Cocktails for a Warm Winter

Holiday Cocktails

Having a warm winter cocktails with the people you love can make your holiday celebrations festive. If our ancestors knew anything about how to enjoy a festive season, it is preparing the table without having to pay anything for overindulgence.

It is not a secret that most of the traditional recipes for having a festive cocktail would include ingredients like cream and eggs. This is probably the reason why some of the favorite mid-winter warmers by most people are Spanish, English, and Scottish cocktails. So, double up on your hangover remedies! There will be two for the price of only one!

Holiday Cocktails

Holiday Cocktail Recipes To Warm Your Body And Soul. Image (c):

  • Athol Brose

The Athol Brose is how the Scotts welcome the New Year or the first-footer at Hogmanay. First-footer is a term used for the first visitor to step over your threshold after midnight. Fair exchange, on the other hand, is a lump of coal used for the fire where you hope that your first-footer is friendly dark-haired person instead of blonde blue-eyed Viking. Christmas north o’ the border is a much solemn affair. Remember that in Scotland, whisky never has an “e” in it.

Athol Brose’s can be prepared within 5 minutes and cooked in 15 minutes. You can garnish it with nutmeg sprinkled on top or additional creamy swirl.

  • Lamb’s Wool Wassail

The Lamb’s Wool Wassail is an elision of Saxons’ merry toast. According to the old wives’ tale, it would be wise to serve it using an apple wood bowl to keep the witches away from joining the party. If you’re wondering where this came from, this has something to do with the tradition of going outside to the orchard when the clock strikes 12 on the eve of Christmas Day while banging drums or firing guns to scare the evil spirits away that may stop the apple trees from bearing fruits.

The prep time for this recipe is only 10 minutes with cooking time of 20 minutes. Should you need to re-heat, don’t allow it to boil or the egg will curdle.

  • Ponche

The Ponche holiday cocktail is a traditional eggnog based from brandy for which similar recipes can be found throughout Europe. It has a Spanish version where it is thickened using ground almonds that are traditional ingredients for Christmas. It should be served warm on a cold Christmas night with something that is sweet and crisp for dips.

The prep time for Ponche is 10 minutes and it can be cooked within 20 minutes. Remember to shake it before pouring.

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Alcohol that Saves Water? Ecofriendly Elixir

Diageo brands

“Save water, drink alcohol!” … That’s like cutting off sugars and eating more pasta and bread. However, you can  help decrease water consumption by buying alcohol from brands that use environment-friendly processes. In turn, you are helping support manufacturing methods that benefits everybody.

How is Alcohol Produced?

You might not know it, but alcohol production was once a water-intensive process. To make it worse, the production waste is deemed unusable. With increasing water demands, these manufacturing methods aren’t sustainable anymore. Alcohol producers are beginning to identify ways in lessening the environmental impact. Fortunately, their efforts are starting to pay forward.

An Eco-Friendly Alcohol

Diageo, a leader in the beverage industry around the world, has over 50 brands under its wings. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, and Captain Morgan drinks. They produce their beverages in more than 30 countries worldwide, many of which are said to be water-stressed. In order to make sure that their local and global production is eco-friendly and sustainable, Diageo has started to make an effort in lessening water consumption, waste water production, and water draw by 50 percent — they aim to achieve this by 2020.

Diageo brands

Diageo Reserve Collection. Photo credits to

For the last two years, the company has reduced its water usage by about 2.5%. On average, they use 6.9 liters of water for every alcohol they produce and they aim to reduce this even further. Moreover, Diageo has reduced their waste water output by 12% at water-stressed areas. Their water drawing has also decreased by 9% on average.

In addition, they also plan to reduce packaging by 15%, use 45% recycled materials, produce 100% recyclable packaging, and give back to water-stressed areas.

How Feasible is Diageo’s Plan?

Diageo’s plan is attainable primarily because other producers succeeded. Spirits and wines aren’t only the ones that require huge amounts of water, beer production does too. Last 2008, SAB Miller, among the largest beverage companies worldwide, set goals to reduce water consumption by 25% in a span of 7 years. Astonishingly, they didn’t only achieve their goals, they did it in less than 7 years!

