I named a freakin’ book

… and you should buy it.

Okay, okay – so what if I’m strutting like I’m Cock of the Roost, King of the Hill, Lord Muck … I’m acting as if I’ve actually written a book, instead of just naming one.

Forgive me this moment of joy as the book in question is all about whisk(e)y cocktails, a subject you know I love, and is written by Jesse Estes, who I also think very highly of.

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From Dram to Manhattan is published by Ryland Peters & Small and the press suggests you “shake, stir, and mix your way to whiskey and bourbon connoisseur status with award-winning bartender Jesse Estes as he demonstrates how to tame these fiery spirits in 40 delicious cocktail recipes.”

It’s not wrong. Just a quick flick though some the hard-backed 64 pages and you’ll find a mixture of classics like Blood and Sand (one of my faves), to drinks like the Cereal Milk Punch, which just makes me want to start drinking in the morning. When I say it’s surprising detailed for such a tidy volume, I mean it. Folks it has 12 pages dedicated to Manhattans (and their ilk) alone. This book is no slouch.

So, who should read Jesse’s book? I think it’s best placed in the hand of the cocktail enthusiast – be they starting off making drinks at home, looking to up their game, or for the more experienced cocktailian who wants a small but detailed pocket book of inspiration and reminder close to hand.

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From Dram to Manhattan: Around the world in 40 whisky cocktails from Scotch to Bourbon is available on Amazon.


The Mark of Respect goes intercontinental

Last week I woke up to this message from all round gentleman Kevin Hurley, Global Brand Ambassador for Teeling Whisky (for context, read this):

“Gents, with both of your gracious permissions I would love to start promoting the ‘Mark of Respect’ as a Teeling cocktail in an official capacity. First up at two guest bartending shifts I will be doing (Fools Gold NYC and at Bar Anaan for Paris cocktail week) further to this I would wish to suggest it to accounts as a Teeling suggested serve for their drinks menus. I would be sure to credit both John as the creator and Mark as the inspiration in all correspondence around the drink. Would this be ok with you both? “

And so with that the MoR cocktail goes global.

First up, Fools Gold NYC …


Oh, and here in Paris at La Conserverie …

MoR  - add to blog!


A long list of things I drank

My first married Christmas was spent in Ireland and it would have been remiss of me not to use this as an excuse to sample the many fine spirits that the country produces – both historic and new.

As an aide memoir I have listed them below – anyone beat this for a Christmas time tipple list?

  • Blackwater Juniper cask aged gin
  • Bushmills Black Bush
  • Bushmills 10 Single Malt
  • Mitchell’s Green spot
  • Mitchell’s Yellow spot
  • Jameson Black Barrel
  • Jameson Signature Reserve
  • Jameson Caskmates
  • Powers 3 Swallow
  • Powers Gold Label Standard
  • Powers Gold Label 43%
  • Powers 12
  • Redbreast 12
  • Redbreast 15
  • Wedding blend – blended by my father in law for the wedding
  • Teeling New Make
  • Teeling 15
  • Teeling 21
  • Teeling 23
  • Tyrconnel

I also imbibed the following ‘foreign spirits’

  • YAMAZAKI  single malt  distillers reserve…..
  • Whiskey Picnic  blend
  • Makers Mark



The cooking guide for drinks lovers

I’m a 36 year old man and I can’t cook. It’s pathetic.  I can make cocktails and this, plus the kindness of long suffering friends, girlfriends and wives, has allowed me to go through life without dying of hunger.

But times have changed.  I asked my friend and colleague Toby to help me. He wrote the following cooking guide for the drinks lover – all his words, in his style. 

And it worked. I am now cooking! 

The Two Page Mark Cooking Guide™

The Oven

It’s only got one setting that matters, it’s the one with the fan the makes it get hot. Anything with pigeon spikes is a distraction.

Yes, the top shelf is hotter. No, it doesn’t matter.

  • 230 degrees == Nice and hot. Beginning of a roast.
  • 180 degrees == General Hot cooking temperature for all of the things
  • 130 – 150 == The rest of a roast, general slow cooking. ‘forget about it cooking’

The Hob

You know this one. It’s mostly used for bacon, but many things have a home on the hob.

If you’re reading instructions that say anything other than ‘fry + adjective’ – look here:

  • Sweat = annoy the food with heat, like enough to make Alex send you passive aggressive messages, but not enough to take his headphones off. Stir like a Treacle (cocktail).
  • Saute = Really annoy food with a lot of heat, but stir like a Negroni until it gets used to it.
  • Brown = Make it hurt like it’s nicked your whisky, but not for long. Probably going somewhere else.

The Basics


King of all things.

General principle the works for everything:

  • Put in roasting vessel.
  • 230 degrees for 15-30 minutes, until it looks very pissed off.
  • 130 – 150 degrees for a hour or so. Just google time vs weight.
  • 10 minutes resting out of the oven, or that bloody annoying time your not supposed to attack it.

