Drinks for all tastes to toast and say goodbye to the year | The weekly country

Variations and ramblings

The last great book published on mixology is entitled The Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails. A mandatory reference work, a totem for any fan of the art of mixing, where its editor, David Wondrich, along with dozens of collaborators, reviews drinks, techniques, places and names behind the bar. Among the contents, a prominent section is occupied by the different alterations that a classic cocktail can generate. Trend during this year that ends.

“A variation can be premeditated, be based on an idea of ​​how the ingredients can be altered without changing the identity of a recipe, or it can be the result of necessity – there were no lemons that day – or of error, which gives rise to to a variety of results ranging from a disgruntled customer to the birth of a new recipe or accepted variation on the original, “says Jim Meehan in his comprehensive entry.

The current interest in variations is the result, among other reasons, of a taste for retromania. Attached to the past not only as a way to remember and value what preceded us, but also as an excuse to experiment and generate something new and different. It occurs with already classic spaces, such as the centenary Cock, in Madrid, which among its peculiarities offers a Cosmopolitan with cassis and a Gin Fizz to which they add cream. Or with new places like Savas, where your bartender, Gintas, play to modernize iconic cocktails such as the Negroni, the Tom Collins or the Gimlet. All in an almost imperceptible and elegant way. The same goes for Diego Cabrera and his team. Although with a somewhat more groundbreaking profile. At Salmon Guru, its cocktail bar, you can take a journey through the history of the cocktail based on colorful inventions such as its Pichi Fizz, its Paloma Pandan or its Super Classic, all of them reinterpretations of mythical drinks. The last twist is given by a Parisian cocktail bar, Copper Bay, whose menu promises a Sazerac, a Mai Tai or a Bloody Mary with ingredients that have nothing to do with the originals. An artifice that says a lot about the excellent situation mixing is going through.


The hot one: Gin Fizz.

1 ½ ounce of gin.

¾ ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

1 ounce of simple syrup. Finish with soda.

Combine all the ingredients and shake in a shaker with ice. Strain into a glass highball Fill with ice and cover with the soda.

The classic: Boulevardier.

2 ounces of bourbon o

1 ounce of Campari.

1 ounce of vermouth.

Combine the ingredients in an ice-cold mixing glass, stir and serve in a tall glass. on the rocks.

The reinterpretation: Old School Funny

1 onza of bourbon.

½ ounce of amontillado.

¾ ounce of port Tawny.

¾ ounce of red vermouth.

1 ounce of Campari.

This improved Diego Cabrera Boulevardier is served in a Nick & Nora glass straight from a barrel where it has been resting for a year.

Bubbles: tradition ‘versus’ boldness

The world of sparkling wines does not stop growing and reinventing itself. A few weeks ago, the sommelier Manel Pla, founder of Terroir Champenois and one of the pioneers in importing champagnes from small French producers to Spain, returned with great enthusiasm from his last trip to the region. Not only because of the dynamism of a new generation of young producers, but also because of the important presence of these wines in restaurants. The great houses are also renovated. This year Louis Roederer presented Collection, the champagne that replaces its classic Brut Premier without vintage with a multi-vintage concept. Made with 50% of its own vineyard, the bulk belongs to a central vintage. It is no longer sought to maintain the same style at all costs; Each new Collection will be different and will be identified with its own numbering (the first is 242).

In Spain, despite the schism experienced in the DO Cava in the last decade, most of the specialists in quality bubbles are turning to certify their production as organic (some go further to enter the biodynamic seal) and create a solid high range of complex sparkling wines supported by long aging. Older wines feed the high-priced and limited editions over 10, 15, even 20 years old that are often privately marketed. The other line of work is to give more voice to the terroir making from vineyards or specific places. Bubbles are also transmitters of sites.

There is a Rioja that aspires to produce high-level bubbles with its own stamp using its freshest vineyards, or the interesting future of the regions of the txakoli thanks to its naturally high acidities and its unmistakable Atlantic character.


Classic perspective. Intense palates, citrus touches and quiet aging. A safe bet to offer these parties without giving up on surprising.

Reserve wines. Louis Roederer Collection 242, Champaña. Louis Roederer. 42% chardonnay, 36% pinot noir, 22% pinot meunier. 12% vol. 50 euros. The House It reformulates its basic champagne with an assemblage of vintages in which it almost binds both the central vintage and the reserve wines. In the glass it is fine, with ripe citrus fruits and a range of well integrated toasted touches and a slight salty touch in the end.

Old vintages. Celler Batlle 2004 Vintage Library, Corpinnat. Gramona. 65% Xarel·lo, 45% Macabeo. 12% vol. 120 euros. Gramona is a great specialist in long aging. The Vintages Library adds to its classic late slaughterhouses an extra rest in the bottle. The palate is creamy, intense and long-lasting, with the stamp of the 2004 vintage. It belongs to a limited edition of just 300 bottles.

