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It’s nearly that time of year again: the season of mulled cider and wine, heart-warming ales, and an indulgence in finer spirits. So why not take those lovely spirits and master these two wonderful cocktail concoctions; characterised by an extra hug of warmth and strong flavour, you can’t have Christmas without them.

1, Strong, sweet and syrupy Triple Rum

Strong, matured flavours create the perfect sipping cocktail. Striking a stark balance between warmth, rummy sweetness and a punch of orange character, the Triple Rum is, albeit simply named, an expertly delicious cocktail.

You will need (Makes 10):Triple Rum Blend

Stirrer
Pitcher (1L)
Tumbler glass
Scoop of ice (for marinating & stirring)
Mount Gay gold rum, 200ml
Sailor Jerry spiced rum, 200ml
Havana club 3 year old white rum, 200ml
Brothers’ Grapefruit and Rhubarb bitters, 6 drops
Sugar syrup, 100ml (20 tsp)
Whole orange

Create this tantalising blend:

Pour the three rums – gold, spiced and white – into a litre pitcher. Add in the sugar syrup and bitters, then stir lightly. Add the orange peel of a whole orange and stir lightly again before topping with ice.

Leave to marinate in the fridge. Overnight will do, but the ideal length of time is one week. Upon serving, strain from pitcher into a tumbler glass.

Bursting with warmth and strength, this is yummy but should be enjoyed responsibly!

 

2, Chocolaty and warming Velvet Monkey

Thick, irresistible malt whiskey with seductive chocolate notes and delicate spicy complexity, sweet sugar syrup and boastful bitters, this is the perfect gentleman’s cocktail. Simply made and easily enjoyed. Also known as the ‘Old Fashioned’.

You will need (Makes 1):Velvet Monkey

Strainer
Stirrer
Mixer glass
Martini glass (or tumbler if you prefer)
Monkey Shoulder whiskey, 60ml
Scoop of ice cubes (for stirring)
Angostura Bitters, 2 drops
Sugar syrup (homemade or Grenadine will do), 2 tsp
Orange peel

Craft the gentleman’s cocktail:

In a mixer glass, pour 60ml of Monkey Shoulder malt whiskey, two teaspoons of sugar syrup and two drops of bitters. Fill with ice. Stir the cocktail carefully for a few minutes and let the mix chill. Leave to rest for one minute.

Strain into a martini glass and garnish with orange peel. If you prefer a tumbler glass, this works just as well but may warm up more quickly.

Making your own sugar syrup:

In a medium-heated saucepan, add water and caster sugar (exactly to the ratio of 1:1, so 50ml water would require 50g caster sugar). Carefully bring to the boil, stirring constantly. When all the sugar is dissolved, leave to cool.

Simple, but absolutely gorgeous. Got a cocktail you like? Share it with us and enjoy!

Written By: Ben Franks

Edited By: Laura Thompson

Photos By: Niamh Harkett


bigfunrunWhether you’re a first-timer trying to improve your fitness level or you’re already a super-fit athlete who wants to show the rest of us how it’s done, fun runs and 10K’s are happening all over the city. The cold weather has set in and it’s time to get warmed up with a brisk run in our beautifully leafy and urban surroundings. Continue reading for Peppermints picks of the best 10K’s and fun runs in and around the capital this winter.

Read more…


CaptureLooking for somewhere new and exciting to enjoy some food, drinks and maybe even some ice skating? Peppermint have teamed up with Smokestack and Sourced market to curate a new pop up bar sensation situated in the heart of London opening on the 17th November until the 26th February. The Tasting Room bar and Smokehouse is situated next to Broadgate Ice Rink and will deliver a unique 15 week pop up experience. Ranging from our ‘cuts n butts’ which are smoked on site, to London’s finest gourmet doughnuts and freshly prepared salads and sandwiches from the market in St Pancras, there’s something on offer for everyone at any time you want to pop in.

We will have a selection of the finest craft beers from London breweries, home-made mulled wine, winter warmer cocktails and a large range of spirits and wines making The Tasting Room the perfect spot to soak up the winter atmosphere in style.

