Lift your spirits with our week in unique drinks for any occasion
Ellustria’s range of spirits and liqueurs tell a story to match even the toughest of lockdown quizzes
Two months into the UK’s lockdown, it can seem as though all the days turn into one; so, what a joy it is to have events to look forward to in the evenings. But whether you’re ready for your zoom-hosted masterclass, virtual quiz or dusting off old boardgames to play on the terrace, it’s clear that these events have in common is their need for a good companion: a fitting drink to match.
Cue Ellustria, a family-owned beverage retailer specialising in unique, premium and storytelling brands. Based in London and operating globally, Ellustria is on a mission to enrich its customers’ drinking experience by curating a collection of rare and remarkable spirits and beverages.
Inspired by their menu, and in the style of the great food writer Fay Maschler, I present to you my (part) week in spirits, presenting the perfect liquor to match any occasion and raise the spirits of our household during this crisis and beyond.
Wednesday: the virtual quiz
The sun is shining and I have 30m until I am due to host my weekly ‘lockdown quiz’, during which I invite any of my friends from around the world to spend a virtual hour with me and the toughest questions I can create. Perfect time for a G&T. I treat myself to a glass of Amuerte White Edition – the world’s only coca leaf gin.
Coca leaves are harvested from high altitude rainforests in the Peruvian highlands, before being flown to Belgium, where the brand’s master distiller creates this highly distinctive spirit. I must admit to the time it took me to open the bottle – not due to any difficulty, but because it is one of the most striking pieces of art you can imagine. I was not surprised to discover that each bottle is hand-finished with 24ct gold leaf.
Happily, the taste is as pleasing as the aesthetics. Quite unlike any other gin I have experienced, the blend of fresh botanical ingredients gathered from around the globe – from Peruvian coca leaves to Italian fine limes – demonstrates the dedication Amuerte has shown to curate a completely unique product and to push the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of structure and flavour profiles. The coca leaves, distilled with botanicals of cardamom, coriander, lime and Sichuan pepper, create an overriding balsamic freshness to the gin.
I imagine even William of Orange, the man responsible for the birth of gin, would say it was worth fighting the Glorious Revolution for this refreshing and aromatic serve. >>
Thursday: holiday throwback
With such glorious weather but a distinct absence of the beach, it’s time to work some magic to transport myself to that Caribbean island holiday that was designed for summer escapes in better times. Thankfully, I have discovered the spell: a bottle of Moko’s Caribbean Rum.
I grab a tumbler, some ice, a dash of orange juice, a squeeze of lemon juice, a couple of drops of grenadine syrup, and a liberal helping of Moko’s fine run and voilà: a delicious Caribbean punch to enjoy as a sundowner.
What makes Moko’s rum so special is its blending process, using the finest sugar cane from across the islands of Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and aged for several years in Panama to achieve maturity. Finally, it is transported to the cellars of Maison Peyrat, where it is held for several months in oak cases, previously used for ageing cognac.
This level of dedication and care for the rum, results in an incredibly sophisticated, elegant and well-rounded flavour profile; boasting fresh exotic fruits, coconut and toasted almonds. This is a must-have for all those who are craving an exotic escape from the tediousness of lockdown.
Friday: family game night
As there is no chance of enjoying a Friday night on the town, video hosting has come to the rescue once more. Tonight, my sister is bringing the family together for a musical version of the classic game of probability, Bingo. A game which was once exclusively played by the French aristocracy when it was known as Le Lotto, I feel that today’s accompaniment has to be suitable to those fine historic roots.
The answer is a tipple with a base of Prunier vs Cognac, a product which has been steeped in history ever since the Prunier family produced their first bottle back in 1769. This blend of cognacs is aged for at least 30 months in 400 litre oak casks from the Limousin region, each a minimum of six years old. This unorthodox process has resulted in a somewhat complex, and elegant taste for such a young cognac.
Prunier vs Cognac is incredibly well-rounded, offering a delicate aroma reminiscent of endless meadows of white flowers; there is a subtle hint of tea and a slight grapey note which balances the offering perfectly. Overall, Prunier Vs Cognac brings sophistication, discernment and most importantly pleasure to any circumstance it is introduced to. >>
Saturday: dinner with 007
The weekend is finally here, and what better way to celebrate then with a Casino Royale-style dinner party? Obviously, my guests are somewhat limited to those who live under the same roof, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. There’s only one way to start an evening of home-cooked gastronomical brilliance, and that’s with an ice-cold vodka martini – shaken, not stirred. I must admit my inner James Bond fan still gets a thrill from ordering one, even if I am but a pale imitation of 007.
I have found the perfect vodka for a martini to be Snow Queen’s Enigma Edition. The delicately blended florals and sweet grainy notes dance perfectly across the palate. It is perfectly matched with a splash of dry vermouth, chamomile and violet liquor.
Snow Queen’s Enigma Edition is subtly perfumed with three floral notes, blended in exact quantities in order to achieve a balanced, distinguished and fashionable premium vodka. Combining fresh lavender, rose and vanilla, unlike other ‘flavoured’ vodkas Snow Queen is not overcome with botanical ingredients. Instead, the taste is pure but with individual fresh aromas that complement effortlessly.
If you don’t have the ingredients to rustle up a vodka martini at home, fear not. The Enigma Edition is equally delicious and impressive when served on the rocks, with the cold ice triggering an explosion of flavour, to create a bottled symphony of sensual sapidity.