Posts Tagged ‘42 Below’

MxMo: Vodka is your friend

August 10, 2009

Mixology Monday is billed as the monthly online cocktail party, where our host chooses a theme and we rock up a couple of hours late, stinking of cheap wine and muttering something about “consumption”. This month, Felicia’s Speakeasy is graciously listening to our ramblings about our favourite Doctor Who and the fact that vodka is your friend.

In Scotland, of course, vodka is everyone’s friend. It’s been the biggest selling spirit in both on- and off-licence sales (that’s bars and liquor stores) since 2008, while Diageo’s Cameronbridge distillery produces several quadrillion litres of Smirnoff every year. As far as Scottish bartenders go, vodka should be our friend, because selling it pays our wages but it’s not. Read the rest of this entry »

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Thirty: A walk in the clouds

July 26, 2009

New Zealand. The land of the long white cloud, famed throughout the world for its zeals and their newness, and if there’s any justice in the world, 42 Below Vodka.

42 Below Vodka. The world’s most awarded vodka, according to, uh, 42 Below Vodka and hosts of the annual Cocktail World Cup.

The Cocktail World Cup. An annual cocktail competition open to bartenders all over the world which may or may not involve shaking a cocktail while being thrown off a bridge.

In fairness, they tie you to the bridge first. Apparently.

42 Below Feijoa

Entries have been open for next year’s CWC since early July and the ednbrg inbox is appropriately full of reminders from both 42 Below and their corporate overlords at Bacardi, given that they close at the end of the month. The competition follows the now standard write-in/regional/national/global format, but is seemingly a little less restrictive in terms of ingredients. A lot of competitions specify a maximum number of ingredients or restrict brand usage, but the CWC seems to only request that drinks are made with 42 Below or one of their flavoured vodkas. While the Manuka Honey, Kiwi and Passionfruit vodkas are all pretty awesome, I opted to use the Feijoa, mainly because I like making my life difficult.

Feijoa is a fruit that is firmly planted in the exotic category. It has been adopted as New Zealand’s national fruit (originating from South America and named for a Portuguese explorer), looks something like a lime and tastes something like root beer. It’s a divisive flavour, like Marmite or Vegemite or anything else that ends in -mite. As for the vodka, it’s all eucalyptus and menthol on the nose, with rich herbal flavours and a smooth mouthfeel. If you’ve never tried it, it’s probably worth doing at least once.

Anyway, this one’s in the electronic post to the Vodka University.

A walk in the clouds
60ml 42 Below Feijoa
1 barspoon Acacia honey
15ml lemon juice
An eighth of a Galia melon, diced
A third of an avocado, diced
10ml sparkling water
Muddle the diced avocado with the sparkling water in the base of a shaker tin until it forms a smooth paste. Muddle the diced melon with the vodka, honey and lemon juice in the base of a mixing glass. Add this to the puréed avocado and shake with ice. Single-strain into a chilled coupette and garnish with a melon ball on a cocktail stick with a spear of spring onion.

Twenty Nine: 2000 Man

July 24, 2009

Change, it has been said, is a good thing. The world turns and becomes new.

I’ve just started a new job. After more than three years in one place, I felt it was time to seek a new challenge and so far, everything’s going well. We’re getting ready to head into the Festival – one of the busiest trading periods in the Edinburgh year – which is the perfect time to be facing a metric ton of cocktail competitions.

The next two/three weeks see deadlines for entries for 42 Below’s Cocktail World Cup, Chambord’s Hunt for Holly (supporting their sponsorship of the West End revival of Breakfast At Tiffany’s) and the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix. The upshot of all of that is I’ve been forced into thinking of new recipes perhaps more than usual.

Yes, life is hard.

2000 Man
45ml white rum (I used Element 8 Platinum)
20ml Navan
25ml lemon juice
15ml orgeat
1 dash egg white
1 dash La Fée Parisienne Absinthe
Shake first five ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a chilled coupette or martini glass. Using an atomiser, flame Absinthe across the top of the drink as a garnish.

In which we aim for a BSc in vodkaology

June 21, 2009

It’s been a busy little while at ednbrg Tower, what with trying to locate those missing vowels and all. Monday, for example, saw the 42 Below Vodka University roll up to the Voodoo Rooms to launch the 2010 Cocktail World Cup. Thanks to loveable kiwis Jacob and Marty, I now know that New Zealand is home to over 40 million sheep and has been – since 1996 – one of the few countries where home distillation is legal. I also learned that some people, no matter how hard you try, are never going to like a Feijoa-flavored vodka.

I really wish I’d taken some photos of the presentation. First of all, there was vodka tasting which is rarely on my list of top five enjoyable activities. We covered Russian style vodkas (Russian Standard, in this case), Polish style vodka (Belvedere) and what they called a new world style vodka (Ketel One) – meaning Western Europe/America, I’d guess – before moving onto flavored vodka (Zubrowka) and the 42 Below range of Passionfruit, Feijoa, Manuka Honey and Kiwi. While this was going on, there was an animated backdrop projected onto a screen behind Jacob that, at points, showed a giant, laughing Boris Yeltsin head.

After the tasting, we were shown a couple of videos from previous Cocktail World Cups. 42 Below have been hosting the events in New Zealand since 2004, doing things like throwing competitors off a bridge with a bungee cord and a cocktail shaker. The World Cup was described as “the hardest, and most fun” comp ever.

The brand guys then proceeded to the bar to make a mixture of signature cocktails and drinks that had performed well at previous World Cups – including one that had been engineered to taste like a traditional warm, English ale.

All in all, it was a cracking afternoon. There are always downsides, though, and in this case, it was the fact that I had to go to work pretty sharpish after the session.

So. That was Monday.