Single malt whisky tasting
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This Wednesday we’ll be running our first tasting tour with Firecrown whisky tastings.

Take a journey through the five regions of Scotland with five fine drams, hosted by whisky expert James Shea of Firecrown. James will be pouring and talking us through the water of life. Detailing its history, distillation and maturation processes as well as tangential topics such as geology, chemistry and etymology, his knowledge (and drinks cabinet) promises an evening of sweetness, smokiness and entertainment.

Tickets are available here through Design My Night

Continental Drift

Teaming up with our friends at Reyka tonight to launch a special menu that will run for the next month or so working on the tricky theme of tiki &… vodka.

Vodka often gets shunted in the summer as we collectively lean for flavour heavy aged base spirits in rum and agave trim skirts. Nay, vodka often gets shunted overall. Beyond a Bloody Mary or a variant of an insert-popular-gin-based-drink-here there aren’t a swell of classics that roll into the mind. Ask many bartenders and they’ll have a similar list of complaints: it’s profile doesn’t hold up to a shaken drink, stirred down it doesn’t have the flavour of gin, you can’t put it in an old fashioned. While we would never argue against the case that vodka should only be consumed one-way (ice cold and neat), the idea that it doesn’t flesh out a great cocktail is plain wrong; as long as you’re using something good.

So, challenge set: let’s turn on some reggae, shut our eyes and imagine, sometime in the future, Iceland breaks away further from Europe owing to some kinda continental drift and washes up in the Caribbean. Maybe we’d all be drinking something like this:

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Come find out tonight! Fab will be playing the blues on his steel string guitar and Alex will be mixing Jamaican and Icelandic records into each other. It’ll get weird but it might just work ;)

⩊ Dutch Courage ⩋

Under the deluge of news you may have missed that this is National Negroni Week.

Count Camilo’s beefed up Americano concoction (add the gin) has become so popular we-in-hospitality now roll out the bunting each year to celebrate it’s subtle, bitter charms. Regular readers of this parish will know we’re no champions of Campari so, our twist has often involved looking back at original recipes to find producers currently doing it closest to the old formulas. But now, in this week of all weeks, comes the un-holy twist. Sub-off on the gin, enter genever.

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We’ve teamed up with the true Dutch Genever Originals (Bols) for Negroni week to offer a menu of twists using gin’s gilded Auntie. As well as the stellar cast of druidic dancers & pagan DJs adorning the decks across this weekend (remember sun-seekers, it’s a 4am finish across Friday and Saturday), we will be joined by Bols’ Jamie Campbell behind the stick serving a compact list of red-lit hits.

We chatted with Jamie earlier in the week to unearth the genever story and debunk a few old-wives tales.

Let's start with a story: where does the expression 'Dutch Courage' come from?

The story of where the term ‘Dutch Courage’ comes from is quite a romanticised one, but we generally associate it with the Anglo-Dutch wars of 1652-1784 where Dutch soldiers were viewed as being particularly brave in combat. English fighters would see them taking small nips of Genever from a hip flask before rushing the battlefield, fortifying themselves and showing their ‘Dutch Courage’.

It was also during this time that we see interrupted shipments of Genever from the Netherlands to England, and heavier consumption of the spirit when William of Orange held the English throne from 1689-1702. Genever, an expensive, difficult to make spirit, was only drank by Royalty and the upper classes, so a cheaper, easier alternative began being made – eventually becoming Gin as we know it today and inciting the Gin Craze of the 1700s.

To put gin and genever in the same category therefore seems to be missing a trick. We find it a bit closer to a rye whiskey in terms of profile. It's something that holds up better in more robust drinks like a Negroni or Manhattan (or someplace in between the two), why would you say that is?

You’re completely right, comparing Gin and Genever is a complete misrepresentation, and in fact Genever is a controlled appellation much like Cognac or Champagne, meaning it can only be produced in certain parts of Europe. I always say it’s much closer to a whiskey in flavour profile, and that’s all down to what separates Genever from it’s more juniper forward cousin – Malt Spirit. In production, we effectively make a mash bill (like in Bourbon) from Wheat, Rye and Corn, which then goes through a long fermentation period before being distilled…and cut at a low ABV to maintain those malty characteristics. The malt spirit is the backbone of our Genever and provides all of the aroma and flavour complexities that make it much better suited to traditional drinks, and a no-go for tonic. You only have to look at the cocktail books of Jerry ‘The Professor’ Thomas, Harry Johnson and William Boothby from the 19th Century to see how Genever was best used. Hint, try it in a Martinez, the complexity will blow your mind!

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Do you see genever as the next El Dorado in spirits, like mezcal was a few years back? That mysterious, lost elixir to lead us all away from gin. Or are we as an industry a bit beyond these fads? if so where do you see Genever fitting in and growing off the back bar?

I hope not. I think as an industry, we’re leaning away from ‘what’s hot at the moment’ and much more towards ‘what works for that drink’. Using Genever, just for popularity’s sake, is a disservice to its history and heritage, much like with Tequila and Mezcal and the difficulties we’re now seeing with the over-farming of Agave. For me, the aim is education, and getting bartenders and consumers alike to understand the historical importance of Genever and seeing how that fits in with the drinks they want to enjoy. Re-introducing classics like the John Collins, Martinez etc made with Genever to showcase just how versatile the spirit is…that’s what I’d like to see more of.

Or a ‘Kopstootje’! A classic-in-waiting… Enlighten us here? I don’t think anyone outside of Holland has ever heard of it.

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The Kopstootje, a ritual drinking habit from Amsterdam and the greater Netherlands for Genever, also provides us with another widely used term – ‘Going Dutch’. The Dutch are widely seen as being quite frugal (read tight-fisted) with their money, so when asking their bartender for a measure of Genever, would always make sure the glass was filled to the brim and almost overflowing. With the traditional Tulip glasses used for drinking Genever, this would form a tiny meniscus on the liquid, and meant that the glass could not be picked up to drink from. As such, you would have to take the first sip directly from the glass, without touching it with your hands, often hitting the beer sat next to it with your head – creating a ‘little headbutt’ or ‘Kopstootje’ as it’s known in Dutch.

Vegan CBD Gummies: How They Work by 'Sunday Scaries'

Most people loved eating jellybeans and gummy bears as a child, and now you can have them with the healing benefits of CBD!

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There are hundreds of people who are loving the benefits of CBD capsules and oil, but now a gummy version of CBD is becoming popular because of how easy they are to use, their taste, and the numerous positives that align with the medical benefits of cannabis.  

In simple terms, CBD gummies offer the same benefits as any other form of CBD, but you don’t have to deal with getting the right dosage as you would with CBD oil or oil tinctures.  

Cannabidiol, CBD, is a naturally occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD is different from THC because it doesn’t make you high. Instead, CBD is said to help treat numerous conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, and more.

The effects of vegan CBD gummies should be similar to taking the same dose of CBD oil or capsules. For instance, when comparing a 20 mg gummy and a 20 mg dose of oil, the underlying cannabinoid amount is the same, no matter how it was ingested.  

We’re going to take a closer look at vegan CBD gummies and see why they’re becoming a popular method of nutritional supplement.

What Are Vegan CBD Gummies?

Essentially, CBD gummies are candies that have a pre-measured quantity of CBD oil in them – they also include other ingredients like flavoring, sugar, corn syrup, preservatives, and cane juice. CBD gummies don’t have any drops of THC, making most non-psychoactive, meaning they won’t have any psychoactive effects and they won’t mess with your consciousness.

Ultimately, CBD gummies help you avoid becoming high when you just want to relax.  

Why They’re Popular

There are a ton of new CBD products coming to the market every day. It’s a largely unregulated industry, which means that there’s no shortage of companies trying to cash in on the “CBD craze.” This has resulted in low-quality and ineffective gummies that are sold at a high price by fly-by-night companies.

