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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

More Christmas Madness

After our last post it seems that quite a few folks are getting in on the act in the run up to Christmas with liquids and potions galore. And yes, that kind of shamefully means us too.

Firstly we heard the quite bizarre story that super-budget supermarket chain, Aldi were releasing a 40 year old single malt. Once we'd stopped blinking in quiet amazement, assuming it must be a huge wind up, we started to wonder exactly who this might be aimed at, (surely not the man who buys 20 bags of Monster Munch for 99p) which distillery is behind it and more importantly, how much the thing would cost and whether it is any good. Hopefully these things will be revealed over the next few days, but it is certainly a very intriguing release. Imagine the shock on the wife's face when you return with a 50 pack of fish fingers, two dozen toilet rolls, a cheap cordless drill and a bottle of 40yo single malt!!

Secondly, we've been up to mischief with our chums at Master Of Malt again.

This time, it involves an idea that steadily grew one afternoon after a few pints and quickly descended into something chaotic and quite frankly absurd, but with bags of good clean Christmas fun thrown in for good measure. Today, we can proudly say that the very first batch of newly formulated Christmas Bitters go on sale and they certainly do what they say on the label.

As we finished our final round of ales and rather unwisely asked the pub landlord to whip up some Manhattans a thought crossed our slightly befuddled minds. What if you could capture all the great flavours and aromas of Christmas in one bottle, which you could then make some superlative festive cocktails with....

And lo, after much experimentation, we settled on a recipe that features roasted chestnuts, cocoa, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, mixed nuts, some all important dates, pine extract, nutmeg, cranberries and smoky Lapsang Souchong tea. We drew the line at roast turkey, wrapping paper and the almighty Christmas family row, but think we got all the major players in there.

And then.... a sign!!

A bearded man in the pub knocked his pint over and uttered the immortal words 'Sweet Jesus Christ!'

Suddenly, in a flash we knew we had yet to add the most important ingredients of all: 23 Carat Gold dust, Frankincense and Myrrh. We even managed to find something called Star Of Bethlehem extract, so threw that in too.

Then the fun really started. Once the mixture was secured in the MOM marrying cask, we thought, why not gently agitate the sleeping liquid by continuously piping the sounds of Phil Spector's Christmas Album through the ends of the cask, with mini speakers?

So apologies to all at the Master Of Malt offices, for having to endure what can only be described as festive sonic torture. At one point, apparently a member of the MOM staff, driven stark raving mad by 'Frosty The Snowman' tried to attack the cask with an axe in a frenzied assault, akin to a crazed Mandrill.

But the good news is that the bitters remained in fine form and you can now see if we've we've gone totally bananas, or whether the idea has actually worked!

Master Of Malt & Caskstrength Present: Christmas Bitters - 58.83% - 100ml

Nose: As Christmas'y as the smell of one of Noel Edmonds' festive jumpers or Cliff Richard's Mistletoe and Wine. Rich spice, a hint of smoke, some aromatic notes and lots of dried fruit.

This man LOVES Christmas

Palate: The spices come to the fore, alongside some sour citrus notes, more dried fruit and some lingering bitter liquorice notes.

We'd recommend pimping up a traditional whisk(e)y based cocktail or trying one of the following:

Festive Whisky Sour:

2 measures The Glenrothes 1985 or Glenfarclas 15yo, alternatively you could try Ballantine's Christmas Reserve blended whisky.

1 measure freshly squeezed lemon Juice

1/2 measure of dark orange marmalade syrup (home made)

1/2 fresh egg white

4 dashes of Christmas Bitters (this can be 'dripped through' the froth on the top of the drink, once it's served, so you can see the addition of the gold, in all its glory!!)

Baked Winter Apple:

50ml Clynelish 14 yo, infused with butter. (basically, heat the whisky gently in a pan, adding a small nob of butter) Chill and then filter off the extra fatty bits with a mini sieve when making the cocktail.

30ml pressed apple juice (cloudy style)

25ml quality English cider

15ml maple syrup (for an extra-sweet treat, try making a rich Muscovado sugar
syrup to use instead!)

15ml fresh lemon Juice

4 dashes of Christmas Bitters.

2 Bar spoons of egg white (to give you a lovely froth)

Shake with ice, until extra frothy.

The specially formulated Christmas Bitters cost £12.95 - for more information - visit: