More than a decade ago Desmond Payne was sat at a bar in Japan. But he had a problem. Tonic in Japan tastes different and it was ruining his gin and tonic. “So I looked around me,” he says. “And I thought: ‘What are people drinking?’ Tea. Green tea mostly. “Does tea and gin work? Yes it does. So I drank gin with green tea. So when I made a new gin I thought: ‘Tea works with gin, does tea work as a botanical in gin?’ It's that eureka moment, when the lightbulb turns on. You ne
I have just been lucky enough to witness a true once-in-a-generation moment. The nice folks at Edrington and The Macallan flew me up to join a party of about 500 others to get an exclusive first-look at their new distillery on Speyside. Unsurprisingly, there were drams galore. Obviously this one was for work - and you can see the final story here - but it was also a brilliant experience. Distillery openings are not something which happen every day. This one cost £140 million
Madrid is famous for many things: art, markets, plazas...but tucked away on top of a shop in the middle of the city it has its own secret garden. El Jardin Secreto is hidden away on the top floor of the Salvador Bachiller department store. And it is wonderful. If I was to plan the perfect relaxed day out in Europe I would start at Mariage Frères in Paris and head to Madrid for afternoon tea. S discovered the Jardin Secreto and led me there, so all credit for this one goes to
In the Robert Rodriguez film Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Johnny Depp's unhinged CIA agent kills a cook at a Mexican restaurant because his cochinita pibil is "too good". According to Depp's character, Sheldon Sands, he eats the same thing at every restaurant he goes to. His rationale for killing the cook, it turns out, is that he must keep the balance by eliminating a chef whose version of the meal is too good. Ignoring the murderous insanity of the second half of the scene,
Prague is beautiful, but it is a bit on the chilly side. It is about as cold as the UK, but the wind takes the temperature down below freezing. As a result, while we were exploring S and I found ourselves in need of a warming beverage. Usually this took the form of a gluvine bought from one of the numerous street vendors or stores, but I could not pass up the opportunity to grab at least one coffee in a new city. Just a short walk from the John Lennon Peace Wall we found Cafe
Christmas is here. I will keep this one pretty brief and just wish you all a very merry Christmas. I'm back with my folks for the day. In our house Christmas involves engaging in the classic festive pursuits of eating, drinking, relaxing, opening presents...and diving into the pool. Well the opportunity arose and it seemed remiss to let it pass - especially when I knew I had this to work off later in the day. I hope you and yours have had a wonderful day. There is just one th
The Great British Bake Off has the nation gripped once more. It turns out that even if you change the channel and some of the presenters the formula still works. If you think about it, that is a bit ironic for a cooking show since often if you change a few ingredients the end result can be a bit, well, rubbish. Bu I digress, I got hooked on GBBO later than most but I have followed this season religiously; I am quietly hoping for Sophie and Liam to join the inevitable Steven i
"Every day, once a day, give yourself a present."
Those words from Twin Peaks hero FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, a coffee hero of mine, are very pertinent; be sure to take time for yourself.
So with that in mind, I took Friday off to head up-town with my better half. Our destination? Brick Lane.
Earlier this year we visited the vintage shops of Paris on a weekend there and now we wanted to take a trip to London's offering.
But before the shopping could commence we neede