Saturday, August 29, 2009

Scotland: Day1=Drinking in Glasgow/Eating Haggis & Chippy's Part 2

After I've landed in beautiful Scotland, I walked outside to a lovely but cloudy day in Edinburgh. I had to feel the air and embrace the moment. As I smoked on my Davidoff's outside with some local Scots flying in from wherever, I felt a certain energy inside that I've never felt before. I felt like something was changing inside of my soul and mind.
After the small talk and a couple of sticks, I had to wait for my friend Nick to arrive at the Glasgow (GLA)airport from his business trip in Istanbul, therefore I went upstairs in the airport and had an espresso and a pasty filled with lamb and mint(@3 pounds). It was actually good! I got it from the West Cornwall pasty shop! I highly recommend going there for a light fare. They even have a cute little lounge area with wooden block like table's and chair's along with sofa's and coffee table's. After my belly was satisfied, I'd jumped on the bus and traveled to the "Glas"(It's about a 3.50 pound fare 1 way and a hour or so trip).

As I arrived to the Glass, I had to get my cell compatible to the UK conversion. I'd found a place called "Phones 4 U" and they were more than happy to help me out, which the Orange cellular company did not want to do at all! Afterwards I walked about around town and then went to Mama San(located on 190 Bath street), which is Scott Steven's restaurant and chatted it up with the bartenders and had some great cocktails, while I waited for Nick to pick me up. This Pan-Asian cocktail bar/lounge/restaurant(Yes, I went to an asian bar in Scotland) has one of the best contemporary cocktails in the Glas area. There I sampled several spirits, such as VAH(single malt barley ), Pincher(made with Elderflower, milk thistle, and distilled mountain water), Blackwood's( made with sea pink flowers), Macallan white label, and for the first time the magnificent BEEFEATER 24! Along with the sample's, I had some local Glas beer.

I was so impressed with the 24, I asked Luke Yerbury(bartender) to make me a "White lady" with the spirit. It was absolutely superb, which is featured above in the photo's. It was made with egg whites, 10 mil lemon juice, 15 mil of maple syrup, 10 mil maraschino liquor, and 50 mil of Beefeater 24.

After all of this imbibing, Nick showed up and took me to Perth to lodge with him for a couple of days. Near his house, we stopped for some good ole Scottish cuisine! At the Fish and Chips Co., I had deep fried Mars bar, deep fried haggis and of course some Irn Bru(Scotland's national soft drink). Nick had the chippy's and we went back to his place to throw down!

For some reason, Nick didn't want nothing to do with my deep fried goodness, but I surely tasted the great deep fried fish and chips he savoured. Everything was sinfully delicious!
At Nick's house, he helped me get situated with the next day events, while we sipped on Macallan(rare bottles), Brugal XO special edition, and some local beer. After getting scheduled for Thursday, we casually talked/joked about whisky, life, aspirations/goals, and my career. Nick then started humming "Liberian Girl" for some reason and then he looked at me as I f he had an Oprah "Aha moment"! He said, "hey your a libation girl that could change the alcohol world"! I giggled feverishly and then my light went off in my head and looked directly at Nick and said"your right-I am going to change the alcohol world"!
Next, we attempted to put some words together and all I could come up with was MJ's part when he said "Liberian girl, you know that you came and you changed my world.............." Let me tell you that the song stayed in my head for the entire trip in the UK! I knew when I'd get back to the US, I'll put some great words together to cover it and use it for my theme song!
After the fun and games, It was time for the both of us to get some rest. We both had to get up early and I was anxious in seeing the best of Edinburgh!
Night cap: My first day in Scotland was like being at home. A home I've never had, but a place that I felt so welcomed, safe, and secure in......a place that was always so magical and far away from me when I was young, but now I was there breathing the fresh air, riding along side the beautiful lush hills, raindrops dancing on my face, rainbows on the horizon, the dark skies at night as gentle and beautiful as a newborn child.
The emotions I'd felt in one day was humbling and calming...................
To be continued.................

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scotland: Day 1= Getting to the airport(EWI) Part 1

In my diaries, I will give you the complete and necessary guide in my world travels. I will explain everything from the cost of transportation/food, what to expect in etiquette and the culture's of the people. Consider this your diary passport through my eyes.

August 18, 2009,

Earlier in the day, I was in a daze as I was running around getting all of the last minutes items I forgot about as I was packing the night before in a frenzy! Also, I was emailing and on the phone with the distilleries all morning, scheduling and organizing my every need for the tours and transportation. I had butterflies in my belly and I felt a bit nervous about this here UK trip.

