Masters of Malt

Masters of Malt Whiskey

It's funny that just pontificating about food and doing a bit of bacon-curing opens doors to doing things that you'd never have thought of. The occasional product review has appeared before but I've never been asked to review whisky until now; more particularly the Drinks by the Dram service from online spirits suppliers Masters of Malt.

What's that? Well, It's exactly what it says it is, you can order drinks by the dram, tot, measure, nip, slug, snifter, or whatever you care to call a 30ml measure!

"But why", I hear you ask, and to be honest those were my thoughts initially, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. "Come-on, Phil", I hear you say, "You're only saying that 'cos they've sent you a freeby!". OK you cynical lot, I'll admit that I was sceptical at first, but given that in the past someone kindly gave me a bottle of Laphroaig, about £30 quids worth, that to me tasted like TCP - the idea's grown on me.

The drams arrived well packaged and I really like the 'sort of' retro style of the bottle labels:

Masters of Malt Whisky

They'd make a great present, either singly as a stocking filler, or as a tasting selection - Masters of Malt have a number of pre-chosen sampling sets just in case you have difficulty in choosing your own and also do sampling sets for rum and cognac. Drinks by the Dram also gives the whisky aficionado the chance to try something like a Glenfarclas 1952 Family Cask, that costs over £1500 a bottle, without ending up in the divorce courts!

With a unbelievable selection of whiskies of all types from all around the world, including Japan, Sweden, India and even England - there's over two thousand Scottish whiskies alone - it's well worth a look. They also stock a wide range of other spirits, champagne, and the widest range of bitters I've ever seen!

Many thanks Masters of Malt

The drinks tasted were:

Master of Malt 12 Year Old Lowland Whisky
Master of Malt 12 Year Old Lowland Whisky
JW Dant Special Reserve 3cl Sample Bourbon Whisky
JW Dant Special Reserve 3cl Sample Bourbon Whisky
Jefferson's Bourbon
Jefferson's Bourbon

PS - drink safely or the whisky may look like this:

Masters of Malt Whisky

Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin

I have finally got around to straining last years Sloe Gin and 'boy oh boy' how I wish I'd made more of it, it's fantastic.

So here's a timely reminder, get out there now and pick your sloes before the birds have them all. If you're not going to use them immediately, they freeze well and an added advantage is that you shouldn't need to prick them.

Elderflower Cordial Update

The elderflower cordial that I made using this recipe was strained and bottled after 5 days. I considered adding a campden tablet to prevent it fermenting but decided to risk it in the fridge without.

It's great with sparkling water added and also makes a superb sorbet.

Elderflower Cordial

A recent post on a forum about self-sufficiency reminded me that it's elderflower season. It always seems to pass me by, even though there's a big bush 10 yards from my window!

I've tried drying elder-flowers before, when I used to make a lot of wine, it wasn't the greatest success; this time I decided to make an elderflower cordial. It's simplicity itself using this recipe that's an amalgamation of various ones from books and the internet.

To every 10 heads of elder-flowers (big green stalks removed) you need 600ml boiling water, ½ Lemon, 1 teaspoon Citric Acid and 750gm White Sugar. Put everything except the elder-flowers into a large bowl and stir until dissolved, then leave to cool. Add the elder-flowers and mix well. Skim off any bits that don't look as if they belong! Cover with a clean cloth and leave for 4 or 5 days, stirring twice a day.

I made a double the recipe amount, seen here before I got all the naughty bits off the top...

Elder-flowers steeping be continued

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The Chorizo that Wasn't and Sloe Gin

This post was meant to be a photo essay on making chorizo, but things sort of went haywire.

You see, it all started on Friday when it came to getting the meat. Pauline phoned a couple of local butchers who seemed to think that pork shoulder is worth more than gold, so I suggested a visit to Joseph Morris's, the abattoir at South Kilworth; alright it's about a 30 mile round trip, but the saving would have been worth it. Pauline didn't think so and we ended up in Tesco buying cheap vac-packed pork, 'cos that's only 7 miles away. I knew it wasn't a good idea, even though it was British! We opened it yesterday only to find that it smelt like a tramp's vest! Back to Tesco for a refund taking the meat with us so that we could see the look on the customer service assistant's face when she took a big sniff! All in all probably 28 miles in all - we should have gone to the abattoir in the first place!

That's left me scratching my head as to what to write; so what else have I been doing this week? Well I could tell you about any progress I've made with the white pudding I mentioned in the last post; well I could if I'd had any meat to make some more! I could tell you about making quince jelly and quince cheese (membrillo) with the quinces that my good neighbour gave me; that's if they weren't still sat in the bag in the kitchen.

Sloe GinThat leaves the sloe gin that I made with the sloes that Pete was kind enough to pick for me when out cycling. Now please don't tell me that I should have waited 'til they'd had the 'frost on them'; I don't look a gift horse in the mouth. (I could have, of course, frozen them to get a similar effect - but I couldn't be bothered.)

Sloe Gin

1 70 cl bottle gin
1lb sloes
7oz sugar

Prick the sloes with a fork and put them into bottles with the gin and sugar. Shake every couple of days for a couple of weeks and then leave for a couple of months minimum, shaking it occasionally. It's best kept for a year before straining and drinking. The sloes can be made into a compote or ice cream topping - don't waste their ginny/sloey unctuousness.

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