Qualified site. La Capella 2010 Gran Reserva Brut Nature, Cava. Juvé & Camps. 100% Xarel·lo. 12.5% ​​vol. 80 euros. It combines the expression of a specific vineyard with the aging time with the lees, which is a minimum of 108 months. It is a sparkling wine to drink in a wine glass and enjoy its aromatic evolution (brioche, honeyed and spicy touches). With a bitter finish and clean citric acidity.

New alternatives. Produced without added sulphites, under a new philosophy or from grapes grown next to the Cantabrian Sea: sparkling to remember.

Winemaker. Domaine Nowack Assemblage, SA. Extra Brut, Champagne. Domaine Nowack. 70% pinot meunier, 30% chardonnay. 12% vol. 45 euros. Flavien Nowack is a good representative of the new generation of champagne vintners that is transforming the small House family member of the Vallée de la Marne. In the glass, dried herbs, honeyed touches and citrus tension on the palate.

Natural. Vinya del Rascarà 2015 Brut Nature, Corpinnat. Bufadors Celler. 100% Xarel·lo. 11% vol. 45 euros. It is the project of Ton Mata, CEO of Recaredo, together with his wife, Encarna Castillo, in Penedès. No added sulphites and using must from the vineyard for the second fermentation in the bottle. Austere, with less toasted touches than one would expect after 57 months of aging, deep and with a chalky note.

Atlantic. Apardune 2019 Brut Nature, Bizkaiko Txakolina. Doniene Gorrondona. 75% hondarrabi zuri, 25% mune mahatza. 11.5% vol. 25 euros. From vineyards near the sea in the Biscayan town of Bakio, reaffirms the potential of the regions of the txakoli. Made by the traditional method of second fermentation in the bottle and aged between 16 and 22 months, it offers fine floral, aniseed and salty touches.


Fascination for craft beer

In the Alt Penedès, with grapes such as trepat or xarel lo, Aleix Puig’s grandfather made wines of great intensity for years. He now signs some of the best beers on the Peninsula with those same varieties. It ferments fruits such as peaches or cherries, and plays with ripening, wild yeasts and chardonnay casks. He is one of the innovators of craft beer that stands out the most. Its Wild Peach obtained in October the bronze in the Wild Ale & Sour category within the International Contest of Craft Beers (CICA), one of the most respected on the scene, with 350 references presented in 2021. From La Llacuna, a town of little more than 800 inhabitants, defends a landscape, flavors and a way of working that is defining of what this new era represents.

“87% of craft beer producers are outside the provincial capitals,” says Javier Donate, president of the Spanish Association of Independent Craft Brewers (AECAI). “What we lack now is a place in the supermarkets. In other countries they already have their own section ”, claims Donate, also owner of the Cuenca Dawat brewery, with more than 30 varieties that use carrots, Sichuan pepper or Pedro Ximénez. There are also defenders of orthodoxy. Basqueland Brewery, Hernani’s brewery, offers Unstoppable, one of the best hopped beers in the country, made in the style of the American West Coast. Its production goes for half a million liters and with the intention of expanding. “We are small but quarrelsome”, sentence Donate.

Craft beers

Acid. Soul Peach (Beer Major) Wild ale

Marked acidity and acetic sensations, although with a final vanilla flavor. Mixed fermentation beer, based on Berliner Weisse, and refermented with 20% peaches. Finished for four months in white wine barrels.

Vínica Chardonnay (Monkey Beer) Grape Ale

Rounded flavor, with a very slight citrus aroma. Beer that uses 30% Chardonnay grape must (supplied by Bodegas Enate, in Somontano) and 70% malt from Castilla y León. The factory is located in Gerindote (Toledo).

Dulce Avolar Bota 3 (Random Brewery) Belgian Strong Ale

Moderate acidity and final sweetness. The second fermentation takes place in French brandy barrels, where it spends 10 months before it is bottled. Production of 2,500 bottles, based in Vallgorguina (Barcelona).

English Style Sigma Strong Bitter (Byra) English Pale Ale

Spicy aroma and medium bitterness. Roasted beer using English raw materials (yeast and malts). Gold winner in its category in the International Contest of Craft Beers (CICA) and in the Barcelona Beer Challenge.

Round Unstoppable (Basqueland Brewery) West Coast IPA

Fruity, hoppy and with a dry and bitter finish. One of the best IPA on the market. It uses three types of American hops (citra, mosaic and simcoe) using the technique of dry hop.

Reivindicativa Cannabilator (Cosa Nostra) New England IPA

Intense presence of grass and very marked hop flavor. It is a double NEIPA (New England IPA) TDH with marijuana terpenes (30 grams per liter). Valencian microbrewery (Puerto de Sagunto) founded in May 2019.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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