Flaviar First Look
Disclaimer: We’ve recently been speaking with Flaviar and received this box to review for this website. Below is an honest and open review on the company and the service they offer.
Today as I ran down the stairs like I was a child at Christmas, hearing the doorbell from the postman, I had that anticipation that something exciting and intriguing was being delivered. I was not to be disappointed! Today I received my first monthly box from Flaviar, with their Five Flavours of Scotch monthly tasting box; I had to withhold myself to capture some photos for this review before ripping open the box.
Flaviar, an online monthly or free subscription service, essentially hand pick some craft spirits which you then get delivered monthly direct to your door. Or as they put it they “…tongue-pick the ones that deserve a spot in your home bar.” Each box contains between 3 and 5 spirits in nifty little bottles and contain a range of flavours along with some helping leaflets to help you get the most from the contents. You can choose from rums, scotches, whiskeys, cognacs, bourbons and more. As well as the monthly subscription services that I am reviewing here, they also have an online store with a lot of great craft and hard to find spirits.
I’ve tried some of these monthly services before with a few craft beer services and food recipes and have had some mixed feelings; often the companies seem to try and get away with cheap standardised yet unfamiliar beers or ingredients that are mass produced and just repackaged under new names. However with the multitude of spirits out there, and the expense that you naturally incur trying to taste more and more, Flaviar seem to have something good going for them.
First impressions can mean a lot, especially in subscription services where your on-going support to the company is based not only on the product, but also in your feelings and emotions towards them. Flaviar didn’t disappoint as I opened up the delivery packaging to be presented with a smart, swish black box, that has an almost honest feeling of craftsmanship about it from the start – a theme that was to carry on throughout the product.
As I excitedly opened up the box, taking care not to rip the red sticky labels in half, for no other reason than an intrinsic feeling of keeping the box intact and to not spoil the overall feel, I had presented to me 5 test-tube esque bottles of scotch along with a couple of leaflets of information and tasting instructions.
I really do like the feel of the box; the presentation, the smart packaging and the way that the scotch is presented and displayed, held up in a stately manner akin to its prevalence and enjoyment hereon in. The 45ml bottles (for you non-math wizards out there, totalling 225ml of scotch) are made of glass, have a good solid feel to them and are of a good size, they are enjoyable to hold. Maybe I’m lamenting too much on the look and feel here, but it really is important that a company understand all these aspects and start right from the off before the product even shines through if they are to keep customers loyal and wanting more, and so far I’m impressed.
Before cracking open the first scotch however, I had a good read of the paraphernalia that comes along with the package. And you know what – I actually enjoyed reading it. The language is in a friendly almost humorous manner, with little jokes and attempts at humour that had me enjoying the read. They could have gone down the serious scotch drinkers route with flavour maps and what to taste for, but instead have gone for the much more approachable language with such snippets as ‘tastebuds’ in the ‘preflight checklist’, along with a ‘sound system’, reminding you to ‘invite your friends’, and a ‘SmartAss Corner’ flavour map introduction. Its the little touches…..
Of course, as much as a product can sell itself on the emotive responses gained from the product, the actual contents, in this case, the scotch, is just as important. In the box I received laid out before me was:
- Lagavulin (16 years old)
- The Glenliver (18 year old)
- Laphroaig (quarter cask)
- Auchentosham (12 year old), and a
- Singleton of Dufftown (15 year old)
Price wise, some of these go for £40+ ($60USD) a bottle and I was pleasantly pleased and upbeat to see the contents live up to the packaging, with the price point of the box definitely providing quality inside, and a good return on the monthly investment.
Of course taste can often be in the eye of the beholder, and I am yet to find that ‘friend’ that the leaflet requires of me to taste test these beauties, but I am excited and giddy at the thought of going through Flaviar’s product line and seeing what their leaflets can both teach and inspire me with the scotches received in this box.
Overall, a big thumbs up from me. Well done Flaviar. The packaging and care you’ve taken on your product is top notch. The way the contents are presented, the language used and the overall honest feeling of craftsmanship to the whole product is one of the best I’ve seen in a monthly subscription service.
With Christmas just around the corner, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the company have a good uptake on its products, a good solid business with uncompromising quality so far. Well done!
Flaviar’s website can be found here: flaviar.com
They offer a free members service with bottle deals and ratings and reviews, as well as the aforementioned monthly subscription packs, called Prime or Gift Packs.