Open from 7am each day The Tasting Room is an ideal location for any event whether it’s for breakfast,  lunch, after work drinks or a family day out. Got a Work Christmas party to book, or organising a celebration with friends and in need of a delicious menu and cracking drinks, our menus are designed for groups of 10 to 100. Whether you are after a casual finger food reception or looking for the full works we have just the right offering for you. All our packages include drinks, a warming mulled wine on arrival and dedicated waitress service, fancy booking? Get in touch with Lex and Paula to make a booking on 07583 184 196 or info@thetastingroom.london.

There’s also an opportunity to work for us, we’re looking for superstar bartenders, floor staff and waitresses, both full and part time from mid November until the end of February. If you have the necessary experience please apply with your CV to info@thetastingroom.london.

To find out more visit our website, facebook, twitter and instagram, and share your experiences with us online.

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Written by Laura Thompson


5114647647_c304752be3_zBrits increasingly embrace the American Halloween traditions but are missing out one crucial aspect of the festivities, according to food waste charity Hubbub. While we are usually better at reducing the amount of waste we produce, we seem to have a blind spot when it comes to that Jack O’Lantern.

Pumpkins are now a familiar sight in the British supermarket at this time of year, but it seems around two-thirds of us regard them as a novelty rather than a food. Hubbub’s research suggests 18000 tons of pumpkin flesh is simply thrown away in the UK. Decomposing food waste contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, so this obvious waste is also actively damaging the environment.

In the US, pumpkin flesh is used to make sweet pies, so the flesh of the seasonally carved pumpkin is regarded as an opportunity for a festive treat. We’ve found a couple of simple savoury recipes that may help you to introduce your British palate to the delights of this underused vegetable.

Pumpkin soup (serves two):

Ingredients

700 g roughly chopped pumpkin flesh

1 chopped onion

25 g butter or margarine

275 ml cream or milk

275 ml stock

seasoning

Method

In a deep saucepan, melt the fat on a medium heat. Add the onion and stir until soft. Stir in the pumpkin flesh and season with salt and pepper.

Sweat the onion and pumpkin over a lower heat for about 10 minutes, then add the cream or milk, cover and simmer gently for about 20 minutes

Use a hand blender to puree the mixture, leaving a bit of texture. Serve hot.

 

Fruity winter curry (serves four)

Ingredients

Flesh of half a pumpkin, cubed

4 carrots and 2 parsnips, cut into batons

8 large ripe tomatoes

2 thinly sliced onions

2 tbsp vegetable oil

200 ml water

3 tbsp curry paste

6 peeled garlic cloves

A thumb-sized knob of root ginger, peeled and chopped

200 g brown basmati rice

6 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt

100g mangoes, cut into cubes

1 tbsp mango chutney

Fresh coriander, chopped

Toasted, flaked almonds

 

Method

Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onions and cook until soft. Stir in pumpkin, carrots and parsnips, and cook until they begin to soften. Add in the curry paste and cook for a further 3 mins.

Blend six of the tomatoes with the garlic and ginger until smooth. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and add the water. Stir in the coriander, saving a handful for garnish. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 40 mins), then cut the remaining tomatoes into wedges and stir them in.

Reduce to thicken the sauce.

Meanwhile, cook the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

Stir the yogurt, mango and chutney together in a small bowl.

Serve the curry over the rice and scattered with coriander and almonds, with the fruity yogurt on the side.

 

 

Let us know how you get on!  What’s your favourite pumpkin recipe?

 


While the weather may be getting worse, your nights out needn’t dampen down. Here are three deliciously sweet, vibrant cocktails to enjoy this autumn. You could even have a go at making them yourself!

1, a Mojito: the proper Cuban way

Probably the world’s most famous rum-based cocktail, the Mojito is renowned for its refreshing and zesty flavours. But for the autumn season, only the proper Cuban way will do. Strong, warming aged white rum with a bit more citrus makes this the top choice for many.

You will need:Mojito

Stirrer
Muddler/Crusher
Tall, highball glass
Handful of crushed ice
Whole lime

2tsp, cane sugar
Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum (1 part)
Handful of fresh mint
Soda water (2 parts)

How to concoct the proper Mojito:

Add the sugar to a highball glass along with the juice of half a lime (save the other half for garnish later) and a handful of mint sprigs. Crush together gently with a muddler while slowly filling the glass about half full with soda water.

Add a generous handful of crushed ice and fill to the near-top with the Havana Club Anejo Blanco Rum. Make sure to leave a little room at the top for the lime. Stir well.

