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Gin Guild dinner

I became an honorary Gin Rectifier last night (May 9). I took an oath and now I am duty bound to promote the best interests of gin.

Whisky Galore

I went to two whisky launches yesterday (May 8) – Bacardi’s Glen Deveron, the Royal Burgh Collection and Pernod Ricard/Chivas Brothers’ The Glenlivet Alpha. Both interesting for different reasons and very much a case of ‘chalk & cheese’ when it comes to the brand and what they are doing with it.

London Wine Fair moves back to Olympia

So, London Wine Fair organisers have bowed to the inevitable and announced that the new UK-only show will return to Olympia in 2014. It was always a bit of a gamble shifting the old war horse out to London Docklands, even if it was to a purpose-built exhibition complex.

Gin Debate – a missed opportunity

I attended the Worshipful Company of Distillers’ City Debate on Gin last night. I have to say I think it was an opportunity missed.

German wine with Indian food

Another great food and wine matching event at the Cinnamon Club in London last night (April 29). This time hosted by Wines of Germany with master of wine Jeannie Cho Lee leading the charge for Riesling and Spatburgunder (or Pinot Noir).

Patience Gould on honeyed whiskies

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould gets a bee in her bonnet about honeyed whiskies

Patience Gould on alcoholic strength

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould finds the trend for reducing alcoholic strength can compromise the spirit

Patience Gould on flavoured gins

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould ponders Diageo’s approach to gin as it follows the flavoured route

Patience Gould on the last great innovation

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould looks at the wacky world of flavoured drinks as Baileys nears 40

Keeper of the Quaich

On Monday night I became a ‘Keeper of the Quaich’. For those of you who do not know what that it is, The Keepers of the Quaich is an “exclusive, international community of people recognised for their outstanding commitment to Scotch whisky”.

The art of blending

Last night (February 13) I sat through another Diageo master class on the art of blending and the importance of blended Scotch Whisky to the overall whisky and spirits market.

Former DI editor Patience Gould on Johnnie Walker

I vividly recall a conversation, over lunch, with a one-time publisher, who will remain nameless, and my utter astonishment when he pronounced that, up until said lunch, he had always thought blended whisky was a mix of different malt whiskies...

Tomas Estes: La Capilla

In the doorway in the soft, Mexican early afternoon, sitting on the floor against the wall is a figure that in most other settings is a pariah. He is a Mexican man with down syndrome. In this place he is accepted, welcome as is everyone. I am again in La Capilla.

Diageo gets United Spirits

India has huge tax tariffs and a labyrinthine bureaucracy. At the moment most Indian whisky drinkers have to raise a second mortgage to get their hands on a decent bottle of scotch...

Cancun airport

Going to the airport is a generally depressing experience these days. We only do it because either we have to for work, or we’re off on holiday to somewhere far, far better...

Down Mexico way

I may be on holiday but that doesn't mean I have stopped sampling and tasting.

I know Christmas is coming but…

At this time of year, the books start thudding in. This week I got the third tome from whisky man, Dominic Roskrow. Boy, has Dom been a busy boy. The latest is ‘The World’s Best Whiskies – 750 Unmissable Drams from Tain to Tokyo’, published by Jacqui Small, price: £20.

King Cocktail hits town

I’ve seen the beginning and the end of a lot of eras. That says it all about ‘King Cocktail’, Dale DeGroff. The great man is in London to co-host ‘The World’s 50 Best Bars’ event which was held in London last night (Oct 10) near Trafalgar Square...

Mixology mag celebrates ten years with Rematch Beeyatch!!!

Top bartenders, a ticking clock, 80 dubious drinks and the piss-taking Paul Mant. Rematch Beeyatch!!! arrived in Berlin last night in its usual riotous fashion.

Indian whisky in scotch’s back yard

Last night Indian whisky producer, John Distilleries, unveiled its first single cask whisky in London recently.

Getting out of bed made easy

What makes this job interesting is going out, meeting, interviewing people and finding out what makes them tick. That along with visiting vineyards, wineries, distilleries and, to a lesser extent, breweries to find out what they are up to, is what makes the likes of me get out of bed in the morning.

The World’s Best Cocktails according to Tom Sandham

It was a swish affair at the Artesian bar in London’s Langham hotel last night. Drinks International and The World’s 50 Best Bars contributor Tom Sandham, was launching his World’s Best Cocktails book.

Cape 2012

You have to hand it to Wines of South Africa. They know how to organise an event. To say Cape 2012 is just another trade show, would be a great injustice and understatement.

Riedel does it his way

Georg Riedel is the Frank Sinatra of the stemware business. Selling glasses should be a fairly mundane business but the 63-year-old Austrian is a showman, more like ‘ol blue eyes’ than possibly he would care to admit.

Sherry and curry

The Great Sherry Tasting took place yesterday at the Cinnamon Club in London yesterday. I would say that it was one of the best food and wine/spirit/beer matchings I have ever attended.

Tullamore Dew comes into its own

William Grant is doing a job on Tullamore Dew, the Irish whiskey brand it bought a couple of years ago from C&C, owners of the Magners cider brand.

Patrick Ricard: a generation passes

I think anyone who met Patrick Ricard will be saddened by the news that he has passed away. I can't speak about what he was like to work with but I met him several times and I liked him.  

