Publicada el 14 March, 2018
Lepanto, the only Gran Reserva Brandy made entirely in Jerez, is now the main ingredient of two special cocktail creations signed by Nagore Arregui, cocktail director of Madrid’s restaurant Urrechu Velázquez. The cocktails, named Muy Jerez and Teatender, pay tribute to this distillate and confirm a new trend in mixology with destination Jerez.
The González Byass family winery, founded in Jerez in 1835 and devoted to the making of premium wines and spirits, consolidates its purpose of showing the versatility of Jerez-Sherry brandy and position it as a fashionable ingredient in the mixology world. After its initiative “Lepanto Around the World” –which presented to the Spanish cocktail lovers successful brandy drinks that triumph abroad– and the “Sherry Cocktails” –cocktail creations that combine brandy and sherry wines– the flagship winery of the Jerez-Sherry growing area has announced a first-class collaboration with renowned Guipuzcoan barmaid Nagore Arregui.
Brandy is once again a trend. And Lepanto Solera Gran Reserva, one of the most elegant drinks of the house, has become the main ingredient of two cocktails exclusively designed by Arregu: Muy Jerez and Teatender –conceived as an appetiser and a closing drink, respectively. Lepanto is the only Solera Gran Reserva brandy made entirely in Jerez from Palomino Fino grapes, distilled in old copper stills and aged following the criaderas y soleras system for more than 12 years in American oak barrels –nine of which, inside barrels having contained Tío Pepe, and three more in casks where Matusalem Oloroso Dulce VORS has rested for more than 30 years. The predictable result is a brandy of exceptional complexity.
“MUY JEREZ”: A REFRESHING WELCOME
With the first of these cocktails, Arregui wants us to become the best host possible –parallelly to her own role as ambassador of the firm– with a fresh and generous welcome, far from strict patterns and taboos. As the name suggests, brandy Lepanto is very present in this cocktail –but in an unusual way, since it is mixed with pineapple juice. This fruit –which symbolizes hospitality in mixology– has been previously smoked on the very oak stave in which brandy has aged, “which makes magic take place”, in the words of Arregui, and infuses the drink with a touch of innovation in the form of smoked and caramelised notes. Using the essence of González Byass as a theme, Muy Jerez incorporates Tío Pepe en Rama, a limited edition with a very special flavour, highly appreciated by the true connoisseurs of the world of sherry; finally, a dash of chamomile and a top up of golden freshness.
“TEATENDER”: A FAREWELL WITH BRANDY
This second cocktail honours another product abundant in Jerez: honey. Teatender attempts to misdirect us with its presentation –a cup of tea, porcelain dish included– to give us the impression that we are in front of a grog, a classic hot drink made of sugary water and liquor. It is, however, a cold drink, based on a homemade infusion (using rooibos, cocoa, mandarins, almond and thyme) that replaces sugar with organic honey, an ingredient that sweetens the brandy while giving it a rich and unctuous background. The surprise is multiplied when the tea spoon is discovered: made with the same wax combs that the beekeepers use to attract the bees, the spoon makes clients a part of the ritual as they stir their mixture.
NAGORE ARREGUI, THE LATEST “BARMAID”
The young Nagore Arregui, born in Guipuzcoa and raised in Navarre, took her first steps in the world of long drinks very early and almost by chance, when a friend and bar owner asked her to lend him a hand for the San Fermín festivities. He discovered that not only was she good at it, but she enjoyed creating new mixtures and serving clients with a sweetness and a great smile that have become her brand today. After earning experience in a couple of family businesses, in 2012 –at only 27– she decided to take the leap and open her own business in Pamplona. Ever since, she has managed to earn her place in the sector, with several recognitions in leading international cocktail competitions. Currently, Arregui is cocktail director at Madrid’s restaurant Urrechu Velázquez and is considered a “creator of experiences”, as well as one of the experts in mixology with greater projection.