They also offer an app (The Flaviar App) for use with their products that can be found here.
Prime membership (i.e. the monthly tasting box) is priced at:
First month is $18.99, then $24.99 per month after
First month is €15.99, then €21.99 per month after
First month is £14.99, then £18.99 per month after
See more of what they offer on their website.
The colder evenings may be creeping in now, but that doesn’t mean we need to desert our beloved cocktails in favoured of hot cocoa. This list of drinks will be sure to fill you with a warm glow, and they taste delicious too!
Caramel Irish Coffee
I couldn’t write a post about hot winter drinks without mentioning Irish coffee. This classic cocktail is regularly made in my house, but I really love this caramel twist. Made with equal parts of Jamesons Irish Whiskey, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Butterscotch Schnapps mixed with two and a half parts coffee, this tastes best if made in a pre-heated Irish coffee glass. Simply pour in the ingredients and top with whipped cream and caramel. It’s a wickedly naughty dessert in a glass!
Hot Peppermint Patty
Following along the lines of after-dinner drinks, this Peppermint Patty takes a traditional hot chocolate and gives it a minty, alcoholic twist. Make hot chocolate as normal, and add an ounce of Peppermint Schnapps, half an ounce of Dark Crème de Cacao, and a teaspoon of Crème de Menthe. Fill the cup up with whipped cream and sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top. This recipe will delight anyone will a sweet tooth and works best in a mug or a pre-warmed Irish coffee glass.
Hot Apple Toddy
This cider recipe is a wonderful alternative to the classic Mulled Wine that often makes an appearance around this time of year. Pre-heat an Irish coffee glass and then coat the base of it in honey. Pour in two ounces of Whiskey and then fill with hot apple cider. Give it a quick stir and then garnish with a cinnamon stick, lemon wedge, and a few whole cloves. It will become your new winter favourite!
Milk & Honey
This cocktail is one that is sure to take you back to the days when your mum used to make your warm milk before bed. Of course, this nostalgic favourite has been given a grown-up twist. Pour one and a half ounces of Benedictine into a mug and fill with warm milk. Bliss. One thing to remember is that milk will curdle with the alcohol in your stomach, so don’t drink too many or you will live to regret it!
Warm n’ Toasty
After a long day of snowball throwing, Christmas shopping or just running errands out in the cold, Warm n’ Toasty is exactly how you want to feel, so this cocktail had to make it onto my list. Another one that requires an Irish coffee glass, preferably pre-warmed to keep the cocktail hot, it is simple to make. Pour two ounces of Bourbon into the glass with a quarter ounce of lemon juice and a quarter ounce of Grenadine, and fill with hot water. The garnish is a cinnamon stick and orange wheel. The result is utter relaxation after a hard, cold day!
Cocktails mentioned in this post
Hot Apple Toddy
Hot Peppermint Patty
Caramel Irish Coffee
Milk & Honey
I love Halloween. What better excuse is there to dress up, eat lots of sweets and carve an oversized fruit than All Hallows Eve? But when you have come down from your sugar-high and emerged from your pumpkin pie coma, you are going to need something to wash it all down.
So here is a list of the most devilish cocktails we could find – perfect to serve at a Halloween party or to delicately sip on while watching a scary film. Just be sure not to spill any on the carpet – the results could be deadly.
This cocktail is well known in bartending circles for its high alcohol content – potent enough to wake the dead. To make this punchy beverage, first rinse your glasses in absinthe. Then fill a cocktail shaker with an ounce of each of the following ingredients: gin, triple sec, lillet Blanc and lemon juice. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into the absinthe glasses. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
Bleeding Heart Martini
This gruesome-looking cocktail uses pickled baby beets on cocktail sticks to replicate a bleeding heart. You will need to chill your glass before you begin to make this cocktail, and then rinse it in two ounces of dry vermouth. Then combine eight ounces of gin in a shaker with plenty of ice cubes and pour into the glass. Place your gory garnish into the cocktail and watch it bleed!
This fruity concoction is created to look like a pumpkin. Pour one ounce of cognac, an ounce and half of orange juice, half an ounce of ginger ale and half an ounce of Grand Marnier into a cocktail shaker and shake violently. Strain into a lowball glass. The garnish is what makes this drink spooky. Take an orange wheel and a twist of lime and float on top of the drink so that it resembles the top of a pumpkin.
