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.


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



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

NEW EVENT – WHISKY I LOVE YOU #2, a whisky tasting event for spirited amateurs

It’s been quiet on the DG front while I’ve been working on my booze start-up Shaken, but we’re back with a MASSIVE event to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, and what’s more … this man is back. Join us for a most unique whisky tasting – early bird on sale now.

Many of you will remember the brilliant Mark Thomson from our first event back in March 2014, and for those who don’t know him, you’ll want to – his knowledge of whisky is surpassed only by his great way of presenting it so that everyone feels like an expert.

On the night you’ll get:

  • A special cocktail on arrival using one of the spirits we’ll taste later
  • 5 incredible drams – tasted neat to show you the true essence of the spirit, 3 of which you can’t find in any shop
  • Snacks from The Hoxton’s kitchen
  • Your own whisky creation to take home and another memento of the night
  • Friendly, expert information about the spirit from a world authority
  • Chill out in the wonderful private space at The Hox

This event will sell out fast so get your tickets now and tell the world of your spirits love with #DrinksGalore

Drinks Galore Interviews – Mark speaks to Mark Thomson, spirits expert

Mark Jennings interviews Mark Thomson, spirits expert and presenter for Drinks Galore. We discuss the spirits we tried and can’t go back to, the next ‘big’ spirits, the most unusual place to do a whisky tasting and what his ‘desert island’ spirit would be.

At Drinks Galore we believe there’s nothing better than tasting unique spirits in the company of great people. We’re talking about the kind of evening where you can learn as much from the person sitting next to you as from the drink-swilling expert.

#DrinksGalore – Elegant drinks tastings for spirited amateurs

Shot at McQueen London by Alex Blogg. See more of his fantastic work

Guest Event Summary – Whisky I love you

Drinks Galore was worth every penny and I greatly look forward to attending the next event they put on.

Thanks to Jim Birkett, guest at Whisky I Love You for this Guest Event Summary:

Drinks Galore at the Hoxton Hotel was a great introduction into the wonderful world of whisky featuring 5 drams of very different and distinctive flavours in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

The initial fear I had of attending such an event was always my perception of those high-brow whisky tasting clubs that are only reserved for people who can tell the difference between a micro-percent of grain and use complex descriptions of flavours. Drinks Galore couldn’t have been more the opposite and by the end I actually felt I could tackle those highbrow types with the knowledge I had acquired throughout the evening.

It started where I was warmly welcomed by the concierge at the Hoxton Hotel and being ushered into a private room which looked like a arty Berlin kitchen. I noticed a whole range of well prepared small food snacks, that were way more than just a pack of crisps. Warm pig in blankets, Burger Sliders and Salads, all were delicious. A gentlemen behind the bar was preparing an elegant cocktail ‘Old Fashioned’ (I believe) and explained to me how we was composing this fine drink. Offering a small selection of miniature flavourings as to how I would like the cocktail to taste. I had never seen this before but already was quite impressed and it tasted excellent too.

After a few minutes Mark Jennings presented the evening speaker who was like the Oracle of Whisky

After enjoying the cocktail, food, and chatting with some very interesting people from all walks of life, Mark Jennings (the founder) announced that we all make our way to the next room where the tasting shall begin. There were large tables set out in a row and each seat had a beautifully presented custom place mat featuring the 5 drams and a small sheet explaining what we would expect to taste. After a few minutes Mark Jennings presented the evening speaker who was like the Oracle of Whisky, this chap seemed very down to earth and knew so much about whisky which he conveyed in such an understandable way. Especially to the punter like me.

Each dram we went through over the course of nearly 2 hours had such a broad contrast between them, some people who were seated near me had never really tasted whisky properly apart from the odd JD and coke at parties. They were just as stunned as I was realising that not only the taste of each dram can be so different in personality but the fact each flavour can compliment times of the day, food and what we would want to look for when choosing a whisky the next time we are at a bar or shop.

By the end of the tasting the room had such a great atmosphere, any reservedness people had was removed

During the tasting the speaker had explained a brief history, how it was made, and how to identify and name flavours and so much more. By the end of the tasting the room had such a great atmosphere, any reservedness people had was removed and some great conversations between strangers were taking place on each table. Drinks Galore was worth every penny and I greatly look forward to attending the next event they put on.

Event Summary – #1 WHISKY I LOVE YOU

“Whisky. I might actually have learnt to love you” Tweet by @felion84

  • When: 25th March 2014
  • Where: The Hoxton Hotel
  • Spirit: Scotch whisky (Cask strength from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society)
  • Host: Mark Thompson

Our first ever event, and what a night it was! See the film here.

We kicked things off with an Old Fashioned made with grain whisky (Cask G4.6 Ray Mears’ Digestif) in The Hoxton Hotel’s private Apartment rooms – we’re not at all snobby about whisky in cocktails.

43 people then neatly slotted themselves into the Library where the charismatic Mark Thompson led us through the evening’s whiskies with wit and wonder.

“About to break the rules of whisky tasting and then remake them with @markofrespect at WHISKY I LOVE YOU a #drinksgalore event for everyone” Tweet by @alexblogg

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I carefully chose the each dram to tell a story:


  1. 9.76 – Out of Africa (25 year old) – A great example of what a whisky can be
  2. 96.7 – For a Sweet Tooth (7 year old) – A wonderful young whisky
  3. 21.28 – Relaxing in a Tropical Garden (37 year old) – An absolute cracker – exactly what an older whisky should be
  4. 4.186 – Aromatic Spices and Exotic Fruits (22 year old) – Spicy rather than peaty, a good intro to the peated style
  5. 3.217 – A Delicatessen Shopping Basket (16 year old) – Much more peaty, but not eye popping. A challenge to those who say they don’t like Islay

There was no doubting which we all loved the most – the 37 year old silenced even the rowdiest of the group with awe and appreciation and any spare drams were quickly hoovered up.

By the end of the night we were all better educated and not a little misty eyed, we’d drunk, we’d laughed, we’d made new friends. Onwards to the next one.

With 100% of the attendees rating it Excellent or Very Good and 100% “extremely likely” to recommend it to others, I am very proud indeed. The bar is set high for future events.

“Whisky, I have loved you, but it is time to say goodbye. For now… ” Tweet by @Philternz

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“… just wanted to say thanks again for a great night, I am staying firmly in my seat on this drinks galore bus, ding ding next stop…” Rob Atkin

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Thanks to Joe and Katie from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for helping to make this happen, and Mark for hosting us. Special thanks to Hannah from The Hoxton Hotel for providing us with the space, promotion and food on the night, and for believing in the concept from the early days.