18 Jul 2017


WHILE things have gone quiet here, you may find a weekly dose of Douglas in print and online at the Evening Standard magazine, where I pen a drinks column.

19 Jan 2017

DRINKS: Hidden Dragon

IT’S CHINA’S best-selling spirit with over 600 years of heritage, so why in the West is it still hiding?’ asks barkeeper Marco Matesi as he draws a scarlet flask of ‘Hong Kong baijiu’ at Manetta’s Bar in the velvety underbelly of Flemings, Mayfair. ‘It’s the weirdest product — in a good way,’ continues the suave Sicilian, swivelling off the lid, unleashing a fantail of overripe mango and aniseed aromas. ‘There’s no reference point to such extremity in Western spirits, which is why it deserves its own page on my menu...’
Read at ES Magazine >

8 Dec 2016

DRINKS: Hangover Light

DARJEELING doesn’t give you a hangover,’ said a sage friend, Bruce Perry of Marussia (alcoholic) Beverages. A noteworthy point. The only bona fide tactic for escaping a Force 10 hangover, occurrence of which increases with age, is by abstaining from alcohol by volume (ABV) altogether. But, however convincing the taste of alcohol-free beer, wine, tequila and (inexplicably, given its aim of subtle flavours) vodka, current substitutes cannot replicate the endorphins that genuine articles so readily, and often relatively affordably, deliver.

2 Dec 2016

WINE: Magnum Force

CHILLING a big bottle of provincial Prosecco in a cool, clear stream flowing behind my friend’s garden in late spring; eagerly awaiting the first sip of a top Napa red post my own wedding ceremony in the summer; and seeing the delight of a friend on his 40th as I arrived with the gift of a mature white Burgundy in autumn… These are but three of my memories of magnums.

26 Nov 2016

SPIRITS: Red Carpet Cocktails

AS THE brain behind the drinks carte for the Theatre Awards, our new drinks columnist and gastro-consultant to the stars, Douglas Blyde, was charged with authoring a good-looking playlist for the palate. A catwalk of cocktails calculated to en-verve the mood. With starry events, libations need to be as considered as the lighting, music and company. Here, they range from at first, clear and crisp, to cosseting then ultimately reinvigorating as the evening wares on, with non-distracting, chilled glassware kept classic in design and easily cradled, and garnishes fragrant and unobtrusively minimalist.
Read at London Evening Standard Magazine >

10 Nov 2016

SPIRITS: Trey Zoeller, Mad Scientist

BOURBON negociant Trey Zoeller “massages the liquid” using thoughtful finishes into distinctive, generous styles. Douglas Blyde meets the Kentucky-born founder of Jefferson’s...
Read at Whisky Quarterly >

2 Nov 2016

WINE: Italy's Wild Maremma

DOUGLAS Blyde joined Edwina Watson, buyer of importer, Armit, on a visit to two leading properties which have, in their new-wave wines, tamed Italy’s wild Maremma region in southern Tuscany…
Read at Drink's Business >

26 Oct 2016

PROFILE: Taste Tripper

INDEPENDENT gastronomy consultant to brands, a bank and a media mogul, presenter of wines and writer, Douglas Blyde has been described as "one of the most respected (and well-fed) experts on eating out in the capital...."
Read more at Taste Tripper >
(Pictured with Edwina Watson of Armit Wines at Fattoria Le Pupille)

19 Oct 2016

FASHION: Dressing For Dinner

Published in Red magazine.

5 Oct 2016

DESIGN: World of Wine

ADRIAN Bridge, managing director, of the Fladgate Partnership, one of the oldest and most decorated of Port houses, told The Buyer last week that the city is soon to be home of a new €100m ‘World of Wine’. Scheduled to open in 2020 in Porto it will bring together a “collection of experiences” (Bridge believes ‘museum’ is too ‘static’ a term) that will be homed in 300 year-old warehouses, formerly used for bottling Port, a process recently relocated to the city’s suburbs. 
Read at The Buyer
And see a photo diary at Drinks Business

20 Sept 2016

PROFILE: The Buyer

DOUGLAS Blyde’s average week might include tending to the needs of A list celebrities of his media mogul client, or working out tasting events for both his drinks and corporate clients. Either way he is constantly on the look out for challenging wines and spirits to excite and illuminate his many guests. It certainly makes for a great read…
Read at The Buyer >

12 Sept 2016

WINE: Wine List Confidential

EMPLOYING a simple 100-point scale, Wine List Confidential scores restaurants on all aspects of their wine offering – from pricing and service, to the range, size and originality of the selection – which is then used to create an overall score for every restaurant reviewed. Wine List Confidential is the brainchild of Anthony Hawser, publisher of the drinks business, which is the leading international drinks trade publication and the largest drinks trade website in the world. The idea has been developed in partnership with Patrick Schmitt MW, who is editor-in-chief of the drinks business, who enlisted food and wine blogger Zeren Wilson to write the reviews, and wine writer and consultant Douglas Blyde to edit the entries...
See more at Wine List Confidential >

