• Prosecco and Gin – It’s a Thing!

Prosecco and Gin – It’s a Thing!

Prosecco and gin, two of life’s greatest pleasures on their own, but put them together and you’ve got something very special indeed.

Gin has long been a seminal British drink, a pre-dinner gin and tonic being something of an institution.  Once the preserve of the equestrian set and the over 60s, this classic spirit has done a complete about turn.   The renaissance – or gin-aissance, that the drink has enjoyed in the last 5-10 years, has created a surge in popularity that’s seen a great number of small batch distilleries cropping up all over the British Isles.  Much to the delight of gin lovers, new and old.

One of our favourite gins is Warner Edwards, (https://www.warneredwards.com/) who are based in Harrington, Northamptonshire, local to us.  Their fabulous German copper still, Curiosity (named in honour of the farm cat who made a path of paw prints across the still wet concrete floor while checking out the impressive still) creating award-winning gins made with local ingredients, including sloe berries and elderflowers.

Prosecco and gin are both extremely versatile drinks and together can create the most incredible cocktails.  Work with the botanics that are the most prevalent in the gin to get the best results.

If you’d like to learn more about gin, then join us at The Glass House in Corby for a special gin tasting event with Warner Edwards (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/warner-edwards-gin-tasting-evening-tickets-40074107735?aff=eac2)

 

If you’d like to have a go at making your own gin and fizz cocktails here are a couple of our current favourites.

 

Mint Gin Fizz

Refreshing and easy to make – our kind of cocktail!

1 measure of gin, Hendrick’s works well here

Prosecco

Elderflower cordial

Fresh mint

Cucumber slices to garnish

  • Add the gin and elderflower cordial to a champagne flute
  • Tear the mint leaves and muddle them in to the glass
  • Top with prosecco and garnish with cucumber slices

 

Rhubarb and Ginger Fizz

1 measure Warner Edwards’ rhubarb gin

Prosecco

Small piece of fresh, peeled or stem ginger

  • Add the ginger to a champagne flute, if using stem ginger add a little of the syrup too
  • Pour in the gin
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Cheers!

Festive Fizz

Festive Fizz

December’s here so that means it’s officially acceptable to start getting excited about Christmas!  For us that means parties, lots of fizz (of course) and a festive cocktail or three.  Here are five of our favourite, easy to make recipes to help you get the party started.

 

Prosecco Royale

A classic cocktail that’s quick and simple, so it’s perfect for parties, or for sustenance when the present mountain needs wrapping.

1 part crème de cassis

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 parts prosecco

  • Pour the crème de cassis into a champagne flute and stir in the lemon juice
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Garnish with a blueberry or two

 

Flowered Up

This is a real showstopper of a cocktail that uses hibiscus flowers in syrup, which you can buy at Lakelands.

The flower is of course edible, it tastes a little bit like raspberries, but it’s the petals slowly unfurling once the Prosecco is poured in that really makes it special.

1 hibiscus flower per glass

1 teaspoon of syrup

Prosecco

  • Place the hibiscus flower into a glass
  • Spoon in the syrup
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Wait for the petals to blossom

 

Sloe Gin Fizz

This year’s sloe gin won’t be ready yet, but if you were smart and got busy making a batch last year then you’re in luck.  Check the supermarket for a bottle if you weren’t so productive.

25ml sloe gin

Prosecco

  • Pour the sloe gin into a champagne flute
  • Top with prosecco
  • Drink up!

 

Prosecco Julep

Mix warming bourbon and mint to create this classic julep. A great winter Prosecco cocktail that always impresses.

30ml bourbon

Prosecco

2 sprigs of mint

1 teaspoon demerara sugar

  • Add the mint and sugar to a coupe glass a bash it about a bit with a spoon
  • Add the bourbon
  • Top with Prosecco

 

 

Cranberry Fizzer

AKA Christmas in a glass, this cocktail mixes orange and cranberry to create a truly festive looking tipple. Cheers!

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier orange liqueur

1 tablespoon cranberry juice

Prosecco

Frozen cranberries

Sprig of rosemary

  • Add the Grand Marnier and cranberry juice to a champagne flute
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Scatter in some frozen cranberries and garnish with rosemary

 

 

 

 

 

Honeymoon Ideas (Guest Blog)

Guest blog from Carolyn Yates – Travel Counsellors

A honeymoon is one of the most special times that you and your loved one will experience.  Aside from your wedding day, it’s the most romantic time you will spend together; whether it be spending the night under the stars or going on safari – there are many different experiences that you can have.  These are becoming more and more unique every year.

