As the autumn season rolls out of view, the turn of the winter menu arises and the focus on the stirred brown drinks come into consideration. But what constitutes a winter menu? Is it a focus on the warmth of Islay whisky, the strength of Jamaican rum, or time to dust off the brandy selection?
Venues across the UK are becoming increasingly aware of the availability of spirits, brands and expressions within them, and in the race to stand out, will always look at the ‘forgotten classics’. Putting that rare whisky on a Christmas special board may win the social media points and have the bartenders flocking, but is it not a dram you can enjoy in the summer too?
Take calvados, for example. Common enough around the autumn time due to the apple harvest, why do we have to wait until the apple harvest to enjoy? Can’t we enjoy it in the height of spring paired with fresh apple juice?
Many bars and restaurants will have a calvados bottle on the back bar, but other than the occasional cook, do we really know what we can do with it outside of the fall?
Calvados Père Magloire started National Calvados Week several years ago with its UK importer Emporia Brands, and champions the UK to highlight any of its expressions within food, drink and consumer focused PR. They have shone a light on the misunderstood sub-category of brandy from the beginning, causing other brands to up their game by investing time and effort all year round in the years since.
London’s Swift, Skylon, Coq d’Argent, London Cocktail Club and Mahiki all get involved. Scotland has seen Edinburgh stalwarts Panda & Sons, Heads & Tales, Voodoo Rooms, Bramble and The Bon Vivant, as well as Glasgow based The Finnieston, Porter & Rye and Drugstore Social offer up Père Magloire specials of food and drink.
The rest of the UK is not short of creative licence either, with San Carlo and Cloud 23 of Manchester, Barlounge in Chester, HMSS of Bristol, 45 West in Leicester, plus Jekyll & Hyde in Birmingham, Alvino’s in Newcastle and Last Chance Saloon in Nottingham amongst others.
The common theme from all is having their respective customers experiencing calvados, possibly for the first time, and overcoming the hesitation of sipping a new category. From this, the sales have been maintained all year round. Simple serves paired with apple juice or a classic Indian tonic automatically create a summer sensation, especially with fresh apple slices to complement.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is, don’t be hesitant on embracing a spirit all year round. If we do it with rum and gin, why not the delicious tastes of apple brandy?
PERE MAGLOIRE AND TONIC
Method: Using a large wine glass or a tall, slim glass, add the ice first then pour in the Père Magloire VS, followed by the tonic water. Cut a full slice of apple and drop into the glass.
50 ml Père Magloire VS
Topped with tonic water
Fresh ice (at least 4 big cubes)
Slice of fresh apple
PERE MAGLOIRE PAMP
Method: Using a large wine glass, add the ice and pour in the Père Magloire VS and grapefruit syrup. Top with the tonic water and garnish with a strip of fresh grapefruit peel.
40ml Père Magloire VS
20ml grapefruit syrup
10ml tonic water