Showing posts with label Greene's. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greene's. Show all posts

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Crucible's Cutting Edge Cocktails at Cask


Crucible's Cutting Edge Cocktails at Cask
My top two: Totally Mad Wae It (left) and L’Apostrophe 

Andy Ferreira’s team at Cask are always willing to enhance their already formidable cocktail skills and that was one of the reasons they had London’s Crucible show their paces at the Cork venue last Wednesday evening.

Led by Romeo, in the unavoidable absence of director Stu Bale, Crucible served up four impressive cocktails. Crucible is a member’s club, co-working space and creative hub for bartenders. Its community is a veritable melting pot of world class mixologists, drinks industry heavyweights and flavour experts. For instance, whiskey writer Dave Broom (you might remember him from Ballymaloe’s Lit-Fest) is one of the talented crew at Crucible.
Cask on Wednesday

Crucible’s in-house laboratory boasts an impressive range of equipment including  dehydrators, ice-cream makers, thermomixers, centrifuge (great for producing clear ingredients, or concentrated flavours), Carbonation Rig, and more, giving bartenders complete creative freedom in bringing their most exciting ideas to life. 

Creativity and science combine - “they take it right down to molecular levels” Andy told us -  and drinks producers, both large and small, have recognised the amazing possibilities of this “drinks lab”. Indeed, Wednesday’s Crucible takeover was sponsored by Irish Distillers Pernod-Ricard’s Affinity Brand Company, whose portfolio comprises luxury brands such as Midleton Very Rare, Redbreast, Green Spot, Method and Madness, Monkey 47, Lillet and CEDER’S.
Cutting edge!

Pacific Oisin
Science  (the original Latin word means knowledge) may be key at Crucible but they and Cask know how to have some fun too, illustrated with the names of the drinks on Wednesday. We started with Pacific Oisin, named for a well-known Irish operator in the Irish drinks space. 

The cocktail consisted of Monkey 47 gin, Yellow Spot Tasty Juice, Tiki Things, possibly including (but not exclusively) Pineapples, papaya, guava, nutmeg, coconuts, sand, and regret. Lots of ice too but no regret here though, just a long smooth drink with the spirits rounded and a sweetness provided by the fruits. Perhaps too smooth! Very easy drinking indeed.

Nial, another of their friends, had the distinction of featuring in the next one: Nial in the Coffin (Havana Club Seleccion. Malibu. Indestructible chemical acid with lime flavouring!). Not too much colour here but nicely balanced.

Nial in the Coffin
Next up was L’Apostrophe, a title tribute to Carl D’, an ace in the Cask team. And it was a beauty, a combination of Jameson, Foraged stuff (not too sure what that was, possibly the tip of a nettle!) and Perriet-Jouet Rosé champagne. “Pure buzzing” was the sub-text here and it was different class. Power and intense bubbles, firm fist in a velvet glove, a knockout.

It was more or less matched by another whiskey mix, again with no ice. Indeed, the two with no ice were my favourites on the night. This last one was called Totally Mad Wae It and ingredients were Method and Madness Irish Whiskey, Buckto and Ultrasonic. 

The description didn’t quite get my attention at the start of the evening. Apparently this got a “wash” of ultrasonic waves. Don’t ask! The result though is quite magnificent, with the Midleton-made whiskey the out and out star of the drink. When you finish, be sure and suck that strip of orange peel that has been giving you a lovely aroma all the way through.  

My Rankings:
1 - L’Apostrophe
      Totally Mad Wae It
3 - Pacific Oisin
4 - Nial in the Coffin



Thursday, February 14, 2019

Future Trends of an Exciting Wine List


Future Trends of an Exciting Wine List
It's Natural, says Beverley. Bryan's more cautious.


There’s definitely a massive trend towards natural wines, according to Beverly Mathews, owner of the L’Atitude 51 wine-bar in Cork. “Paris, London and New York are leading the way. People are looking specifically for natural wines. It’s a definite trend. Jean Foillard, who visited L’Atitude last year, is a star in Beaujolais. Aldi sold a natural orange wine last year and sold out quickly. Natural wines are full of character but can be quirky.”

Dalcassian Wines & Spirits came to Cork in force last week for a portfolio tasting. And very impressive it was too. It wasn’t all tasting of course and there was quite a bit of talking too. One of the best discussions came in a side room and was entitled Future Trends of an Exciting Wine List.  Beverley and Bryan McCarthy (Head Chef at Greene’s Restaurant) were the main speakers; Jules Mahon, Business Development Manager with Dalcassian, was in the chair and smoothly facilitated a very interesting hour or so on the main subject.

