A vintage cocktail....
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A five star cocktail...
A global icon, Shanghai is China's most cosmopolitan city...
London is known for it's numerous gastro pubs....
Holland's largest city was founded on and continues to thrive from its waterways and proximity to the North Sea...
Cherry Heering is made to an 1818 recipe from Danish Steven's cherries....
This liqueur takes its name from Nicola Pallini, who started trading in 1875...
The Nolet distillery where Ketel One Vodka is made, claims a family distilling heritage that goes back 300 years...
For Javier de las Muelas, the Barcelonan world citizen behind the Dry Martini brand, the bar is a church....
Antony is the Director of Strategic Planning for the Wine and Spirit Education Trust....
We talk to the gin legend behind Tanqueray No. TEN, as he retires....
A selection of new products we've received and reviewed during November 2015....
Your chance to win a trip to Sweden....
The most frequently appearing cocktail ingredients...
We are celebrating the 300th anniversaryof Martell Cognac..
Looking for a dynamic, enthusiastic and experienced Bar Supervisor to add to the bars team at The London EDITION.
See what Simon Difford thinks of the new products he's recently reviewed.
Nicknamed the \'Green Fairy\', Absinthe is a bitter, aniseed-flavoured green liquor distilled with anise, fennel and wormwood. It has a reputation to...
Beer, cider and perry are fermented alcoholic drinks, each with a colourful and lengthy history of production and consumption. Enjoyed today as much as...
Bourbon is as American as the Stars and Stripes, the Grand Canyon and pumpkin pie, but there are some common misconceptions as to what...
Calvados is a French brandy made from apples (though it can also contain pears). The name is an appellation controlee, meaning that...
The Cognac region sits at the northern end of the Aquitaine basin plains 120km (75 miles) north of Bordeaux, 80km (50 miles) from the...
Gin is potable spirit flavoured with juniper and other botanicals (such as coriander, angelica, lemon and orange peels) either by compounding or...
The spectrum of rum ranges from light, vodka-like extra-light white rums through to characterful cognac-like aged rums with Navy, Dunder...
Named after the Mexican town of the same name, tequila is made in Mexico and like cognac and champagne, to be called tequila it must be...
Vodka is a clear spirit which can be produced from anything containing starch or sugar - including potatoes, sugar beet molasses and, most...
White wine is produced through the fermentation of the pulp of grapes and as grapes are naturally chemically balanced to ferment without requiring additional
Sometimes described as a rice wine, sometimes as a rice beer, sake shares qualities of both. It is fermented from specially developed rice and water by
Curaçao liqueurs are traditionally made from the dried peel of the small bitter Curaçao orange, named for the island of Curaçao. As Curaçao was a Dutch
Falernum (pronounced 'Fah-Learn-Um') is a sweet liqueur or syrup (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) from the Caribbean which is used to sweeten and flavour cocktails.
Floc de Gascogne is a fortified aperitif wine from France's Gascony region, an inland area between Bordeaux and Toulouse, stretching to the Pyrenees famous
Advocaat (or Advocaatenborrel) is a traditional Dutch liqueur made from eggs, sugar and spirit (traditionally brandy but also neutral spirit), usually
Cherry 'brandy' is traditionally the largest category of cherry liqueurs. A confusing term as most of these liqueurs are actually made by macerating cherries
Cream of coconut is a non-alcoholic sticky goo not be confused with coconut cream. Cream of Coconut is made by mixing coconut juice, sugar, emulsifier,
Vermouth is a fortified wine, part of the ‘aromatised’ wine family, flavoured with aromatic herbs and spices. It is distinguished from other aromatised
Grappa is an Italian marc brandy made from the fermented skins, pips and stalks (known as pomace, marc or vinaccia in Italian) left after grapes have been
Kümmel is a sweet clear digestive liqueur is distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured with caraway seeds, cumin, fennel, orris and other herbs.
Polish vodka is traditionally made from rye and while rye is still the most popular base ingredient, Poland is also noted for its potato vodka. Stobrawa
The Russians are believed to have been producing a kind of spirit since the end of the 9th century. Like early spirits made in Poland, it was probably
Vodka was practically unknown in America until well into the 20th century. Even by 1939, when Charles H. Baker Jr.'s excellent book, The Gentleman's Companion,
While the greater proportion of vodkas sold are unflavoured, flavoured vodka has been around for as long as vodka has been distilled - originally to make
An Italian liqueur with an almond-apricot flavour. The flavours of the bitter almond and the apricot marry together well as they are both from the same
Arrack is often confused with the similarly pronounced and spelt 'Arak', which is a Middle Eastern anise flavoured distillate, similar to pastis or ouzo.