Continental airlines flys to Scotland non stop on a regular basis out of EWI that offers affordable prices. However, I'd booked my ticket through CheapAir and paid $651.00, which is a very good price. The fares varies from $550-800.00 for the coach class. I suggest you to book the fare at least 3 months prior for the best rates. Buying business or 1st class isn't necessary, because Continental has a decent size 757 with comfortable seats. As a 5'11foot woman, requesting the emergency exit row or the aisle seat if sufficient, but if you want to see the gorgeous views of Ireland/Scotland as the flight is nearing over to Edinburgh with all of the lush vegetation to wow over, then book a window seat and bring your binoculars! It's an amazing view to see.

My flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50 pm, therefore I had to be there 2 hours ahead, which I now know that you should get there 3 hours earlier, because the international check in for luggage takes very long! You can expect to wait at least 30 mins If your lucky, however my wait was 45-55mins! I had to find an agent controlling the line to get me checked in asap, because you have to have your luggage checked a hour before departure. Let me remind you that I arrived EWI at 5pm and the shuttle train from the NJ transit($15 from Penn Station- about 30min ride) will take you @10-15 minutes to get to the luggage area (walking and travel time included). So after waiting 30 mins(being5:45) I knew I had to do something fast!

I then found and then explained my situation to the agent. She rushed me to the front and had my suitcase checked in a nick of time!

On board, as I approached my seat, I was on the phone with AT&T attempting to get my cell adaptable for the UK, because they failed to tell me that it previously when I called earlier for the international rates/info. and I had no idea about that until my friend Ben called me as I was waiting at the gate and informed/warned me that it wouldn't be compatible with the networks unless I change it over. AT&T then gave me a hard time, because I didn't have my account number and therefore I was without coverage for the time being! I had to wait until I got to one of the Glasgow's communications shop to convert! Shame on you AT&T!!!!

It was then time to depart and the flight attendant asked me to get off the phone. As I was turning off my Black Berry, these annoying women sitting behind (a rude Jersey woman)me and next to me (psychotic British woman)started complaining to the flight attendant about me being on the phone talking the entire time(even though I had a right to talk before take off)! At that point, I had a shouting session with the both of them who teamed up on me! They wasn't ready for this libation girl from DETROIT! I put them in their place and shut them up like 2 dysfunctional kids arguing over candy!

to be continued................


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bols Genever tasting

It was a sunny August the 4th evening in NYC. It was the day after I've filmed @90% of my pilot show(re-shoot) and back on location from the taping, Beekman Bar and Books. There was the Nirvino event for Bols Genever. Nirvino is a blog online that shares the best cocktails, wines, and beer finds within your general area. They hold monthly events using different brands each time to educate and entertain the imbibing community.

2nd photo from top: is the Bols Genever brand from Amsterdam, which won the best new product at the Spirited awards this year at the Tales of the Cocktail event held in New Orleans this past July.

The brand was established in 1575 by Lucas Bols,which he then created the Genever in 1664 that was re-launched to the states within the past year.

HISTORY: This malted wine was the first gin created. This is a white spirit of neutral grains made in copper stills, which consists of 50% malted wine, and blended botanicals. The Genever is matured in oak casks and its juniper flavoured alcohol(42%), which is strong in taste and very smooth. Bols has 2 versions of this Genever. The older(oulde) version was heavier and sweeter and the younger(jonge) is more subtle than the oulde.

Mr. Jeremiah "Jerry P"Thomas, nicknamed the "Professsor" was the first celebrity bartender from NYC who wrote "The Bartenders Guide" in 1862(or "How to Make Drinks"), which includes the Bols Genever spirits several times over and is given credit for popularizing the brand.

The difference between Bols Genever malted wine and London dry gin is simple and basic to my understandings. The London version is taking the neutral grain spirit and re-distilling after the botanicals are added, such as Beefeater's main botanical recipe: 1.Orris 2.Seville orange peels 3. Juniper berries 4. Almonds 5. Angelic seeds 6. Angelica roots 7. Liquorice 8. Lemon peels and 9. Coriander seeds.

Bols Genever is slightly different in taste, due to the rich malty flavor and the ginger used as one of their main ingredients. Also, the main difference is that Bols Genever is distilled from mostly single malted wine. Other gins donot distill thier product in this fashion.

Top photo: The Cocktail King, Colin Appiah, the US brand Ambassador for U'Luvka polish vodka. Center position: your Libation Girl, Carmen Operetta. Right: Tomas Delos Reyes, the NYC representative for Nirvino.

3rd photo: Tomas welcoming the attendees to the tasting.

Bottom photo: Tal Nadari, the marketing manager for Bols Genever was telling everyone about the Bols Genever campaign and the acknowledgement of the award received at the TOTC. Also, thanking everyone for attending the event.

Night cap: The tasting was amazing! Ben Scorah and Jake Sher bartended for this event and served up 3 delightful Libations. 1. A green apple-infused old fashion, which is a AWESOME fall cocktail. 2. Blood and Sand, using the Bols of course instead of whisky, which was my favorite and a great version of the classic cocktail. 3. Holland Razorblade, that is a WONDERFUL spring/summer cocktail.