Bryan wasn’t as convinced about natural wine’s progress saying world trends in food and wine don’t necessarily follow through in Ireland.
L'Atitude 51, with natural wine-maker Thierry Puzelat (right)

He admitted to being surprised when he began to work with Frank Schiltkamp a few years ago. “I work closely on the pairing with the somm. It is when we introduce a new dish that more cooperation is required and it was something new to me that I may have to take some element out of the new dish and then Frank will have a matching wine. It’s all about the balance between food and wine. Wines by the glass is a growing trend and we now have twenty by the glass.”

The chef has noticed that German, Austrian and Portuguese wines are becoming more sought after, though the “old” wines are still popular but thought that in the future they will be seen less.
Bryan sees an increase in the popularity of Portuguese wines. This Reynolds range is  part of the Dalcassian portfolio

Beverley told us that L’Atitude is a fully licensed wine bar so they can serve a glass of wine without food and that “gives us flexibility to play around with wines. Wine is the most important element to us. We are a wine led bar.”

Jules then asked if there was a demand for lower ABV wines.
Bushby’s Strawberries at Greene's, paired with Alasia Moscato d'Asti, a low alcohol frizzante
Beverley said she gets lots of requests and that there is a definite demand for low alcohol drinks. Greene’s have introduced what they call “Sips” for couples on their tasting menu. So one gets the full wine treatment while the other can opt for Sips at about half the price.

Beverley wasn’t impressed with alcohol free wines saying “they’re not essentially wines”. But she said the technology is improving and that Torres have an 0.5% line. “There are lots of low alcohol beers and ciders, though”.

No matter the ABV, Bryan’s main aim is that the wine complements the food, doesn’t clash with it and doesn’t overpower it. Frank will have his own aims but “we do work well together”.

Organic Wine
Brian said that, for him, flavours in organic wine are similar to those in non-organic. For him too, it was more about provenance.

Beverley: “In recent years concern for the environment has been spilling over into food and wine. People are asking more and more for organic, bio and natural. Customers are drinking better, making more informed choices and are more demanding. Wines, whose sales were once static, are now more popular and giving us more fun. People now ask for different grape varieties, want to explore”.

Brian agreed the people “are more experimental”. Frank has spotted the trend and people are buying accordingly.

Beverley is a big fan of Coravin. “We have over a hundred wines by the glass. Coravin is essential and not just for the more expensive wines. I know the wines are fresh from it and we use it on many wines. Wines are at their freshest and people get variety.”

How best to present the wine list
Greene’s sommelier Frank says they have tried various formats, grouping by region, by flavour profile, by price. And it would seem that price is key for many. “Even corporate customers have a budget”. 
An Italian at Cask (Greene's little sister)

Frank though loves seeing a customer who knows exactly what he wants and ordering it straightaway. Sometimes that can be a lower priced wine and sometimes a top of the range champagne but, either way, the somm gives credit to the customer. Bryan said sample sips are not generally available in the restaurant (Greene’s) but are in Cask.

Beverley’s list is divided by style. “We have six or seven choices under each category. It encourages the customer to explore and not be daunted. It helps us that we can offer the customer a taste before purchase.”

Sparkling Trends?
A popular Friday Fizz at L'Atitude

Bryan says sparkling sales are customer driven. Prosecco is the most popular but Cava and Champagne are available. Frank concurred: “Frizzante is most popular because of price, especially among groups of women who’ll order a bottle before a meal. It is fun and nice to drink.” Beverly bemoaned that Cava suffers because of higher import duties and Bryan agreed that those same taxes “have a lot to do with what people drink”.

Could Crémant be the next big thing? “You do see it,” says Frank “but it’s still a hard sell. On the other hand, you don’t sell champagne, people buy it!” Beverley confirmed that champagne is selling well now after stalling for a good few years.

Of course, despite all the problems (including taxes of all kinds), people can still help themselves. L’Atitude have a long-running Friday Fizz where customers can buy a glass of the nominated bubbles at a very reasonable price and the Raven (who held a successful Spanish wine tasting recently) offer all wines at the same price, €22.00 per bottle, every Monday. night.

Some terrific spirits, wines and very interesting vermouths were tasted at the River Lee. Check them out here

Thursday, January 10, 2019

CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest. Wines, Spirits and Beers Events


CorkBilly’s Drinks Digest
Wines, Spirits and Beers Events

Wine Course at L'Atitude
The Wine Fundamentals Level 1 Course starts Saturday 19th January at 3.30pm and will run over 4 weeks, finishing on February 9th. 