Frog In A Blender
This super-easy cocktail will leave all your party guests wondering if you really have blended a frog. Put a cup of ice, two ounces of vodka and four ounces of cranberry juice into a blender with two lime wheels. You can also add other fruit including grapes, berries and apple pieces. Then blend for just a few minutes, so that the drink still has plenty of lumps and pour into a chilled martini glass.
The easiest way to please everyone at a Halloween party is to make a punch. And none are more appropriate than this one. First of all, you need to stir ten tablespoons of dark brown sugar in 300ml lemon juice until it has completely dissolved. Then pour into a bowl along with equal amounts of white rum, gold rum, demerara rum, pineapple juice, lime juice and passion fruit syrup. Add 8-10 dashes of bitter and stir to combine. This looks best served in a hollowed out pumpkin. Garnish with plenty of lemon and lime pieces.
And there you have five of the most haunting recipes you will find this October. Happy trick or treating!
Cocktails mentioned in this post
Enjoy every last drop of Summer
As the Summer draws to a close, and the Labor Day weekend beckons, it seems only right that it is spent celebrating the long, warm days gone by, before the kids go back to school and the cooler weather kicks in. Why not make up some of these tropical cocktails to help encourage the sunny days to stretch a bit longer…
End of Paradise Punch
Make this fruity concoction up in advance and then sip delicately throughout the day while chasing the sun around you back garden from the comfort of your sun lounger. Simply muddle fresh raspberries with simple sugar syrup, and then add three parts Malibu, two parts apple juice, four parts Earl Grey tea and a dash of fresh lime juice. Stir in a big bowl and garnish with mint and citrus fruits and then chill in the fridge. Top up your drink with a ladle every time you notice your glass getting empty.
Nothing sweetens a lazy summer’s day like a glass of ice cold lemonade. This alcoholic version is just as refreshing, and will only enhance your Labor Day weekend. Chill four glasses in the freezer for a while before serving your drink. Then mix one cup of lemon juice, half a cup of sugar, some fresh mint, one cup of sparkling water, a splash of ginger ale and three cups of ice in a blender. Combine until you have a lovely thick liquid. Add a quarter of a cup of Vodka into your four frozen glasses, and top with your lemonade mix. Garnish with mint, lemon and a straw.
Nothing refreshes a thirsty tongue like a juicy watermelon, and the fruit is synonymous with summer for me. Puree two cups of watermelon in a blender. Add it to a pitcher with half a cup of simple syrup, a three quarter cup of tequila and a dash of lime juice. Rim your glass with lime and sugar and fill with crushed ice. Pour your margarita mix over the top and garnish with lime. With all the work required to make this drink, you are sure to have built up a sweat that will require you to cool off with a melon drink or two.
Reminisce about your tropical holidays with a twist on the traditional Sangria. Add shredded lime peel, one cup of lime juice and a three quarter cup of sugar to a bowl and add two cups of water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then refrigerate for at least two hours. Fill a glass with ice, add half a cup of Pinot Noir and top with the lime mixture. Garnish with nectarine and say Adios to the summer.
The Compendium of Alcohol Ingredients and Processes
Winebgas.com have done an awesome new infogrpahic highlighting all the processes and ingredients that go into various spirits and alcoholic ingredients. Its a fairly comprehensive list ranging from absinthe to kilju, to whiskey and wine.
We’re loving the mini graphics and dedication to the amount of ingredients in this list. See the full infographic here: http://www.winebags.com/The-Compendium-of-Alcohol-Ingredients-and-Processes-s/2054.htm
Please Breathe Responsibly
How times have changed. Sipping a colourful cocktail out of a fancy glass is so last season. The only way to drink your favourite tipple is by inhaling it.
Throughout August, visitors to Alcoholic Architecture in London’s Borough Market will be able to enjoy their alcohol by simply walking through the front door. The pop-up bar invites ticket holders to wear a plastic poncho before making their way to the basement, where spirits and mixers are pumped into the atmosphere via humidifiers. At a ratio of 1 part spirit to 3 parts mixer, it takes between 40-50 minutes to inhale one large drink. A lot of the consumption is through your eyeballs which allow the alcohol to bypass your liver.
Guests can purchase liquid drinks too, if they can find the bar through the damp haze which severally limits visibility. Created by Bompass and Parr, this latest gimmick is an experiment to see if London is ready to inhale cocktails. They have had a team of doctors and scientists on hand to ensure that nobody is able to inhale irresponsibly and every visitor is allowed only one hour in the bar.
