25 January 2012

Sean Ware Interview

After tending stick behind many familiar bars in London including Townhouse, LAB and of course, Callooh Callay, Sean Ware has recently made the move to work for a brand. Now one of the UK brand ambassadors for Bombay Spirits Company he can currently be found touring the UK with Sam Carter bringing their Aroma Academy sessions and amazing Gin Aroma kits to
bartenders and bars across the country.

1.What was the first spirit you ever tasted and what was your reaction?
Malibu out of the bottle in the mine dumps in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Back then it was the most exotic thing I could of imagined.

2.What is the first cocktail you ever made?
It would have been a French Martini, I got the garnish a little wrong because I kept flaming an orange peel over the top like it was a Cosmo.

3.What was the first drink/spirit you really fell in love with and why?
The first drink would be a G&T, so gin as well. I remember hot afternoons on the veranda in Zambia sipping on a refreshing G&T after tea and scones, I think the whole theatre and routine behind it works for me.

4.One of the more trickier questions...what are your 3 favourite cocktails?
This changes quite often, but today I will be drinking in this order ;
all cliche classics I know, but thats what I'm going to have.

5.Given your extensive experience working behind the bar & also managing them, if you could pass just one thing on to a young bartender what would it be?
Customers first, your ego and technique second.

6.And if you were to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?
You don't always have to follow the recipe, for me it is about balance, accord and the harmony of ingredients together. Besides, ingredients and booze have changed over time so old recipes may not turn out how you expect. But don't run before you can walk.

7.Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion affects the customer's appreciation of cocktails the most?
Time and a place. A bartender should know that it's not always about the
drink, you need to use atmosphere, lighting, music as well as flavour, banter and technique to win over people.

8.Is there anything that influences the drinks that you create from outside the industry?
The blues, food and moments in time or experiences.

9.What is a flavour you have discovered recently?
As opposed to a specific flavour, I have been doing a lot of work with aroma connection with emotions as part of flavour-as flavour is the sum of aroma, retro-nasal aroma, taste, aftertaste and trigeminal effects.

10.You've just moved across to be a UK Brand Ambassador for Bombay Spirits Company, how did you find the move from behind the bar to brand work?
I think we work in such an amazing industry and I'm lucky enough to work
with such amazing people, both Team Bacardi and other, so the transition has been relatively easy. If only I could get Leanne to do my expenses though...

11.Ha, good look persuading her! I know you've only just moved into the new role, but any ideas what the future may hold for you?
My new role is keeping me pretty busy, but I might have a few things up my sleeve...

12.How very cryptic...! Do you have any industry predictions for the next couple of years?
Smaller bars specialising in either wine, beer or cocktails, with smaller but wiser choices, and hopefully better service, easier booking systems and less of those rude doormen.

13.Absolutely with you on the rude doormen - no thanks! If you where to
champion a cocktail which would it be?
Before Christmas I couldn't get enough of Victor from Callooh Callay's I amThe Moon. Go try it.

I Am The Moon
50ml Belvedere Intense
10ml Briottet White Cacao
Stir and serve in a coupet glass

14.Ha, loving the bromance ;) So, I had to ask this final one...What gin do you prefer in your martini?
Tough question, you see there are so many things to consider: what ratio, gin in the freezer or not, olive or twist, which amazing vermouth to choose, but of course anything from the Bombay Spirits Company.

Two words: Cop out!

Interview conducted by Emma Stokes

Rum Sheets

I don't need to re-iterate, science and food, science and drink, science and all of catering are edging ever closer together. Soon people will be studying Drinks Physics at the same time as tending bar.

Some of the more simple forms of innovation are being overlooked in lieu of others which may be more useful simply because they appear flashy and will wow a crowd a deal more than something we are able to prep and whip out ready to go.

The video above gives a good break down of a very simple technique that can easily be incorporated into any busy service, with the proper prep prior to the event. The technique consists of rum, agar agar, a fridge, a pan, and something to heat the pan.

The result is a versatile "sheet of rum" that can be rolled and molded into a garnish.