Slice the remaining half of the lime in two, carefully drop one quarter into the cocktail and use the final quarter as a garnish, perched on the rim of the glass.

There you have it! Enjoy responsibly.

2, The slightly spicy Ragamuffin

Designed by the folks over at Circo Bar, this is a heart-warming, spicy and fruit-sweet cocktail designed to leave you “feeling naughty”. Although Circo suggests using Licor 43, if you prefer coffee flavours try using Kahlua instead for a darker, richer, spicy cocktail.

In the picture, I have used Licor 43Ragamuffin

You will need:

Cocktail shaker
Strainer
Oval-based Martini glass
Scoop of ice cubes (for shaking)
Licor 43/Kahlua Espresso liqueur, 50ml
Cinnamon spice
Cloudy apple juice
Juice from half a fresh lemon
Cinnamon stick (optional)

How to shake up the perfect Ragamuffin:

In an ordinary tall glass sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Add a single 50ml measure of Licor 43 (or Kahlua). Add ice cubes and the juice of half a fresh lemon. Shake together hard in a cocktail shaker before straining the mixture into an oval-based martini glass.

Top up with cloudy apple juice and, if you like, garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Yum!

3, fresh n’ floral Willow Fizz

For this excellent cocktail – usually one best enjoyed in the summer – why not follow our recipe below for a slightly sweeter, but just as refreshing, autumn take.

You will need:Willow Fizz

Cocktail shaker
Strainer
Wine glass
Chase Elderflower liqueur, 50ml
Southern Comfort, 50ml
Schweppes Canada Dry Ginger Ale
Scoop of ice cubes (for shaking)
Scoop of ice cubes (for glass)
Sugar syrup, 25ml
Juice of half a lemon
Slice of lemon (optional)

How to whip up a Willow Fizz:

Pour the measures of Chase Elderflower liqueur, Southern Comfort and sugar syrup over ice. Add lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a wine glass full of ice and top up with ginger ale.

Simple, but refreshing, sweet and delicious.

Got a cocktail you like? Share it with us!

Written by Ben Franks

Edited by Laura Thompson

Photo credit: Niamh Harkett


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download (1)For those of us that don’t want to shell out a significant sum to see London in all its splendour at the top of The Shard, there are many beautiful views of the Capital that are completely free! Read on for Peppermint’s favourite views of London that promise to be kind to your wallet. Read more…


glastO-SIGNgShake off that post-Bestival/Festival No 6 daze – if you haven’t already, it’s time to get organised for the 2015 summer festival season. The daddy of them all, Glastonbury, has already announced the dates for 2015′s ticket sales.

Coach and ticket packages, which will be sold in advance of the general ticket issue, will be made available at 7pm on Wednesday 1 October, with general weekend tickets following at 9am on Sunday 5 October.

If you’ll be aged 13 or over when the Festival starts you’ll need to register before you can buy your ticket. You’ll be asked for basic contact details and to upload a passport photo (which is subject to an approval process) to be printed on your personalised, non-transferrable ticket. If you photo is accepted, they’ll e-mail you an unique registration number that you’ll need to quote when you book.

You’ll also need to re-register or edit your registration if you last registered for a festival earlier than Glastonbury 2007, or if you’ve changed your e-mail address. More recent registration numbers remain valid, but if you’re not sure you can check their database to see if you are registered.

Registration is already open but will be suspended at 23:59 on Tuesday 30 September and stay closed until tickets go on sale, so don’t get caught out – do it now! Registering doesn’t reserve or guarantee you a ticket and you’ll still need your trigger finger ready for when the tickets are released. You’ll be able to buy up to six tickets when you get through, but only with valid registration numbers for all of them.

Seetickets, who will again be handling Glastonbury ticketing, have said they intend to respond to registrations within 24 hours during the working week, so look out for that all-important e-mail, and don’t forget to check your spam or junk folder. If you haven’t heard anything within the stated time, you can also check the database to see if you’ve appeared. If in doubt, try again at https://glastonbury.seetickets.com/Registration/Register.

Glastonbury Festival takes place at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset over five days and next year’s is planned for Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th June 2015.  As usual, acts are unlikely to be revealed before the tickets are sold. A standard adult camping ticket will cost £225 (inc booking fee) per person, with deposits of £50 per person payable on October 5th and the balance due in April 2015.