This is not the first time Alcoholic Architecture have introduced us to the misty cocktails. Back in 2009 they opened a bar in central London for the month of April. Their first bar was full of gin and tonic and special protective suits were donned instead of ponchos. The room was decorated with giant limes and straws to enhance the feeling of actually being inside a drink.
Amazingly, vaporised cocktails have never really caught on as a permanent attraction, although one bar in Chicago has cashed in on the trend with the Vaportini. Red Kiva has been selling the drink since 2013. Rather than fill the room with the fumes, however, they are sold in a special glass contraption to ensure that only the person who has purchased the drink gets to inhale it. Invented by restaurateur, Julie Palmer, the idea came after a trip to a sauna in Helsinki, where her friend would simply tip her vodka over the hot coals and then enjoy the fumes. With the Vaportini, the purchaser simply chooses their favourite spirit and adds it to their globe before lighting a candle beneath it. As the drink vaporises they can inhale it. It has been popular since its launch and is sold for $30.
Given the convenience culture that we live in, it is easy to see why vapour cocktails might seem to be an attractive proposition to some. However, there is nothing quite like tasting your favourite drink and feeling it run down the back of your throat. But maybe I’m a bit old fashioned!
How fattening is your favourite cocktail?
Isn’t it frustrating how cocktail season and ‘I-must-get-my-summer-beach-body-ready’ season fall at the same time of year?
As the infographic below reveals, if you’re looking to shed the pounds you should probably ditch some of your favourite cocktails…right now!
Ranking the most calorific, two Long Island Iced Teas equate to over 70% of a women’s daily recommended calorie allowance. A Pina Colada isn’t far behind either; it’s calorie count matching that of a microwaveable lasagne.
Not all is lost however, as a gin and (slimline) tonic or a rum and (diet) coke, held more acceptable figures.
Looking to minimise your calorie intake but not willing to give up cocktails? Opt for fresh juice over concentrate, ensure you order diet mixers and swap cream for skimmed milk to knock some numbers off the calorie count.
Check out the infographic below to see how many calories are in your favourite cocktail.
A cocktail competition held in Manchester, UK has showcased some unusual beverage ideas, including a peanut butter and jelly cocktail.
The popular sandwich filling was combined with El Dorado rum and Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut to make the quirky cocktail. The peanut butter was served next to the jelly in a lunch-box with a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and a tangerine. As well as the rum and coconut liqueur, the peanut butter was also mixed with lime juice. The strawberry jelly was enhanced with rum, lime juice and cherry juice. Competition winner, Mark Main, said his drink was inspired by the packed lunches his mum used to make him for school.
Competition rules stated that each entrant must make two original cocktails. One had to be a Twisted Pina Colada using Coco Lopez and El Dorado rum, blended with a Hamilton Beach blender. Mark used Irn Bru to add a punchy twist to his Pina Colada, as a way to celebrate his Scottish roots. He also used Blue Curacao, lime juice and pineapple chunks to garnish.
The other drink was to be a creation of their own making, but had to contain 20ml of both of the sponsored drinks.
Interestingly, this is not the first time peanut butter has been used to flavour a cocktail. The internet is full of alcoholic peanut butter recipes. The sticky, nutty, delicious spread has been a key ingredient in many a beverage including the Peanut Butter Martini. Created using 40ml vodka, 12ml rum, 12ml chocolate schnapps, 75ml milk or cream and 1.5 teaspoons of peanut butter, the mixture is shaken and then strained into a martini glass and garnished with a Reese’s cup. Sounds amazing right?
If you are not convinced, perhaps you would prefer a Peanut Butter and Jealous Cocktail? Made with raspberry vodka and raspberry liqueur poured over muddled raspberries into a glass that has been rimmed in honey and peanut butter and topped up with cranberry juice, it certainly sounds like a sweet drink. The garnish is the best bit-a peanut butter sandwich triangle perched on top of the glass.
My personal favourite is the Peanut Butter, Banana and Bailey’s Smoothie (although the name needs some work). Made with three tablespoons of Baileys, four large bananas, plain yogurt, coconut sugar, cayenne pepper and half a cup of peanut butter mixed with a lot of ice, this is creamy, sweet and delicious, and could almost (almost) pass as a suitable breakfast meal.
Why not try something nutty this weekend?
