Sweetdram Spirits Tasting 2020

Daniel Fisher and Andrew MacLeod Smith met at university in 2011 while studying for their Master’s degrees in brewing and distilling. After the course, the pair kept in touch to flesh out an idea they had for a modern drinks brand focused entirely on original flavour instead of conventional categories and repetitive trends.

Their first foray was a modern twist on an old drink, Escubac, a reinvention of an old style, spicy yellow liquor that originated in Tudor England and was known as “usquebaugh” (a sort of ancestor of whisky). After being adopted by the French, and renamed Escubac, the drink eventually vanished into the ether. Until now.

Drawing on the so-called ‘Gypsy Brewing’ movement in the US, the Sweetdram team distills in small batches using the ancient copper alembics of the historic Combier Distillery in Saumur, Loire Valley. Smith was one of the young distillers and key drivers behind the Dodd’s gin recipe and brought his innovative and dynamic out-look to developing the Escubac recipe.

Sweetdram macerate 14 botanicals, including caraway, cardamom, cubeb, lemon, bitter orange and citrus, for 72 hours, then slowly distill them using Combier’s antique stills. Rather then following the ancient recipe to the letter they have re-imagined this unique spirit for modern drinkers. The result is a mixed style liqueur somewhere reminiscent of gin with elements of vermouth and other bittered drinks – and its incredibly delicious!

The boys have also expanded their drinks empire to include an incredible smoked rum made with a mix of Caribbean rums, lush green botanicals, grains of paradise, lapsang souchong and warm-smoked organic figs and a Whisky Amaro from Scotch single malt and grain casks precisely blended then infused with botanicals and local honey.

These are cutting edge drinks and the future for the Dan and Andrew is bright. We are eagerly anticipating the next release from this dynamic duo, whatever it may be.