Rum is termed 'light' or 'heavy' depending the level of flavour components or 'congeners' - products of fermentation that are not ethyl alcohol. The level
Often described as a sweet or 'cordial' style of gin, ‘old tom’ gins were overwhelmingly popular in the 18th and early 19th centuries, when gin was
Baijiu (白酒) or Shaojiu (烧酒) is a Chinese distilled alcoholic beverage between 40-60% alc./vol. Baijiu literally translates as 'white alcohol' and
Brandy is distilled from fermented fruit (not grain). The name brandy comes from northern Europe, where ‘brand’ means to burn, and is a reference to
Canadian whisky (spelt without an 'e') has for decades been the best-selling whiskey in the USA and tends to be light bodied in style.
For whisky to be called ‘Scotch whisky’ it must be a) made on Scotland and b) be aged in oak casks in Scotland for a minimum of three years.
Beer eau-de-vie is traditionally made in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and France, typically by smaller breweries and beer brewing monasteries
The word akvavit, like the word whisky, originates from the alchemical term 'water of life' - in Latin, aqua vitae. It is also known as aquavit. This flavoured
Until the 1830s almost all Scottish whisky was made exclusively from malted barley and produced in pot stills – i.e., it was what we would today call
As the name (which incidentally is pronounced 'barolo kee-NOT-oh') suggests, Barolo Chinato is an aromatised wine is based on Barolo wine, the famous red
The long connection between the Royal Navy and rum can be traced back to 1655 and Vice-Admiral William Penn's expedition to the West Indies. In addition
Fruit cups were invented by the Victorians and were originally a mixture of fruit, liqueurs and spices with a base spirit of gin and usually made in the
Allspice Pimento Dram is a spicy liqueur made by steeping pimento berries in rum. Pimento Dram is a dried, unripened berry from a West Indian tree called
The Russian Revolution of 1917 caused many Russians to flee their homeland and these exiles spread their knowledge and enthusiasm for vodka to the new
Blanche has long been consumed in the Armagnac region but you had to know a distiller in order to obtain what was flavoursome hootch. However, in 2007
Armagnac is a fine brandy from South West France. It is distinguished from Cognac by its use of single continuous distillation rather than double batch
Mastiha, pronounced 'mahs-TEE-ha' and variously spelt Masticha, Mastichato Chiou, Chios Masticha is a Greek liqueur flavoured with mastic, a semi-transparent
Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey is unique to Ireland and particularly identified with the Midleton Distillery, County Cork. It is made from a mash of malted
To produce a decent (i.e. distilled) gin requires a two stage process – first a base ‘neutral spirit’ is made and then this is flavoured by through
Red wine is made from dark (red or black) grape varieties and can range in colour from intense violet, typical of young wines, through to brick red for
Garnishes are used to decorate cocktails and are often anchored to the rim of the glass. You’ll find more about garnishes and how to prepare them in
Mixers, minerals and juices are hardly the sexiest items gracing the shelves and fridges of your average bar. However, they are equally important as the
Sparkling wine can be red, white or rose, be any alcoholic strength (up to the mid-teens), have any degree of sweetness and any amount of fizziness. The
If you missed The Art of Shim by Dinah Sanders now would be a good time to invest, because vermouth, amaro, sherry and port have cemented themselves as
A spirit or liquor is a strong alcoholic beverage produced by distilling an already alcoholic liquid ('wash') produced by fermentation, most commonly wine
Cocktails are made from practically anything which is edible, alcoholic or otherwise. The range of spirits and liqueurs available is vast, as are the variety
The spectrum of rum ranges from light, vodka-like extra-light white rums through to characterful cognac-like aged rums with Navy, Dunder and such like
Also known as genever, jeneva, geneva and hollands, jenever is a juniper-flavoured spirit from Holland and Belgium. Helpfully, the van Dale Dictionary,
Amaro is both the Italian word for bitter and the name of a bittersweet style of liqueurs traditionally from Italy. Amari (the plural of amaro) are usually
Bourgogne Aligoté is an Appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) white wine produced from the Aligoté grape variety in the France’s Burgundy region.
