and spirits is thirsty work, so we decided to reward ourselves for our recent efforts by wandering around East London and having a few drinks with friends.