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Distilled – Your guide to the latest trends in spirits and cocktails

Our latest round-up of trends from the top shelf, including a brief history of the Breakfast Martini, a new cristalino tequila from Avión and how to understand whisky terminology.

What to drink now… Breakfast Martini

This modern classic was invented in 1996 by Salvatore Calabrese at the Lanesborough hotel in London. A twist on a Martini, it’s made with gin and orange marmalade – hence the name. Light with a citrus kick, it’s a great choice for a brunch cocktail. If you want to up the tangy orange flavour, opt for Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, a gin distilled with Seville oranges and their blossom plus the core Tanqueray botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica and liquorice (Alc 41.3%, £25-£30/70cl widely available).

Breakfast Martini

Ingredients: 50ml gin, 15ml Cointreau, 15ml fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp thin-cut orange marmalade

Glass: Martini

Garnish: Shredded orange peel

Method: Add all of the ingredients to a shaker and stir to dissolve the marmalade. Fill the shaker with ice and shake until your hands are cold. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish.

Avión goes clear

A new premium cristalino tequila is set to showcase single-origin agave spirits. Avión Reserva Cristalino is made from Blue Weber agave, grown at altitude in the small town of Arandas in Jalisco, Mexico. The agave is handpicked and slow-roasted in brick ovens for three days to bring out its natural sweetness and richness.

Less well-known than blanco, reposado and añejo expressions of tequila, cristalino is an añejo (aged) tequila that’s filtered to remove the colour and some of the woody notes imparted by oak ageing. The result is a crystal-clear tequila that combines the complexity of an añejo with the brightness of a blanco.

Avión Reserva Cristalino is a double-charcoal filtered blend of 12-month- old añejo, with a small amount of three-year-old extra añejo reserva, both aged in American whiskey barrels. In the glass you’ll find smoky oak aromas, warm spice and vanilla, alongside a fresh grassiness and lime zest. The palate is exceptionally smooth and creamy, layered with more vanilla, ripe pineapple and roasted nuts; agave sweetness is balanced by vegetal touches of fresh herbs, green pepper and spicy black pepper. Definitely a tequila to sip and savour.

Cristalino joins the existing expressions in the Avión range: Silver, Reposado, Añejo, Reserva 44 Extra Añejo. Already available in the US, Mexico and St Barts (US$149/75cl), it will be launched in the UK this summer, at £115.

How to… understand whisky terminology

The labels on a bottle of whisky use specific terms that refer to the raw material it is made from and how it is made. A ‘malt whisky’ is a spirit made only from malted barley, while a ‘grain whisky’ is made either using a proportion of other grains, such as corn and rye – or entirely from those grains instead of malted barley. A ‘blended whisky’ is a combination of malt whisky and grain whisky, with a legal minimum of 40% malt whisky. The term ‘single’ refers to an individual distillery: so a ‘single malt whisky’ describes a malt whisky that’s made by one particular distillery; while a ‘single grain whisky’ describes a grain whisky from one distillery.

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