As a Travel Counsellor, I understand the importance of a ‘dream’ honeymoon and I’ll make sure that this special time gives you memories to last your lifetime together.

Some of the best suggestions for top honeymoons in 2018 are:

For a beach honeymoon…the top destination for 2018 remains to be The Maldives.  Barefoot luxury, pristine sands, snorkelling and diving.  Go all out and switch your Wi-Fi connection off entirely for an unplugged honeymoon to remember or opt for an island with a variety of activities.

 

For an adventure honeymoon…my recommendation would be to head to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, for island-hopping and hiking among tortoises, sea lions and pelicans. Or visit Greenough, Montana, for cattle driving, fly-fishing and getting in touch with your inner cowgirl or boy.

or a safari honeymoon…my recommendation would be along the Selinda Spillway of Botswana, which takes you trekking and kayaking, and where you can spot buffalo and elephants in the bush. Helicopters and fly camps are thrown in for good measure. Combine it with a visit to Cape Town, South Africa, afterward for some great food and well-deserved wine.

For a cultural honeymoon…my recommendation would be India, exploring Delhi’s narrow streets and colourful bazaars, see the magnificent Taj Mahal and wander around the Pink City of Jaipur.  You could even combine this with beach luxury in the Maldives.

I have a fantastic service called the Honeymoon Bridal Registry to offer.  The service itself is totally free of charge, and is a hassle-free way of avoiding all those unwanted wedding gifts!  I can arrange a honeymoon anywhere in the World; from a Manor House in Ireland to the sun-drenched Maldives.

So, please think on…for a honeymoon to remember, whether it’s near or far, contact Carolyn Yates, your very own Personal Travel Counsellor.

For more information on this get intouch with Carolyn on –  Carolyn.yates@travelcounsellors.com

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Prosecco Lovers

Top Ten Christmas Gifts for Prosecco Lovers

We might be (a little bit) bias but Prosecco lovers are just the best type of family and friends you could possibly have – not only are they great at a party but they’re extremely easy to buy Christmas gifts for too.   A good quality bottle of Prosecco will always go down a storm, but with a little bit of imagination there are so many other options to raise a smile on Christmas morning.

In no particular order here are our top ten Christmas gifts for Prosecco lovers.

  1. Chocolate and Prosecco, what more could you want? Chocolate infused with Prosecco perhaps?  Prosecco truffles from the London Chocolate Company are a sure-fire winner.

£11.25 from Not on the High Street https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/themes/prosecco-gifts

  1. We’re always talking about how versatile Prosecco is, and with the right ingredients can be the foundation for a myriad of cocktails. Buy this for a gift and give plenty of hints to suggest that you’re a willing guinea pig.

Prosecco Cocktails Recipe Book by Laura Gladwin. £7.99 from Lakeland http://www.lakeland.co.uk/45965/Prosecco-Cocktails-Recipe-Book-by-Laura-Gladwin

  1. Got a party throwing Prosecco lover in your life? Prosecco’s answer to Beer Pong, Prosecco Pong, is a great way to get the bubbles flowing and the party started.

£9.99 from Party Ark https://www.partyark.co.uk/026496/prosecco-pong.html?dfw_tracker=28268-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIlc37vY7E1wIVCJ4bCh2HwQMoEAQYASABEgKH6PD_BwE

  1. If you’re feeling very generous then you could spoil your Prosecco lover with the perfect advent calendar – 24 different miniature bottles of bubbles! That’s December sorted then.

£144.95 from Not on the High Street (https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/thelittleboysroom/product/prosseco-advent-calendar

  1. Another perfect gift for a sweet-toothed Prosecco fan. A bottle of Belgian chocolate Prosecco and punnet of six white chocolate strawberries.

£18 from Not on the High Street https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/chocolateonchocolate/product/chocolate-prosecco-and-strawberries

  1. What is the perfect gift for a Prosecco lover? A beautiful flute personalised with their name, of course.

£4.95 from Etsy https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=gifts+for+prosecco+lovers&source=lnms&tbm=shop&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwis7v7wncTXAhUiDsAKHQGcBksQ_AUICigB&biw=1094&bih=511&dpr=1.25#spd=6287646162158879460

  1. A personalised Prosecco scented candle? Yes, why not.  Described as, fresh, light and fruity, with a hint of bubbles.  Packaged in a personalised bag.

£9.95 from The Little Picture Company https://thelittlepicturecompany.co.uk/products/personalised-prosecco-candle-in-gift-bag?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=googlepla&variant=45789726223&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIruDZ9J3E1wIVEDwbCh3qgA8nEAkYBSABEgLmN_D_BwE

  1. Wall candy doesn’t get much better than this personalised Prosecco bottle and glass print. A really special gift and keepsake that’s light on the wallet too.