Each class lasts 2 hours and the programme will cover the following: 

- Week 1: Basic Tasting Techniques, Introduction to Winemaking and the Main Wine Regions
- Week 2: Major Grapes of The World
- Week 3: Influence of Winemaking Techniques, Climate and Regionality on Wine Style
- Week 4: Sparkling Wines & Food & Wine Matching

Each class costs €40, or €160 for the full course (€150 with discount if you sign up or all 4 classes). 

You can enrol by ringing L’Atitude 51 on 021 2390219 or coming directly to the bar or send us an email to let us know you'd like to attend - info@latitude51.ie

Prosecco for two features in Greene’s offer
Happy New year from all at Greenes Restaurant.
We have a very special new years offer for all our customers.
You can enjoy a 40% discount on our Weekend 5 Course Lunch Tasting Menu with Prosecco from now until the end of March. Valid Thursday to Sunday
OR
A 40% discount on our midweek 6 course evening tasting menu until the end of March. Valid Sunday to Thursday.
View these offers on our website here.

AFTER DARK AT THE CRAWFORD
5-7pm Sunday 20 January

“So bring a friend or date, grab a complimentary drink, take a pop-up tour with our inspiring guides, and enjoy a night at the gallery as we celebrate the Eve of St Agnes!

At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array...

Join us after dark on Sunday 20 January for our special celebration of the Eve of St Agnes in partnership with Irish Distillers.

For centuries, this medieval tradition has inspired lovers, poets, and artists alike, including John Keats and Harry Clarke. This year, it is the central theme of our new exhibition Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours, in which star-cross'd lovers Madeline and Porphyro elope on St Agnes' Eve!”


This event runs as part of Dreaming in Blue: Harry Clarke Watercolours (until 14 February). Free event but book your place here.  

Consumer Tasting for Australian Wine


O'Brien's Monthly Sale
A Louis Jadot Fleurie is one of the wines featured in O'Brien's monthly sale. Jadot's reputation as one of the grand old houses of Burgundy is well established and justifiably so, classic wines from Grand Cru to Cru Beaujolais. Fleurie is one of the 10 Cru's of Beaujolais situated between Villefranche sur Saone and Macon. And Louis Jadot Fleurie is currently at €16.95 instead of €22.95. Another worth checking is the d'Arenberg d'Arrys Shiraz/Grenache also at €16.95 (from 21.95).
.
Lucky Irish
I’ve often thought that Irish wine drinkers are blessed because of the huge choice available to us, bottles from all over the world. And that opinion was reinforced when I read this paragraph from a newsletter I get from a winelover in the Languedoc.

“And just for fun I opened a trio of Gimblett Gravels from New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay, all variations on a bordelais theme, with a very New World taste.    it is virtually impossible to find any New Zealand wines in the Hérault, so our languedocien friends enjoyed being taken out of their comfort zone!”

The Growing Thirst for Exotic Wine
Bored with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc? Discover some new grapes with Wine-Searcher’s Kathleen Willcox who reports that the heirloom tomato effect is at work in the wine world. The biggest driver of the trend is Millennials, who are seeking not only something pleasing to their palate, but wines that will horrify their parents with their unpronounceability and esoteric country of origin. Read more here


Richy’s BYO Offer
Clonakilty restaurant Richy’s are offering a helping hand when dining out. “Feeling the crunch after Christmas? Why not save some dosh by bringing your own wine to Richy’s! T&C's apply. Available 14th Jan - 28th Feb 2019. Corkage €5.”

Cask Ales and Strange Brew Fest
Our favourite festival of the year....The Cask Ales and Extraordinary Brew Festival running from Jan 31st to Feb 2nd. 
Featuring a range of special brews using curious and interesting ingredients, the festival will showcase the growing experimentation of Irish brewers and their ability to challenge the norms of brewing.

Yellow Belly, Rising Suns, Metalman and West Cork Brewing are just some of the brewers at the festival and will compete in the Beoir Cask Competition to see who can come up with the most extraordinary beer under categories: Best lager, best "pale', best stout and best specialty. Judged by The national Beer enthusiasts club, winners will be announced on the Saturday of the festival. 

Live music, performances & Pompeii pizza! Admission is free

  


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summertime Lift-off at Cask. Cocktail Champ. Music. Food. New Elevator


Summertime Lift-off at Cask
Cocktail Champ. Music. Food. New Elevator
A cup of punch to welcome the sun.