**The recipe collection from all of my posts will be available in the near future.***

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dalmore tasting at the World Bar (USBGNY)

It was a beautiful and a really warm day in NYC and I was headed to the World bar located on 1st ave off of 48th street. Upon entering, there was a raffle for Richard Paterson's cocktail books and for a beautiful bottle of Dalmore's 21 year! I wrote my name on the form and kissed it for good luck. I think getting liquor is the only thing I'm good at receiving!

As I walked in further, I saw my lovely industry family enjoying the great spread of delectable sandwiches, veggies, fruits, and an assorted amount of snacks. It was very tasty. Next, I walked over to the bar for a libation. They had 3 different versions to select from the Dalmore brand. Of course, I had each and every one of them!

The Tasting, Mr. Richard Paterson is the master blender for Dalmore and is known as a righteous entity in the industry. He was extremely entertaining and educational in his presentation. He gave historical facts and great pairings for his single malt collection. For example, he explained how a bittersweet piece of dark chocolate and/or a cup of let's say (black only-no sugars/creams)Colombian coffee will pair very well while sipping on the Dalmore whiskies.

Also, Richard explained how a dollop of distilled flat water is all that you need to bring out the single malt. Second, he informed us that using fresh ice is only suitable if you prefer that other than the distilled flat water. Richard said that the ice in the bin that has been sitting there for awhile will start to collect the atmosphere's aroma's, which will change the flavor of the whisky.

TIP: If your out at a bar, lounge, or restaurant ordering this whisky, ask the server/bartender to give you fresh ice ONLY!

Next, as the preparation for your dram is ready, it is time to take a sip and then have a piece of that chocolate(If avail) or sip on the coffee. You will then begin to experience different levels of the complex flavorings, such as orange, toffee and vanilla.

Mr. Paterson then demonstrated how whisky is lighter than water! He filled a highball glass 3/4 of water and then layed a sort of cloth on top and then poured the Dalmore through it. Last, he removed the cloth and what we saw was the definite 2 levels of water on bottom and the whisky on top! The individuals like myself, who did not know about this scientific fact was amazed.

Last, Richard gave a special experience to one of the members at this tasting. The world's most expensive whisky- the 62 year Dalmore! This specialty was blended form 4 different years, which are 1868, 1876, 1926, and 1939. The blend began to bottle around 1943 and was named after the original estate owner Alexander Mathesone.

Mr. Paterson told him that this will probably be the most expensive thing you'll have in your mouth! Wow- I wish I could experience that explosion!

Night cap: The afternoon with Dalmore and Mr. Richard Paterson was an incredible experience and a great honor to learn from this third generation family master blender!
As they say in Scotland, which I've learned several different versions in saying cheers/good health in my recent trip to the UK, this means literally to your health.



Quick tid bit...

OK everyone,

I guess by now that you know that I'm NOT the fastest on posting recent events that I've attended, but I'm really trying to work on that! There are a few events posted on my FaceBook page now, but the UK diaries are soon to come(like tommorow-PROMISED)! I'll start with a brief review of the Dalmore and Bols Genever tasting first and then go deep into Scotland and then London. I estimate about 1 0r 2 post per day for the next 2-3 weeks!

Carmen Operetta

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A quick update!

Everything is going great in Scotland and I'm absolutely enjoying the culture, landscapes, and the regalness and pride from the lovely Scots!

This experience is priceless for a whisky lover like me and I feel so blessed to have this opportunity....this moment in my life......this greatness.....

I'll be prompt in blogging my diaries with this trip and I'll upload a few pix in this blog, but If you want to view the entire experience, please become a fan on my FaceBook page. Just type in Libation Diaries with Carmen in the search box. I'll return to the states on the 25th.

Up next, the main event! The tour of the distilleries: Ardbeg, Bruichladdich, and Bowmore! Also, I have a cute B&B 3 miles from Ardbeg and right down the street from Lagavulin and Laphroaig! I have a room located in front of the sea and I have plenty of distillery restaurants to divulge into some Shepard's pie and possibly some more Haggis!

Somebody pinch me, because this feels surreal!

Your Libation Girl,

Carmen Operetta

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Low activity!

Just an update to everyone....Carmen Operetta has been extremely busy with production and gearing up for the Scotland/England trip. There is alot of blogging to do, but it has been post poned until the appropriate time is issued! It's been a few weeks since the last blog, but the next dozen will be amazing and then the tale end will be the beautiful result of the pilot show, which is being shopped to 2 major networks along with a major marketing corporation.

I'm glad your here along for the ride, because after all it is Libation Diaries....! This is how everything proceeds quickly in the very beginning and then comes to a halt. Next, you start right back up as If your on a rollercoaster ride and then ....what happens next? It's up to your next move.........

Thank you for your support,
Planet Operetta Productions LTD.