£4.19 from Ebay https://www.ebay.co.uk/i/282277850301?chn=ps&dispctrl=1&adgroupid=48716125379&rlsatarget=pla-382120631995&abcId=1129946&adtype=pla&merchantid=114888499&poi=&googleloc=1006653&device=c&campaignid=974960635&crdt=0

  1. For writing down tasting notes, doodling or getting that novel started, any Prosecco lover would be delighted with this personalised ‘drink of choice’ notebook.

£12.50 from Not on the High Street https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/betsyjarvis/product/drinks-personalised-notebook

  1. Another edible treat; gourmet Prosecco and strawberry bon bons. Packaged in a cool, corked glass bottle that’s designed to be re-used.

£9.99 from Studio

http://www.studio.co.uk/shop/en/studio/gourmet-bon-bons-strawberry-and-prosecco?searchTerm=prosecco&pageView=&pageSize=60&orderBy=3

Raise a Glass: Making Sure Your Wedding Bar is a Hit

Who doesn’t love a good wedding?  We know that we do.  And what makes a wedding even better?  Plenty of bubbles and a great bar, of course!

Weddings are perhaps our favourite private event to work at.  It’s an honour to be part of a couples’ big day, making sure the meticulously planned plans all go smoothly, and it’s great fun too.  We know how stressful wedding planning can be, but getting the bar right doesn’t need to be.  Here are some of our suggestions to help make life easier – well, the bar and choice of drinks, at least.

Booking a dry hire venue – that’s just a venue or building, no catering or bar included gives you the options and freedom to go your own way when it comes to choosing the food and drink you want to serve to your guests.  It also means you’ll avoid corkage fees. Corkage is the charge that’s made by a venue for opening and serving bottles of wine that you’ve provided for the big day.  This can range from anything from around £5 a bottle to £11, though we have heard of it being a lot more.  With this in mind that reasonable price you’ve sourced your wine for could more than double. Hiring a private bar means your costs are all included in the hire package, with no corkage fee to factor in.

Working with a good bar also gives you more scope for getting creative with your welcome drinks, toast and of course the drinks you and your guests will enjoy throughout the day and evening.  Prosecco is now the UK’s top drink for celebratory occasions and with a little bit of imagination it’s versatile too.  It’s perfectly lovely on its own but it’s easy to ‘pimp’ as well.  A few choice garnishes can add some wow-factor.  For summer weddings make the most of all the berries that are in season; strawberries and raspberries are the favourite choice but later in the season blackberries work really well.  In the winter adding a herb such as rosemary not only tastes good but looks extra special too.  We offer a popular ‘Pimp Your Prosecco’ bar, a choice of appropriate garnishes to add to the fizz that guests can help themselves too, we’ve seen some fantastic creations!

We know it’s hard to imagine but there are people who don’t drink Prosecco out there (honestly!) A selection of good, cold beers helps. To keep with our Italian wine roots we recommend Peroni. Getting some interesting non-alcoholic options is essential too, this is no problem for a good bar.  One of our favourites, and our customers’ too, is a Hugo mocktail – sparkling water flavoured with elderflower cordial and finished with fresh mint and lime.

The welcome drink may be the most important drink of the day, and here’s where a good private bar shines too.  We recommend a bespoke Prosecco cocktail to fit in with the wedding theme and the couples’ taste.  Just think of all that ‘research’ into finding the best fit!

As we said, getting the bar right at a wedding doesn’t need to be hard work. If you’d like more information about your own bespoke wedding bar we’d love to hear from you.

 

How To Survive The Office Christmas Party

Office Christmas Party Spotting

Here at The Vino Van we adore Christmas, that could be because Prosecco is Britain’s unrivalled drink of choice for celebrations.  Christmas brings lots of opportunities for letting your hair down and whether you love it or hate it the office Christmas party is often the major night out on the festive calendar.  It’s a tricky one though, you spend all year working with your colleagues, possibly only ever seeing them in the tea room politely passing the milk or uttering a brief good morning on the stairs.  The office party can, and very often does, change all of that, bringing out all manner of sides to personalities that you’ve never seen before.  Ahh, the power of a tipple, or seven.

From our vantage point behind the bar we’ve come up with a theory that most party goers can be categorized into one description or another, once they’ve had a glass or two.  Can you spot any of your colleagues (or maybe yourself) on our list?

