Out and about: Wines and beers at Borough Market

There is nothing greater than a fresh food market on a Saturday morning. Bustling with people, vendors shoutings to sell their goods, aromas of roasting coffee, fresh bread, spices and cooked meats.  Borough Market on Southwark Street, London, never fails to make me smile – and needless to say, spend lots of money! After a huge breakfast roll – bacon, egg and bubble – at Maria’s Market Cafe, we shuffled through every inch of the market sampling cheese, bread, olive oil, cured meats and spices.

All bases are covered at Borough Market, including beverages from specialist teas and world famous coffee to English cider, international beers and hundreds of wines. For a tippling market experience, fill up with a glass of Prosecco from Borough Wines or Cartwright Bros. and get shopping!

In the middle market, New Forest Cider sells by the glass or the bottle and offers dry, medium, sweet, Kingston Black, perry and – in the winter months – hot mulled cider, along with a selection of ciders made to the Normandy and Champagne methods. Apples from their own orchard in Hampshire are pressed in October and November, along with fruit from Somerset and Herefordshire.

Around the corner, Cartwright Bros.  specialises in importing wines sourced from small independent estates, sometimes directly from the growers. Wines are primarily French and Italian, but the range is ever increasing. Try a glass of Prosecco for £3.50 or a glass of mulled wine for £3.00.

Just next door is Utobeer, which stocks beers brewed in their country of origin – whether that be Britain, America, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Scandinavia or Australia, to name just a handful. As a proud South Aussie, I am very pleased to see not only Cooper’s Pale Ale, but also the Cooper’s Sparkling and Cooper’s Stout!

And right next to that? (This shopping malarkey is so simple!) Top up your Prosecco again at Borough Wines – although at £4.50 a glass rather than £3.50, it may be worth a few steps back to Cartwright Bros! Started as a promotional stall for Chateau Ponchapt, Borough Wines still remains amostly French selection, with representation in smaller numbers from Italy, New Zealand, England and other regions. As I was there, Nyetimber Sparkling was available to taste, and was on a special offer price.

If it all just gets too much, head to The Wine Pantry, just on the edge of the Market on Stoney Street – London’s first English wine tasting room. With over 20 wines available to taste or buy by the glass, thanks to automated dispensing machines, owner Julia Stafford is an inspiring ambassador for English wines as well as English cheese and cured meat producers.

A gourmet foodie’s idea of heaven, Borough Market is open for lunch Monday-Wednesday 10am-3pm, Thursdays 11am-5pm, Fridays 12-6pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm.

JoJo’s own photos 15th September 2012


A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: J is for Jack Daniels

What is it? Jack Daniel’s is a brand of sour mash Tennessee whiskey – apparently the best selling whiskey in the world. Easy identifiable by it’s square bottle and striking black and white label, the distillery, based in Lynchburg, Moore County, Tennessee, claims a  founding date of 1866. They believe that their product differs from Bourban as it is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, adding a distinctive sweet smoothness. The Old No 7 at 40% abv is their biggest selling product, but their range also includes Gentleman Jack, White Rabbit Saloon and Green Label, as wel the newly released in the UK, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey Liqueur – Old No 7, blended with honey liqueur to create a spicy, sweet, floral tipple, perfect on its own or with ice – but you could even add a dash to coffee.

How can I enjoy it? Of course, like any spirit, straight, or over ice will give you the truest flavour, but can be a component in a number of cocktails.

 If you have haven’t heard anyone ask for a “JD and Coke” or “Jack and Coke”, where have you been!? Possibly the simplest ‘cocktail’ in the world!

  • 1 part Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7
  • 3 parts Coke
  • Serve over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

For a fresher twist, try this easy recipe from In-The-Spirit for Lynchburg Lemonade:

  • 1.5 measures Jack Daniel’s
  • 1 measure Triple Sec
  • 1 measure lemon juice
  • Top up with lemonade
  • Shake together the first 3 ingredients with ice and strain into a highball glass half filled with ice. Top up with lemonade. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

I want it! Where can I get it? Although you can buy the orignal Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 almost anywhere, both Jack Daniel’s Original Old No 7 (70cl) and the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey Liqueur (70cl) are available from The Whisky Exchange, along with an extensive range of Jack Daniel’s products including commemorative bottles.

