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Hopt Blog

    The Dirty Martini

    ST George’s Terrior Gin- 125ml
    Regal Rogue Daring Dry Vermouth- 1 bar spoon
    (To Taste)
    (Cypriot) Green Olive Brine- 3-4 bar spoon

     

    Always Stirred
    Serve in a chilled Martini Coupe
    3 Olives to Garnish

    Take a large stirring jar, fill with ice and pour the vermouth, the brine, then the gin in. Stir for roughly 1 minute at a slow steady speed, as to not over dilute the mixture.

     

    If you want to take your time enjoying this one, I recommend fixing yourself a small glass and decanting the rest into a small pouring jug, set on an ice bed. That way the mixture doesn’t dilute or warm and you can top yourself up as you go and will feel like you have a bottomless martini.

     

    It’s savoury and salty, exactly how it should be. Earthy notes from the gin and gently highlighted by the vermouth, sage and a little anise. The olives should also be a little oily (do not add extra oil) this should be natural, and creates a light texture to compliment the saltiness of the olives.

     

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    A great Martini is like a great steak. Different cuts of meat correspond to different gins, both offering different flavours, textures, and most importantly preparation recommendations. Whilst many would persist you have steak cooked a certain way, if you don’t like rare, you don’t like rare.

    The beauty with making them at home, is you can do it however you damn well please!

     

    Also try

     

    Stirring you Martini with a sage stem in, discard with the ice before serving.

     

     

    Japanese Gin for a Twist (with a lemon peel)

    Monkey 47 for a Gibson (with pickled onions)

     

     Redchurch

    For our second curation, we’re proud to be featuring a Redchurch Brewery in each of our packs.  East London really is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to breweries.  As my friend often says, “if you stand still long enough in Hackney, someone will build a brewery around you.”

    Choosing to hero Redchurch wasn’t just down to the fact that their taproom is one of the best places in East London for a beer, but because of their respect for process and flavour.

    Bethnal Green Pale – big juicy fruit pale ale with a great blend of English and American hops. Wonderfully sippable – a quintessential ‘Brewmance’ beer to enjoy with friends!

    Great Eastern IPA – tropical fruit aromas with element of pine. Beautifully textured beer, big sticky American hoppy feel. It’s got that Goldilocks ‘just right’ level of bitterness that still entices into the next sip. Perfect for our IPArty pack!

    Shoreditch Blonde – an intriguingly international beer: English lager malt, German yeast and American and European hops combine to create a moreish and complex beer.  Lovely citrus notes and bubbly carbonation that make it a great accompaniment to a lot of foods

    Hoxton Stout – reigniting London’s stout tradition. The definition of bitter-sweet: a great balance between the espresso and chocolate malty notes and a blend of Chinook, Cascade and Colombus hops. One to sip and savour in a moment of self-indulgence – perfect for our Smooth Hoperation pack!

     

    TEQUILA

    Why did the mexican push his wife off the cliff? TEQUILA. Quite a distasteful joke but if the killer tequila in question is Fortaleza then it's a pretty understandable response.

    Holy-mole is this a great tequila. The same family has been making the same tequila the same way for nearly 140 years, each sip is testament to a methodology that 'ain't broke'.

    The 100% stone crushed agave sweetness hits the nose immediately and mellows into earthy and vanilla notes that's very smooth, almost oily which makes it a real pleasure to drink.

    All the bottles are hand blown and each cork meticulously crafted, meaning that this bottle can sit pride and place on the mantle at home, even after you've finished it, to remind you of all the times you shared together.

    Rum

     

    I’ve been looking forward to this one.  In terms of value for money, there aren’t many better spirits around than rum right now.

    Until pretty recently, my rum experience was one I would rather forget. During my time in Spain, the go-to drink on a night out was rum and Fanta (other fluorescent orange artificial drinks are available).  To be fair to my Spanish friends, they were far more discerning with their choice of rum than I was but that’s not saying much (this was before I became an unbearable snob about these things).

    At the risk of sounding clichéd, rum is undergoing a rediscovery at the moment. It’s been a mainstay of the cocktail menu for centuries, but it’s far more than a beach-side one trick pony.  We’ve been looking for ones that can be enjoyed neat as well as taking your daiquiri to the next level.

