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As someone who spends more of their time at the smaller end of the drinks industry scale, you have to take a step back when thinking about the big players. Chivas Regal is the fourth biggest-selling Scotch brand in the world, and producing at that volume is mind-boggling. At four and half million cases a year, they’re making about enough to sling a bottle at every individual in the UK. The logistics alone are beyond me, even before thinking about how to maintain your targeted consistency and quality. Then again, when you’re a brand big enough that you can just give away $1m a year to social entrepreneurs and partner up with Man U, it probably stands to reason that you can take the odd risk, or at least diverge from the straight and narrow. So, while I can’t tell if this Chivas Extra 13 collection is more than a stretching of the blending muscles and an excuse for some exciting limited-release packaging, I’m not going to turn down a look-see at a new angle on a trusty blended scotch like this. (more…)

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The Black Manhattan is a favoured cocktail in this household, for good reason. As one who’d never turn down the chance to enjoy a respectable rye whiskey (something that’s latterly become far easier in the UK) this Manhattan variant is all the excuse I need, marrying well with Averna‘s dark sugar aromatics. Anyhow, this post is meant to be about rum, so I’ll move on. There’s a through line here, I promise you.



Short version: I was given a bottle of La Hechicera the other month, am enjoying it greatly and thought it worth a few words.

Longer version: Produced in Colombia by La Hechicera, this appears to be the only commonly-available rum under their own name. They don’t distill their own rum, sourcing the base spirits from across South America and the Caribbean to get the desired characteristics. What they do, though, is take great pride in the blending and ageing of the rum into the final product.



After the pity party in Interregnum, here’s a bit of actual recipe doings. Cocktails were the part I’d had a particular eye on for the other Saturday’s entertainment. I’d been reading about tiki cocktails and saw this as an excuse to try a few, as well as to make up a batch of Falernum, a spiced syrup/liqueur integral to quite a few classics. What I created was based on perusing a whole bunch of online info (I’ve not shelled out for the rather fine-looking Beachbum Berry Remixed yet, but hope to soon). While there was a wealth of good stuff to be found, I narrowed it down to variations on Paul Clarke’s Cocktail Chronicles version, courtesy of Post-Prohibition, Chowhound and Punch.