Today, approximately 59% of SAB Miller brewers utilize less than 3.5 hectoliters of water to produce 1 hectoliter of beer; only 5 percent of the SAB Miller brewers met this goal last 2008. With this level of water conservation, the company has saved about 28 billion liters of water every year. Needless to say, this is quite a large amount already.

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The Whisky Expo

Prometheus Whisky

If you want to experience a grand holiday, Mahesh Patel  — famous for his 5,000 bottle whisky collection worth over $6 million — wants to take you for a $2.5 million whisky experience in Scotland.

According to Patel, the main idea is to get 5 people on the jet to Scotland, where they will be going to private tours, tastings, and dinners at some of the most popular distilleries in Scotland: Balvenie, Dalmore, Glenfiddich, and Strathisia, home of the 62 Gun Salute.

What you will Enjoy During the Trip?

While you’re on the trip, you will be picking up a cask of a very old whisky from one of the three family-owned distilleries in Scotland, Glenfarclas. You will be choosing a cask and transferring it to customized decanters that are made by Glencairn crystal, a company owed by a very famous family in Scotland.

Patel will be giving high roller tickets to the four-day Universal Whisky Experience which will be held at Wynn Encore Resort in Las Vegas. The Whisky Expo will be featuring more than 90 top brands with a special 8-course whisky dinner at the restaurant of Chef Joel Robuchon.

Prometheus Whisky

Prometheus Whisky

Lap of Luxury: $2.5M whisky tour of Scotland. Image by

Prometheus, a 26-year old whisky, is sold for about $1,000. It comes from the most popular distilleries in Scotland that Patel is keeping a secret. It’s an old-style whisky that his house became popular for.

According to Patel, Prometheus comes from Greek Mythology. Prometheus is the one who came to the world, did incredible things and died. Patel will only sell a limited number of bottles (about 1,000) of Promtehus this year at 26, next year at 27, again 28, and 29. The amount of whisky that will be left will be bottled at year 30 and then Prometheus will be gone. Currently, the stock is already diminishing.

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Jughandle Brewery in Tinton Falls


Craft breweries and distilleries are trending. Just this year, the Beach House Brewery opened in Belmar; meanwhile, Asbury Park approved a distillery for whisky and gin at Emory Street. And now, it’s Tinton Falls’ turn.

Last September, the planning board of Tinton Falls has approved a 3,000 square foot brewery in the Tinton Falls Centre. Jughandle Brwery Co. will be producing 4,000 barrels (31 gallons per barrel) of craft beer each year, and it will be open to the public for tastings and tours.

Pete Artherholt and Mike Skudera of Tinton Falls, and Chris Hanigan of Red Bank are the owners of the brewery. Skudera, former Mayor of Tinton Falls, said that he just met Artherhold and Hanigan at a party in 2014.


jughandle brewing Local Residents Opening Tinton Falls’ First Brewery. Image from

“I finally got to try their beer. … Every (beer) I tried I liked a lot; their beer is one of the best that I’ve tasted. I was very impressed, so I jokingly asked them, ‘Hey, have you ever thought about going pro?’,” says Skudera.

As it turns out, they had and they soon contacted Skudera and asked assistance on the business aspect of things.  According to Skudera, Arterholt (a former chemist) and his wife (a microbiologist) is a rare asset in their brewery.

“That helps immensely because when breweries start they can’t afford to hire a microbiologist… when you start creating more and more quantities of beer you want to have microbiologist do a lot of quality control; we’re starting off on a great foot having that,” Skudera said.

Hanigan, on the other hand, works as an art director and he has experience in marketing and designs. Skudera said that the entire team is “fantastic” as they all have the skills and talents that would make their business successful.

To start off, Jughandle will be offering 6 craft beers. They are also planning to expand to 14.

As far as marketing goes, they’ve already posted photos of the Russian Imperial Stout on their Facebook account. It was said to have a rich and complex maltiness with a hint of coffee and dark chocolate flavor. It was aged for 10 months with an ABV of 11 percent.

The tours will be every Friday and Saturday, but they are planning to have additional days in the future, according to Skudera. The group also hopes for their products to be served at local restaurants and bars.

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Lexis to Handle PR of Chivas Regal

Chivas Regal

Lexis has been appointed by Pernod Ricard, the drinks giant, to manage public relations for their Scotch Whisky variant Chivas Regal after a competitive pitch. The account was previously handled by Havas PR and Campbell Bell Communications.

Lexis promised to increase brand awareness in the UK, which includes competing globally for entrepreneurs and business start-ups known as The Venture. The agency will also be managing the media for the Made for Gentleman series of Chivas Regal aside from running the press department of Chivas Regal UK.

Andy Stafford, the associate director of Lexis, is the one who will be leading the account. He will be reporting to the senior brand manager of Pernod  Ricard UK, Will Jukes. Stafford has recently joined the agency this year after his stint at H+K Strategies.

“Lexis showed exceptional creativity that was underpinned with robust strategy and insight across multiple platforms and they will help take our exciting campaigns to the next level,” said the comms manager of Pernod Ricard UK, Rowan Usher.

According to Stafford, on the other hand, Lexis is grateful for adding the famous whisky to their consumer portfolio. “Previous experience across luxury brands was important when considering our approach, but we also invested considerable time in understanding the premium spirits business and its target audiences,” he said.

Chivas Regal

Lexis has won the consumer PR business for Pernod Ricard UK’s iconic Scotch Whisky brand, Chivas Regal, following a competitive pitch. Photo courtesy:

Chivas Regal is famous around the world for being an original luxury whisky brand. It is one of the two strategic global iconic brands from Pernod Ricard. The famous whisky has been blended in Scotland since the 19th century. Currently, it is available and enjoyed in over 150 countries.

Forty years into the industry, Pernod Ricard has continually grown and accelerated its development in the past few years through their major acquisitions. Today, they are one of  the leaders in the Wines and Spirits industry.

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The Dingle Cask No. 2: Collector’s Item

The Dingle Cask No. 2

“A Glass Apart”, a book written by Fionnan O’Connor, is becoming increasingly popular for being the most comprehensive guide to Irish whiskey. He recently came back from Hong Kong for a trade mission and he only has one thing in mind: the bottling of a brand new Irish whiskey, “Dingle Cask No. 2”.

Bottling of Irish Whiskey

The Dingle Cask No. 2 is the bottling of the first cask in the Dingle distillery that has reached maturity. Bottled three years ago, the cask’s journey to maturation in an American Bourbon cask has been closely monitored; from the beginning, middle, and the end of the maturation process. He expects only great things from the finished product, describing it as a light drink that is basically different from the others on the market.

When asked on how he can be so certain, O’Connor says that the bottling of the single malt reveals the truth of the modern Irish whiskey market. While there are many whiskey brands that have been on the shelves over the past few years, the Dingle whiskey is actually the first single malt whiskey from Ireland in the past 25 years.

The Dingle Cask No. 2

Dingle Distillery’s New Single Malt Marks a Turning Point for Irish Whiskey. Photo credits to

“The new Irish whiskey industry is partly a mirage. The new whiskeys are great, the enthusiasm they’ve generated has been fantastic but what they don’t often admit is that the majority of the new brands are all distillates from the same great distillery — Cooley,” says O’Connor.

About Cooley

Cooley, which was established by John Teelin in the 1980s, was sold to a company based in the US (Beam Inc) in 2012.  Beam was eventually bought by a Japanese company, Suntory Holdings, last year. Distillates from Cooley are now supplying the main Irish independent labels, according to O’Connor, as various distilleries wait for the maturation of their own spirits.

The boom of the Irish whiskey industry is still in the corner and what Dingle will be producing may help in defining that “boom”.

“In about eight years many of the new distillers will have produced their own truly new Irish whiskies and the race for dominance will really begin,” says O’Connor.

Dingle Cask No. 2

Dingle Cask No. 2 will be producing 200 bottles which will be priced at €350 each, many of those are already reserved for the Founding Fathers of the distillery. Founding Fathers is an investment scheme wherein people purchase casks at a competitive rate and take part in the making of the Dingle Distillery.

Being priced at €250 per bottle, it’s quite expensive; however, the bottling of the cask is also a collector’s item.

“It marks the beginning of a new journey for the distillery. By Easter 2016, enough of the casks will have reached maturity to start bottling and marketing Dingle Single Malt and Dingle Pot Still on an ongoing basis. After that it’s about distribution and reaching out to new markets,” says Oliver Hughes, whose Porterhouse Group has a distillery.

