Imbibe Live

imbibe live

imbibe live

July 1st, 2015

I had a lovely day out yesterday at Imbibe Live, the annual London trade show for the drinks industry held at Olympia.

sam sareen

sam sareen

I visited the show with my friend Oli and top London mixologist Sam Sareen (above left).

rioja

rioja

Just inside the venue were the wine tasting areas.

pikes reisling

pikes reisling

We tried some Riojas, sherries and other wines. I asked about dry Reislings, which I’d heard were quite different to the old days of fruity German wines, like Blue Nun and Black Tower. The above, Australian Riesling, Pikes, reminded me of a Sauvignon Blanc, with a slight lemon/lime flavour. I’d be very happy to drink that with fish.

tarquin's gin

tarquin’s gin

Past the wine we encountered stall after stall of new gins. Perhaps as much as 70% of the show was dedicated to gin. Above is Tarquin’s gin, made in Cornwall by the Southwestern Distillery. Note the still above, used to make their gold award winning gin. The beach in the background looks to be Constantine Bay, where I used to walk my parents’ dogs. The distillery also produces an award winning Cornish Pastis, made with local gorse.

tatratea

tatratea

Being tea lovers Tatratea had us intrigued. It’s a Slovakian drink made with black tea, raspberries and fruit essences.

Tatratea 52

Tatratea 52

I found the original 52% abv drink to be a bit sweet for my taste, but the 72% Outlaw contained a lot less sugar and reminded me of Chartreuse. While Tatratea is a relatively new company (founded in 2003), it is said to have already become the Slovakian national drink.

thistly cross cider

thistly cross cider

We came across some exuberant Scotsmen on the Thistly Cross Cider stand.

oli and thistly cross cider

oli and thistly cross cider

When they discovered that Oli is a Maxwell and likes cider they insisted he join them for some photographs.

stoli vodka lemonade

stoli vodka lemonade

Sam and Oli needed a quick vaporizer break, so we went outside, but you’ll be relieved to know that we didn’t have to stop drinking – outside there was a convenient Stoli Vodka Lemonade van, handing out cocktails made with real lemonde – nice and  sharp.

beckett's gin

beckett’s gin

Back inside we found Beckett’s London Dry Gin. Apparently Beckett’s is the only gin to contain juniper grown in England (hand picked in Box Hill) and mint from Kingston-upon-Thames. Reassuringly, it’s distilled and bottled in London (not a legal requirement for London Dry Gin).

agwa

agwa

Anyone hoping for a cocaine high from the above Agwa, might be a little disappointed. Whilst the drink is made with Bolivian cocoa leaves, like Coca-Cola, the cocaine alkaloids have been removed during manufacture. I found it a bit too sweet and fruity, but the coca content gives the drink a distinct selling point.

east london rum

east london rum

The East London Liquor Company produce a very smooth demerara rum

east london gin

east london gin

and premium London Dry Gin with distinct citrus flavours in a distillery next to Victoria Park. There has a been an explosion in new British distilleries in the last decade and gin has made a huge comeback. I believe gin is currently replacing vodka as the top cocktail ingredient.

zing vodka reinvigorated

zing vodka reinvigorated

Zing Vodka were causing a sensation with their dry ice vodka shots.

zing vodka with dry ice

zing vodka with dry ice

Oli proved that the spirit of Bobby Boris Pickett lives on!

yorkshire gin

yorkshire gin

Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin proved to be one of our favourites, especially the Yorkshire Tea flavoured one. The gin is made in the style of London Dry Gin – it has citrus top notes and a slightly creamy flavour.

pistonhead

pistonhead

We missed out on trying Pistonhead,

sour to the people

sour to the people

Sour to the People

poison

poison

and Poison, as the show closed before we found them. I did still have time to grab the photos, however and I’m sure you can see from the packaging what was so tempting about them. The others (worth a mention) that I tasted and forgot to photograph, were Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic, cardamom bitters, Audemus Umami Vodka (great for bloody Marys) Black Cow pure milk vodka (and the cheese they make was astonishingly good), Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin and Elephant Gin.

olympia

olympia

The sun streamed through the Victorian glass roof and we had a wonderful afternoon. It was  quite a shock when the show closed at 6 O’clock, so we made our way up to South Hampstead and The Arches for a relaxed bottle of rosé.

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About Mad Dog

https://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com/
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15 Responses to Imbibe Live

  1. Eha says:

    You are a strong man Mad is all I can say! You were there until the evening, continued on and are posting today 😀 !! Jokes aside do have to scroll thru’ this again: for instance, love S Australian wines but have never had ‘Pikes’ . . . oh and also had a laugh ’cause I actually remember, Australian wines not yet being of age, drinking ‘Blue Nun’ and ‘Black Tower’: don’t know whether one should admit this !!!!

    • Mad Dog says:

      I have to confess that we’d had one too many at a party the day before, so the afternoon started slowly with the hair of the dog. Blue Nun and Black Tower were quite popular in Australia when I was there for 6 months in 1980, but they were popular in Europe at that time too. Nevertheless, I did get to taste some very good native Australian wines around that time, including those from South Australia 🙂

  2. What a day you all had – the things you get up to are brilliant! I think I’m impressed at how much info you could give us after a day of imbibing like this 😉 Love that shot of Oli with the Scottish cider drinkers!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tanya. It was quite a day and we were lucky to have Sam finding us the most interesting new tastes and flavours. Those Scots on the Thistly Cross stand were quite merry – I think they’d drunk a lot more than us 😉

  3. Wow…what an event mate. Impressed with your powers of recall too.
    Cheers
    Marcus

  4. Ruth says:

    Not sure about that POISON label but looks like a wild time. Cheers to you!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Ruth – it was a wonderful opportunity to try new things. Even the gins, often from small micro distilleries, all tasted significantly different 🙂

  5. Seasweetie says:

    I think I’m going to have to add this event to my Bucket List!

    • Mad Dog says:

      I thoroughly recommend it. I suggest applying next year and telling them you work in a bar or restaurant – that should get you in 😉

  6. Hello Mad Dog again! Fiona’s sister here…. I haven’t had any posts from you in a while. That sounded like a great event – very much leaning towards wines and spirits – but with a few beers and ciders? Betteridge’s Brewery is now up and running and winning awards already ‘Serious Black’ our cream stout won Champion Beer at the Hampshire Octoberfest …..our first outing and up against 143 Real Ales! Is this event something we should consider for next year?

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Jenny, congratulations on the success with the brewery! There were a few beers and ciders at the show, but small distilleries seemed to dominate, especially those making gin. My suggestion for you would be to go to the show next year to check it out and see if you think it would be of benefit. I bumped into a friend who’s started a whiskey distillery and he was doing just that. You are in the business, so you won’t have any trouble getting a free invite, whereas showing there costs a lot of money for the stall and you have to give away free beer for 2 days. If nothing else it’s a good way to see how people market their drinks 😉

  7. Peter 'Fr. Jack' Coyte says:

    Drink!

  8. Karen says:

    My that does sound like a great show to attend…very impressed that you all carried on the evening with a bottle of rosé. I usually put out a bottle of gin and scotch at parties but no one seems interested in them. Wine and vodka seem to be everyone’s favorites.

    • Mad Dog says:

      It was fantastic – I’ll be going again next year.
      Vodka was very definitely the last very popular drink. I did a lot of promotional video work for Marblehead, a UK drinks distributor, about 10 years ago, for Polish vodka brands. I noticed his year, that Marblehead didn’t have any vodka on their stand. One could say that, “Gin is the new Vodka!”

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