Actually factual: Moore County, where the distillery is located, is in fact a dry county, and has been since Prohibition so Jack Daniel’s whiskey is not available for consumption at stores or restaurants within the county!

JD bottle shot taken from The Charlie PH’s photostream on flickr.

ABSOLUTely in love with ABSOLUT Vodka!

Until now, I had never been to the ABSOLUT Vodka website. I thought I knew all the flavours. I thought I was a dab hand at a bit of vodka cocktail mixology. I am very sad to admit defeat. I do not know all the flavours and by no stretch am I a vodka mixologist in the making. My hands, and my white flag are up and I am surrending to the ABSOLUT gods. Never in my life have I been dazzled to blindness by such an extensive cocktail list. It would be wrong of me to choose just one favourite but here are a few;

ABSOLUT Mango Mojito

4 Parts ABSOLUT MANGO, 2 Parts Lime Juice, Mint Leaf To Taste, Soda Water To Taste, 1 Slice Mango

Stir lime juice and sugar, superfine in a chilled highball glass. Add mint leaf. Muddle. Fill with crushed ice. Add ABSOLUT Mango. Stir. Fill with crushed ice. Topup with soda water. Garnish with mint leaf and mango.


ABSOLUT Gingerpear Martini

4 Parts ABSOLUT PEARS, 3 Parts Simple Syrup, 2 Parts Lemon Juice, 2 Pieces Ginger

Muddle ginger in a shaker. Fill with ice cubes. Add ABSOLUT Pears, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with ginger.


ABSOLUT Blackberry Bellini

1 Part ABSOLUT KURANT , 1 Part Blackberry Syrup, Prosecco, 1 Whole Blackberry

 Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Add blackberry syrup and ABSOLUT Kurant. Stir and strain into a chilled champagne glass. Topup with prosecco. Garnish with a blackberry.



A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: I is for Irish Mist

Of course, the obvious answer for the letter ‘I’, is anything Irish – Irish Cream, Irish Whiskey. Yes, I have cheated slighty – can you think of any others?! – but although this is Irish, it’s something a little off the beaten track, and very traditional – the company dating back to 1829.

What is it? The recipe for Irish Mist was originally created as a liqueur based on an ancient recipe, around 1,00 years old, for a beverage known as ‘heather wine’. Made from a base of smooth aged Irish whiskey, heather, honey, herbs and spices, the official Irish Mist website declares this traditional tipple as ‘ridiculously sociable’, which sounds like good fun (although I wasn’t a huge fan of the ‘how fun are you at a party?’ quiz, also on the site!).

How can I enjoy it? Like many spirits and liqueurs, Irish Mist is versatile and can be enjoyed a number of ways.  Try as a long drink with cola and lime, as a shot,  on its own with ice (although at 35% abv, pace yourself!), with ginger ale, or cranberry. To end a meal, why not indulge in an Irish Mist Coffee – this would be my personal choice!

I want it! Where can I get it? Although it doesn’t appear on a lot of shelves, you can easily click-purchase a 70cl bottle of Irish Mist from The Whisky Exchange for £21.25.

Actually factual: The word ‘mist’ is slang in German for ‘manure’ or ‘excrement’…Irish Manure anyone?! Fortunately for us English speakers the thought does not even cross our minds before sipping this tipple.

Let’s rally for Camel Valley!

Whilst many producers in England have been making wine for a number of years, it appears now that the palates of us English folk are finally suited to, or seeking,  the crisp, cool varieties which suit our ever changing, unpredictable, cool climate. This means good business for many English winemakers, and indeed there has been a particular rise in the popularity of English sparkling wine.

Whether its the increased patriotism of a nation following the Royal Wedding, Queen’s Jubilee and Olympics, or that awkward episode of The Apprentice last year which has increased our interest in English wine, it’s fantastic news for an otherwise underdog of the wine world.

One producer which has revelled in this success is Camel Valley. Last week I was lucky enough to spend a couple of gloriously sunny days in Cornwall and dropped in to the Camel Valley vineyards tucked away in the gorgeous Cornish countryside. Thanks to the perks of our jobs, my colleague and I were fortunate to meet with winemaker Sam Lindo for a quick chat (and taste!) about Camel Valley and their recent successes.

