Posts tagged #drinks

Crème de cassis… a Right Royally British Version!

Kir Royale? Don’t mind if I do!!!!

But, hold up, why does it need be French?

In a time when we are so concerned about keeping it local and reducing our carbon footprints, we have endeavoured, even whilst embracing our equally important Italian heritage, to source more local produce where we can.

White Heron Cassis is the fine produce of a farm nestled in the rolling hills of Herefordshire and there you will find a tiny blackcurrant, rarely seen and little known. Carefully harvested under the summer sun, fermented with champagne yeast and blended with a tiny touch of vodka and a little sugar, they are making a rich, fruity and divine cassis . . . a British Cassis if you please!

The Whittern Estate is an historic farm with a passion for the contemporary as well as their time‑honoured traditions, in fact, 140 years of passion.  The farm has grown from traditional arable farming into the more careful cultivation of the blackcurrants that are transformed into the uniquely sultry flavour profile of British Cassis.

Whittern derives its name from the White Ern, or White Heron . . . hence the name of the cassis.  These iconic birds, otherwise known as white egrets, used to breed at The Whittern.  Unfortunately, they are now a scarcity and rarely seen in the area, but they are something of a symbol of the natural environment that the blackcurrants are grown in, so it seemed fitting for them to name their company and their cassis after these elegant and sophisticated creatures.

For us?  It makes a mighty fine Kir or Kir Royale . . . and it’s terribly good in a summer berry compote too . . . also, delicious with Panna Cotta!  And we get to support a like-minded and family run farm, not so local to Kibworth, but of our green and pleasant land

 Ciao for now!

Sarah x


Q4  What’s the difference between Kir and Kir Royale?

Just answer in the comments below and we’ll enter you into our prize draw celebrating our 20th anniversary!  (Please be sure to put your email address on your comment so that we can contact you if you’re one of our lucky winners)

Look out for other 20th anniversary quiz questions on our future blog posts.  Prize draw winners to be announced on 1st January 2020.


Holy Poli Grappa!


Grappa is almost a national treasure of our native Italy and it varies hugely from region to region.  Some, mistakenly, refer to it as Italian brandy but brandy is distilled from the fermented grape, both the juice and the lees, grappa, on the other hand, is distilled from the pomace, that is only the skins and seeds and none of the juice.

There are many distinguished families who respectfully nurture and produce their own grappa but we, quite naturally, fall in line with our namesake, the House of Poli!  The Polis have been producing grappa since the 1400s but the actual distillery was founded in 1898.  As you might imagine, they certainly know a thing or two about the many nuances and vagaries of grappa.  They are to be found in the heart of the Veneto, the region most renowned for Grappa and are not only committed to carrying on the family’s tradition of exceptional production but also to give Grappa the profile it deserves, opening the eyes of the public to its more subtle and elegant style.  So, cast aside your instant thought of grappa, akin to rocket fuel, absinthe and suchlike . . . review your approach and have a go!

We have in our time boasted a full list of grappa.  Did you know that the distillation will vary depending on the grape varietal . . . not that different from wine production really and the ageing process, in oak maybe, gives it rich amber colour and super smooth palate!

These days we have the Secca, a more dry flavour, from the Merlot grapes; the Morbida, softer and slightly sweet, from the White and Orange Blossom Muscat grapes; and the Miele, an Acacia honey infused grappa, using the honey from Piero’s Bees, (seriously, this local chap has his hives and grazes his bees in the Veneto foothills, and at 80 plus is still more energetic and fruity fit than many, thanks to the honey or maybe his grappa).  This liquor has so much pure honey distilled into it you could call it an energy drink . . .and it slips down all too well.

 So, go do your research and grapple with the question of grappa . . . meanwhile we pledge to serve the best the Poli can bring you. I may even extend the range to include one or two of the oak-aged little beauties that will transport you to a whole new level of lovely!

Ciao for Now!

 Sarah x

Posted on May 10, 2019 .

Gin . . . where to begin with gin!!

The gin phenomenon has taken us all by storm . . . in our trade, drinks are just as influenced by modern trends and fashion as food . . . so where did it all begin?

Many believe Gin to be a thoroughly British liquor . . . but it’s a kinda combo of efforts, like all good things, don’t you think?

In the 11th Century some lovely Italian Monks are believed to have been the first to use the all important Juniper berries as a flavouring in their distillations.  But then it is finally thought to have been in Holland in 1550 that the spirit we now know as Gin was first distilled for medicinal purposes.  The English got hold of it whilst fighting the Spanish and were said to take a dram of “Dutch Courage” to calm their nerves and warm them up before going into battle.

Meanwhile some 600 years on, the sheer number of different types of gin available is mind-boggling . . . the driest of London Drys, the most aromatic of Botanicals and the truly Citrusy Mediterraneans, never mind the Rhubarb and Custard, Strawberry and Vanilla, Violet, Rose Petal and even Liquorice varietals are on offer.

We have tried to keep it local and the fabulous Two Birds from Market Harborough is our brand. But we cannot resist the Italian Malfy range and more recently have taken on Toby’s Moonshine.  Toby is my brother, who has a rather fabulous wine and booze shop, Cheers, on Steep Hill in Lincoln next door to my Mum’s pub, The Wig and Mitre . . . yes, we are keeping it in the family!!!  

Anyway, back to his Moonshine: he distils it from scratch, that is, it starts life as water, which he distils with his mash and creates the alcohol base, which he then distils on further with his own blend of aromatics, coriander, juniper and citrus to produce the final product . . . what a clever chap he is, for it is delish!!

I guess the question is what will happen when the next new thing catches on, will it be Rum tum tum?? But for now, gin, this time-honoured classic, is enjoying the revolution and we are happy to oblige!

And yes, we have also embraced the rather clever Fever Tree mixers . . . our tipples lists are really worth a look and even a sample!

 Ciao for now,

 Sarah x

Posted on April 26, 2019 .