Brandy cocktails

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Post

Not very much down my alley but it is a part of the Brandy universe and as such deserves a post here. I prefer my Brandy straight up. No ice. No water. No nothing. But there are some Brandy cocktails recipes that, let’s say, are worth a mention here. They at least make an eyebrow of mine raise. To be very precise I did not try every cocktail mentioned here more than once (well apart from one). And I do not consider myself a cocktail mixing bar man. I have other virtues. So apart from the eyebrow nothing much happened. But if I would drink a Brandy based cocktail on a regular basis, it would be one of the following! And while at it I thought it was a great opportunity to go thru a few glasses of them tasty maraschino cherries! πŸ™‚

B&P – 2cl Brandy, 5cl Port, stir and serve on ice. Simple and yet surprising

Brandy Collins – 4cl Brandy, 3cl sugar sirup, 3cl lemon juice, Soda water to your choice, serve stirred with ice. Elegant but effective. BTW this one lends itself to be decorated and accompanied with fruit. I went for red submarine. A maraschino cherry.

Chateau Sarre – 4cl Brandy, 2cl banana cream liquor, 2cl Maraschino, ice cubes. The name is actually more “thrilling” than the drink. πŸ™‚

Brandy Flip – 2cl Port, 3cl Brandy, 1 egg yolk, 1 ts sugar, 2cl cream and a little nutmeg. I guess if you do not have the time for a real lunch or are not a big fan of egg nog, this is for you! I changed the original from more to less port and added more Brandy because I like that better. Profit from being served cold in my opinion.

Brandy Sour – 8cl Brandy, 2cl lemon sirup, 1ts lemon juice, Soda water and a drop of angostura. Serve with ice. Having been to Cyprus, there is no way around this drink established on the island by the English. So that one I knew and adjudicated a lot during my visit to Cyprus.

Hanseatic – 4cl Brandy, 2cl Burbon, 6cl Champagne or Prosecco. This is as not as girlie as the ingredients make it sound, I guess. Personally I prefer Scotch over Burbon but with a sweet demi-sec Champagne to compensate the Whiskys personality.

And a world premiere:
The felted hat – 4cl Gran Duque d’Alba, 1cl Maraschino, fill up glas with ginger ale and add ice, good stuff for happy days, and you might add maraschino cherries too πŸ™‚

I think it goes without saying but I mention it here anyway. I believe in top notch ingridients. Mixing a drink with third class alcohol does not make it equaly enjoyable. If the stuff that tastes good straight up already, is used in a cocktail, chances are, your going to appreciate the mix better as well.

Hope that with this post I was able to raise one or the other eyebrow out there as well. So please go ahead, it’s actually more fun than I anticipated. Or do you have a cocktail with Brandy that you like much better than the ones above?!?

Pedro de Valdivia Platinum

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Review

After more than a year of putting a Brandy review online, it is about time to dig into the 15 or 16 Brandys I brought back from my short vacation in the south of Spain in 2015. And not just some Brandy it is. It is the Platinum from Pedro de Valdivia, produced by the Bodegas Valdivia S.A.. To see their regular Solera Gran Reserva check here. But today we are treating ourselves as it should be!

The bottle comes in a sleek simpel black package. And the elegant bottle pays enough tribute to whats inside without getting in the way. The Platinum comes numbered and the bottle tasted here is 0807. And while this is a Solera Gran Reserva already the dark color and then the nose give it away. It contains a lot of old Brandy!

After having been hypnotized by the enchanting look and smell the expectations rose up. I have to say almost too high to be realistic. Don’t know but the complete package was just so smart that it was totally impossible to not taste spectacular. All the sweet woodenness, the mahogany color. Of course, as all Brandys do, the smell alone is not a 100% pleasant as there is loads of alcohol involved that resolves into the air and might lead your senses into the wrong direction. But to make a long story short, the Platinum did not disappoint. It delivered and it delivered in heaps! Fruity tasting while vine and vinegar notes were present as well. Wood and sweetness was there too. Obviously top grade material that has left in barrels for decades.

I can’t remember the price I paid back then. I believe it came a bit at a premium compared to the standard Brandys. In any case, it was well worth it. As said this Brandy is a top, great, a peach, superior or whatever you want to hear, when it comes to a premium product. Sweetness is well balanced with the fire of Spain’s grapes and wines. Top notch. If I was forced to say something negative it would be, that it somewhat left me wishing it would be a tad more woody and sweet just like the top Brandys from Lustau or Sanchez Romante. At the same time that I said this, it clearly plays in the same league and I welcome the addition that has it’s own soul and character! Well done Bodegas Valdivia!

For more infos click on the tasting sheet:
Pedro de Valdivia Platinum

Visiting bodegas in Jerez

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Brandy Post

One of the reasons that I am not posting on a regular basis lately was that I was on vacation. πŸ™‚ And not just any place. Finally a little dream of mine came true and I was able to walk the magic halls of some of the finest bodegas in the city of Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Endless rows of solera style casks strung one after the other. Oloroso, Canasta, Fino and many other wines where stored and one of the things that stood out most for me, was that sweet scent of aged wine and wood that was in the air. This intriguing and intoxicating aroma reminded my of some of the best, old Brandies I have had and I immediately got caught up in it, never wanting to leave again.

Bodega Lustau

I was able to attend a guided tour of the Bodega Lustau. The history, tradition and knowledge there were really deeply impressive. The tour ended with the obligatory wine tasting (of course, no Brandies were included in the standard tasting). As I had to drive later that day, I passed on some of the drier wines just nosing a little. When it came to the sweeter Sherrys I did try some with the Lustau East Indian Solera being my favorite. Excellent stuff! A little dissapointment was that the in-house shop did not have anything special when it came to my beloved brandies. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lustau and all of their Brandies were present there. But I was kind of hoping that there would be something to find that you can only get right from the bodega and not anywhere else (later I found out that none of the bodegas I visited had something like that). Here I would like to give my respect to Manuel Lozano, the head enologist at Lustau. He obviously has a very special hand (,nose and palate) and is able to refine Lustaus wines and spirits into something very special. I certainly recommend a guided tour at Lustau!

Bodega Humbert William

Of course I was on the lookout for Brandies when visiting Jerez! Stuff that I did not know up until then or I was not able to get my hands on so far. On the one hand side I entered every shop I could find and asked for “especialidades” (not much to the pleasure of my family) and on the other hand I payed a visit to as much bodega shops I possibly could in the short time. The best visit of a bodega shop certainly was at Williams & Humbert (gotta love the Gran Duque d’Alba!). This was due to the simple fact that the shop was at the very end of a huge ‘almacen’ (warehouse) stocked with solera lines of casks. As I was on my own I pretty much had the chance to walk unguided through the warehouse, soaking up the atmosphere, the scent and the tradition. Truly amazing places that give the impression of cathedrals where your senses are lulled by the sweet smell of aging wine.

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At the end of the short trip we had to buy an additional suitcase to make space for all the bottles of Brandy. So it certainly was an eventful and successful hunt. πŸ™‚ As posted on my facebook page already, I brought back 11 Brandies. I left for Andalusia with a big list of Brandys that I had not tasted before and I only got two or three from that list. Many of the ones I bought I have not heard of before or did not know that this bodega makes a “gran gran reserva”, platinum or whatever name they give their finest of the fine. So some are very unique and precious and some simply just to good to pass on. As I already had some closed bottles at home I am now left with the cumbersome work to open all of them and write a tasting. What a terrible stress I will be putting myself through! Can’t wait. πŸ™‚

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