The start of the summer season in Cork’s leading cocktail venue, Cask, was well celebrated in the McCurtain Street venue on Wednesday evening. Guests galore were on hand for the evening. And the sun came too!


Owner Richard Evans and Arthur Little made us all feel welcome. And the biggest welcome, well the biggest applause, was reserved for Carl d’Alton who, earlier the week, was crowned the Irish World Class Cocktail Champion in Dublin, taking over the title from Andy Ferreira, his mentor in Cask.

Cask, as you probably know, is situated across the lane-cum-courtyard from its big sister Greene's and their hotel Isaac’s. Arthur is MD of the busy complex and had another reason to be happy on Wednesday as their new outdoor lift was unveiled for the first time. The glass walled structure has quite a low visual impact on the old architecture of the place and I’m told there is a quite a view from the top.

With the short speeches over, it was time for Karen Underwood (right) and her talented backing musicians and they played long and played well as the food came in waves. No shortage of drinks either. Cask were launching their summertime menu under both headings and again renewed their commitment to local and seasonal. 

Sustainability in bars is about a lot more than paper straws and using up your manky lime wedges. It’s about creating an environment where every possible product you use is produced close to you, or at least the majority of them. 

The reality is though in a world where everyone claims to have ‘small batch, artisan’ products, you still need to be super fussy about what you use. In Cask, if we’re putting an ingredient in our cocktail, it’s because we believe it’s the best possible option to make the drink absolutely banging!”

So if you want Beet, Black & Blue, then this is the cocktail for you: Jameson Black Barrel, Beetroot, Ardbeg, PX sherry, and Orange bitters.

Fancy the Ball ’N Chain? The mix here is Beefeater, Elderflower Pisco, Pine-berry Shrub, Apple water, and Poachers Wild Tonic. Driving tonight? Check out the Fine & Dandy made with Dandelion Jam, Spent Citrus Sherbet, Lilac Soda, Raspberry and Elderflower Sorbet.
A bao, with chicken

Like the titles? I do. Here are a few more: The Whole Shebang, The Udder Wan, Made in Mayfield, Cheeky Sheri’s Cherry Sherry. No shortage of other drinks of course, including sparkling wines, and quite a selection of whites and reds (including a few organic) and all available by the glass. 

And Cask has been getting excellent notices about its food offering, under the wing of top chef Bryan McCarthy (the head chef at Green’s). Start with the Light. About six choices including House Marinated Olives with garlic parsley and also Guacamole, sour cream, Tomato salsa, Lime, Mexican crackers.
World Class Carl

Feel like something from the More. A Tuna Ceviche sounds good to me. Maybe the Salad Caprese? And then there’s the Ballyhoura Mushrooms on toast. And more.

Speaking of more, there’s even A Little More, everything from crispy aromatic Peking Duck to Philly Steak Sandwich to Nordic Bread Pizza. And there are cheese and charcuterie boards to share. Even desserts.

No shortage of choices in Cask. And there is another one. You may dine and drink inside in the bar or outside in the courtyard under the waterfall. And you can be sure that the outside space will be even more popular in summertime. Have a happy one!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Greene’s Team Bowl Them Over At The Mardyke. Classy Brunch (plus Gin Bonus) in Cricket Club

Greene’s Team Bowls Them Over
Classy Brunch (plus Gin Bonus) in Mardyke Cricket Club
Crab and haddock
The punters were on a winner here, even if the “game” was a friendly. Very friendly and informal as Greene’s sommelier Frank Schiltkamp pointed out in his few words at the start, saying we weren’t going to get quite the same treatment as we would at his MacCurtain Street base, a point quickly underlined when the opening offerings for this five course tasting brunch came in cardboard containers. 

Cardboard or not, it’s hard to beat class and Chef Bryan McCarthy and his team have that in abundance and they again played a blinder at the opening brunch of the Spirit of the City Festival in the Cork Cricket Club at the Mardyke.
Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon

Before, and during, the meal, there was gin, Beara Ocean Gin from West Cork to be exact. They include botanicals, Salt Water and Sugar Kelp, from the Atlantic among their botanicals for their standard gin. And add Rosewater and Cranberry for their Pink Ocean Gin. The Pink was a special for Valentine’s Day but proved so popular, it is still with us.
Pink Ocean Gin Cocktail
 We started with a cocktail: the Pink Ocean, Prosecco and Fever-Tree’s Aromatic Tonic. Very nice indeed, especially with the sun shining on the cricket grounds outside. Later, I tried the standard Ocean Gin with the regular tonic. Will have to sample them again though without all the ice, the lemon and the lime, even juniper berries. I prefer to get down to basics see what my drink really tastes like!

