Bitters or Bust – Part 2: Bartender’s Guide to Selling Your Own Bitters

One drunken night out four months ago, I decided I’d have a crack at producing and commercialising my own range of aromatic cocktail bitters. I should have awoken with that clarity of mind only experienced the morning after. A mind which reminds you with sober brutality that it was yet another foolish idea born of […]

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Five Tricks to Cheat Oak Aging

If you’re looking for a way in which to turbo the oak in a glass of scotch, add some wood to your Manhattan or flash-age a bottle of gin, here are a couple of cheats which at the very least, are fun to play around with. To prevent the bar geeks amongst us from crying […]

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Understanding Maturation – Part 3: Location, Location, Location

Oak, it’s the mark of premium. We pay more for every year a bottle is matured in it and as a result, often swallow more terms like ‘fully matured’, ‘fine oak’ and ‘double wood’ than spirit itself. It’s a marketing thing. And who can blame them when the total export of Scotch in 2013 was […]

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Understanding Maturation – Part 2: Devil’s in the Detail

Pus. Yep, pus. Ok, not the most obvious way to open an article on ‘maturation’ but according to the earliest use of the word (Etymology Online), it’s in 14th century medieval Latin where we find the birth term maturatio(n-) or maturare to describe a doctors act of “encouraging suppuration” or discharging pus from a boil […]

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Understanding Maturation – Part 1: Know Your Casks

If there is one thing that we all go a bit crazy for, it’s oak matured booze. Even if you’re not a big spirit lover, odds are good you’ve indulged frequently on other such oaked products like balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire or Tabasco sauces. For those who have discovered the world of a well-aged whisky, […]

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Origin of the word “Alcohol”

Renown 14th century alchemist, theologian and member of the Franciscan order – Ramon Llull (aka “Doctor Illuminatus”) is the first credited with creating the word – alcohol. With roots which can also be linked to ancient Arabic [al kol / al ghol] the term is more likely taken from the ancient Vedic Sanskrit word, khola […]

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Distillation arrives in England

Roger Bacon brings the study of distillation to Britain after lecturing at La Sorbonne University in Paris. Bacon shares the mysteries of aqua vitae (“water of life”) in his translation of the document, Kitab Sirr al Asrar (“Secret of Secrets”) written by the Persian alchemist and scholar Al-Razi, during the late 800s.  Bacon’s own english […]

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Potable alcohol in the world’s oldest surviving documents

World’s oldest surviving documents – The Vedas (meaning “knowledge”), were written as an attempt to document knowledge which up to this point was handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation.  The language is written in ancient Sanskrit (meaning refined speech), an Indo-Aryan language which later evolved into Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Amongst […]

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