Alternative for chicken:

  • Put in deep-ish vessel on top of a load of veg (onion, garlic carrots, sweet potato, whatevs) and some herbs if you feel like it.
  • Add wine / dry vermouth / water to it, just enough to cover the bottom, of the tin.
  • Wrap it in tinfoil like a boomerang in a glass. No escape!
  • Stick in oven at 180.
  • Forget about it. Netflix time.
  • Remember it at least 4 Old Fashioneds later, more if it’s a big chicken.
  • Mix yourself a drink.
  • Remove foil. Burn yourself and swear.
  • Extract meat and veg
  • FEAST.


Type one – Oily

See – Mackerel, Bream, Salmon, Trout, Tuna (fresh)

Cooking instructions:

  • Mostly frying or sticking in the oven at a fairly high heat (it’s up to you if you do the tin foil boomerang cover, depending if you want ‘crispy’, but there is a risk of dry fish).
  • A note on prawns – these little dudes basically need to get hot all the way through. Add them to everything. Wine, garlic. Yum. Shells on = more flavour, more mess.

Type two – Not oily

See – Cod, Haddock, all that lot. These are overpriced, go for pollack / coley / whiting.

Cooking instructions:

  • Slower cooking, usually with liquid (wine, or milk / coconut milk). ^ These generally hold together quite well and aren’t much drama. Good for curries.

Actual things to cook:


  • The roast ^ instructions are above.
    • Shoulder or leg are the best cuts, because they’re fatty
    • Add garlic, thyme, anchovies (just make a stabby hole with a knife and stuff them in). Olive oil the surface.
    • You can also do the boomerang cover trick.
  • Lamb in sauce
    • Neck, shoulder, random bits
    • Slow cook.
  • Frying lamb – need expensive cuts like chops, apart from that, crack on.


  • Roasting instructions above
    • Non covered roast is best with oil on the skin.
  • Flavours:
    • Stuff with lemon, or garlic, thyme
    • Salt, pepper, or paprika / chilli on the skin.


Hmm. More involved. The key is finding a good recipe book. Most curries follow this pattern:

  • Chop lots of stuff
  • Grind some spices
  • Make a paste
  • Gently fry the paste (this cooks the onions, they’re ever present)
  • Add liquid
  • Cook until done.


  • Coconut milk is your best friend in the world. Always have some in stock
  • Thai Taste do good pastes (supermarket). That is literally 10 minutes – Paste plus heat (bit of oil) then meat / veg… mix Negroni… add coconut milk. Drink Negroni. Poke occasionally.

Good Recipe People (google stuff)

  • Nigel Slater (everything) – great writer
  • Yottam Ottolenghi (some odd ingredients, but genius veggie stuff)
  • ‘Moro’ cookbook (Sam & Sam Clark)
  • Rick Stein – bit finicky
  • Jamie Oliver – his best is Jamie’s Italy IMHO
  • Hugh Fearlessly Eats it all – if you need to know about meet.

That day when you find a cocktail named after you … The Mark Of Respect

The Mark of Respect, created by John Norrman 2014

-2 parts Teelings small batch
-1 part good tawny port
-Half a part Falernum
-2 dashes of aromatic bitters (Dead Rabbit Orinoco preferred)

Stirred, garnish with lime lest.


As John says … “This tipple was invented during the 2014 Dublin Web Summit, when the the gentleman Scot Mark Kieran Jennings (@markofrespect) walked in to the bar that was harbouring me at the time, slammed his hands in the counter and yelled in a husky, authoritative voice: “Bartender, Teelings please!”. It is also a tipple that was involved in getting me a job in The Liqour Rooms, and will be on the new drinks menu in said venue in August.”

UPDATE September 2015

Oh, and as an update … here it is available from The Liquor Rooms, Dublin!! – here is their menu.

Mark of Respect Cocktail CPTQ4ntXAAIOG7n.jpg large

UPDATE November 2015

It’s on the menu at the Teeling Distillery! Where next??


UPDATE December 2015

Cocktail geek alert. Here’s Julio Bermejo the inventor of the Tommy’s Margarita taking a MoR home to San Francisco, and leaving a Tommy’s with John Norrman to give to me. Cocktail geek to the max.


UPDATE January 2016

Wow, it really did go further – the MoR around the world


Discover gin from America, England, Spain and Scotland – Junipalooza in 6 minutes

Watch to discover gins from around the world.

When we’re not creating great drinks events, we’re capturing them. The Drinks Galore team film Gin Foundry’s Junipalooza 2015 – the home of craft gin distilling.

Sample the gins with us as we go see what’s on offer from the likes of New York Distillery Co, Haymans, Santamania and Makar Glasgow Gin

Filmed and Edited by Alex Blogg www.alexblogg.com

Like whisky, have questions? Glenfiddich’s ambassador Mark answers them

This short film answers a lot of whisky questions, with Glenfiddich’s UK ambassador Mark Thomson

A Drinks Galore expert Interview:

Presented by Mark Jennings drinksgalo.re

Directed by Alex Blogg alexblogg.com

Featuring Mark Thomson, UK Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador

Thanks to Walker Slater Tailors walkerslater.com