The Crier

There is always at least one person crying in a toilet cubicle, or worse, at the bar.  We’re not ones to generalize but it’s usually a woman.  The reason will usually be completely ridiculous and as the hysterics get even more, well, hysterical and the weeping more pronounced that reason could be completely forgotten.

Expect: Weeping and wailing

You’ll need: A multi pack of tissues

The Creep

Often found at the edge of the dance floor The Creep will basically be anywhere that females are congregating.  Generally male, he’s quite often perfectly respectable during office hours, but the moral compass goes spinning way out of control at the merest whiff of tinsel and punch.  Personal space?  Huh? What’s that?

Expect: Over familiar with the hand on the shoulder, or waist, or much, much worse…

You’ll need: to leg it

The Joker

Very often the quietest member of staff by day, but by night this person, and they could be male or female, could give stand-up comedians at the Hammersmith Odeon a run for their money.  Or rather, they would if their banter was any good.  The confidence is there, the good jokes, however, may not be.

Expect: To hear the same joke on repeat

You’ll need: An Oscar winning fake laugh

Your New Best Friend

We’ve all got one at work, the person that you just have a little connection with.  You might casually email them in the quiet office to say something very mature, like, ‘Duh! Who does Susan think she actually is??????’ Or, ‘Is 10.15 too early for lunch?’  Add your share (and a little bit more) of the free bar and you’ll be closer to this person than you are your own mother by the time the buffet is open.

Expect: Room for a new best buddy

You’ll need:  To forget your dignity because you’ll be sharing a loo with this person by about 9pm

 

The Dancer

The dancer is a rare breed and one that every party MUST have.  Again, male or female, no matter, they’re the one on the empty dance floor loving life by busting some moves that the whole panel of Strictly judges would flash a 10 for.  The floor may be theirs but this mover knows no end, so the walk to the loo, the queue for the bar, the buffet table, the cloakroom – they’re all opportunities for a shimmy too.

Expect: To be FORCED to dance. Probably very awkwardly

You’ll need: Moves, or a sharp exit

The Bitch

Definitely not exclusively female, the bitch can be, and often is, male.  Very often a little quiet during the day, a bit subdued even, not joining in conversation but often observing from the side lines.  Add alcohol and boom! Watch them go.  The bitch knows no ends, from outfit choices and how awful their job is – and yours too to what a truly crap boss you have and how cheap the office tea bags are.

Expect:  Vitriol

You’ll need: To get out of there fast

In Search of the Perfect Wedding Hair

Life at The Vino Van means a lot of wedding parties, and that’s no bad thing.  Who doesn’t love a wedding? It means we also see a lot of the planning work that goes on behind the scenes. We also get the chance to work alongside many other professionals who all team up to ensure the big day, and everything connected to it, runs like a dream.

(A wedding we attended this year)

One of our favourite brands to work alongside is Salonista, who provides wedding hair services that are second to none.  Don’t just take our word for it, Salonista has been nominated in the British Wedding Awards, we have also both appeared in Wedding Ideas magazine too. A true dream team; Prosecco tastes all the better when you’re having a good hair day!

 

We asked Salonista for their top wedding hair tips, here’s what they had to say.

Current trends for bridal hair are still casually relaxed, undone-looking hair-ups and Bohemian waves adorned with floral halos or vintage-style jeweled hair bands and clips.  For the best results it’s a good idea to book a bridal hair trial in to coincide with a dress fitting.  Research your looks so you can discuss them with your hair stylist.  We make a Pinterest board that the bride and stylist can pin to so we can bounce ideas off one another.

Questions we are commonly asked include; will my curls stay in? Will my hair stay up? Will it go flat? This is where a detailed consultation proves its worth.  We are honest, if a bride’s hair is nothing like the model’s she’s chosen then we say so.  We want our brides to look as good as they would like to!

Salonista offers a full range of hair and beauty services and can be found in The Old Village, Corby and Market Street Mews, Kettering.

Check out – Facebook: Salonista Ltd

 

Pimp Your Prosecco

There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with a simple, straight-up glass of Prosecco, it’s one of life’s great pleasures, but sometimes it’s good to give the nation’s favourite tipple a bit of a makeover.  We’re not on our own here either, Love magazine asked us recently to contribute some of The Vino Van’s best-loved Prosecco based cocktail recipes.

There are plenty of ways to give your Prosecco some extra va-va-voom; whether that’s with fruit, herbs or all-out glitter and sparkle – who doesn’t love extra sparkle with their bubbles?  Exactly.

Let your imagination run wild, but if you need a little bit of inspiration to get you going here are a few of our favourite recipes.