Taking the garnish one step further, you could infuse the spirit with subtle lemon/lime zest. Perhaps a hint of coffee to add to an after dinner cocktail or pineapple for a tiki. However you approach the flavour combinations the result can broaden the cocktail experience and take steps to make a drink more than just a drink.

Is This The End for Oak Aged Whisky?

Machine Aged Chris Buzelli

Though the title of the post may be slightly over-dramatic, and yes it might be a way of grabbing your attention in the overcrowded land that is twitter and Facebook, if you really think about it after watching the video and reading the article it may lay hold to some truth.

A Brief Overview of the TerrePURE® Process from Daniel Hewlette on Vimeo.

Whisky ageing is an essential part of any Whisky distillery. The ageing is responsible for the vast majority of a whiskies character. More than just character though, it is a whiskies identity. Smell, texture, taste are products of many many years of meticulous distilling and ageing that have rich histories, whether it be in Scotland, America, Ireland, or Japan. Each has subtle, or more obvious difference that are easily recognised to a trained pallet.

Whisky, specifically Johnnie Walker, is the 4th biggest selling spirit in the world ,and in the UK alone, sale of bourbon have increased 20% 2009-2011. The demand for whisky is not going away. This does ask an interesting question though. How much would the distiller stand to make if they didn't have to go through that long and arduous process of waiting for their whiskies to fully mature. What if whisky production was as quick as vodka or any other clear spirit.

Well potentially this question could be one crossing a few people minds with the news that retired chemist Orville Tyler has found a way to do 6 months work in only a few hours. Before we get ahead of ourselves, bear in mind the process at the moment is more of a "make young, unaged, bad whisky taste like older whisky and actually make it taste a lot better" rather than "lets get a 16 year Laphroig aged in a day." The potential is certainly there though, especially considering the research only began in 1999, 13 very short years ago.

Currently there aren't really any viable substitutes to the ageing process. Some distilleries use smaller barrels, which increases the ratio of surface area to volume exposing more of the liquid to the effects of the oak. This process is more of a mask than anything. It sweetens, adds colour, and mellows slightly but does not go as far as eliminating the unwanted flavour of a young spirit. Whiskies need time to react within a barrel and create esters, which are the main source of whiskies flavour.

Orville argues, the way distillers spirits are treated is so inefficient that him and his team decided to see if they could come up with something different. They found that they can pump whisky (or any other spirit) through oxygenated chambers which subjects it to "high intensity ultrasonic energy" which then trigger esterification. Orville says that "in six hours you have every reaction you need for vodka, and in 12 hours every reaction you need for darker spirits". The team were sent a young whisky to age"They are already creating bespoke branded spirits for shops, restaurant and hotels having around 50 clients

Now back to my initial statement. There is currently not a lot of information of how much the process can be controlled or if experiments have been carried out to see if you could take a young whisky or rum, and put it through the process to reach the same result as if it was aged traditionally. One immediate important point is the the process has no effect on the colour of the spirit, so potentially an "aged" whisky would look exactly the same as a young whisky.

The research and process does raise some interesting questions for the future. The fact that they have made such headway and refined the process in such a short time begs the question where will they be in 30 years. Could distillers have embraced this as a step of the ageing process, as after all it achieves the same results.

Could it lead to a new system, the next lever of premium and super premium spirits. Whiskies would be aged for hundreds of years with a super super premium stamp being available on some. Potentially barrel aged whiskies would be produced in such tiny quantities their price would be reserved for a select few and maybe go the route of the super car and be made bespoke for the most willing bidder, while 10 year whiskies are created in a few days.

Flavour of the Week - Dandelion

The more I read about dandelions the more amazed I am at how they are not used on a daily basis, by more than the holistic or alternative remedy crowd.

Dandelions are a type of weed, with the most common two species growing throughout the world and seemingly able to adapt and thrive in most weather conditions. The plant is also famed for being one of the most beneficial naturally growing sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Dandelions contain more iron and calcium than spinach, are higher in beta carotene than carrots and contain at least 6 different vitamins including B5, B12, C and E.