Dingle Cask No. 2 is available at the Dingle Whisky Bar in Dublin from December 21st.

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Vendome: Creates the Copper Stills That Make Your Bourbon

vendome stills

It has been known that the center of the bourbon industry is in Louisville, Kentucky. The city is a perfect place for such because everything that is needed to produce bourbon is available within the city. In the bourbon industry, one of the businesses that are left unnoticed is the Vendome Copper and Brass Works.

Vendome is not familiar to a majority of people but surely they already seen 90% of their work if ever they have toured around bourbon distillery. This is for the reason that they are the one who produces copper stills and other distillery equipment that is used in the bourbon industry, which is running for century in the Butchertown neighborhood on Louisville. During these times, the company is under the management of Sherman Family.

Elmore Sherman, he is the founder of the Vendome Copper and Brass Works. He learned about this copper and brass distillery equipment fabrication after he has been connected to Cincinnati-based Hoffman, Ahlers & Co., which he has been a bookkeeper for over a century. He then, decided to start his own business after overseeing the operation as well as the several deaths of the owners.

The recent owner of Vendome is not sure when exactly the company was founded but they believed that it is around the years before 1910. They based it on the stamp they seen in some of the equipment they fabricated in 1910 which was numbered 4, indicating that it is the 45th equipment the company had produced.

The company continues to produce distilling equipment though they have experienced many setbacks in the past. These setbacks includes flood in 1937. In addition, they have been affected when the American began the World War II. All distilleries during those times where required to convert in producing ethanol needed for the war.

Talking about the major distilleries, Vendome in Louisville along with Abercrombie and Forsyths in Scotland are 3 of the best when it comes to producing distillery fabrication equipment. Though there have been many companies founded over the years but most of them cater to some distillers.

vendome stills

Bryan Borders worked on a copper bulb that will be placed on top of a still being created at Vendome Copper & Brass Works, Inc., By

Today, Vendome company gets orders to new distilleries each month and other orders for maintenance and replacement purposes almost every day. When Vendome was taken over by Vendome president Tom Sherman, the company only has two workers. It is in the year 1961. Now, over 70 people are working for the company.

The Sherman family is keeping their business well and they have no plans of slowing down, as they have been fully booked with orders until 2016.

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Behold the Top Grain Whiskies

grain whiskies

Get the newest trend of grain whiskies from Scotland to Japan…enjoy the sweet fruity finish, unique spice, and nutty taste.

grain whiskies

Find out why you should be drinking single-grain whiskies. By

·         Nikka Coffey Grain

It is also called Hedonism’s casks, which tastes sharp and has a spirit of nuttiness. The taste of this whisky is a combination of oak, vanilla, and toffee popcorn which gives importance to bourbon. In the year 1934, the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru established the Nikka Whisky Distilling Company. The current Coffey stills used in Nikka’s Miyagikyo distillery came from stills imported from Scottland in 1960s. These stills are known to produce more flavourful whisky compared to the modern stills used today. The grain whisky produced by the said distillery is predominantly made from corn.

·         The 25 Year Old Girvan Patent Still

The producer of the very popular Hendricks gin, Girvan is one among the biggest distilleries in Scotland, owned by William Grant. This grain whisky is stored for 25 years in American white oak casks. Basically, it is made from locally grown wheat, having the taste of vanilla and fruit leaving your mouth the sweetness of the whisky and a bite of spiced wood. The Girvan Patent Still is a must-try, needless to mention that it is made in a 380-acre site.

·         The Callyiv

This is the whisky with a sweet, buttery taste, and slightly acidic fruity blend. It is also known to give out a warming spice and lingering texture. However, this single-grain whisky is limited. This is because in 1988, the Edinburgh’s Caledonian distillery was closed and the whisky distilled is getting very little. The only available whisky is those that were left in the distilled of Caledonian the past 4 decades.

·         Haig Club

This is ideal for mixing and cocktails because it is creamy, smooth and only causes little heat. This is actually perfect for those who are seeking for a light and fresh-tasting whisky. Its taste is close to Scotch making this new whisky popular. Haig club is distilled at Scotland’s oldest grain distillery, Cameronbridge. It has David Beckham as its model making marketing easier.