PROSECCO FIZZ

Create an exciting ruby red cocktail with the help of Chambord> http://www.chambordchannel.com/  . Made from black raspberries in the Chambord province of France, this is a great liqueur to have in your drink cabinet.  The crown shape bottle is super-cute, too.

You’ll need

Prosecco

15ml Chambord

Raspberries

Make

  • Pour the Chambord into a champagne flute
  • Add a couple of raspberries per glass
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Cheers!

 

PROSECCO HUGO

Meet one of The Vino Van’s best-selling cocktails and all-round wedding celebration favourite.  Elderflower gives a really delicate floral flavour that’s tempered with sharp mint and lime slices.  A great one to get your party started right.

You’ll need

Prosecco

25ml elderflower cordial

2 slices lime

Sprigs of fresh mint

Make it

  • Add a tablespoon of crushed ice to a champagne flute
  • Add elderflower cordial and lime slices
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Garnish with sprigs of fresh mint
  • Chin chin!

PROSECCO POP

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to pimp your Prosecco, but definitely one of the most show-stopping.  Perfect for celebrations and just right for the coming festive season.  Popaball> popaball.co.uk  is a fun addition to any drink, choose from edible glitter or bursting bubbles – yes, that’s extra fizz to your fizz.

 You’ll need

Prosecco

Popaball Rose Gold Shimmer or Shimmer Bubbles

Make it

  • Add the recommended amount of Shimmer or Shimmer Bubbles to a champagne flute
  • Top with Prosecco
  • Party!

How do you pimp your Prosecco?

Top 10 Tips for Planning an Outdoor Wedding

It may not have escaped your notice that weddings are getting more and more creative.  A great many couples are forgoing the traditional indoor affair and are instead opting to mark their big day outdoors.

The Vino Van has provided the fizz at some wonderful outdoor weddings and we’ve learned more than a thing or two in the process! So, how do you plan an outdoor wedding? Here are our top ten tips for making sure your day goes smoothly.

1.Give me shelter.  Even in the height of summer we are at the mercy of the great British weather, therefore some kind of shelter, whether it’s a marquee, barn or even a canopied area, is essential to take cover in.  It can easily double up as the evening venue too.

2.I’ve got the power.  That beautiful barn you’ve been coveting might be a bit light on electricity.  The Vino Van has its own generator so we can set up and serve bubbles anywhere.  And we very often do, but your band will thank you for an electric hook up when they come to plug in the amps…

3.If you’re planning your wedding somewhere off the beaten track make sure that you’ve got good signs for your guests to follow.  This is also crucial for hired help too. Nobody wants to be driving around windy country roads with a wedding cake on board!

4.Ensure that allocated parking is accessible, even if the weather is less than favorable.

5.Providing your own transport? You’d better check that the vintage bus you’ve got your heart set on is suitable for the location.

6.Get your permit of approval of premises ticked off for a wedding anywhere other than a chapel, church or approved wedding venue> https://www.gov.uk/approval-of-premises-for-civil-marriage-or-civil-partnership.  Don’t worry about your TENS (Temporary Events Notice) for serving alcohol, we’ll sort that out.

7.Beat the chill. Even in the summer it’s pretty much guaranteed that it’ll be chilly at night.  Think about having a basket full of lightweight blankets for guests to wrap up in. Consider unexpected rain showers too and provide a stash of umbrellas to save those beautiful hair styles.

8.Having fun with props to match the wedding theme makes all the difference.  The Vino Van is versatile and we’re more than happy to make sure that it fits in with the order of the day.  We love accessorising with hay bales for rustic themed weddings, along with items such as personalised crates> http://applecrates.co.uk/product-category/weddings/ that not only look fantastic on the day but make a great keepsake too.

To match our converted horsebox, we love to work alongside Hoofbooth>  https://www.facebook.com/HorseBoxWeddings/ who have created a beautiful photo booth from a horsebox.

9.If you’re planning an outdoor wedding then you’re going to have to think carefully about footwear.  We’ve seen some brilliant brides rocking their wellies with their dress.  We love these> http://www.wonderfulwellies.co.uk/best-wedding-wellies/

10.Get your lighting right and you can create a really magical vibe in the evening – and your guests will be able to see each other too, of course! Fairy lights draped around trees and metal chandeliers are beautiful as are pathways of storm lanterns. Clusters of tea lights in recycled jam jars are cheap and effective too.  For other areas electric spotlights will add definition.

An outdoor wedding can be a truly wonderful experience. If you’d like more information on planning yours then drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help you.

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