Apricot brandy is a common term for the most popular style of apricot liqueurs. This is a confusing as most of these liqueurs are actually made by macerating
Barley wine has nothing to do with grapes. Instead it is the strongest of beers, with alcoholic strengths approaching those of wine (7 to 12% alc./vol.).
Root beer originated in North America and remains most popular in North America. Historically made using the root of the sassafras plant with that being
The word ‘whiskey’ derives from the Gaelic ‘uisque beatha’, meaning ‘water of life’ and whiskies are distilled in countries around the world
Easily misunderstood as a pretty wilderness south of the mainland and famous for the Beaconsville mine collapse that left two men trapped a kilometre underground
Coconuts are the fruit of the coconut plant Cocos nucifera, which belongs within the Arecaceae family of palm trees. Coconut palms flourish in coastal
Pisco is the Peruvian National spirit. It is made by distilling wine fermented from the fresh must of eight specific varieties of vines to produce a clear,
Crème de cassis is a blackcurrant liqueur which originated in France and is made by both infusion and maceration. The original recipe for a crème de
Gentian liqueurs tend to be bright yellow and taste on the bitter side of bittersweet. As the name suggests, their flavour comes from an infusion and distillation
Triple Sec refers to a style of orange flavoured liqueur which is clear and typically between 20 and 40% alc./vol., although better quality examples are
Pronounced 'puh-cheen', this spirit has been produced in Ireland since the 1600s, when potatoes were first harvested. Sometimes known as 'Irish Moonshine'
Produced by the respected Romate winery from 100% Palamino Fino grapes and aged for 4 years.
Fragola is made by infusing tiny wild strawberries (fragoline di bosco) in alcohol and strawberry distillate for four months. Some 50 or so berries float
Made close to the French alps in St. Laurent du Pont, this is a fortified wine (Mistelle) infused with gentian, cinchona (quinine) and other herbs to a
Distilled in steam heated alembic copper stills using full-bodied red wines from grape varieties including Merlot, Cabernet and Refosco, from Italy’s
Most da Uva Miste is made from a mix of Cabernet, Merlot, Tocai and Pinot Grigio de-stemmed grape pomace, fermented in ash wood vats and batch distilled
This grappa by Bepi Tosolini is steam distilled in traditional copper stills from the pomace of a mixture of different Friulian grape varieties.
This single varietal grappa from Bepi Tosolini is made with the pomace from Pinot Grigio grapes from Collio and Colli Orientali del Friuli Venezia Giulia.
This single-varietal grappa from Bepi Tosolini is distilled from Chardonnay pomace,
A luxury aged grappa distilled from Toaci grappa pomace and aged in Castagno Barriques – barrels made from Chestnut wood. Presented in a decanter-style
Originally called ‘The First Edition, this whisky was Mackmyra's first core range bottling. A large proportion of this whisky is aged in 100-litre casks
Mackmyra, the Swedish whisky distiller's core expression, Brukswhisky is mainly aged in first-fill American oak bourbon barrels with some sherry seasoned
Bärnsten (which translates as ‘Amber’) is part of Mackmyra's limited edition Moment range, this single malt whisky is aged in a combination of Swedish
Bepi Tosolini make this amaro by macerating 15 different Alpine herbs in Tosolini Aquavitae held in ash wood barrels, the maceration is then diluted to
Added to the Tosolini range in 2015, this grappa is made using local Prosecco (Glera)grape pomace.
A single varietal grappa from Bepi Tosolini, distilled exclusively from the pomace of Moscato grapes.
A single varietal grappa from Bepi Tosolini, distilled exclusively from the pomace of merlot grapes.
