Dover Azuki Liqueur & Aka-Murasaki

If you have ever travelled to the Far East, you will probably not have been able to avoid contact with the sweet, red bean paste found in countless desserts and pastries. The name azuki bean paste is somewhat less common, even though it is actually the correct name for the sweet called dousha in China and An, Anko or Ogura in Japan. Because the basis of the paste is the so-called azuki bean (sometimes adzuki bean). And it is precisely this bean that is the decisive ingredient for the liqueur that is the focus of attention today. Read More

G’Vine Nouaison Gin & The Improved Jockey Club Cocktail

After a short holiday-summer break here on the blog, today I will continue with a bottle of gin, to which I have a very special relationship. This is because at numerous gin tastings that I have moderated in the past, I have put this gin at the end of the tasting series (or at least almost at the end). Why did I do that? Well, the G’Vine Nouaison Gin has been on the market for quite some time (2001) (albeit in a different design) and for me it symbolizes the breadth of the gin taste palette – and it did this even before the big wave of New Western Dry Gins flooded the world. Read More

Perola turns 10 – and celebrates this with two exciting rums

Ten years ago, Arno Schmid-Egger and his then co-founder Joachim Klein founded the Perola GmbH. Initially, the company focused solely on Magnífica Cachaça, but eventually expanded its range of products and is now one of the established distributors and traders of spirits in the German-speaking world. My esteemed blogger colleague Johann Trasch from cocktailbart.de worked for the Fürth-based distribution company and also I have worked with Perola in the past, writing about some of their products, as well as tasting and mixing them. Read More

Samurai No Mon Shōchū & The Shimazu Highball

Today I am happy to be able to once again write about Japanese Shōchū. Already in March this year I published an article about a representative of this category of spirits and reviewed the Sato No Akebono Gold Shōchū, which I liked very much. In a Negroni, it is truly a poem! However, while the Sato No Akebono Gold is a sugar cane-Shōchū, today I am dealing with a Shōchū made of sweet potatoes. But that is by far not the only special thing! Read More

Monkey Shoulder & The Laughing Monkey

Today’s article is one that is both long overdue and full of special anticipation. Because when I first held the beautifully shaped bottle with the three monkeys in my hands many years ago, I was directly in love with the design. I’ve always had a weakness for monkeys (it’s no coincidence that the blog mascot is a little monkey) and so I liked the Monkey Shoulder from the start. But well, design alone is not everything (on the contrary), it depends on the content. Read More

Plantation Isle of Fiji & the Bula Bula Cocktail

It’s been quite a while since I wrote about a rum from Fiji here. I really liked the Plantation Vintage Edition Fiji 2009 very much and since then I have been absolutely positive about rums from the Pacific island state. Later I also reviewed the Plantation Black Cask Barbados & Fiji, which is at least partly based on Fiji rum from the South Pacific Distillery. Here, too, I was very positively impressed. And today I have a new Fiji-Rum from the Plantation series in front of me. Read More

Berlin Distillery Gin

After a break of almost two weeks I am finally back with another article. It’s quite possible that in other times I would have used a two-week break to visit the German capital, because I have to admit that I really have a soft spot for Berlin! – This may sound rather facile because some people might wonder who doesn’t like Berlin (actually quite a lot of people do), but basically I just want to express that I like the city best among the big German bar scene metropoles. However, this has only little to do with the bar scene, but rather with the history of the city, the free spirit of Berlin, the unique, multicultural (gastronomy) – and somewhere of course also with the possibilities of upscale drinking pleasures that the city offers. Read More

Vallendar Obstbrände & Obstgeiste (Eau-de-Vies)

When people talk about the German tradition of distilling spirits, the first thing you will hear about is the art of distilling fruit, which is the historically grown foundation of that craft throughout the country. Although countless fruit distillers have long since expanded their traditional profession and now also produce gin, whisky and co. on their own or as commissioned work, in the end it is of course the fruit brandy respectively eau-de-vie production that forms the heart of the German distillery landscape. And the Brennerei Hubertus Vallendar is one of those distilleries. Read More

Happy Chartreuse Day!

“Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur from the Grande Chartreuse!” – This was indeed the first sentence I encountered many years ago when I first came into contact with the liqueur from the green or yellow labelled bottle. It was uttered by a friend who had quickly researched what exactly this spirit was – and thereby left a big question mark. Although I am not a culturally uninterested person, one might  forgive me for not immediately making sense of the term “Grande Chartreuse” at that time. Read More

Château de Laubade Signature & Intemporel Hors d’Âge – The Armagnac Addington

Cognac sometimes is seen as an old man’s drink, which is probably mainly a consequence of the shadow that the growing enthusiasm for whisky has cast over the French spirit genus since many years. Although we are familiar with the adventurously expensive prestige bottles that are often displayed in duty-free shops at airports, outside of France, apart from a small clientele, at times perhaps it have been older people indeed who were interested in cognac. Although this has changed somewhat in the meantime, cognac has always been a classic ingredient behind the bar – albeit one that only regained its reputation during the cocktail renaissance. Read More

Freimeisterkollektiv Zitronenverbene, Freimeisterkollektiv Wodka Sangaste & the Cold Drip Lemon Verbena Negroni

Today I would like to once again review two bottles from the range of the Freimeisterkollektiv here. The Freimeisterkollektiv Wodka Sangaste by Sven Ivanov and the Freimeisterkollektiv Zitronenverbene (Geist) by Georg Hiebl (Zitronenverbene means lemon verbena in German). And, of course, there is still an exciting cocktail waiting for you, which today is made using the cold drip method. Read More

Foursquare Plenipotenziario

When I first started to devote myself to rum, today’s common awareness of the different styles, the addition of sugar, glycerine or vanillin, which is unfortunately practiced by many manufacturers, was not raised at all. My first orientation in the rum world at that time was still a division into the so-called Spanish, French and British rum style, as you can still find it in some rum literature today. Although this classification is not necessarily completely absurd, it is now also considered outdated and not very meaningful. A distillery with which I connect a real aha- respectively awakening experience is the Foursquare Distillery from the island state of Barbados. Read More

Sweyn Gabelbart Passion Gin & The Passion of Heyerdahl

What do Vikings, gin and passion fruit have in common? Nothing? Well, at least they have managed to come together in a very daring marketing story around a gin that I want to review here today. In fact, I have involuntarily wrinkled my forehead a few times while reading the background story, because I find the narrative around this bottle really odd – and I have already read a few marketing stories about spirits and have also briefly reviewed them here. However, things are the way they are. In the end, what counts for me anyway is what is contained in the bottle and how it performs in the tasting. But one thing at a time. Read More

Acqua Bianca & the White Grasshopper

For those familiar with the bar world, Salvatore Calabrese probably doesn’t need to be introduced. But if the name doesn’t mean anything to you, I will offer you a few lines about Mr. Calabrese: The man originally comes from the Italian Amalfi Coast and is meanwhile usually referred to as “The Maestro”. He gained particular fame as the bartender of London’s Duke’s Hotel, where he mainly dealt with old cognacs. He was president of the United Kingdom Bartender’s Guild, is frequently appointed to the jury of cocktail competitions and works as a consultant for numerous spirits companies. In short: the man is a heavyweight in the cocktail world. Read More

Calvados Coquerel Limited Editions, Big Apple and the Newark Cocktail

I recently wrote a few lines about Calvados from Maison Coquerel and in the course of this article I also reviewed the Calvados Coquerel VSOP and the Calvados Coquerel XO. Of course I also described two cocktails, the Princess Pride and a slightly upgraded Calvados Sour, which really are an excellent way to enjoy Calvados in a cocktail. Today I will once again talk about Calvados from Maison Coquerel, about three special bottlings to be precise, each with very interesting profiles. Read More

Freimeisterkollektiv RYE Straight Rye Whiskey – Rye & Coffee Manhattan

Once again I would like to take a closer look at a bottle from the Freimeisterkollektiv (which I have already written about here) – the RYE Straight Rye Whiskey to be precise. I was particularly curious about this one, as it was ultimately designed and produced by none other than Rüdiger Sasse, with whose products I, as a Westphalian, have often come into contact. Last but not least, I recently published an article about the really fantastic Lagerkorn 12 here. Read More

Sato No Akebono Gold, Shōchū Negroni & Amami Breeze

Shōchū – unfortunately the genuine Japanese spirit is still quite underrepresented outside of the land of the rising sun, yet it is such a traditional, multi-layered and exciting spirit! In this respect, I am really happy to be able to write about a Shōchū again after some time. Moreover, today it is about a very special and recently awarded representative of its kind! Read More