Used in cooking for many years, everything including the root can be eaten. The root is most often used dried and can be ground to make "dandelion coffee". The leaves are known for being added to salads and produce a slightly crisper more individual flavour than normal greens. The flowers, best harvested early spring, can be used to make wine, and again added to a salad or eaten raw.

Dandelion tinctures, oils and absolutes are readily available as well as dried dandelion leaves, however maybe best of all this "super" plant is completely free if you can go and find a patch of grass and pick your own.

Flavour: Flower - slightly bitter-sweet taste, citrus, hint or rose and aromatic. Leaves - similar to other greens, slight bitterness, crunch, vegetable like in flavour.

18 January 2012

Alex Kamerling Interview

What do you do after you've worked your way around the world, after you've worked for some of the biggest names in the industry and after proved yourself to be a world class cocktail maestro? Well if your name's Alex Kammerling you lock yourself away, import exotic botanicals from all over the world and create your own spirit!

Inspired by the medicinal history of alcohol, the resulting ginseng spirit is composed of 45 natural botanicals including grapefruit peels and manuka honey alongside four different kinds of ginseng. Previously called Kammerlings, the spirit has recently undergone a re-brand due to a dispute with a German brand. Now called Kamm & Sons the new name reflects the family involvement and indeed inspiration behind the product (Alex's great grandfather worked as a confectionist specializing in herbal remedies).

1.What was the first drink/spirit you ever tasted and what was your reaction?
Aquavit from my parents drinks cabinet. Said to myself there and then I would never have another spirit again in my life...

2.What is the first cocktail you ever made?

No idea...being shown how to make a singapore sling on my first bar job rings a bell though

3.What was the first drink/spirit you really fell in love with and why?
Campari – Although I hated it the first time I tried it...but it takes a while to fall in love!

4.What is a flavour you have discovered recently?
Currently playing with Bergamots

5.What does the future hold for yourself/product/company?
Lots of work, lots of travel, line extensions and other general world-domination activity

6.Any industry predictions for the next couple of years?

Drinks simplification – less is more

7.What is your greatest satisfaction from creating your own product?

People coming up to me and telling me how much they love it is amazing!

8.If you were to have a conversation with a spirit (and presuming it could talk back and tell you its past) what would it be?

Would love to have a good old chin wag with a bottle of Punt e Mes

9.What are your 3 favourite cocktails?
Negroni, Martini, Boulevardier

10.What prompted you to make your own product?

I wanted to make a ‘Healthier’ spirit as I was concerned by the amount of hard liquor I was consuming!

11.If you could pass just one thing, on to a young bartender what would it be?
Don’t lose focus

12.What has been your biggest satisfaction from working with Bartenders?

Experiencing their passion and dedication

13.What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?

I love scultpure (used to be an artist!) Architechture, Photography

14.If you where to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?

I would finger the glassware.

15.Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?

Good company

16.If you where to champion a cocktail which would it be?

Adam & Eve – Kammerling’s, Lychee and Grapefruit juice served tall over ice with a lemon wedge and a slice of cucumber. Best cocktail in the world. FACT.

17.What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?

Just meeting a cool bunch of passionate people

18.What gin do you prefer in your martini?

Can’t go wrong with Tanqueray

You can find more about Alex and his ginseng spirit Kamm & Sons Here

Tony C on Mastering the Manhattan

Congratulations to The Zetter Townhouse on being featured in GQ. The article delves into the trends and fashions of being male and choosing a cocktail that shows your identity but also seperates you from the rest of the crowd. Tony C then offers some advice on what to look for in a good Manhattan, how to order properly from the bartender and offers an insight into some of the techniques he uses to keep his Manhattan of the highest standard.

Bespeak to your bartender

The Manhattan is tailored to you. "It's like buying a suit," says Conigliaro. "You buy a suit from a brand or tailor because you like the fit. It's the same with a drink. Most suits look the same but the cut is different and if you opt for a particular rye or bourbon, that's the cut you want. I'll always have a rye Manhattan because I like the toasty, aniseed notes, and an orange twist rather than a cherry. Most good bartenders will let you taste a bit of the spirit "in the raw" so you can make a decision. If you don't know, they can guide you."

Spirit levels

Conigliaro's recipe is two parts rye or bourbon to one part vermouth with a dash of bitters. "Rittenhouse 100 is my favourite, with Martini Rosso. Some people use a heavier vermouth, but I like it lighter, to let the rye or bourbon come through - and Angostura bitters." The most important ingredient? "Good ice; the bigger, the better. The other common mistake is over-stirring - 25 times maximum. The flavours should integrate on the palate.........."

Continue reading the rest of the piece

Ferrofluid Sculpture

How much fun is Ferrofluid? A question that has plagued me for many many years. Only now can I finally offer an answer. Ferrofluid is alot of fun, or at least watching it on youtube is........

Ferrofluid is a liquid that becomes magnetised when in close proximity to a magnetic field. The science from here on in becomes very compicated so I won't even try to explain.

The fluid does, however, have a variety of uses including art scupltures, medicine, mechanical engineering and various electronic devices

Alcohol Makes You Happy - Official

Yes. It is once again time to delve into a recent study that has now proven what many of us could have told them for free, that alcohol does infact release endorphins and creates feeling of pleasure, satisfaction and happiness.

I should explain. Scientists have suspected this to be the case for 30 years. After carrying out experiments using animals, they found that alcohol releases and affects the "pleasure centre" of the brain, occupied with pleasure and reward. Meaning endorphins are released in one specific area of the brain.

A recent study has found that this is only partly true. We now know that endorphins are actually released in two different areas of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, and the orbitofrontal cortex. Scientists used a PET scan to observe which areas "light up" when stimulated by alcohol creating the first direct and clear evidence of alcohols affect on happiness.

The study was carried out on 13 "heavy drinkers" and 12 "control subjects". All participants were observed to have increased levels of endorphins after drinking alcohol. The more it was released in the nucleus accumbens, are of the brain, the greater the pleasure reported was.

Interestingly, when the levels of endorphins in the orbitofrontal cortex increased, heavy drinkers reported feeling more intoxicated but not those who were part of the control group.

This leads researchers to believe that brains of heavy drinkers are actually changed in such a way that makes them more likely to find alcohol pleasant.

So next time you are enjoying yourself, after several drinks too many, bear in mind that this may in fact put you into a "heavy drinker" category. Also bear in mind that are most likely having a better time than most other people at the party!

Flavour of the Week - Rosehip

Personally, one of my favourite flavours in all the world. How we don't see more of this in bars and it isn't a main stay of flavoured spirits I'm still unsure. Maybe it is price or availability issues. Whatever the case may be, be sure to experiment and play with rosehip at least once.

Dried rosehip is available throughout the year and can easily be found online or purchased from alternative remedy shops. Alternatively the fresh fruit can be used either raw or cooked. Be careful when using the raw fruit, as the irritant hairs need to be removed. Although they can, and are, used in itching powder so they do not necessarily have to go to waste.

High in natural Vitamin C, rosehip is famed for it's internal and external medicinal uses. It has been proven to help with heart disease, arthritis, skin problems and is a strong antioxidant.

Rosehip can also be found as an oil, tea, or syrup, though dried rosehip is often the most useful for infusing a spirit.

Flavour - Tangy, fruit, slight citrus, full

11 January 2012

J. Kenji López-Alt Interview

J. Kenji López-Alt is the Managing Editor of Serious Eats where he pens the popular "Food Lab" column, dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of home cooking with science. After graduating from MIT, he learned the craft of cooking the traditional way - as a line cook and chef at some of the best restaurants in Boston including No. 9 Park, Clio, Uni, and Toro.

He spent the next three years as a Senior Editor and in-house science adviser at Cook's Illustrated Magazine in Brookline, MA. During this time, he produced the popular Cook's Live! Video series, as well as cohosted several episodes of the public television show America's Test Kitchen.

In 2010, he was named one of "40 Great Thinkers under 40" by Food & Wine Magazine. His work has appeared in many publications including the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, Gourmet, Cooking Light, Details, Wired, and the 2010 edition of Best Food Writing. He is the author of "The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science", to be published by W. W. Norton in 2012.

