Archive | October, 2017

Cigars & Churchill – A Q&A with a Cigar Sommelier

Posted on 17 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Churchill‘ the new film starring Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson covers the story of Winston Churchill around the time leading upto D-day and his increasingly marginalized role in the war effort. To celebrate the release we were recently invited to a cigar masterclass with Edgar Zavoronkovs , cigar sommelier for ‘The Den’ a soho cocktail bar with ajoining Cuban cigar humidor and sampling lounge.  After the event we took the oppertunity to pick Edgars brain on a few cigar basics.

Edgar Zavoronkovs – humidor sommelier at The Den, Wardour Street.

If I were new to cigars what would be a good first introduction?

All depends on your personal taste. If you not smoker at all (like cigarettes, pipe, etc) there would be good to start with something light, like R&J or something very classic, like Partagas D4 or any Cohiba Siglo expressions

What difference do the different types of cutter make to cigars?

There is 3 main types of cigar cuts. Straight Cut/ V-cut/ Punch. Depends on the cut there is the way how smoke will build and concentrate on the pallet. Straight cut will be smoother, V cut will be in the in the middle and punch will concentrate all the smoke in one point.

New world (or non Cuban) cigars often come in cellophane wrappers, when I’m storing them should the wrapper stay on or be removed?

It’s absolutely  no difference, how you store them(in cellophane or not) as long as humidor is kept in the right condition and maintained regularly.

What is the best drink to accompany a Cuban cigar to complement the flavour?

Depends on timing. Champagne will help to clean the pallet during the smoke. Sweet juices, like pineapple will smother the strong cigar taste, sour cocktails will refresh the taste and whiskey or brandy can definitely compliment the cigar.

Enjoying a Old Fashioned and Cuban Cigar at The Den, 100 Wardour Street

What is the best way to light my cigar?

There is no best way. As long as the foot of the cigar is lighted correctly and evenly, it will guarantee the smooth smoke. Just don’t use petrol lighters, just neutral gas/ fire.

How long do cigars improve for as they age and do they ever get to a point where they deteriorate?

Cigar age very well and can develop in different way, not always the best, but it’s always beneficial to age cigars. Also, mould can build up, but it’s just indicator, how humidor is maintained and it’s absolutely ok.  It can be removed with old shaving brush.

Why do some cigars age better than others?

Cigar taste is very personal. But’s in general it’s all about quality of Tabaco leaves.

What do I need to do to store my cigars correctly why do they need to be humidified?

Basic humidor (around £75) will do the trick for 15-25 cigars. As long as the right humidity level is there.

How is it that different cigar brands can taste so different when they are all made of tobacco grown in the same area?

It’s all about strength of the leaves and age of cigar leaves.

Brian Cox as Winston Churchill

What is your favourite cigar and why?

I’m the big fan of Vegas Robaina. It’s the only independent Cuban brand and they are more light-medium body and guarantee creamy, chocolate-vanilla smoke.

What is your favourite vitola?

I will go for COhiba esplenditos.

Apart from Cuba, what country grows the best tobacco in your opinion?

Davidoff is pretty good, because they use Wrapper/ Binder and Filler from different regions.

Where have all the skinny cigars gone?

They all still there on the market. Basicaly Cohiba Lanceros is a skinny one and this is how the Cohiba brand starts.

The film ‘Churchill’ is about to be released, Churchill was a famous cigar smoker what brand of cigars did Churchill smoke?

Churchill used to smoke a lot of cigars, but all of them were very properly hand-rolled cigars. He liked large Maduros cigars particularly, but he never used to smoke them more than halfway down for some reason! Romeo y Julieta, La Aroma de Cuba and Camacho (pre-revolution brands) were also his favourites. He would receive cigars direct from the President of Cuba.

CHURCHILL IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD NOW COURTESY OF LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT

COMPETITION – Win one of three sets of Signed Churchill Poster and DVD by Brian Cox and Miranda Richardson

just shoot us a email to enterthecomp@gmail.com and tell us Churchills surname.

Three winners will be picked at random from all entries recieved by Monday 30th October 2017 at 9am.

The Den – modern Soho meets old school drinking den with a classic grassroots soundtrack and stay all night vibe. Sample laid back cocktails, live music sessions and for cigar aficionados, a straight out of Havana hideaway with hand rolled cigar selection and humidor.

http://www.thedenwardour.com/

The Den, 100 Wardour St, London W1F 0TN

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BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

BREWDOG – Craft Beer For The People

Posted on 04 October 2017 by Chris Ford

BrewDog are I think most will agree  have played a massive part in bringing craft beer to the mainstream and that’s certainly true for me, my first proper craft beer was their flagship ‘Punk IPA’ and I haven’t looked back since.