    We’ve picked a dark, a spiced and a white one:

    1. Rumbullion, Professor Cornelius Ambleforth – aside from having arguably the greatest name in spirits and a great bottle, this is utterly delicious.  Starting with a Caribbean dark rum, they add vanilla, orange peel, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Like a Christmassy crème brulee in a glass. Turn this into a short summer drink with ice and a squeeze of lime
    2. El Dorado 15 year old – there’s a lot to be said for the obscure and undiscovered, but this won best rum in the world 4 years in a row and the International Wines & Spirits Awards.  Utterly deserved: silky and vibrant with a nose of coffee and notes of grilled tropical fruit. 
    3. Diplomatico Blanco Reserva – white rum has been much maligned but trust me, give this beauty from Venezuela a chance. Blended aged rums are charcoal filtered to give an amazingly soft finish. They have also won the brilliantly-named accolade, ‘Rum Master’ from The Drinks Business Spirit Awards

     

    Softs

    I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if my research for this project didn’t involve at least one trip to a Hackney railway arch.  I was just in time too, as these guys are onto big things.  Everything is done in micro batches, to the extent that the lemons are squeezed by hand one by one!  I’m sure it won’t be long before they outgrow their humble beginnings, but dedication to quality is such that I’m sure they’ll continue to produce great tasting soft drinks for a long time.  Soft drinks are going through a tough time with all the press about sugar, but it’s refreshing (awful pun) to see that these guys only use the best natural ingredients.

    I walked into the Square Root arch to a potent waft of ginger as they were taking the latest batch of ginger beer out of the pasteuriser.  I was there to find the best mixers in London to compliment the range of spirits we’re really proud of.  I was distracted on this mission though as their tonics are so good on their own!  Naturally, I was excited about the Hop Tonic.  It’s almost like a bitter lemon with piny and added citrus notes from the Citra and Columbus, I could definitely see myself drinking that with ice on its own in the sunshine (maybe alongside a Beavertown Neck Oil!).  The lemonade is fresh and zingy and a sure-fire crowd-pleaser, the Rhubarb Soda is the perfect summer mixer to some of our gins and the Root Beer is polarising!  Trevor loves it, but then he would, being Canadian.  I won’t comment! 

    I would definitely recommend taking a selection of these home though to try alongside our spirits range, and some extras to enjoy on their own.

    Bourbon

    Before I get started with this one, 2 disclaimers:

    1. I intend on using the Irish spelling of ‘whiskey’ throughout.  Much as I love a Scottish tipple, my Irish grandfather would turn in his grave if he saw me write ‘whisky’
    2. We’re keen to keep learning and trying the best the drinks world has to offer. If you’ve got recommendations you’d like to see in the store, we can try to get them in.

    Right, bourbon.  Law states that bourbon cannot be produced outside of the USA, and 95% of it is produced in Kentucky, the state that just keeps giving: bourbon, fried chicken in a bucket and my personal favourite, the disco ball.

    There are 2 distinguishing features of the bourbon making process: (1) at least 51% of the mash needs to be corn (2) it must be matured in charred oak barrels.  Both of these impact its distinctively sweet profile.  Corn has a far higher glucose content than barley, the main grain in most whiskeys. Equally the charring, rather than imparting smokiness, actually caramalises part of the inside of the barrel, giving notes of toffee and brown sugar.

    We were looking for something with that distinctive sweetness but something more complex as well…

    After an afternoon tasting bourbons (bleak, I know) line-up is:

    1. Smooth Ambler 7 Year Old - bold but brilliantly smooth. We found a drop of water helped bring out the sweet and spicy notes
    2. Blanton’s Gold Edition - amazing bottle, even better bourbon.  When I read it had featured on such classic TV shows as The Big Bang Theory, I was excited.  Winner of 2015 Gold for Outstanding Bourbon at the IWSC, the palate entry is beautifully subtle, and there are notes of dark fudge and white pepper. Top drink

    We’ve also snuck a Rye in, as we’ve heard they’re ‘on trend right now’. Not sure what that means, but I liked how someone described it to me as the maverick younger brother of bourbon, so we’ve given it a crack.  Using rye as a grain means these are less sweet and have more spicy, grassy notes.

    1. Ragtime Rye – quite  an earthy, farmyard taste.  I liked it but not necessarily my cup of tea. Maybe I’m not cool enough yet though. In the meantime, I can see this would make a mean cocktail.
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