British spirit merchants Masters of Malt have just announced their latest additions to the “Experimental Series” bottled by The Handmade Cocktail Company. We saw their first two ready-bottled beverages not too long ago, and now they’ve added four new twists on classic recipes that will have you on you’re swerve faster than you can say “choclotini.” The Negroni, The Manhattan, The Rob Roy and The Martinez are all made using rare high-end spirits bottled in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Not only are they stiff as hell (ranging from 33% to 39% abv), but the antique spirits that they’re made of often used different production methods and ingredient sources than their successors today. The end result is a different flavor profile, exacerbated by a deep complexity due to the oxidization of the spirit from it’s long time spent in the bottle. Case in point, you’ll experience the ultimate vintage drink, ready-to-pour at your convenience. The antique versions of the Negroni, Martinez, Manhattan, and Rob Roy are now available online for between $52-$74. Hit the jump for tasting notes and other details.
Tasting notes and full-size bottles of the Handmade Cocktail Company’s Vintage Ready-Bottled Cocktails after the Jump…
Antique Negroni – 1970s – Batch 1 – 20cl/33.7% abv -£41.95 (approx. $68 USD)
Nose: Bitter cranberry, macerated raspberry and a touch of leather hit the nose first before we are taken on a tour of the spice rack: cardamom, cloves and juniper, rounded off with grated lemon zest.
Palate: The gin arrives on the palate first before the bittersweet tag-team of sweet vermouth and Campari burst into the party bringing herbs, dried cranberry and nutmeg.
Finish: Refreshingly bitter and herbaceous with a sweet lick at the very end.
Overall: The classic Italian cocktail beautifully delivered with the added cachet of being antique. Superb stuff!
Antique Manhattan – 1970s/1980s – Batch 1 – 20cl/39.1%abv - £49.95 (approx. $81 USD)
Nose: At first the whiskey hits the nose hand in hand with the sweet vermouth before cherries and sage wander in with the vaguest hint of white pepper.
Palate: Cherries and oak notes fill the mouth followed by cinnamon and dried red fruits.
Finish: Coriander and oregano form a herbaceous finish but it is the bourbon vanilla that clings on for dear life until the very end.
Overall: This is a delicately balanced Manhattan that creates a product greater than the sum of its parts – plus it’s an antique, what’s more to like?
Antique Rob Roy – 1960s/1970s – Batch 1 – 20cl/38.55% abv - £38.95 (approx. $63 USD)
Nose: Maraschino cherries open up first followed by fresh Seville oranges, nectarines and essence of raspberry. Beneath this fruity exterior lies a malty floor harmonising with the sweet vermouth.
Palate: Sweet fruit, namely cherries and plums, roll over the palate counter-balanced by the bitters and whisky.
Finish: Bitter oranges and candied citrus peel finish this mouth-wateringly delicious cocktail.
Overall: The key word for this cocktail is balance. The sweet fresh fruit flavours are intricately complemented by the bitter component. Oh and the ingredients were sourced from the 60s and 70s, that’s pretty cool isn’t it?
Antique Martinez – 1970s – Batch 1 – 20cl/39%abv - £42.95 (approx. $69 USD)
Nose: The nose is dominated by juniper and cherries but tempered with a little orange peel and macerated red fruits.
Palate: Red grapes, raisins, tangerine zest and baked apples with a smooth, silky mouth feel.
Finish: Mixed herbs, rosemary and coriander at first leading to black cherries and pepper as the cocktail slowly fades away.
Overall: A perfect cocktail for those who don’t favour the drier martini or for those who fancy a change. Factor in the antique nature of its ingredients and you have one sublime drink.