Saying that I’m still far from a expert when it comes to beer which is why I welcome this new book from the guys behind BrewDog  ‘Craft Beer For The People’ aims to cover everything from how beer is made looking at the ingredients and decisions brewers make to how to understand the different styles, how to cook with and match beers with food and even how to brew your own!

To celebrate the launch we have two copies of the book to give away, if you fancy one just drop us a email at enterthecomp@gmail.com  we will pick two lucky readers at random to win.*

Craft Beer For The People is available from November 5th and you can grab yours here.

 

*Competition closes on Monday 9th Oct at 9am when two winners will be selected at random to win.  Open to UK residents only.

 

 

 

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Magic Roundabout – 26.10.2016-52

Magic Roundabout returns to Old Street

Posted on 04 October 2017 by Chris Ford

After its great success in the summer  London’s Old street welcomes backs  the Magic Roundabout for some winter fun.

Stepping through Old Street tube station you’ll take the stairs through Time and Space and pop up into a homage to the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. The brand new themed areas include a version of Woodstock with some serious flower power and a 1970s Playboy lounge, complete with sheepskins and log fire. The Main Bar will be an all-out 80s disco with futuristic art and palm trees and finally, the VIP Area will take you right back to the early 90s that was my era but I’m not sure I want to embrace or forget it!

The winter relaunch also welcomes Smokin’ Lotus who use old family recipes as inspiration for their BBQ menu. Smokin’ Lotus was voted no 42 in Time Out’s top 50 street food traders 2017 so Im certainly looking forward to trying some bbq goodness from these guys!

Other street food offerings include the return of  Skins and the amazing Burger Bear.

Throughout Autumn and winter the venue will play host to a huge range of events, highlights include an immersive Halloween party on 28th October in collaboration with Budweiser, a Liquid D&B party from Sine with Commix headlining on 4th November and the  Wasted Chic Christmas Market on 5th December.

For more info on the Magic Roudabout  head over to www.magicroundabout.co

 

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Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

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Christmas at the Casino? You bet!

Posted on 02 October 2017 by Chris Ford

Confession. I’m not much of a gambler. In fact even fruit machines confuse me! Which is why when Grosvenor Casinos asked if I fancied popping down to experience some of their Christmas casino offerings I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Thankfully, the moment we walked in staff were welcoming and only too happy to guide us where to go and the dos and don’ts of the casino, so even a beginner like me couldn’t get lost. I went from a little scared to completely at ease in a matter of seconds, a great first impression.

The casino itself is a buzzing hive of activity, flashing lights surround you, with sections for slots, roulette and black jack tables scattered around as well as several bars to either celebrate your win (or drown your sorrows!)

Food and Drink

I think what surprised me the most having never been to a casino was that  Grosvenor have a fully-fledged restaurant menu as well as several bars in their casinos I’m not sure if people come to the casino just to have a steak and a cocktail but you can certainly do just that! For Christmas Grosvenor Casinos have a special party menu which will  be launched from November, which includes starters such as Prawn Cocktail With Marie Rose Sauce, On Crisp Iceberg Lettuce, Topped With Smoked Salmon And Chives, or mains such as Roast Turkey Breast Served With A Cranberry Thyme And Smoked Bacon Stuffing And Pigs In Blankets. Also on offer are a selection of desserts including Raspberry And Hazelnut Meringue Roulade On Raspberry Sauce. You can pick from the set menu or create your own package with options including Festive Fork Buffets or Vegetarian Festive Sharing Platters.

 

How To gamble?

The main reason we came here was of course to learn how to gamble and Grosvenor are obviously keen for you to do just that. They have come up with the great idea of holding some gaming how-to sessions, where as a group – such as an office Christmas party or a group of friends – can learn with the help of one of their experienced croupiers the art of black jack or roulette.

Using practice chips but on a real table we had the ability to grasp the basics of the games while the croupier would give us pointers and tips along the way. I did this with a small group of people I’d never met before and it really was a real fun friendly environment we had a great time getting to know each other and laughing at each other’s bad bets. I could imagine this being a fantastic team building event – don’t chat to Roger in accounts much?  Well after 30 mins learning blackjack maybe he could be your new best mate!

The Real Deal

Once we had learnt the basics we were given £10 in real chips to go and try our luck on the main tables. I chose to give roulette a go. My first observation was in a real game situation its very fast-paced, lots of serious players laying down bets, despite this the croupier managed to find time to advise me on the bet I had placed and help with a few minor queries I had during my time at the table. I will be honest I have no idea how she was able to multitask with all that was going on but the atmosphere even on the real table remained friendly and fun.  I certainly enjoyed myself and managed to walk away with £60 in winnings! Not bad at all for a beginner I thought.

I will definitely recommend giving the casino experience a go as a Christmas gift or for a team night out, casinos don’t have to be scary places and I left Grosvenor vowing to return very soon.

 

Experience packages start at £20 per person.  More information can be found here: http://www.grosvenorcasinoslondon.com/experience-packages/

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