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Distilled – Rum from Madeira

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including rum from Madeira, the recipe for a Corpse Reviver No2 and the definition of the ‘Boston shaker’.

More to Madeira

Wine lovers will know Madeira for its fortified wines, but this group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic ocean also boasts a long history of rum production. Sugar cane has been grown here since 1425 and William Hinton Distillery, the oldest rum producer, was founded in 1845.

Madeira native Harold Vieira and his partner Hansa Palmer are on a mission to make these rums better known. Their company, Harold & Hansa, imports a range of agricole rums produced by Engenhos do Norte in Porto da Cruz – Europe’s only steam-powered distillery. Latest releases in the premium 970 range include 12 Year Old Reserva Velha (Alc 59.7%, £104.90/70cl) a smooth and characterful pot still rum with layers of dried fruit, toffee, Madeira cake, orange and candied peel.

While 970 Madeira Brandy Cask (Alc 53.9%, £104.90/70cl) is a complex sipping rum, aged in brandy casks for seven years, that combines grassy agricole freshness with deeper woody notes, spice, salted caramel and dried apricots. Check availability and the rest of the range via the Harold and Hansa website.

What is… a Boston shaker?

All cocktail shakers serve the same basic purpose: to mix ice and liquid. The first recorded use of a shaker dates back to 1848 in New York City, when a flared glass and slightly larger tin cup were fitted together to shake juleps. Over time, stainless steel replaced tin and this two-part mixing tool was known as an ‘American shaker’ by the mid 20th century, then an ‘American-type Boston shaker’ and finally just a Boston shaker. No one is sure why the name Boston was chosen, though it can be traced back to a series of adverts by shaker manufacturer WR Loftus in the 1920s. Modern Boston shakers can be either glass and metal or consist of two metal tins.

What to drink now… Corpse Reviver No2

This spooky-sounding mix is on theme for Halloween, but in fact the name refers to a group of pick-me-up morning drinks intended to refresh patrons who had overindulged the night before. Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book (1930) offers two recipes: No1 combines vermouth, Calvados and brandy, ‘To be taken before 11am or whenever steam and energy are needed’; No2 comes with the following note: ‘Four of these taken in swift succession will revive the corpse again’. While we wouldn’t recommend drinking four, you should try mixing one, using a good London Dry gin such as Portobello Road London Dry No171 (Alc 42%, £23.90-£28/70cl, widely available).

Corpse Reviver No2

Ingredients: 22.5ml London Dry gin, 22.5ml Lillet Blanc, 22.5ml Cointreau, 22.5ml fresh lemon juice, 1 dash absinthe

Glass: Cocktail

Garnish: None

Method: Shake all the ingredients with ice, until your hands are cold, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass

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