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Distilled – Foursquare rum release for whisky fans

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including a rum for whisky fans, the recipe for a Kiss cocktail and the meaning of the term tincture.

A rum for whisky lovers

Rum is thriving in the UK: total sales were worth £1.08bn in 2023, according to Statista, while producers of British rum are hitting their stride. Rum sales overtook whisky sales in the UK for the first time in 2022 – and the latest launch from The Whisky Exchange looks set to lure even more whisky drinkers away from the dram… Foursquare Mystique 14 Year Old (Alc 62%) is pitched firmly at whisky enthusiasts, with maturation in ex-bourbon barrels, followed by four years in an ex-Sherry cask. A blend of pot- and column- distilled rums, it’s produced at Foursquare Distillery in Barbados, where Master Distiller and Master Blender Richard Seale oversees the dual maturation process.

‘We have always been huge supporters of Foursquare at The Whisky Exchange and it is an honour to partner with Richard on another limited release with him,’ said Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange. ‘The rums are the perfect stepping stone for the whisky drinker who wants to explore this fast-growing category, as well as providing delicious liquid for the rum lover.’ Add a splash of water to open up the intensely spicy aromas layered with dried orange peel, cigar box and sweet tobacco. Then linger over complex flavours of toffee popcorn, burnt caramel, fig biscuits, nutmeg and cloves. £110/70cl The Whisky Exchange

What is… a tincture?

Concentrated extracts of a botanical – such as a herb, spice, fruit or flower – are known as tinctures. They are made by steeping the botanical in a neutral spirit, usually vodka, to produce an intense single flavour. This is then used in tiny quantities, just a few drops, to boost the flavour of a cocktail or can be used as a spray to add aroma. Tinctures have been used since Prohibition times; an 1887 edition of the iconic Bar-Tenders Guide by Jerry Thomas contains several recipes for tinctures, including cinnamon, clove, orange and lemon. Tinctures differ from bitters as they offer just one flavour, while bitters are more complex.

What to drink now… Kiss

If you’re in the mood for romance this Valentine’s Day, it’s time for a Kiss… This twist on a classic Martinez (gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters) was created by leading New York bartender Brian Miller in 2019. The addition of Dubonnet (Alc 14.8%, £9.95-£14.50/70cl Widely available) an aromatised French wine that was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Mother, gives the drink a more herbaceous and slightly sweeter taste than a Martinez. Miller’s original recipe calls for an apple slice fan garnish; I prefer a simple maraschino cherry.

Ingredients: 60ml gin, 22.5ml sweet red vermouth, 22.5ml Dubonnet, 7.5ml maraschino Liqueur

Glass: Nick & Nora

Garnish: Maraschino cherry

Method: Put all of the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir to combine. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

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