·         Hedonism Quindecimus

Hedonism Quindecimus is created to mark Compass Box’s 15th year of blending and maturing whisky in the customized casks made from American and French oak. Compass Box is not a distillery. The whiskies they blend and mature is not that huge in volume. This Hedonism Quindecimus is a blend of the defunct distilleries of Scotland. After such, it is aged in different casks. Amazing result is a mixture of oaky taste, fruity, and complex whisky.

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Distill Ventures Planning to Expand

Starward whisky

After investing $10 million to Stauning Whisky distillery, Distill Ventures is planning to increase Starward’s production in Melbourne and expand their name in other regions like the US and Southeast Asia. Being marketed as the best combination that Australia has to offer, barley, climate, and Australian red wine barrels are the keys to its production.

Following their successful launch of the Wine Cask edition, they are now investing in a partner that supports their vision for being a modern Australian whisky, according to Starward founder David Vitale.

Starward Whisky was established in 2009. Currently, the production for the Starward New World Malt Whisky in apera cask and red wine cask varieties is done in a former hangar in Melbourne. It was chosen for investment because it has an outstanding team that is highly committed to innovation.

Starward whisky

Starward whisky

“The Starward team are exactly the types of entrepreneur we love working with. The team’s commitment to innovation stands out even in the fast-evolving new world whisky category,” says Frank Lampen, a co-founder of Distill Ventures. “Their vision for the future is really exciting and this investment will enable increased production of their signature single malts and continued development of their innovation pipeline.”

The partnership deal is actually part of the broader strategy of Diageo to expand its portfolio of whisky brands as the category grows worldwide and new distilleries are becoming widely known outside of the whisky regions.

The global head of premium ore spirits, David Gates, said that whisky is still a vibrant category because it is constantly changing. Australian whisky is currently becoming globally recognized nowadays and Starward has positioned itself for this opportunity. They’ve created  very unique whisky with exceptional qualities at younger ages with their wood policies. They also gained positive impact on maturation from the ever changing climate of Melbourne.

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What’s in for the Scotch Industry in 2016?

selection of the Scotch whisky brands to watch in 2016

Scotch exports struggled for the last 3 years, so the recent claim of Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) that they will be a return to growth is a very welcoming news for the industry.

For the first half of 2015, exports decreased 3% in value compared to the 11% drop in the same period last year. The volume of Scotch production also fell 3% as opposed to 6% in 2014. Premium blends and single malts, on the other hand, did great as they have increased in value by 5%.

The SWA chief executive David Frost said, “We’re starting to see some strong signals for growth and we continue to believe the long-term prospects for Scotch whisky remain good.”

Innovation is Key

In order to maintain growth, innovation and premiumization are major driving forces. Beam Suntory, a Scotch producer of fine spirits, produces other international whiskies. Gareth Brown, their senior director, said, “YTD, we are seeing global volumes up over 15% year on year, which is significantly ahead of the category and a great platform from which to grow.”

According to recent data, peated malt is growing twice as fast as the single malt. Among the factors that drive the trend is a consumer’s inclination to try something new, says Brown.

Chivas Brothers’ single malts global brand director, Nikki Burgees, predicts a bright future for the sector stating that France, Germany, and US are the key markets.

“We envisage the growing trend of whisky fans demanding new and innovative styles of single malt will really come to the fore, with distillers crafting even more adventurous whiskies to enjoy,” Nikki said.

As Scotch producers looking to increase production and celebrate their sales, here are some of the brands that you should keep an eye on next year.

selection of the Scotch whisky brands to watch in 2016

selection of the Scotch whisky brands to watch in 2016. Photo(c):

House of Hazelwood

William Grant & Son’s House of Hazelwood was unveiled during this year’s TFWA World Exhibition & Conference in Cannes. The global planning and innovation director of William Grant, Damien Heary, said that its introduction is an exciting chapter in the category. What once was a travel retail exclusive, the House of Hazelwood will be released in the domestic market in 2016.

Label 5

According to a data from the Brand Champions 5, La Martiniquaise-owned blended Scotch brand Label 5 is the 9th best selling whisky around the world. However, the new “Whisky Confidential” multi-channel global marketing campaign and significant production expansion is set to ramp up their rankings.


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