Tickets are already on sale for the 2015 versions of many in-demand festivals including Reading & Leeds, End Of The Road, Bearded Theory, Green Gathering and Creamfields.

I’ve registered for Glastonbury 2015, have you?


discoball_3027891bAs the 2014 summer festival season draws reluctantly to a close, we can look back at yet another season dogged by disappointing cancellations as well as studded by stellar highlights. There’s little doubt the UK festival scene has been overcrowded for a few years now, and the burgeoning US scene has added more pressure. But this year’s casualties included both the ten-year-old, award winning Irish mainstream music festival Oxygen and idealistic dreams of the first ever major crowdfunded festival, Alt-Fest. And both radical new concept Orchestival and grass-roots Welsh music showcase Swn had to downsize from a weekend to a one-day event for 2014.

Many, like Sonosphere, do regroup and return, of course, while others with a particularly strong concept and identity, such as All Tomorrows Parties, are welcomed as stages or arenas at larger festivals with broader appeal. But if Oxygen’s reliance on headliners doesn’t work, and inspired new concepts can’t always be made to fly, what’s behind the success of festivals like WOMAD, which has been a worldwide programme of successful festivals for some years now, or Bestival, which having spawned Camp Bestival and other spin-offs, recently announced plans to take the concept across the US and continental Europe?

Bestival was set up by DJ Rob da Bank as an extension of his ‘Sunday Best’ club concept but its become a labour of love which promotes an eco message and benefit the youngsters of the Isle of Wight, a holiday destination of his South Coast childhood. Choosing the beautiful site at Robin Hill Park was just the start, as he told local website iLife a couple of years ago:“We didn’t want people just to turn up at a white canvas tent in the middle of a field with some DJs in it. It has always been about being magical, escapism and far from reality. I want people to think they are in a different world, just as I did the first time I jumped over the fence to get into Glastonbury.”

Acknowledging that most funds raised are ploughed back into making the next event even more remarkable, he said: “I believe that is the only way to do it.” He more recently told the Telegraph: “I’ve never been in this industry for the money.” He felt the event was ripe for expansion to North America and Europe because “We’ve made a real impression on the festival market and pioneered a lot of ideas.”

A measured attitude to headliners is also part of the event’s resilience. Of Stevie Wonder’s appearance in 2012 he said: “I don’t want to set a precedent of bringing huge global icons, because there are not that many” adding “I just want everyone to have a good time.”

We can’t wait to see what Bestival has his store for us over the next few years at the Isle of White, and intrigued to see where it may pop up elsewhere in the world.


digital rThe creative industry is essential to our economy, art in the UK is more popular than ever before with 76% of English adults engaging in the arts in the last 12 months. London alone is home to three of the top ten museums and galleries in the world, with 857 art galleries based in the city in total.

With so much art around us, there is always the opportunity to take some time out to appreciate the works on offer. With summer now ended and autumn gradually taking over, September is playing host to a number of exciting and gripping art exhibitions.

5 exhibitions we think you should see this September:

1. Pangaea: New art from Africa and Latin America

(Until November 2014)

The Saatchi Gallery, one of the most visited museum exhibitions in London, is currently hosting an installation from a number of new and upcoming artists from Africa and Latin America. Named Pangaea, the exhibition consists of sculptures, paintings and various art forms from 54 African countries and 21 Latin American countries.

2. Digital Revolution

(Until mid September 2014)

Digital Revolution claims to be an immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and video games based at the largest performing arts centre in Europe, the Barbican Art Gallery. The exhibition not only lets the viewer observe digital culture but also allows them to interact with wearable technology and a three-dimensional laser light field. For something exciting and new, Digital Revolution is a must see exhibition this September.

3. Wedding Dresses 1775-2014

(Until March 2015)

For fashion and textile lovers everywhere, the Wedding Dresses 1775-2014 exhibition at the V&A Museum is the place to be. Tracing the development of wedding dresses over the last two centuries, the exhibition showcases dresses from leading fashion designers such as John Galliano, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang. The museum is open from 10am daily and is open till 10pm on Fridays.

4. The EY Exhibition: Late Turner- Painting Set Free

(Until January 2015)

The EY Exhibition is the first exhibition devoted to the late artist J.M.W. Turner, showcasing work from the UK and abroad which were created between 1835 till his death in 1881. On display at Tate Modern in London, many of Turner’s finest oil on canvas paintings are known to have been controversial and according to critics, unjustly misunderstood.

