Mark Ludmon visits the home of ABK6 cognac which combines modernity with tradition The vineyards stretching across the undulating hills of the Abécassis estate in Claix in south-west France look much like any other in the Cognac region. However, this is a producer with a difference, home to the modern cognac ABK6. Not only is …

British bartender David Ashton-Hyde has triumphed in an international competition to create a new beer with craft brewing company Innis & Gunn. His recipe for smoked beer infused with bourbon oak and maple syrup impressed the judges and will be released as a limited edition in September and October, exclusively for the on-trade in the …

The new London Distillery Company has announced the release of its first London-crafted gin, Dodd’s Gin, made with botanicals including honey from London bees. The distillery in Battersea, south-west London, has named it after Ralph Dodd, a late 18th-century entrepreneur and engineer who never realised his dream of making spirits in London. The small-batch gin, …

Sambuca is growing in bars thanks to flavours and a new focus on authenticity, reports Mark Ludmon Italian sambuca has a history dating back over two centuries, with roots that arguably may go back further to Arabia and the Far East and, in Italy, it is often drunk neat, on the rocks or in coffee. …

Despite challenging times, classic cocktails and new serve ideas are bringing cognac and brandy back onto bar menus, reports Mark Ludmon While spirits such as vodka, rum, bourbon, gin and tequila have grown in popularity in the UK over the past five years, brandy continues to struggle. Despite the rediscovery of cognac as a classic …

Mark Ludmon examines trends in premium packaged lager in the on-trade, including the growth in cans and low-alcohol options At Sketch members’ bar and restaurant in London’s West End, the range of beers on offer matches the quality of the cocktails and premium spirits. They range from Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell to Duvell …

Bartenders across the UK and the rest of Western Europe are being given a chance to compete to create a new spirit or liqueur to sit within Diageo’s luxury Reserve Brands portfolio. The initiative, called Show Your Spirit by World Class, is calling for ideas from bartenders for a product concept which will then be …

The winners have been announced in the International Brewing Awards after a three-day judging session at the UK’s National Brewery Centre in Burton-upon-Trent. Ninety-six medals were presented to brewers and cider makers out of almost 1,000 entries – a significant increase on 2011 when the biannual event was last held. Beers and ciders were submitted …

The range of craft beers available on draught is growing thanks to investment in microbreweries and new products, reports Mark Ludmon After eight years of continuous growth, Box Steam Brewery in Wiltshire moved to a new site last year, boosting capacity from 65 hectolitres to 400. This significant investment was a reflection of the founders’ …

Education and new products are helping to grow the appeal of absinthe, reports Mark Ludmon When Soho House Group took some of its top bartenders to New York a little over a year ago, their trip took in Maison Premiere, a bar in the boho neighbourhood of Williamsburg in Brooklyn. The “Oyster House and Cocktail …