Former DI editor Patience Gould on Glenfiddich

There’s something quite transfixing – almost hypnotic – when it comes to looking at the latest brand figures for spirits around the world. You cannot stop. More particularly so as there seems to be so much cause for celebration in the 2011 round-up. There’s Johnnie Walker scotch whisky on an incredible 18 million cases; the Irish whiskey Jameson’s posting a 20%-plus increase and now nudging the 4 million case-mark, well I could go on, and on. But one result has really warmed the cockles of my heart – and that’s William Grant’s single malt scotch whisky Glenfiddich.

Former DI editor Patience Gould looks for the best tonic for her tipple

It’s been something of a month in gin terms. It kicked off with the International Spirits Challenge gin tasting. Chaired by Beefeater master distiller Desmond Payne this was indeed something of a ‘challenge’, with no fewer than 58 gins to slurp, taste and rate...

Bushmills Live

Saw Snow Patrol last night at the Bushmills distillery on the far north coast of Northern Ireland. There was a delightfully intimate atmosphere in the 'Cooperage' (no coopers present thankfully) with plenty of loyal fans mouthing the lyrics as the band went thru its paces.

An evening with André van Rensburg

One of South Africa’s best and certainly most controversial winemakers, André van Rensburg, was in London yesterday for the unveiling of his new wine, DNA.

Appleton 50 Year Old

It was a glitteirng evening at Jamaica House in the island's capital, Kingston. A balmy evening in a superb setting.  The Jamaican prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, more than played her part in launching Appleton Estate Jamaican Independence Reserve, which coincides with the island's celebrations to mark ithe anniversary of 50 years of independence.

Wray & Nephew to launch 50 year old rum

The Jamaican prime minister will launch Wray & Nephew's 'Jamaica Independence Reserve' at a special unveiling tonight at Jamaica House in the country's capital, Kingston tonight (June 7).

Pernod turns up the volume

Credit to Pernod. The company has done a fine job this week in extolling the success of scotch whisky around the world and in telling important opinion formers that the company is best placed to capitalise on that thirst and in doing so earn lots of money for the company, its suppliers, customers, not forgetting its investors.

Spot on for Yellow Spot

Irish Distillers launched Yellow Spot, ‘son of Green Spot’, last night in London. The great and the good of whisk(e)y’s fourth estate crammed into a bar in the sumptuous Connaught Hotel for the unveiling and tasting.

English sparkling slaughtered on The Apprentice

Hands up who was watching The Apprentice last night on BBC?  The teams had to promote awareness of English sparkling wine.

On the scent of spirits

Former Drinks International editor Patience Gould is puzzled by scotch that’s marketed to women like perfume

Jim Beam's Fred Noe on tattoos and Twitter

Fred Noe is approaching 57 and he’s just had his first tattoo.

A tribute to Alan Lodge

Drinks journalists tend to hunt in packs. We might prefer to do our interviews alone but for everything else, we enjoy the company of other drinks journalists. One journalist in particular was always a source of great entertainment. I’m talking of course about Alan Lodge.

£100,000 Johnnie Walker whisky

It is not every day you get to try a whisky that is going to cost a punter £100,000, plus VAT.  Today I got to try the Diamond Jubliee by John Walker & Sons, which has been produced by Diageo for the 60th anniversary of the Queen ascending the throne.

DI's Christian Davis attends a whisky love-in

Last night I went to Boisdale, that well known London haunt for whisky, cigar and red meat lovers, for the launch of The Balvenie Craftsman's Reserve No1, The Cooper...

Blog: Lucy Britner gets the Twitter bug

I am being followed. Right now. By hundreds – well about a hundred – people. I haven’t gone mad, I’ve got a Twitter account...

Blog: The Alternative Christmas Cake Recipe

Never let it be said that Drinks International doesn’t provide its subscribers and readers with a full service as regards the alcoholic drinks industry.

DI’s Hamish smith gets fooled by a role-play situation designed to befuddle bartenders

There are three of them are at the bar and they’re drunk. Not just a little tipsy but swaying, shouting, obnoxious and it’s only 2pm. I’m at London’s salubrious Connaught Bar, supposedly to report on Nikka Whisky’s Perfect Serve cocktail competition for Drinks International, but it’s fair to say the scene unfolding around me is not one to which I am accustomed...

Pickle Back

We’re all interested in ‘what’s going to be next?’ Well I returned recently from New York where, courtesy of Pernod Ricard/Irish Distillers I witnessed the launch of Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel. Apparently the brand kicked off in the US in Brooklyn so the new limited edition ‘dialled up’ Jameson was launched there and at the moment it is only available there...

Patience Gould returns to Drinks International

Drinks International is delighted to announce that Patience Gould, its former editor and a well known figure in the drinks industry, is returning to write a regular column.

December issue sorted

Just sorted out the December issue.  A 44-pager at the moment: features on Brazil, Japanese whisky, the 'world famous DI Dozen', Vodka in the US, South African wines, Best Bars and then the usual favourites.

DI Dozen 2011 finalised

We have just finalised the DI Dozen for 2011.  these are the products, companies, categories, sectors that have caught our eye...

Feeling like a Harrods dummy

I was in a Harrods window yesterday. How did I feel? Yes, you guessed it. A bit like a dummy. Martell Cognac has taken about three windows until October 22. One window has a immense cabinet filled with all sorts of Martell goodies...

DI’s Lucy Britner gets a little bit unladylike. Calm down dear!

I’ve got boobs. Thanks for noticing, drinks industry. I’ve got boobs therefore I need my own special drink. You’re right, drinks-makers, and thanks for the comforting pat on the head. Thank you for recognising that I am always on a diet; and lactose or wheat intolerant, depending on the weather; totally love all things pink – and yes, I am in fact from Venus...