METAXA – MORE THAN A BRANDY

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Hailing from Greece, this is truly a unique spirit – a blend of brandy and wine – produced from three varietes of grapes, Savatino, Sultanina and Black Corinth. These are blended with aged muscat wines from Samos and Lemnos. Then its aged for a minimum of 3 years before being flavored with a secret mix of herbs including rose leaves and distilled water. The mix is then allowed to marry for a least 6 months and is then chilled at -6C for 48 hrs and after that finally filtrered before bottled. The final product has a very complex and unique aromatic character that has aromas of pepper and roses, bay leaf, cinnamon and nutmeg, aromatic and spicy indeed and at the same time its very smooth.

Metaxa was invented by Spyros Metaxas in 1888, from the Attica region –  the province of Athens, and who wanted to make a drink that conqered the world and it has actually even survived the 2 world wars and was the first alcoholic drink consumed in space. Now its exported all over the world and is among the top 50 spirits brands in the world. So conquered the world his drink did indeed!

By just reading these taste descriptions before i tried it i could almost feel the spiciness and i wasn`t dissappointed. Its rich, smooth, warm, spicy and earthy with undertones of citrus and something i cannot put my finger on what it may be – but its very pleasant. I was also quite astonished to discover that some drinks brought out a hint of a sort of slight medical aftertaste while others didn`t. Its surely a very intriguing spirit and certainly this is more than a brandy, it sits somewhere between a brandy and a liqueur.

The one Metaxa i can find here i is the 5 star and as far as i understand from what i hear its quite different from the 7 star which everybody from the US used during the Metaxa TDN. The 5 star is a dark honey color, woody with a light fruit taste, aged in oak for 5 years. Its rich, smooth and mellow and as i described above. The 7 star is  even smoother as its aged longer and therefore i wonder if the 5 star isn`t a bit better suited for mixed cocktails. Its nice too on its own though with some ice.

There`s also the Private Reserve, which includes some very old distillations – roughly some 50 years old  and is said to have marvellous aromatic flavours of  cocoa, vanilla, wood, pepper and dried fruits. Fullbodied and meant to sip like you sip a fine cognac.

Further we have also the 12 year which contrary to the others do not contain any muscat wine and is more tasting like a whisky with a smoky flavour profile and with more burn. Dry, rich, but sharper than the rest, with perfumes balancing well with the fruit, wood and spices. There are also released a 15 year old “Grand Fine” and a few other exclusive anniversary bottlings such as Metaxa Centenary, Rhodes, Golden Reserve, Grand Olympian and Golden Age.

I myself wouldn`t mind laying my hands on a Metaxa Centenary Private Reserve which comes in a beautiful ceramic bottle shaped like a greek amphora and plaited with 18k gold.This bottle was launched for celebrating 100 years of success (1888-1988) and is now a unique collectors item. The content in this beautiful bottle is Metaxas oldest distillates.

metaxa-tdn

So the TDN was a always pretty crowded with all manner of cocktail related folks in the Mixoloseum chat room, and there were the SF crew too, all gathered in Erik`s house doing their best to wreck his homebar. The winning cocktail for this TDN will receive a Bitters Blueberry courtesy of Greg Boehm from Mud Puddle and it will also enter the Imbibe Ultimate Metaxa Cocktail Contest.

As always, there was an array of cocktails made and fun it was! (it always is) All the cocktail recipes you can find at twitter – Mixoloseum. Naturally Metaxa mixes very well with lemon but i also used lime in one of my recipes, it also goes well with honey.

Here are my drinks for the night:

ATTICA STAR

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1.5 oz Metaxa
0.5 oz Tequila blanco
0.75 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz honeymix (1:1honey and water)
1:1 Sweppes lemon and Fevertree bitter lemon to top.

Shake, strain into chilled cocktail glass.Top with 1:1 Fevertree bitter lemon and  Schweppes lemon.Garnish lime twist.

This drink really was tasty and i was surprised as to how well Metaxa mixes with certain (or many) ingredients, this drink i had only one of during the evening as i had so many other tasty drinks  but i could have drunk buckloads of it. One of my rare lucks i guess, and it seems to me like Metaxa goes well with my preferred type of drinks (the fruity-spicy ones)

METAXA SMASH

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1 oz Metaxa
1 oz Gin (Beefeater)
5-6 Thai sweet-basil leaves for the muddle and a bunch of sprigs for the garnish
0.5 oz honey-mix (1.1 honey and water)
Sprinkle of fresh lemon
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda.

Muddle basil, lemonjuice and honeysyrup in glass, add ice, Metaxa and gin. Stir.
Top with Ting or a grapefruit or lemon soda. Garnish with a veritable forest of fresh Thai sweet-basil.

As the muddled basil leaves are still in the glass its no good idea to use a straw but dip your nose deep into the Thai basil garnish and let it attack your senses. This drink is really refreshing and it was way much tastier than i first expected, enjoy! (if you like basil)

SIESTA

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2.5 oz Metaxa
0.75 oz Aperol
Top with Prosecco, garnish lemon wedge. Rocks glass. Very simple and Metaxa works well with both Aperol and Prosecco, in fact i have found that it works well with a lot of things.

GOLDEN SUN

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2 oz Metaxa
Sprinkle of lemon
Absinthe rinse
Top with Sanpellegrino Limonata. Garnish lemon twist. Rocks glass.

Rinse the glass with absinthe and fill with cracked ice. Add Metaxa and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice, stir. Top with some Sanpellegrino limonata or other lemon soda. Garnish with a lemon twist.

First i didn`t know what to mix this with but through all my experimenting during this Metaxa TDN i have found out one thing, and that is that it definetily mixes well with many ingredients as well as being very tasty neat. Its now a part of my drink mixing arsenal. Actually i wonder how come i haven´t tried it before? it was a pity i was a bit underage when i was in Greece.

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