Smoked spuds and black pudding
 Speaking of basics, my favourite dish had three basic ingredients: smoked potato, Jack McCarthy’s Black pudding and pancetta, plus a delicious Truffle Mayo. It was the three basic items that stole the show, fantastic flavours and textures that combined to keep the palate very happy.


With the place full and after a few words from the busy chef, we had started well with Crab and Smoked Haddock, Cucumber Pickle, Chilli, Lime and Coriander, all on brown bread (and in a cardboard container!). Super ingredients and a superb combination. 

Course number two was also small(ish) but again perfectly formed: Scrambled Eggs and O’Connell’s Smoked Salmon, Grain mustard and Honey Spelt Toast. Very tasty again, right down to the toast.
Bao Eggs Benedict
 Couldn't quite say the same about the Bao in the Eggs Bao Benedict that followed the smoked spuds. The eggs were accompanied by a dry cured bacon, wild Garlic leaves and Hollandaise. The Bao, by comparison with the earlier breads, was rather anonymous at the bottom, handy for soakage though. The eggs and the bacon on the other hand were top drawer, well equipped with both flavour and texture to take on the world on their own.


What would the team in the kitchen come up with for the final over? They bowled us over with a colourful and sweet dessert: natural yogurt, rhubarb compote, and granola. 
Dessert

So well fed and nicely ginned, we got the jackets on and headed out to see what the rest of the festival was offering. Not a great deal at that early stage (about 2.15pm). Thought we might knock across a few gin producers in the big tent. But no sign of any and with the prices set at cricket score proportions, we decided to up sticks and exit gracefully.


Up the Dyke on Saturday: Bridge over the Lee with St Vincent's Church (Sunday's Well)

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Greene's Rhône Wine Week Dinner. Perfect Pairings with Wines of Chateau Pesquié

Greene's Rhône Wine Week Dinner

Perfect Pairings with Wines of Chateau Pesquié
The line-up
Perfect pairings all through the evening were a highlight of the Rhône Wine Week dinner at Greene’s last Wednesday evening. Rarely have I seen such perfectly matched food and wines as was the case when Chef Bryan McCarthy’s food met the wines of Chateau Pesquié, Rhone Valley wines grown under the shadow of Mont Ventoux.

Thanks to the windy mountain, the chateau enjoys one of the coolest micro-climates of the Southern Rhone. The wines have a beautiful freshness and now the whole operation at Pesquié is organic. You’d be foolish not to go organic in this area, said Leslie Williams who introduced the wines along with Cindy Albero from the Chateau.
Chef relaxes, at the end!

I joined dozens of other guests and listened as the two spoke both before and, at intervals, during the meal. As we moved into the main part of the restaurant we nibbled on some of Bryan’s Seasonal Snacks: Celeriac, Mackerel, and Chicken.

Then we were onto Cured Trout, Crab, Daikon Radish and Seaweed and that was matched with Le Paradou blanc. The wine was from the Viognier grape, apricot, floral, fresh, delicious. This was a grape that nearly died out in the 20th century and this excellent example showed just what we would have had missed.
Scallop

And Viognier would also feature in our second wine, the Terrasses. It accounts for 70% of the blend with Roussane and Clairette also in the mix. Citrus and floral aromas, again that freshness and ideal with Seared Scallop, Cauliflower, raisin and curry. A tasty little Espuma followed, a hint of half-time. Then it was the turn of the Pesquié reds.

What would you pair with Pork belly, Black pudding kohlrabi, apple? The correct answer on the night was Le Paradou rouge! This beauty features Grenache, a grape that’s at the basis of many Rhone wines. It just thrives in the climate here and you can sense it in the generous aromas and flavours. And, yes, it again was the perfect match.
Venison

And would you like some more meat? More wine? Oh yes, go on. And on came the Venison (it is game time), celeriac, chocolate, Elderberry. Big flavours here. The Terrasses rouge, Grenache (60%) and Syrah, would take care of it. Intense aromas, intense and spicy on the palate, well balanced, a great fit for the game, and the chocolate!

