QVT - a new high-end gin distilled in Provence and inspired by the flavours and fragrances of the southern French region - is now available in the UK. Short for ‘quatre-vingt trois’, which is ‘83’ in French, representing the area code of Provence, QVT is the creation of expats Justin and Anna-Carin Matterson, who saw a gap in the market for locally-produced spirits. Technically a London Dry but simply called Dry on the bottle to avoid confusion, the botanicals used in the distillation process include juniper, lavender, rose-flower, rosemary, coriander seeds and pine. The result is an ‘aroma that captures the essence of Provence, whilst satisfying all needs from a traditional dry gin’. “Everything that you need to make gin is here. We’ve got a wealth of herbs and spices that grow naturally and France makes very good neutral grain spirit. We also love the rosé that’s down here, so we’re blending that in too. We’ve pulled everything together from the local area to create QVT,” says Justin, who is currently developing a vodka which will also have a local twist.
Wild Child Rosé
Cape Town winery Journey’s End Wines has launched its first ever rosé. With a name that references managing director Rollo Gabb’s days as a club promoter - he used to run nights at Manchester’s legendary Hacienda - Wild Child Rosé is made from 100% grenache and has a pale pink colour and a fruit forward nose. Grapes were handpicked early in the morning allowing the grapes to retain their fruitiness and flavours before three hours of skin contact. 50% of the wine fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 24°C, with regular pump-overs and the other 50% were fermented in new 300L barrels for 15 days. This has resulted in a wine with strawberry, cherry and raspberry flavours with subtle rose petal undertones and hints of peach and apricot. Gabb is a director at Hart Group having helped fund the Hart brother’s first restaurant Fino and all subsequent projects including Barrafina, El Pastor and Quo Vadis.
Wine storage company Spiral Cellars has launched a new range of kits that can be installed by independent contractors. The company says that not having to call upon the services of its own installation team allows it to offer underground wine cellars at considerably lower prices. A detailed installation manual provides instruction on how to dig and prepare the hole for the cellar and, when ready, the cellar is supplied in modular format ready for the construction team to install themselves. Spiral Cellars says that while it is confident that a competent build team can install a Spiral Cellar, it is offering a service aimed at less experienced build teams. The Assisted KIT provides clients with the on-site presence of a Spiral Cellars installation manager to help undertake, support and advise on the more complicated aspects of the install, thereby bridging the gap between the full Spiral Cellars installation service and build teams having to go it alone. The price of a Spiral Cellar KIT varies dependent on the chosen cellar depth, model and door option but start upwards from £18,840. A Spiral Cellars Assisted KIT starts from £21,340. Restaurants using Spiral Cellars include Adam’s restaurant in Birmingham and Belgravia’s Enoteca Turi.
Select Aperitivo is now available in the UK and is hoping to become the aperitif of choice for the Venetian spritz. Billed as a ‘more refined and elegant alternative to other aperitifs’ Select Aperitivo was created in Venice in 1920 by the Pilla brothers. The drink is made by blending 30 botanicals from around the world to create a refined aromatic profile and balanced bittersweet taste. “Select is set to make waves this summer by bringing the sophistication of Venice and the playfulness of Italian aperitivo hour to the British Isles, with the Venetian spritz being the perfect drink to enjoy at home with friends and loved ones over many plates of Venetian cicchetti,” says a spokesperson. Select Aperitivo recipe for the perfect Venetian spritz is three parts prosecco, two parts Select Aperitivo plus a splash of soda water and a single green olive.
Bloody Drinks’ Bloody Classic
Served in London venues including the Oystermen in Covent Garden and The Albion in Shoreditch, Bloody Drinks is billed as the UK’s first premium premixed Bloody Mary in a can. Made at East London’s Old Truman Brewery “using nothing but proper, quality ingredients” Bloody Drinks’ recipe for its Bloody Classic includes vodka and amontillado sherry for body, tomatoes from Italy and Spain, fresh lemons, Tabasco and Worcestershire and soy sauce. The drink is clocked at 6.3% ABV and each 250ml single serve can contains 130 calories. The product was created by friends Will Best and Harry Farnham, who started out batching Bloody Marys for friends and family, who, err, bloody loved them. After spending more than two years fine-tuning the recipe with help from canning industry technicians, the Bloody Drinks range was born.
Whitley Neill limited edition flavours
Premium gin brand Whitley Neill is expanding further its range of flavoured gins with two new limited-edition releases. The new flavours Brazilian Lime and Strawberry & Black Pepper combine the latest flavour trends within the flavoured gin category – citrus and strawberry – according to the company. The lime variant has been created to tap into the trend for more consumers seeking citrus-based cocktails and is said to work well for Caipirinhas, Gimlets or served simply with tonic and a wedge of lime, while the strawberry gin is described as having a summery strawberry jam kick and can be used in cocktails or served with tonic, chopped strawberries and basil leaves to garnish.
Cockspur Rum Punch
Cockspur Rum has created a ready-made rum punch drink for the on-trade. Described as being ‘Barbados in a bottle’ Cockspur Rum Punch is made to a traditional Bajan recipe and comes in 275ml and 1 litre bottle formats. “Our rum punch is pitched at consumers who are looking for the great taste of a traditional Caribbean punch but who want to skip the painstaking preparation,” says drinks industry figure, Steve Wilson. “We’re living in very strange times but post-Covid, we believe the popularity of the RTD bottle, due to its hygienic and ‘no fuss’ format is set to increase still further.”
Johnnie Walker new expressions
Diageo has released four new expressions under its Johnnie Walker whisky brand to celebrate 200 years since the whisky maker’s founder, John Walker, opened his grocery store in Kilmarnock. The releases are a 200th Anniversary limited edition design for its iconic Johnnie Walker Blue Label; Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight, made using whiskies from only eight distilleries that all existed 200 years ago, including some very rare expressions from long-closed ‘ghost’ distilleries; and two expressions under its John Walker & Sons brand – a Celebratory Blend and a Bicentenary Blend. The later is a blend of rare and exceptional whiskies, all aged for at least 28 years.
Spirit of Yorkshire
Spirit of Yorkshire, Yorkshire’s first whisky distillery, has released its second ‘finished’ single malt whisky. Its Filey Bay STR Finish is the distillery’s fourth whisky and is described as being totally different from the company’s previous release having been matured in bourbon casks before being transferred to shaved, toasted and re-charred red wine barriques from Rioja. Filey Bay STR Finish is limited to 6,000 70cl bottles and has a price tag of £60.