5. Ming: The Golden Empire

(Until mid October 2014)

For those not based in the capital, Ming: The Golden Empire, is an exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland which takes viewers through riches of the Ming Empire. The exhibition features portraits of all 16 Ming emperors, ceramics and artefacts imported from the Nanjing Museum in China and refined objects taken from the royal Chinese heritage.

 

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Festival-No-6Long famous for its rolling green hills, Wales also has a vibrant new music scene, so it should be no surprise that it hosts some of the finest summer music festivals in the UK. Let’s take a look at four of our favourites.

 Focus Wales

Various venues in Wrexham, North Wales

This four day April celebration of Welsh new music has been going for four years now, but this year it seemed to well and truly arrive as a force to be reckoned with. A music festival in the conference style, it stages cutting-edge live music, comedy and interactive happenings in the impressive, purpose-built venue of the Llangollen traditional Eisteddfodd and in venues dotted around Wrexham’s pretty town centre and also features music industry expert talks and discussions. This year’s event impressed with a music bill featuring Welsh music heroes Euros Childs, Islet, Y Niwl and Little Arrow, BBC radio DJ and Welsh new music champion Huw Stephens, and special international guests including German innovator Damo Suzuki from Can.

It’s due back on 22-25th April 2015 and early bird adult weekend passes are already on sale, priced £30. No accommodation is included, but Wrexham has plenty of guest houses and B&Bs.

 

HowTheLightGetsIn

Various venues in Hay-on-Wye, Powys

Over ten days at the end of May, the festival described by Prospect Magazine as “Hay’s sexy younger sibling” shares the charming market town of Hay-on-Wye with the now world-beating literary festival. The six year old philosophy and music festival aims to excite the imagination and renew the spirit with around 500 events including music across seven stages. This year Mr. Scruff and Andrew Weatherall provided the beats while Emmy the Great, Martha Tilston and the Blaenavon Male Voice Choir were in excellent voice. There was live comedy and film-screenings, and philosophers, writers, academics and politicians in discussion.

A ten-day pass gives access to all gigs, evening discussions and parties, or you can buy shorter passes. There’s camping and parking available nearby, and you can look around the Hay Festival while you’re there. Early bird deals are likely to appear from around November 2014.

 

Green Man

Glanusk Park, Powys

Firmly established on the UK’s major festival circuit after twelve years, this playful four day August event on a stunning, compact Usk Valley site takes the music very seriously. More than 100 thoughtfully curated live acts and DJs feature beside equally carefully selected films and spoken word across 17 stages including a picturesque walled garden. This year’s highly respectable line-up included Mercury Rev, Beirut and Neutral Milk Hotel, comedy from Josh Widdicombe and speakers Viv Albertine and Howard Marks. Art installations, ongoing pagan theatre, circus, inspiring workshops for all ages, all night bonfires and gorgeous local, organic food and drink completed what was once again a magical experience.

As well as the usual weekend camping ticket, Green Man offers a Settler’s Pass, allowing you to camp onsite all week and make a holiday of it. £145 super early bird tickets for 20-23 August 2015 may have already sold out, so watch the website for the next release.

 

Festival No 6

4-7 September 2014
Portmeirion, Gwynedd, LL48 6ER

Even smaller but equally perfectly formed, the third Festival No 6 will be a little earlier this year, with hopefully better weather than previously. Conceived as a broader ‘arts’ festival and a more intimate event, No 6 offers pop up-theatre performances and mini-raves, comedy, readings and talks, film screenings, art trails and installations and other quirky delights in the Italianate village and surrounding woodland of Portmeirion, island location of the surreal 60′s TV series The Prisoner.
Musical treats for this year include Pet Shop Boys, Beck, London Grammar, tUne-yArDs, Tom Odell, Steve Mason, Kelis, Neneh Cherry, Laurent Garnier, Andrew Weatherall, Todd Terje and Bonobo. The Brythoniad Male Voice Choir, who traditionally cover a track by the headliners, have this year prepared their version of ‘Go West’, and there’ll be a new floating dancefloor in the woodland Chinese Lake.

£160 weekend camping tickets are still available for this weekend