There was a buck on the cheese course too. Joking! Young Buck Blue cheese, a regular at Greene’s is made in Northern Ireland from raw milk and was accompanied here by a Medjool Date and a glass of Quintessence rouge. Rich with a gentle power, the Ventoux freshness again prominent, darker fruits on the nose and on the palate, this blend of Syrah (80%) and Grenache was excellent, an impressive partner to the very impressive cheese.

Woodruff, blackcurrant and Macadamia Nut was our sweet finalé, a lovely dessert on its own but enhanced by yet another wine. I've always been a fan of the sweet wines of Beaumes de Venise and the Pesquié version reinforced that admiration. This organic Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, to give it is full title, is made from 100% Muscat à petit grains from old vines (50 years plus). Obviously whoever said the younger the berry the sweeter the juice got it wrong! 
Gail Cotter-Buckley, Catherine O'Mahony and Breda Buckley all from CIT Tourism and Hospitality Department.

So big thanks to Bryan and his crew, Leslie, Cindy and Damien of Tindal's for putting on a splendid evening of food and wine and thanks too to Greene’s for being such excellent hosts and to all at our table for being such splendid company throughout!



Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Cask’s Andy Ferreira: Top of the Cocktail World


Cask’s Andy Ferreira: Top of the Cocktail World

Andy Ferreira of Cask (Cork) was one of the 55 bartenders who competed in the recent World Class Bartender of the Year in Mexico City, a competition geared to “change the way you drink in 2018”. Kaitlyn Stewart from Canada emerged as the overall winner.

Andy, who won the Irish competition, didn’t make the final round but won’t be looking back with self-pity, far from it as you can gather from his reflections after his exit. “So my World class adventure has come to an end. Incredible two days competing and I gave it everything. No regrets, which is great. Can't wait to see the top 10 in action tonight. Thanks for all the love y'all. The support was unreal.”

Andy’s road to Mexico involved a number of varied challenges. Nial Molloy, World Class Ireland Brand Ambassador, told me all about it: "Andy was first selected for the final 12 from over 40 top calibre entrants from all over the island of Ireland. He then went through an in bar judging stage which whittled the competition down to a final six. Andy then won out the Ireland leg of the competition in a live final which involved a number of challenges such as creating sustainable and signature cocktails for Industry leading judges followed by a speed round in front of over 200 of Irelands top industry professionals.  

In Mexico Andy competed brilliantly. Keeping his signature style and Irish charm consistent across the four challenges set for him.  He was particularly well received in his Mex Eco and Signature Cocktail challenges where he got to showcase his style of bartending to some the World’s leading talents and judges. As Ambassador for World Class Ireland, I personally couldn’t be prouder of his efforts and achievements there. And needless to say he was much loved by judges and competitors alike. The competition boasts an extremely high calibre of Bartenders, with many coming from the Top Fifty bars in the world, a place I have no doubt Andy will bring Cask to in the not too distant future."

Hospitality is in Andy’s blood. His parents owned a successful restaurant which gave him exposure to the fast-paced industry from a young age. After furthering his trade in Dublin, he’s spent time in the USA, Australia, Africa and Asia. 

He’s managed venues in the Thai mountains and rural Ireland, has won several awards and even set up a consultancy! His drinks programmes have introduced nature to his customers, using local produce. 

Cask is the bar he manages in Cork and hopes to make it the best cocktail bar in Ireland! Indeed, while he was in Mexico for the finals, Cask was voted the "Best cocktail bar in Ireland”.

The organisers’ press release (from here down) say Cocktail culture is skyrocketing internationally. Almost 9 out of 10 younger drinkers (88%) now enjoy cocktails on a night out. With Asia, the Middle East and Latin America now represented on the World's 50 Best Bar list, the people leading this revolution are from across the globe. They are bringing new ideas, techniques and cultural influences, leading to a dynamic fast-paced industry where new trends are emerging, inspiring people to drink better the world over.
The World Class Bartender of the Year Finals is the world's biggest bartending competition. Nearly 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries have taken part to win the crown of best bartender in the world.
In between judging the finalists, leading lights from the food and drinks industry got together to uncover the main trends they expect to see next year.

Diageo Global Cocktailian Lauren Mote led a discussion including mixology legend Dre Masso; Australian MasterChef host & judge Matt Preston; Alex Kratena (formerly of Artesian - three time winner of World's Best Bar) and the WORLD CLASS BARTENDER OF THE YEAR 2014, Charles Joly.

Made in Cask! Home of the champs!
The trend panel predicted a rise in sustainability, signature serves, the link between mixed drinks and fine cuisine, and the increase in crafting cocktails at home. Some spectacular cocktail serves were produced as examples at the event.

