Savoy cocktail sets sail on barrel-ageing world voyage

Neil Donachie Cunard Beaufort

A limited-edition cocktail from The Savoy in London has set sail in a Jack Daniel’s barrel on a four-month world voyage on board Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.

The Age of Discovery was specially created by the team at The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar and sealed in a 300-litre Jack Daniel’s barrel. It will be left to mature as it travels through different climates before being bottled in May.

The cocktail combines whiskeys Savoy Select Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel and Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 plus Bacardi 8 rum, mixed with Spice Trail Madeira, Dubonnet, Martini Riserva Rubino and Earl Grey and cocoa nib bitters. It has been inspired by the tastes and aromas of the continents the barrel will visit.

Bartender Neil Donachie (pictured) from the Beaufort Bar said: “The Jack Daniel’s and Bacardi represent the discovery of the Americas, while the Dubonnet is there as a symbol of Cunard’s royal associations. The spice-infused madeira, used to sweeten the cocktail, is synonymous with the famous spice trail and oceanic expeditions.”

It was taken on board Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 in Southampon at the weekend and set sail yesterday (January 10) on its 41,000 nautical mile voyage today, travelling from Europe to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia.

Visiting 39 ports in 27 countries, the barrel has been secured in open deck space for the duration of the voyage to expose it to the varied elements, from temperatures, humidity and sunlight to more inclement conditions, that will influence the final drink.

The progress of Age of Discovery will be charted via social media throughout its journey. The barrel also has its own log book.

An unaged version of the cocktail will be available on board for passengers and in the Beaufort Bar in London.

When Queen Mary 2 returns to Southampton on May 10, the barrel will be unloaded and taken to Houston Bottling & Co Pack plant in West Dunbartonshire.

It is expected to yield at least 250 litres of Voyage of Discovery which will be bottled as the latest addition to The Savoy Collection of spirits and cocktails, developed by The Savoy with Speciality Drinks.

The cocktail was crafted to reflect both Cunard’s 175-year ocean-going heritage and the decades of history and patronage associated with The Savoy’s cocktail bars.

The Jack Daniel’s first fill American oak barrel was carefully chosen by The Savoy’s assistant food and beverage director, Daniel Baernreuther. He travelled to the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee and personally chose the barrel of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel to be used in Age of Discovery.

Nidal Ramini, head of advocacy for Jack Daniel’s, added: “We have a great partnership with The Savoy and they’ve been hand-selecting their own Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel for five years. It’s great to take this partnership to another level and be involved with Age of Discovery.

“As the only whiskey maker in the world to craft every one of our own barrels, the idea of a barrel-aged cocktail, containing the very whiskey that Daniel chose when we went to Tennessee together, travelling the world, was music to our ears. We can’t wait to see and taste the outcome, and see how the special Jack Daniel’s cocktail reacts to the elements.”

Angus Struthers, Cunard director, said: “Cunard and The Savoy are world-renowned brands famed for their luxury and levels of service as well as the experience each is able to offers its guests. We are delighted to be able to create Age of Discovery during Queen Mary 2’s 2016 world voyage and to be able to offer our guests on the voyage the opportunity to try the non-aged version of this very special cocktail on board our flagship.

“By combining the special edition cocktail’s ageing process with Queen Mary 2’s world voyage, we will ensure Age of Discovery is a genuinely unique creation.”

Ports of call for The Age of Discovery will be Madeira, Gran Canaria, St Helena, Walvis Bay, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Reunion, Mauritius, Fremantle, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Yorkeys Knob, Rabaul, Cebu, Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Busan, Jeju-Do, Nagasaki, Kagoshima, Yokohama, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa (Naha), Keelung, Hong Kong, Nha Trang, Singapore, Penang, Phuket, Chennai, Cochin, Dubai, Muscat, Salalah, Aqaba, Suez, Suez Canal, Port Said, Dardanelles, Istanbul, Dardanelles, Athens, Valletta, Valencia and Southampton.

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