Classic beer-based cocktail recipe: Michelada

The Michelada is a wildly popular drink in Latin America. If you have ever enjoyed a cool beverage in a local bar in Mexico (a bar filled with tourists sipping frozen cocktails while wearing socks with sandals doesn’t count), you have likely seen this drink up close. It is named for the bartender that is said to have invented the drink, Michel Ésper of the Club Deportivo Potosino in San Luis Potosi. You will notice that our classic recipe, just like the original, does not include tomato juice.

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Vodka review: Van Gogh Espresso Vodka, Netherlands

Van Gogh’s Espresso Vodka is made from fresh cracked Columbian beans with a subtle compliment of cocoa. The result is wonderfully pure creating aromatics that are rarely found in coffee based spirits. If you close your eyes you can actually believe that you are nosing a chilled espresso. The palate has just enough coffee bitterness to add balance and style. We rarely get excited about flavored vodka (let’s face it, most are just awful) but the efforts from Van Gogh never disappoint.

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Refreshing summer cocktail recipe: French 75

This classic cocktail has the dubious reputation of being among the most potent cocktails ever created. The crisp and refreshing combination of gin, sparkling wine, and lemon passes the lips with ease but can certainly leave your head in the clouds. The unique name is said to be homage to the French 75mm artillery piece used with great regularity in the First World War. The drink is reputed to have a kick reminiscent to the result of being shelled by said gun! Ouch.

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Answers to 10 essential questions about whisky (part two)

There is no reason to fear Scotch Whisky. Be assured that there is no secret handshake, no Gaelic password, and no initiation rights to be performed (although a kilt doesn’t hurt). Your curiosity for new flavors and experiences is all that is required. If you have made the leap to distilled spirits and have acclimated to their inherent strength, easing into Whisky will be an easy transition. If you are a wine lover flirting with the idea of discovering whisky, come on in – the water is warm. Part 2.

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Top three spirits questions answered

Sean Ludford answers to the top three questions about spirits and liquors: What is proof? What does double or triple distillation mean and why is it used? Why is whisky dark and vodka clear?

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Answers to 10 essential scotch whisky questions (part one)

There is no reason to fear Scotch Whisky. Be assured that there is no secret handshake, no Gaelic password, and no initiation rights to be performed (although a kilt doesn’t hurt). Your curiosity for new flavors and experiences is all that is required. If you have made the leap to distilled spirits and have acclimated to their inherent strength, easing into Whisky will be an easy transition. If you are a wine lover flirting with the idea of discovering whisky, come on in – the water is warm.

Read more: Answers to 10 essential scotch whisky questions (part one)

Inventive, original gin cocktail recipe: Ginicello

My Ginicello cocktail was invented on a steamy summer’s night when, after a few cocktails, I was torn between a Margarita or a cool Gin & Tonic. To further complicate matters, neither one was winning my mental tug-of-war. So I took a good look at the liquor cabinet and the combination of Gin, Limoncello, with a hint of Campari (or other quality bitters liqueur) seemed to satisfy all of my cravings. This cocktail has remained a favorite.

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The sordid history of America's drink: Bourbon

Bourbon is America’s drink, so deeply submerged in this country’s history that most every obvious trace of its legacy has been eroded away by time, politics, and image problems. Nearly, if not entirely, forgotten is the fact that America’s first civil war was inspired by whiskey.

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Classic summer rum cocktail recipes: Mai Tai and Daiquiri

Victor Bergeron, best known as Trader Vic, in 1944, created this classic cocktail. The Second World War was in full swing on fronts in Europe and the Pacific and Bergeron was keen to create a mood-lifting cocktail made with the best possible ingredients. He first presented the drink to two friends visiting from Tahiti. His guests replied, Mai Tai, which in Tahitian means out of this world.

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An education on Grappa - a brandy in Italian clothing

If you really want to scare a timid drinker, cart out some Grappa post dinner and watch the shivers. In fact, I have scared a lot of experienced and adventurous bona fide drinkers with the appearance of Grappa at the dinner table. No spirit, with the possible exception of Chartreuse, stimulates such polar reactions. Grappa detractors will tell you that this clear spirit is “fire water” and will “tear your tongue out” with a single dose. Grappa supporters will simply suggest that Grappa is enormously misunderstood and they’re right.

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