1.What is the first cocktail you ever tasted?

I'm not sure that my first cocktails actually qualified as "real" cocktails because they were--as I'm sure is the case for many folks out there--nasty colored concoctions we came up with in college. Probably something invloving a mixture of blue curaçao and peach schnapps, or perhaps an attempted martini made at room temperature without ice and consumed as a shot. The first real cocktail I tasted that made me go, "holy cow, that's what a cocktail should taste like?" was a Sazerac made by John Gertsen at Boston's No. 9 Park.

2.What was the first flavour you really fell in love with and why?

Scotch. There's just such an amazing depth to it and a wide range of flavors produced in such a small area of the world. It's amazing to me the variety you get and the huge differences just from slight changes in geography or process.

3. Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?

My father just gave me a bottle of really nice Chinese rice wine. Totally different from the acidic, tart, cheap stuff I've been used to in the past. Smooth and complex.

4. If you could pass just one thing, on to someone starting out in the
industry what would it be?

There are no shortcuts to the top. You have willing to slave away unrecognized and underpaid for as long as it takes to break through, often many years or even decades.

5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the
future in the food and drink?

With the drastic and unforseen changes my life has taken in the last five years, there's absolutely no way of knowing what the future holds. All I know is that I hope I can continue to have as much fun as I'm having working at something that I'm passionate about. As for the future of food and drink, I think over the next few years people will continue getting back to the basics, eschewing fancy ingredients and tools, and hopefully this will translate into more ad more folks coming up with techniques and recipes that can be recreated at home.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working with food?

I get immense pleasure whenever someone writes in to tell me that my work has encouraged them to step into the kitchen and cook more. The packaged food industry probably won't like me for saying this, but the more people who cook at home, the better!

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail or dish, (and presuming
it could talk back to you and tell you its past). Which would it be and why?

The Sazerac. The king of the cocktails, and one of the oldest to boot. I'd like to hear all about its early history and changes its seen in both itself and its drinkers in its lifetime.

8. What influences your food from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?

Science has always been a huge part of my life and my work.

9. If you where to break a kitchen golden rule what would it be?

I drink straight from the milk carton and eat food I've dropped all the time (don't worry, I wouldn't serve it to guests).

10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cuisine what in your opinion
effects the appreciation of taste the most?

Perception affects taste almost as much as actual flavor and craft. Tell someone that a food is something they want it to be, and it'll taste better. Countless studies have shown that identical foods presented under different guises will taste completely different to people, even when tasted side-by-side.

11. If you where to champion a dish which would it be?

Fresh made tofu! I love meat, but tofu is one of my favorite foods in the world when it's well made and very fresh.

Fluid Dress

Apparently liquid can be used for more than just drinking!? Who would have thought.

The video below shows off a very innovative use of fluid. Made by Casual Profanity, who described themself as "the name and philosophy behind a ridiculous series of clothing experiments".

Not only is this visually striking but offers some interesting ideas for either decor or an extremely original way of using straws.

The Boston Molasses Disaster

We always attempt to be as forward facing as possible at Drink Factory. However there are a few occasions where however you might try, something in history demands you take a moment and give it the thought it warrants.

One such event may well be the Boston Molasses Distaster that occurred January 15th 1919. As the anniversary looms ever closer we thought it a a poignant occasion to share or remind you of the story that had a profound affect on American Distillers at the time.

Jamie Baxter tells the story. Jamie was a master distiller at Chase Distillery where he was responsible for designing, installing, commissioning, running and then developing products. He now works as a consultant, working around the UK and South America aiding in start up small scale artisan distilleries.

1917 was a difficult time for American distillers. State after state was backing prohibition and it would have been obvious that it was only a matter of time before the bill was ratified. Prohibition would ban the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages (with the exception of wine and cider made for home consumption) and so distilleries were to be effectively legislated out of business. Many of America’s distilleries disappeared when prohibition came into force. One was the Purity Distilling Company in Boston. It used to distil molasses from the Caribbean into rum, and in 1915 had built a huge great tank, 58 foot tall and with a 90 foot diameter giving a volume of 2.5 million gallons. Two years later, with prohibition looming, it sold out to United States Industrial Alcohol, a company that supplied industry with alcohol as a solvent and therefore would be able to continue to trade as long as the alcohol produced was rendered unfit to drink. At the end of 1918, a ship from Puerto Rico off-loaded 2.3 million gallons of molasses into the tank. I would estimate that this would weigh over 11,000 metric tonnes.