Sustainable Serves - In a recent consumer poll, nearly one in two customers expressed a willingness to pay a 10% premium for socially responsible and environmentally friendly goods. So as well as helping the environment, going down this route could also make sound business sense for bar owners. 
Dre Masso commented: "Sustainable and re-useable methods and ingredients are becoming increasingly important. The mixologists who embrace this new reality are the ones who will flourish.” Read more about sustainability in the cocktail bar here

Signature Serves - One of the original cocktail innovators, Giuseppe Cipriani, created the Bellini in Venice in the 1930s, and today the home of the Bellini - Harry's Bar - is a must-visit. So with people now spending 5% more on luxury experiences than luxury goods[3], bar owners and mixologists who tap into this desire can thrive in 2018.

Alex Kratena said: "I expect to see more switched-on bar operators and bartenders creating unique drink experiences that go beyond 'what's expected' and push signature serves to become the answer to what tasting menus are in the restaurant world.'

Culinary Cocktails - This trend can be seen in some of the world's top bars with occasionally eyebrow-raising results, whether it's a foie gras and salted caramel infused Manhattan; or even a 'Margherita' pizza cocktail.

Matt Preston said: "With the rise of celebrity chefs and the increased interest in cuisine, the most enlightened mixologists will explore and experiment with flavours, textures, ingredients and techniques borrowed from their peers in the world of fine dining.

"From shock cuisine and hard core fermentation to extreme locality and the growth of restless "palate syndrome" there is so much the culinary and bartending worlds can learn from each other."

Cocktails at Home - Research indicates that 73% of younger drinkers enjoy cocktails at home on special occasions. They are switching-up the ingredients they keep in their kitchen cupboards for more adventurous cocktail-making.

Charles Joly said: "Rather than just cracking open a bottle of wine when guests arrive, it's the logical next step for cocktail lovers to be able to craft beautiful cocktails at home when entertaining friends."
Lauren Mote added: "The aim of WORLD CLASS is not just to find the best bartender in the world, we also want to inspire cocktail enthusiasts around the world to drink better, to give 'home bartenders' to the courage to explore what's possible, creating their own signature cocktails in their kitchen."


Lauren brought the four trends to life at the session with the following recipes:
Sustainable Serves: Café Cantata 
Ketel One Vodka, Banana, Vermouth, Cold Brew Mexican Espresso, Tea Leaves & Flowers, Bittered Sling Arabica Coffee Bitters
Signature Serve cocktail: Juniper Cream Soda 
Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Campari and Manzanilla Sherry, Clarified Watermelon Juice, Mexican Vanilla Bean, locally-made Kombucha, Bittered Sling Plum & Rootbeer Bitters (entire mix should be carbonated, bottled and capped)
Culinary Cocktail: Kernel Horchata 
Ron Zacapa 23 YO Rum, Calvados and Oloroso Sherry, Starchy Rice and Almond Milks, Cacao, Mexican Spices, Bittered Sling Moondog Latin American Bitters
Cocktails at Home Cocktail: Pantry Punch 
Johnnie Walker Black Label, Red Vermouth, Mango & Black Pepper Shrub, Cold Brewed Ceylon Black Tea, Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic Bitters

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cork City by The Lee. Stay. Eat. Shop. See!

Cork City by The Lee. 
Stay. Eat. Shop. See!
Music city



The Firkin Crane in Shandon,
once the butter capital of the world
See: The Queen made it her number one stop in Cork so you’ve just got to see the English Market, an institution in the city since 1788. Nearby, you’ll see the spires of historic St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

St Anne’s Church in Shandon is another landmark. Visit and don’t forget to ring the bells.  Cork was once the butter capital of the world and the Butter Museum is in the shadow of Shandon.

Staying north of the river, why not pay a call to the storied cells of the 
City GaolThe Glucksman is a lovely art gallery in the leafy grounds of the university while the well established Crawford Gallery is easily accessible in the city centre, next door to the Opera House. And don't forget Elizabeth Fort and the newly opened Nano Nagle PlaceAlways something interesting on at The Triskel, an arts venue in a converted church.

Shop: While in the English Market why not do a bit of shopping and check out local delicacies such as buttered eggs and spiced beef. The compact city centre boasts a few top notch shopping centres: Merchants Quay, Opera Lane and the new Capitol area. North Main Street has Bradley’s, founded in 1850, and famous for its wall of craft beers.