If you purchase high-quality products from a trusted company, like Sunday Scaries, CBD gummies can offer natural relief from a bunch of ailments, and they’re a tasty treat.

However, because the FDA doesn’t control CBD extractions, it’s up to you to figure out the quality of the gummies you’re buying. Here are some things to look for when purchasing gummies:

  • You want to make sure that the gummies have less than 0.3% THC in them. Anything higher than this amount can be considered marijuana

  • Check to see if the gummies have been through third-party testing

  • Make sure that they were created with CO2 extraction; this makes it so that the product has no residual chemicals

CBD gummies are also more convenient to take than CBD oil and are easier to administer in terms of dosage. Why? Because they offer a pre-measured dose of CBD directly into your system, and almost immediately after you ingest the gummy, the CBD interacts with receptors in your body, as we’ve discussed earlier in this article.

Compared with other CBD products, gummies take less time to act, given that the digestion tract is entirely different. When you eat a gummy, your body absorbs the CBD – and the other active compounds – via the digestive system to reach the cells. Oils and tinctures need to pass through glands before they hit the bloodstream. Gummies are a great way to get fast delivery of CBD to your system.

Side Effects

CBD gummies have not been tested in a laboratory or clinical setting, but there has been some generalized research done on the side effects of CBD.

CBD can result in appetite and mood changes, dizziness, drowsiness, and diarrhea. On a more serious level, there have been some suggestions that CBD oil can possibly affect liver enzyme levels.

The consumption of CBD gummies has few notable side effects (according to the little bit of research and stories from users), but it’s still wise to use caution when using gummies because some can offer potent cannabinoid doses. For instance, while CBD gummies come in tiny doses, they can still contain up to 25 mg or more of active CBD – enough to make you feel drowsy or dizzy.

You should also keep in mind that many of CBD gummies are made using corn syrup and processed sugars, so you should always try to read the label of any product before you consume anything – this is especially true if you have diabetes or are concerned with the “nutritional value” of what you’re consuming.  With all of this in mind, if you want to purchase high-quality vegan CBD gummies to help you relax, deal with chronic pain, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more, then head on over to Sunday Scaries to get started. 

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Low Holidays

Today is the longest day of the year.

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All around the country, pagan-identifying types are tuning bare-breasted towards their nearest haul of ancient stones. The ground around Stone Henge will creak under the weight of flashers and dogging enthusiasts expunging ritual joy at the altar of the saggy boob and wonky dong. The Waitrose at Fleet Service station - positioned perniciously before turning into the tailbacks of the A303 - will see a year’s worth of trade between here and Glastonbury and back again. Pull up the effigies! Burn Farage! Burn BoJO! Just don’t forget the mini Molten Mowbray pork pies.

Meanwhile, downstairs at 411 Mare Street, we can now sing to a different tune. The longest day marks several clear delineations. The solstice is the official start of summer so, on cue, we’ll have a new menu to show off from tonight. Bruised banana rum old fashioned with a customary dose of CBD, wiccan Manhattans, elegiac cucumber gimlets, tiki agave drinks, cereal milk julep floats and little-gay egg nogs will abound for the next 3 months. Strong drinks for summer are back. We can also rejoice, as basement dwellers, that the days will now start receding, serving our selfish purpose. YAY darkness!

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We’ll have fun little feedback sheets for the first weekend so if you get down to try the new bits tonight and can fathom something productive we’ll grant you a tasty cut off your bill.



Spring Bank Holiday

There’s a lot going on this weekend: late-enders on Friday, Saturday & Sunday, DJs, dancers, delectable drinks (as ever), Yard Sale pizza, warm sounds +⁺₊ Barry is back!

This bank holiday always marks something of an ‘end-of-season’ for us as the days stretch and the mercury rises thereafter. We hope you can join us at some point over the weekend, rain or shine. 

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⨒ Check the pocket guide below to see what’s on when ⨓

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