On January 15th 1919, the day before the prohibition bill was ratified, disaster struck as the tank ruptured and a tidal wave of hot, dense, sticky molasses swept through the Boston dock area at speeds estimated at 35mph. Men, women, children and horses were caught up in the wave and crushed. Lorries were flung through houses. An overhead train track was brought crashing down just after a train had passed. When the power of the wave had subsided, some unfortunate survivors of the initial flood were unable to escape the sticky mass and slowly slipped under the surface. The quote from Stephen Puleo describes the scene

"Molasses, waist deep, covered the street and swirled and bubbled about the wreckage. Here and there struggled a form — whether it was animal or human being was impossible to tell. Only an upheaval, a thrashing about in the sticky mass, showed where any life was... Horses died like so many flies on sticky fly-paper. The more they struggled, the deeper in the mess they were ensnared. Human beings — men and women — suffered likewise"

It was so thick that rescuers could not make their way through it. The dead were still being found four days later, their bodies frozen in the position that they died. The final death toll was 21, with over 150 injured and a number of horses also killed. The clean-up operation took weeks and the Boston harbour area smelled of sweet molasses for decades afterwards.

The resultant hearings were the biggest in Massachusetts’ history. Eventually United States Industrial Alcohol was found responsible for the disaster as the safety factor was not great enough in the design of the tank. They were forced to pay almost $1 million in damages and the case has gone on to influence American law with respect to responsibility and negligence.

Flavour of the Week - Peppercorn

Officially the most traded spice in the world, black pepper is actually a kind of flowering vine native to India. Peppercorns as we know them are a fruit produced by the vine. The fruit goes through several stages of maturity beginning pale and white, then green and eventually ending dark red when fully mature.

The most common use for peppercorns is to pick them when they are still unripe and green, then to dry them after which they become the shrivelled black fruit we see on a daily basis.

The "peppery", or spice, comes from a chemical called piperine which is also used in various soft drinks.

Most obviously a pairing with neutral spirit would work well. However if used in a more subtle way the peppercorn can mix very well with gin, or even sharp citrus fruits.

Flavour: spice, earth, hot.

04 January 2012

Noise's Effect on the Taste of Alcohol

A recent experimental study sought to delve into how the perception of noise can effect the taste of alcohol. The study took into account, sweetness, bitterness, and alcohol strength.

The study appeared, uncritically in a mainstream free daily paper stating that "loud music makes alcohol taste sweeter, therefore you drink more". Although this can broadly be said to be one of the findings of the study, it does not take into account the many flaws, and variables within the experiment and also leaves out many of the other findings.

The study took place over 5 hours with 80 participants. 11 were male and 69 female. Each participant was observed for 45 minutes in laboratory conditions whilst they drank a cranberry and vodka.

Participants were subjected to 4 conditions and asked to rate flavour perception under each. Conditions were:
  • Loud music
  • Whilst listening to a news story and then being asked to reapeat the story back
  • Having music in one ear and news in the other ear
  • Nothing
Amongst the flaws were the fact that the participants had prior knowledge of what was being studied meaning their perceptions could already be altered. The group was predominantly female, all whom were aged between 18-28 and already regular drinkers and the study took place in artificial lab setting, not in "real" settings.

Although participants did rate their drink as tasting sweeter whilst listening to loud music, this does not account for the conclusion "Loud music make you drink more". There could be a number of other factors including the need to release inhibitions, freeing you to dance or being unable to talk as the music volume prevents it.

The study also found, if alcohol strength appeared higher sweetness would decrease whilst bitterness increased. Perception of alcohol was impaired when listening to both music and news as well as causing a more negative mood. And people rated the drink as less bitter whilst listening to music, however the effect was much more marginal.