20 Aug 2016

FOOD: Where To Get A Great Steak In The City

​SERVING gently-rested steak with gently-rested wines in atmospheric surroundings ought to be a foolproof concept. Gastronomy scribe and drinks consultant, Douglas Blyde shares five red-blooded restaurants realising the formula… 
Read at Dune >

1 Jul 2016

TRAVEL: Bourbon In Pictures

DOUGLAS Blyde flew to Kentucky with the winner of Jefferson’s Small Batch Bourbon barrel-aged cocktail competition, Jess Cheeseman, whose serve melds Jefferson’s, agave, apricot brandy and vermouth.
View at Drinks Business >

25 May 2016

WINE: Shepherd of Wine

BEYOND low slung canopies and a double yellows-coloured frontage, Shepherd’s Wine House, nestles in Shepherd’s Market. The venture began as a six week pop-up last November, becoming permanently rooted end of March. Steering it is Nathan Lowry, founder of Pall Mall Fine Wine and London Beer House as well as a licensee of easyCoffee, and manager, Ben Van de Meutter, previously Head Sommelier, Butler’s Wharf Chop House.
Read more »

15 May 2016

TRAVEL Domaines Ott*

WE taste newly-launched, irresistible second label, By. Ott in the dining room of minimalist mansion, Villa Ott, bordering the vines of Clos Mireille then white sand and sea whipped with white horses. The only picture I recall on the wall was the small oil of Jean-François’s grandfather, Marcel, who, despite having a beard, bore an uncanny resemblance to his grandson... 
Read at The Buyer >

29 Apr 2016

RESTAURANTS: Launceston Plates

THE BUYER caught up with Piotr Pietras just before he headed to Argentina to perform memorably in the Best Sommelier in the World competition where he went through to the semi-finals. Here we find him doing his day job at London’s Launceston Place where he gave Douglas Blyde a hint of his sommelier talents with his own personal wine and food matching... 
Read at The Buyer >

27 Apr 2016

CULTURE: Anna Koska

PRAISED for her detailed approach by chefs including Nathan Outlaw, Gary Rhodes and Daniel Galmiche, the Cornwall raised artist best known for bringing ingredients to life has illustrated over 100 books. 
Page One, Two, Three

19 Apr 2016

TRAVEL: Provence in Pictures

THE  photo series takes the viewer on a journey through the history of Domaines Ott*, starting with its creation in 1912 by Alsatian agricultural engineer, Marcel Ott, who ‘dreamed of founding an illustrious wine estate near the Med...’
See at Drinks Business >

4 Apr 2016

WINE: Doña Paula Estate

MARTIN Kaiser and Marcos Fernandez are at the tasting room of Doña Paula’s El Alto vineyard at Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo, part of the estate’s sustainably-managed, ecologically-inclined holdings which totals 1,737 acres throughout Luján de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, Argentina. Compared to the city of Mendoza, with vintage Cadillacs, Art Deco buildings and tango bar dens 30 miles west, the wood cabin is serene, brushed by fronds in the breeze of a willow, overlooking myriad vines from the cusp of a reservoir. “It’s never hot here, leading to firmer tannins and acidity,” appraises head winemaker, Fernandez.
Read more »

21 Mar 2016

DESIGN: Music To Dine For

IN booming London, New York, Paris and Hong Kong, he says, ‘everyone’s trying to innovate. Expectations have risen. For destination experiences, you’re trying to touch customers’ hearts through the senses...’
Read article from Good Things (page one / page two)

8 Mar 2016

DINING: All Roads Lead to Rhône

Preview of a wine-themed dinner at The Cross, Kenilworth - which you too can savour on 14TH April…
EDGED by a notably well-trimmed hedge, the handsome, Victorian inn, with stone bay windows and various smoldering fireplaces, has launched a volume of Bacchanalian dinners, the latest of which draws inspiration from the authored Syrah by revitalised Northern Rhône wine producer, Paul Jaboulet Aîné.
Read more »

7 Mar 2016

TRAVEL: Fire, Fika and Fish Aprons

Douglas Blyde travels to Sweden to meet two of the country’s best-known gastronomic personalities: lauded home cook and cook shop owner Leila Lindholm, and fire-cooked food fanatic Niklas Eksdedt.
Read at Good Things

1 Feb 2016

WINE: Innovation at Chile's Oldest Wine Producer

The sleek tasting hut of Carmen, Chile's oldest producer - under Santa Rita Estates' mantel - is framed by canals carrying pure Andes melt-water to fledgling Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety driving the firm's investment in the Alto Maipo. Inside, a glass table etched with a map describing Chile's slender form is laid with glasses showing the five ranges of Sebastián Labbé, winemaker since 2005.
Read more »