Made with Refosco, Cabernet and Merlot pomace from the Friuli region, Bepi Tosolini distil within 48 hours from pressing to preserve the intense aromas
Bán Poitín (Pronounced 'Bawn Potcheen') is small batch distilled from potatoes, malted barley and sugar beets by The Echlinville Distillery in Northern
Launched in September 2014 and named after the English village of Chilgrove in West Sussex, this vodka is distilled with natural mineral water filtered
Launched in September 2015 and named after the basket traditionally used to sow seeds, Seedlip is a blend of six non-alcoholic botanical distillates made
Created by the ex-Tanqueray Master Distiller, Tom Nichol, this is a classic London Dry gin distilled in the heart of the City of London with five botanicals:
Bepi Tosolini Salizá is a traditionally made Italian amaretto made with crushed almonds rather than concentrates or extracts. (Formerly named Mascarada
Exprè is based on a blend of “Arabica coffee beans, toasted in the traditional artisanal Italian way”. The back of the bottle also declares the ingredients
Its Hebridean brewers describe this as being “a modern take on the classic Indian Pale Ale”, going on to say that its “citrusy in character and as
A limited release of 300 bottles in October 2015, Sipsmith’s Raffles 1915 Gin commemorates the 100th anniversary of when Ngiam Tong Boon, Head Barman
Siegfried Rheinland Dry Gin is distilled in Bonn, Germany with 18 botanicals.
After 42 years in the spirits industry in 2015 Tom Nichol retired from being the long-time Master Distiller of Tanqueray Gin and within weeks of his retirement
Domus Grappa is distilled from 100% Ruché DOCG grape pomace, a rare red varietal grown in the hills of the seven villages around Castagnole Monferrato,
Blended Irish whiskey aged 6-10 years and bottled without chill-filtration. “Lord Lieutenant” above the Kinahan’s branding on the label refers to
The Dutch refer to their pot stills as 'ketels', thus this vodka is named after the Nolet's original 1864 ‘Distilleerketel #1’ which is still used
Cherry Heering is made to an 1818 recipe from Danish Steven’s cherries, harvested in August. The fruit is crushed together with the stones, which give
Passoã is a passion fruit flavoured liqueur launched in the Netherlands in 1986. The matt black Passoã bottle features a brightly coloured tropical motif
Cordon Rouge (literally 'red ribbon') is the original Grand Marnier liqueur created in 1880 by Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle and was first served
Launched in 2000, Tanqueray No. Ten Gin is based on the traditional Tanqueray botanical recipe but with unusual extras such as camomile and fresh grapefruit.
Produced by Bigallet since 1875, China China is made from a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels macerated in beet neutral alcohol and re-distilled in
Launched in 2000, La Fée was the first traditional absinthe to be commercially produced in France since the 1914-15 ban. This improved ‘Supérieure’
Ketel One Citroen was launched in 2000 and is created by infusing Ketel One vodka with citrus essential oils essence. Two different types of lemon from
Ketel One Oranje was launched on 30 April 2010 to coincide with Queen's Day, a national holiday in The Netherlands honouring the Queen's official birthday.
This liqueur takes its name from Nicola Pallini, an Italian merchant who started trading in spirits and liqueurs in 1875. Today the company is in the hands
Drambuie, a herbal Scotch whisky based liqueur, traces its origins back to James Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the liqueur
Produced since 1879, this is a blend of Jamaican pot still rums aged in ex-bourbon barrels for a minimum of five years. The label proclaims the motto “world
Said to have been first created in 1525 by a young widow who posed as a model for Bernardino Luini, an artist from the Leonardo da Vinci’s school of
Agave Sec retains the classic orange notes of a triple sec liqueur and blends them with rich agave nectar extracted from the same plant tequila is distilled
Cocchi Americano Bianco (pronounced: ‘coke-ey ameri-kano) is based on white wine from Italy’s Piedmont region wine which is fortified and then 'aromatised'
This “most unusual gin” has been brilliantly marketed as a quintessentially British product, associated with cucumber sandwiches and rose gardens,
A Greek liqueur made by distilling mastiha Chios with neutral spirit.
Mandarine Napoléon is flavoured with Mediterranean mandarin peel macerated in alcohol with a secret combination of 20 other botanicals (including green
Sugar syrup made from sugar beet, flavoured with almond extracts (prunus amygdalus varietal) and thickened with gum arabic (E414). Alcohol free and without
This liqueur is made from an infusion of violet flowers and an extract of violet leaves by Giffard & Cie, a fourth generation family-owned and run liqueur
Part of Giffard’s ‘Premium’ liqueur range, this banana liqueur is made by the slow maceration of Brazilian puree (to optimize contact with alcohol
Part of the Giffard 'Premium' range of liqueurs this liqueur is based on grape neutral alcohol, flavoured with extracts of Madagascan vanilla and sweetened
Distilled by Bruichladdich on Islay with nine traditional botanicals (wild Islay juniper berries, cassia bark, angelica root, coriander seed, cinnamon
Part of Giffard’s ‘Premium’ liqueur range, this apricot liqueur is made by the slow maceration of ‘Rouge du Roussillon’ apricots in neutral alcohol.