Giffard Banane du Bresil & The Kapre

There is one particular fruit dividing dividing the bar world when it comes to spirits: and that is the banana. Because of its consistency, it is less suitable as an ingredient for many people, as it is difficult to use without a blender, makes a drink quickly sort of creamy and also shifts the consistency towards a milkshake. This may not sound like a big problem for some occasional drinkers, but if you have a more demanding habit of drinking classic and sophisticated cocktails, you will probably politely refrain from such drinks. A chance to break out of this situation is offered by the colorful world of the Tiki drinks. But here, too, the banana is a special thing because even tiki drinks rarely come across milkshake-like. Read More

Dutch Cacao, 20th Century Cocktail & Ship’s Kobold

“Ciao Cacao!” – that’s what sounded through all the social media channels when a new star from the Dutch company of de Kuyper Royal Distillers appeared to a wider audience for the first time on the stage of the bar scene at the Bar Convent in Berlin. Above all, however, it was also a demonstration of the considerable media range and presence of Le Lion founder Joerg Meyer, who created this “new star” in cooperation with de Kuyper. I’m talking about Dutch Cacao Crème de Cacao White. Today, also I will write a few lines about this product and explain what I think about it. Read More

Topanito Mezcal Artesanal Blanco 52% and the Bittered Piña Mezcalita

The name Topanito will not only be familiar to loyal readers of my blog by now. When I look back on my article from 2016 and notice how I tried to explain tequila as also being a “premium spirit” which must be differentiated from less appealing qualities, in 2020 this seems a bit strange. Sometimes it’s really amazing how quickly situations change, because by now hardly anyone should doubt that tequila can do more than salt, lemon and convulsion. And of course, many have long since also learned about the Mezcal category. Read More

Calvados Coquerel VSOP & Calvados Coquerel XO

One of the perhaps most underestimated spirit types is Calvados. Considering that it is a classic, cask-matured and strictly regulated type of spirit (such as whisk(e)y or cognac), it is a little surprising how seldom you come across calvados as a cocktail ingredient, but also as a sipping spirit. However, there is a real community of Calvados lovers out there. And of course there are also very good Calvados cocktails. Read More

Got Milk? – “Tea, Earl Grey, Cold & Clarified!”

Okay, two things kept playing on my mind this weekend: The new Picard series and a social network discussion about Clarified Milk Punches. Today’s article – which is an unusually short one – focuses on these two topics. It is not really difficult to understand why. Therefore, off to the replicator, the tea is already cold! Read More

Freimeisterkollektiv Mahembe Kaffeegeist & Mahembe Mai Tai

Today I’ll make it rather short. This is mainly because the drink we are going to talk about today is based on ingredients that I have only reviewed here in the last few days. Well, almost: I’ve written about the truly exceptional product range from the Freimeisterkollektiv in general (and also presented some of them in detail), but not about the specific bottling of the range that will be used today: the Freimeisterkollektiv Mahembe Kaffeegeist. Read More

Freimeisterkollektiv Krauseminze & The Deconstructed Rye Julep

Mint is not just mint – this becomes quickly clear to every cocktail enthusiast. Nevertheless, it is by no means clear to everyone since especially many first attempts by beginners can lead to unexpected results. A cocktail that calls for fresh mint (and countless recipes do) stands or falls with the choice of the right mint. And that mint is generally known as spearmint or green mint, which, unlike peppermint, does not contain menthol. If you confuse the two, you will notice this immediately. If you mix them up in a cocktail and add peppermint instead of (green) mint, it usually ruins the whole drink immediately. Neither a mojito nor a mint julep should make you feel like drinking peppermint candy. Read More

Scheibel Alte Zeit Apricot Brandy and the Self-Starter Cocktail

Good things come to those who wait! Indeed, this could be the motto of my article today. Because after a few years of blogging, I still haven’t written about a real classic among the bar ingredients: Apricot Brandy. But why is an Apricot Brandy a classic behind the bar and what exactly is it? I would like to get to the bottom of these questions and some others today. And of course I would like to introduce an Apricot Brandy here, which I can call my favourite with a clear conscience. Read More