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 …

The 2012 release of Buffalo Trace White Dog, the unaged bourbon, is now available in the UK, building on the appeal of the clear spirit with bartenders. Limited supplies of Buffalo Trace White Dog Mash #1, distilled in autumn 2012, have been imported by Buffalo Trace’s UK distributor, Hi-Spirits. Without ageing, it has more of …

Chivas Brothers has announced it is to go ahead with plans to open the home of Beefeater Gin to the public as a tourist attraction. The site in Kennington, south London, will open later this year and, for the first time, will offer visitors a chance to see the gin being made and learn about …

Mark Ludmon looks at the case for adding premium soft drinks and mixers to the menu At bars such as Lost Society, The Lost Angel and Citizen Smith in London, The Lost Group has gained a reputation for innovation in cocktails. But it has also seen enormous growth in premium soft drinks and non-alcoholic cocktails …