A blend distilled from fermented molasses at the Angostura Distillery in Trinidad and aged for 8 years in American oak ex-bourbon casks. Formulated to
Part of Giffard’s ‘Premium’ liqueur range, this ginger liqueur is made by the slow maceration of ginger from Asia in neutral alcohol, with orange
This crème de pêche is distinguished by the French term ‘de Vigne’ – literally meaning ‘of bush’ this refers to its being made from peaches
Old J Spiced is a rum based spirit drink (it’s too weak to a rum) Inspired by the 18th century British Admiral who reduced the strength of the Navy’s
So named as this is the only Mount Gay rum finished in charred bourbon oak barrels after blending. Black Barrel is made from sugar cane molasses column
The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during October 2015. Products are listed according to the diffordsguide rating
Arguably Japan's most famous drink, sake even boasts its own official day, the 1st October, to celebrate the start of the production season. Commonly referred
Local writers and Greek language… We are proud to announce that in December 2015 we will be launching Greek Difford's Guide with existing articles translated
The following are new products we've received and other products reviewed during September 2015. Products are listed according to the diffordsguide rating
With the millions and millions of websites in the world, it's a real achievement when a site is a member of the coveted top 100,000 most-visited sites.
The Pattison Crisis is a cautionary tale and one which dramatically affected the Scottish whisky industry. Originally dairy farmers in Edinburgh in 1880s,
Whether you call it a “katzenjammer” (wailing of cats), a “futsukayoi” (two day drunk) or a “kopparslagare” (coppersmith), the hangover is
Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder Beer goggles are officially a thing. So much of a thing, in fact, that they even feature in the venerable Oxford
Too much of anything is bad, but too much champagne is just right, said Mark Twain, and he was bang-on. Champagne is our go-to drink for celebrations,
There's been a lot of attention focused on rotary evaporators among the bartending fraternity over the past few years - at least the more experimental
America's national Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933 and was supported by groups as diverse as the Christian Women's Temperance Movement and the Ku
A snapshot view on 20th February 2015 of Alexa.com which ranks the UK’s most-visited websites finds Difford's Guide placed 6th against the country's
Do different types of alcohol effect how we behave after one too many drinks? Does mixing beer with wine and spirits send us on a downward spiral of intoxication?
Vegetarians might avoid all forms of meat but alcohol isn't typically an issue; there aren’t many producers who chuck meat into their fermentation tanks
As anyone who's ever tried to design a shooters list knows, the human capacity to tolerate vile flavours in the pursuit of inebriation is quite remarkable.
Are old cognacs, whiskies and gins really worth the time and effort it takes to track them down? Or are they just expensive, intimidating and the bartender's
Murcia's legendary beer-drinking competition may be no more, after 2013’s champion died soon after triumphantly downing seven litres of beer in 20 minutes.
The maturation of wine, spirits and even Tabasco sauce in wooden casks greatly improves their flavour. This has been understood for 100s if not 1000s of
Barrels are a particular size and shape of wooden cask. There are numerous other types of cask and the term ‘barrel’ is often wrongly used as a catch-all
After the First World War, the medical officer of Scotland's Fourth Black Watch told a hearing on shell shock, Had it not been for the rum ration, I do
Colour and flavour. Two things logic tells us should be treated separately. And yet the colour of our food and drink does influence how it tastes in our
It’s the Asia-Pacific region, an area of the world you may not associate with chronic alcohol consumption, that takes the title of the most booze-soaked
Developing a good tasting technique and building a memory bank of flavours is essential to being able to make an informed judgment as to a spirits style
Bitterness is often described by what it’s not. It’s hard to accurately define the flavour that causes many a child to wrinkle their nose at a plate
The way most people pour it is wrong. And the glasses we drink it from are wrong. Think you know about champagne? Think again.
“Its glory is inestimable; it is the parent and lord of all medicines, and its effects are marvelous,” raved the 13th century Italian doctor-scholar-alchemist,
Powdered alcohol is exactly as its name describes, alcohol in a powdered form. The science behind the substance is tricky to say the least, and requires
It’s a rare pleasure to try an expensive wine by the glass. Most bottles over £150 (US$250) are sold as just that; bottles. But an invention from Greg
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