6 Jan 2016

TRAVEL: Of Plants and Politics

Douglas Blyde motors to market with leading Mauritian chef, Ravi Kanhye...
(An extended version of an article for Good Things magazine - subscribe here)
WE ARE are cowed by canes or shaded by flamboyant, red and violet, and orange and white bunting as we travel the backstreets of the rugged, ravishing island. Both sugar harvest and national elections are scything through. ‘40% of the island is covered in it,’ says Ravi Kanhye, executive chef of resorts, Heritage Le Telfair and Heritage Awali. Apparently Ravi refers to the sugar crop, although I imagine the same could be said of political paraphernalia.
Read more »

27 Oct 2015


Hosting the #MuscadetMagic challenge...

10 Oct 2015

WHISKY: Jim McEwan

I recently wrote a piece on Master Distiller, Jim McEwan, who has worked in whisky for over half-a-century, for Whisky Quarterly. Jim talked about reviving Islay’s eighth distillery, surfing the wave of Ginza bars, and the inspirational ‘Ugly Betty’ Grable in this, his last interview.

8 Sept 2015

Restaurants: Extended Shell Life

ON OPENING in 1927, L’Escargot became Britain’s first restaurant to serve snails. ‘Amusingly enough, the word oleaginous comes to mind when describing Tony, our snail man,’ purrs the Soho stack’s co-owner and reviver, Brian Clivaz, as we appraise salted morsels roasted over coals and bathed in butter. ‘He’s a wonderful fellow with two-to-three million Herefordshire snails. They’re hermaphroditic. I read a snail can have same-sex sex for 16-hours without realising it.’ Clivaz draws breath. ‘How do scientists know that?’
Read at Lusso

18 Aug 2015


JUDY JOO, the French-trained, Korean-American Londoner behind new eatery Jinjuu talks to Douglas Blyde about fixed income derivatives, Playboy bunnies, and her father’s escape to Jeju… 
Read at Good Things

17 Aug 2015

SPIRITS: The Aviation Sour

CAREY Hanlon, who is almost in silhouette against a forest of gin bottles gently lit by green-shaded bankers’ lights, shakes a classic Aviation into life at the Merchant House bar beneath Bow Lane. The result is irresistible: a fragrant potion redolent of Palma Violets, but crisp too, to the point of near tartness, and super long-lived on the palate...
Read at Luxardo

20 Jul 2015

PROFILE: Committing Chefs to Canvas

PAINTER predominantly of people, Henrietta Graham has realised studies of Gordon Ramsay, George Lazenby and even Jack Nicholson over a vivid career. She talks to Douglas Blyde about her latest oeuvre: a portrait of Britain’s leading chefs... 
From Good Things magazine >

6 Jul 2015

SPIRITS: Edgar Harden, Spirited Approach

‘I TRY to get as many fun things as possible’ says Harden, revolving the square, porcelain lid of Buton Cherry Brandy which features hand-painted King of Clubs and Queen of Diamonds. Meanwhile, beyond film protection, the gold and black vessel of a Japanese green tea liqueur evokes a vase, or cocktail shaker? Of the edition of Bols which contains a pirouetting ballerina, Harden commends the quality of the musical movements as ‘very high, unlike modern Chinese crap.’ But the gin fronted by the once Equity card holding Rough Collie, Lassie is ‘a bit silly.’ 
Published at Good Things magazine >

3 Jul 2015


FOLLOWING a year of trips to the humid, seismic, mountainous island of Taiwan, where the team suffered their food hell of ‘plane food’ too often for comfort, Bao ‘mark two’ follows the Xiaochi, or ‘small eats’ snackerias in Erchen’s hometown, Taipei. ‘Better for your metabolism to snack throughout the day rather than eat three big meals,’ appraises Wai Ting while Erchen monitor a steamer. ‘We went to a remote, barely signed Baozi outside Taipei where, out of nowhere, we saw thirty people in a queue. Curious, we joined it. Inside, ten men and women worked in front of us, making the best, really fluffy buns. Sadly, you could only get five to take away: the softest, lightest things…’ 
Published at Good Things magazine >

17 Jun 2015

FOOD: Urban Buzz

‘YOU become obsessed by them,’ says Toby Mason softly but clearly as he checks the frames, seemingly unnoticed by the industrious occupants. ‘Hives are incredibly complex. On one level, it all seems simple: bees bring in nectar and turn it into honey. However, it takes an incredible amount of organisation, allocating different jobs to 50,000 creatures, from cleaning, to guard duty, nursing and foraging.’ He pauses. ‘But I’ve never seen revolutions or strikes! In that sense, these likeminded creatures work as one. And each hive can have a different personality, from lively to lazy, and sickly to strong...’