What is interesting though is that the study was based on a previous experiment which found that music alters the taste of food. Which poses an interesting question in the bar world. Can you change peoples perception of a drink through music?

We have probably all heard of foods being served with headphones to fully stimulate senses and simulate a scene so why not drinks. (See the Drink Factory Havanna Pod) Many bars already have a strict music policy, ensuring that the atmosphere is controlled and maintained throughout the evening.

Why not go further than that and make music a continuation of the cocktail. For instance smooth jazz to accompany smooth old fashioned or Manhattan. Maybe a light hearted and warm electronic track to compliment a bramble or roots/reggae music for a long tropical rum punch.

Any suggestions for fitting music / cocktail pairings are welcome!!

Flavour of the Week - Quince

Closely related to the apple and pear family, quince may be one of the oldest recorded fruits with references dating back 4000 years. The fruit appears bright and yellow when ripe and light green when immature and not fully grown.

It is cultivated in many countries but is best suited to hot climates where it becomes soft and can be eaten raw. Turkey accounts for a 1/4 of the worlds production of quince, with Latin America, Central and Southern Europe, the Middle East and America accounting for the majority of the rest.

In cooler climates quince is often hard and very tannic, with the skin being very potent and perfumed. In this condition quince can most often be used to create jam, marmalade or cooked until the skin turns red and used in desserts as it's taste sweetens greatly.

When soft quince can be eaten raw. Although still sour it is much sweeter and very tasty. Hard quince goes very well with honey and lime after being baked.

Flavour - Hard quince is extremely potent and citrussy, less is always more. Tannic, sour, tart.

Iron Filllings With Your Breakfast Flakes?

We have never been one for getting involved with health/food/conspiracy theory trends that appear to spring up throughout the media on a day to day basis. However this video is fascinating both in it's simplicity, regarding the technique used, and also initially quite shocking in the results produced.

Now, hopefully you have watched the video already. We should clarify that this is not actually as bad as it may look. This type of iron filling appears similar to what you might expect to find when you pass a magnet through soil. It also appears that this metallic "reduced iron" will, mostly, dissolve in your stomachs hydrochloric acid.

The iron will then be absorbed into your blood stream for bodily functions. However, also a point of note, this will not happen as efficiently as other sources of "natural iron" found in plants and non-processed foods.

Many do, in-fact, disagree. They say this particular type of iron cannot be broken down very well by our body and has potential to be poisonous. It is not up to us to condemn or celebrate. Although we can safely say that, as with many supplements, natural sources are generally healthier and more easily broken down by your body.

The next question may be, why has the cereal industry chosen this reduced iron specifically? The answer may not come as a surprise, as it appears that iron found in plants and non-processed foods may actually speed up spoiling, whilst reduced iron does not. It may simply come down to a products shelf-life

There is alot more information on the topic, including several other videos demonstrating the effect. We would encourage you to continue researching if you wish to know more.

Imbibe Awards

Now that the new year has been seen in and everyone is slowly and glumly making their way back to work lets start voting! The shortlist for the Imbibe Personality of the Year is now in.

Shortlisted for Pub Personality of the Year is 69 Colebrookes Rows very own Camille Hobby-Limon (also of the Charles Lamb pub). Also included for the prestigious Bar Personality of the Year is Operations Manager Marciz Dzelzainis of 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse.

All votes and support is greatly appreciated. Voting stays open till February 10th after which the winners will be announced at an awards bash later in the month.

Vote via

Happy New Year!

We are very aware this is rather late, however, a very Happy New Year! to all our followers, readers, friends and family. We have a good feeling about this year, with many plans in the pipeline for the blog and otherwise. It should be a good one!

We'd like to start hearing more from you. What would you like to see more of? What is it you like? Do you have any ideas for features you'd like us to write about or even write yourself for us to publish?

Drinks knowledge is growing rapidly.Industries advance infinitely quicker when knowledge is shared. So maybe we can push the boundaries of drinks all over again in 2012!

Get in touch - giles@thedrinkfactory.com