Official Cocktails in the USA
If your city was a cocktail, which one would it be? There seems to be a trend in America over the past seven years to designate each city an official cocktail that bears some historical connection to the area. Most recently, Louisville has jumped on the bandwagon and dubbed the Old Fashioned their Official Cocktail. The beverage is made with bourbon, sugar and bitters and was first documented in the 1881 Pendennis Club menu. It has been attributed to the city ever since and so is considered a fitting drink for the residents.
The city has further celebrated their cocktail by naming June 1st-14th Old Fashioned Fortnight. There are 34 restaurants and bars participating in the festivities by offering discounted drinks and special offers. You still have time to join in, so find the recipe on www.makemeacocktail.com and let us know what you think!
Louisville follows in the footsteps of towns such as New Orleans, who nominated the Sazerac as their Official Cocktail in 2008. It was the first city to claim a beverage officially and was designated by Louisiana legislation due to its supposed creation in the city in the 19th century. It is said that a New Orleans barman took an old cocktail and updated it, creating the now well-loved Sazerac. The drink contains rye whiskey, sugar, bitters and absinthe.
From then on, it seems there has been no stopping the US cities as they all clamour to have an official drink of their own. Washington D.C chose the Gin Rickey in 2011. It is named after Col. Joe Rickey who is said to have experimented with lime in his morning cocktail at a bar in Washington D.C. in 1883. It soon became the most popular gin cocktail in town. Thus the Rickey was born, along with Washington’s right to claim it as their own.
In 2014, a barman in San Francisco started a campaign to make the Pisco Punch the Official Cocktail for their golden-gated city. The beverage, made with grape spirit (Pisco), pineapple, gum syrup and bitters, has some tenuous connection with the city due to the import of Pisco and pineapple in the 1830s.
Of course, there are hundreds of cocktails that have been attributed to certain states and cities without becoming “official”. There is the New York cocktail, and then one for each of its boroughs. When in Alabama, you must try an Alabama Slammer. You cannot visit Arkansas without sipping on an Arkansas Razorback and don’t even think of taking a trip down the river without trying a Mississippi Punch. When in town, try a Rhode Island Red and you cannot skip through Vermont without a taste of an Old Vermont. With over 20,000 cities in North America, this sounds like the start of a very long drinking game!
Would you like a cup of cocktail?
The British are well known for their love of a good cup of tea and a delicious slice of Victoria sponge cake. But a bar in Manchester has added an alcoholic twist to the nation’s favourite delicacy.
Panacea bar reopened its doors in March after a £900,000 revamp. The celebrity hangout is a favourite with sports personalities and soap stars, and is working on improving its cocktail menu by dubbing Thursday nights “Experimental Cocktail Club”.
Each cocktail on the list is served with a small food dish to compliment the drink. One beverage, named High Tea, is a combination of Earl Grey Tea, Southern Comfort and Beefeater Gin. It is served from a tea pot and accompanied by a slice of cake. It’s certainly a more interesting way to enjoy your afternoon tea.
When you think about it, a teapot is the perfect way to enjoy a cocktail. It is more convenient than sharing a jug between friends as there will be no fighting over who has more ice or pieces of fruit. It will keep the drink fresh for you in between pouring. It is not the first time it has been done either. Fancy a Green Tea Martini? Shake vodka, Cointreau and syrup together with your tea and then strain into the teapot ready to be served. Or perhaps you prefer your tea black? How about mixing spice rum, cranberry juice, syrup and grenadine with the tea for a Tea for Two Martini? Panacea’s version is for those who prefer their tea more Earl-like.
For those who prefer coffee, the NYPD Blue might be more appetising. Panacea’s concoction of Irish whiskey, sugar and espresso is served in a mug with a side of cream. The serving tray is completed with a dish of mini doughnuts. Perfect for the off-duty policeman, or anyone in need of a caffeine fix.
Perhaps the most exciting cocktail on the list is the Science 101. It is served in a science test bottle, complete with steaming foam. It is made with cranberry, apricot and vodka and will please all those with a sweet tooth as it comes with a sugary retro dip-dab.
And for those that need a bit of fizz to get the party started, the El Asesino will tickle your taste buds. Made with Prosecco, Tequila, pineapple and lime, the bubbly mixture is served in a beer bottle with a side of popcorn.
Sometimes the situation just calls for a cup of tea. And a shot of southern comfort.