While they consistently produce fantastic sparkling wines, their range also includes 2011 Camel Valley Bacchus, 2010 Camel Valley Atlantic Dry, a rose and a sparkling red. With  a beautiful spot in Cornwall, sun drenched slopes (when we went anyway!), soil and climate suited to the grape varieties – Bacchus, Reichensteiner, Chardonnay, Rondo to name a few – and simple, modern winemaking techniques (no oak, only sleek, incredibly shiny, stainless steel), Camel Valley has a simple balance which works.

My favourite (and the one I purchased!) was 2010 Camel Valley ‘Cornwall’ Pinot Noir Rose Brut which won Gold at the 2012 International Wine Challenge and was reported by Jane MacQuitty in The Times as ‘My favourite English rosé – and everyone else’s it seems… Gorgeous’.

Pale, salmon-pink in colour with a strawberry and raspberry nose, extending to a fruity, yet delicate palate whilst being effervescent but not aggressive. Serve chilled as an aperitif or with pork or chicken dishes.

Many thanks to Sam Lindo for taking the time from his busy schedule to chat to us.


Bacchus to Basics; Yummy fruit beers

Want somethng different to your normal tipple?

Try these fantastic Bacchus fruit beers from Belgian producer van Honsebrouck brewery based in Ingelmunster, Belgium. Available in Framboise (Raspberry) or Kriek (Cherry) flavour, these beers are a base of Gueuze-lambic, infused with their respective fruits.

Bacchus Framboise is lusciously dark red, clear, full bodied, sweet with the heady raspberry fruit bang. Bacchus Kriek has an intense morello cherry (Kriek) aroma and taste. Infused with the cherries for at least six months, not only do you get a tangy, sweet cherry flavour, but also a subtle taste of almonds – cherry bakewell perhaps?!

For interesting food matches, try Framboise with strawberry or raspberry cheescake or a starter of poultry, or salad with a raspberry vinagrette. Pair Kriek with bakewell tart for pudding or a main of duck with cherry or plum sauce.

Packaged in elegant half bottle sized (375ml), Champagne style bottle and wrapped in paper, its a treat to unveil at the dinner table. The Drink Shop sells both by the bottle, the Framboise at £3.29 and the Kriek at £2.88.

Cheers! (or should that be Beers!)

A-Z Spirits and Liqueurs: H is for HPNOTIQ

Now I will admit that I did struggle to think of a post for the letter H, but  have been struck by this electric blue liqueur, apparently popular in the United States. Admittedly I haven’t yet tried it, but the colour is reminiscent of a girls’ night out, low light nightclubs and dancing ’til dawn and I am intrigued to give it a go!

What is it? This eye-catching aqua blue liqueur is a blend of French vodka and exotic fruit juices, with a touch of Cognac. Predominantly aimed at women 21-35, this has been endorsed by a number of high-profile female celebs and has certainly caught my eye. Recently, Hpnotiq has also released new line, Hpnotiq Harmonie – vibrant violet in colour, it’s a blend of infused berries, violet and lavender.

How can I enjoy it? Serve chilled on its own (don’t worry, its only 17% abv!), or with vodka, coconut rum (this would be my choice!) or Champagne, to keep it classic. Try Hpnotiq Harmonie with a splash of club soda, with Champagne or add to vodka-cranberry for an interesting twist. As with any liqueur, it can also be used in a number of cocktails – see the Recipe page on the Hpnotiq website for yummy concoctions!

 I want it! Where can I get it? Although I’ve not yet seen this on a shelf in the UK (I’m sure I would’ve noticed it!), there are a number of online retailers. Drink Supermarket stocks both HPNOTIQ Original and HPNOTIQ Harmonie for £18.88 for a 70cl bottle (delivery charges payable).

Actually factual: “Hpnotiq was created by Raphael Yakoby in 2001, a college dropout living with his parents on Long Island, New York, who, after seeing a blue perfume at Bloomingdale’s, decided to create a blue liqueur.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hpnotiq

Sparkly bottle shot taken from Sam Ford’s photostream on flickr.