How to make beer without hops

It sounds insane to us modern folk, but beer without hops was a favorite of some of the 280 breweries in Ghent during the Middle Ages. At least that’s what Annick De Splenter, our guest today, discovered while doing her degree in beer-making at university. (Yes! You can study beer-making at university in Belgium!)

After her father sold the family brewery, Annick was on a mission to figure out how beer was actually made without hops and that it wasn’t all a medieval urban myth. Needless to say, she proved her naysayers wrong with her own brewery, Gruut, founded on four beers made with herbs: Wit, Blonde, Amber, and Brown made with nary a hop in sight.

 
Where you can hear me drinking next:
He may have lived […]

July 25th, 2017|Best Sips Worldwide, Season 1|0 Comments

A Bit of Romania: Best Things To Do in Bucharest

Travel is all about expectations, right? One person tells you a destination is fabulous and you arrive to find the opposite and vice versa. It’s all subjective and, no matter whose opinion you trust, travel is truly an individual pursuit.

When I landed on the tarmac in Bucharest, I expected to arrive in a city where cement was king. I could have bet money that the only thing to do in Bucharest was to visit block after block of communist-era, all-purpose museums, restaurants and bars built of, you guessed it, cement. How wrong could I have been?

Not only was the drive from the airport to the old town, one of the prettiest and greenest of any I’ve visited (easily beating the M4 in London), but every […]

July 21st, 2017|Bucharest, Destinations, Romania|2 Comments

How to make herbs work in a cocktail

The political revolution in Romania may have gone down in 1989, but our guest today is quietly starting one of his own. Heading down to his bar, Fix Me A Drink, don’t expect a menu of 300 drinks. Each one of Alex Ciomârtan’s cocktails is a masterwork of ingenuity. Drawing not only on his studies in Western Herbal Medicine, Alex brings nostalgia, history and passion to each and every drink.

After years of living in London studying, as well as drinking in the city’s greatest bars, Alex felt it was time to come home. He is one of very few mixologists, if not the only, in a city filled with bars that knows sometimes cinnamon is not just cinnamon. Depending on its terroir, even a small […]

July 18th, 2017|Best Sips Worldwide, Season 1|0 Comments

How to make a gin change color right in front of you

Just a few days in Four Seasons Fairways and you feel like you have been coming for years. Our guests today all have that special quality in a bartender – making you feel welcome even before you order your first cocktail. Rui Pereira, Victoria Murphy, and Nuno Fonseca found their way to Quinta do Lago and, thankfully for us, are set to stay!

Rui’s face changed when talking about gin, Vicky couldn’t wait to make me her Caipirão and Nuno beamed when describing how he loved it so much here that, even when he left to try something else, he was drawn back. Still a homely place does not always equal great cocktails.

A resort usually cranks out jugs of Harvey Wallbangers and Frozen Daiquiris with […]

July 11th, 2017|Best Sips Worldwide, Season 1|0 Comments

A Bit of Portugal: Four Seasons Fairways in luxurious Quinta do Lago

Everyone throughout history has wanted the Algarve – from the Phoenicians to the Romans, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Spanish up to the modern day slicer, aka golfer!

In my opinion, there are three reasons why this tiny bit of the world was so attractive. Geography is one! The Southern most region of Portugal’s coastline is almost entirely accessible. The climate – how can you beat an average of 25 C or 77 F in winter?

The last reason has to be Four Seasons Fairways, one of my Bits of Perfection. For those who came to Quinta do Lago before it was open, you had the misfortune to have to stay somewhere else, but we who live now get to stay here, and often!

During my short stay, I began […]

July 7th, 2017|Destinations, Portugal, Quinta Do Lago|2 Comments

How to celebrate Independence Day just right!

It’s tough to imagine our next guest going to work in tails and pinstripe trousers at Fortnum & Mason in their Wine and Spirits department, and on his gap year no less. Now, in his new role as Global Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Tom Vernon can be a bit more casually dressed. Of course, when he’s rustling up a few Mint Juleps at the Kentucky Derby every year, his glad rags emerge!

Tom is no stranger to Woodford Reserve, he’s been their UK Brand Ambassador for five years. Now as Global Brand Ambassador, his playing field has grown bigger. For someone whose first cocktail was a Manhattan, this job is a dream.

With Declan McGurk, now Bar Manager of the Savoy Hotel’s American Bar, as […]

July 4th, 2017|Best Sips Worldwide, Season 1|0 Comments