For a different experience head to 
Mahon Point Farmer’s Market every Thursday where you’ll find fantastic local cheese and meat and much more, including wild mushrooms, all within a few yards of the large shopping centre.
No shortage of farm to fork restaurants in Cork

Eat: No shortage of eating places including Greene's, JacquesLesGourmandises and Isaac's while lively lunchtime venues include the Farmgate and Nash 19Mad on meat? Try Son of a Bun, Holy Smoke, SpitJack, and many more. Exceptional Japanese at Miyazaki (just six stools though!) No meat? Then the amazing Cafe Paradiso is the one, Iyers is another. Idaho is the city centre cafe while coffee stops abound.  For a fuller list of restaurants and cafes, city and county, see my regularly updated list here. Also check the Whazon Cork listings.

A city of bridges
Drink: For something a little different try L’Atitude Wine Café close to the City Hall. The emphasis here is on quality wines and tasty local snacks with a continental touch. Electric, with its downstairs bar and upstairs fish bar, has taken the South Mall by storm since it opened in 2010.  SoHo and the Bodega are other modern bars with restaurants attached.

For something more traditional, including the music, there are quite a few with The Oliver Plunket being very central indeed.
And, if you prefer craft beers then the Franciscan Well on the North Mall is the place to go as they have a micro brewery right behind the counter. Other pubs with micro-breweries include Rising Sons (Cornmarket Street), Elbow Lane (Oliver Plunket Street, excellent food here also) and Cotton Ball (Mayfield).

Stay: With excellent food in the building and efficient and friendly service, the River Lee is a lovely place to stay in Cork. If you need something more central, the Clayton is for you. A short distance from the centre, you'll find the Ambassador and the Montenotte, each with great views over the city
Fitzgerald's Park

If you are caught for time, stay at the Metropole and explore the amazing McCurtain Street, its pubs, theatre, cafes and restaurants.

Something on the traditional side? Why not the Imperial where you’ll be wined and dined and never be short of company as the locals come and go. Like it leafy? Then the Hayfield Manor and the Maryborough near Douglas are recommended as is the Radisson in Little Island.

Making a quick getaway? The Cork International Airport Hotel is excellent. Heading north or west? Check the Commons Inn.

Walk: Cork is very compact and great for walks. Call to the tourist office and pick up the maps and info for some city centre strolls.

Like to try something more energetic? Then start at the 
North Mall and take a brisk riverside stroll through the Mardyke, into Fitzgerald’s Park, past the UCC Grounds and then onto the Lee Fields. Just remember you have to come back!

There is a very popular walk by the harbour starting at 
Blackrock Castle, another great place to visit with an excellent restaurant, the Castle Cafe. For something shorter but still interesting, do the circular walk around the Lough, a suburban lake full of swans and ducks and other wildfowl.

Ballycotton cliff walk, just east of the city
Get Out: No shortage of things to see and do on the eastern side of the city. Take a trip to Fota House and its famous gardens and arboretum. If you have kids, then the Fota Wildlife Park is at hand. Much to do in Cobh also, including a trip by boat to Spike Island, a former prison with history galore. 

Spike Island
To the south then and a highlight in Crosshaven is the coastal artillery fort of 
Camden with a wealth of history and great views. Another fort, this also being restored, is Charlesfort in Kinsale, a historic town rich in excellent eating places and with a must visit Wine Museum in Desmond Castle. Blarney is just north of the city. The castle, and its famous stone, is a busy spot. Eat at The Square Table.

Strike off to the west and take in the impressive ruins of the abbey at 
Timoleague . WestCork boasts magnificent beaches and good food producers whose products you may sample in restaurants such as the Pilgrim's (Rosscarbery),  Richy’s Bistro (Clonakilty), and Bastion (Kinsale).

For more detailed guides to the county, check out my East Cork and North Cork recommendations.

Jazz time
Listen: There is almost always a music festival on in Cork and surrounds and the big one is the Jazz, always on the final weekend of October. There is a Folk Festival at the end of September and film buffs are in town in force in November. Check them all out here.

The Choral festival dominates in the spring and summer sings with the Midsummer Festival, followed by the International Folk Dancing Festival. 
Music in the Marquee  is a big highlight. Night after summer night, the Marquee hosts top names. Bryan Adams, Cliff Richard and Elton John played this summer (2017).


Avoid: The usual big city security precautions apply. Avoid leaving anything visible in your car and so on. Not much else to avoid. Maybe the rainy days. But even those can be fun. Never know who you’ll find singing at the local bar, even on the street. It is a fun city. So enjoy!