21 May 2015

WINE: Whine Wine Whine

DESPITE the insistence by my overpaid, non-journalist friends that they surely are ‘drinking holidays’, wine press trips can prove to be compact, intricate endurance tests. Yes, I can hear you all now as you go to your store rooms to locate the world’s smallest flight case, carefully extracting from it the world’s smallest violin to play the world’s smallest sad song. Well, micro-fiddle away. You should understand this: press trips – to quote the great arbiter of the finer things in life, Mr Frederick Mercury – ‘ain’t no bed of roses. No pleasure cruise’...
Read at Lusso >

2 May 2015


SHOWING me his long “To Do” list, Berastegui mentions he spends much time working out where to shoe-horn bottles over his three cellars, from the one he is cultivating in the eaves above us for up-to 400 bottles, to the main hold “at floor -1...” 
Read at Harper's >

11 Apr 2015

TRAVEL: In Sugar-Cane Land

‘I SPED away over the ocean into a region of tropic sunshine and blue waters, of islands built by volcano or raised by coral insects, there to see the sugar-cane grow and study the people who grow it,’ wrote Eden Phillpotts in his 1890 travelogue, In Sugar-Cane Land. I discovered the Victorian’s intense words in a dark, dusty bookshop in Putney one wintry morning. A century-and-a-quarter after it was published, the prose of the insurance officer turned author, dramatist, poet, and best friend of Agatha Christie, inspired me to set course for the West Indies... 
Read at Good Things >

19 Mar 2015

SPIRITS: Future Proof

BUT what of the discerning tippler’s future? Despite our inherent inability to envision with accuracy, humans remain addicted to future-gazing. I asked several minds on both sides of the bar counter what cocktails might look, smell and feel like in five, 50 and 100 years time...

16 Mar 2015

PROFILE: Godfather of Chinatown

STANLEY Tse surveys frontage of Lisle Street’s SeeWoo. He opened the shop – one of the first Chinese businesses in London’s Chinatown – in 1975 with his brothers. Today coherent with brightly-lit, fully-stocked aisles, it is actually formed of three units bought over time, including, says Stanley with a glint in his eye, a comparatively shadowy ‘peep show palace…’ 
 Read at Good Things >

2 Mar 2015


STOKE Place, a characterful Georgian pile unfairly tarred by its Slough postcode has retained the accolade of AA Notable Wine List year-on-year. While the hotel may be a little scuffed around the edges, the 30-page wine list authored by general manager, Terry McEvoy is lovingly put together. For example, worth noting, should the bank rule in your favour, a 75cl bottle of 1998 Chateau d’Yquem is significantly cheaper than retail (£140) within these sturdy walls. Among his suppliers, McEvoy praises Bibendum for their “great customer service and team training” and Amathus for whom “nothing is too much trouble.”
Read at Harper's >

4 Feb 2015

SPIRITS: To Toast, Or Not To Toast?

CRAFTED from fermented grains, distilled, then matured in porous clay pots, baijiu is China’s most popular spirit. However, for a Western dilettante the drink’s distinctive profile may seem unusual. Hammant Patel Villa of Brixton’s Courtesan ‘Birdcage Bar’ and ‘Boudoir’ notes, “It’s a very complex, earthy spirit – brooding, dare I say it, angry – challenging every aspect of a Western drinkers’ notion of an enjoyable practice.” 
Read at Alexander & James >

28 Jan 2015


TONIGHT’s meal, realised by sous chef, Meaden was bright, meticulous and very edible while being dramatically at odds, stylistically, with the presently drab dining room. However, when plans to redecorate are enacted, I predict a healthy tremble of critics will visit given the team’s inventiveness and energy. Indeed, I learnt at my 9am breakfast that Futcher had only finished hand-washing his much-loved comprehensive range of Riedel XL glassware a few hours before... 
Read at Harper's

21 Jan 2015

WINE: Fluid Investment

“GONE are the days when a 40% mark-up would lazily be slapped on a bottle. As the market has become more efficient and transparent, so too have wine merchants. Which is a very good thing...”
Read at The Wharf newspaper.
(Page One / Page Two)

SPIRITS: The Land of Cîroc

WHY, he wondered, did I stir the spirit in an ice-laden shaker for a full two minutes? With Cîroc, there was no need, he explained, to insist on dilution and chilling to the point of killing flavours, seeing as there were few if any harsh edges to begin with, thanks to the grape base of his drink... 
Read at Alexander & James >

12 Jan 2015

CARS: Joe Macari

I FOLLOW a willowy receptionist up spiral stairs to a small door marked ‘Private’. Joe Macari is beyond. “I’m not a front person,” he says lighting a roll-up. “I’ll always have a dark blue car over red.” News scrolls across screens while banks of CCTV feeds show very shiny bonnets. Beyond an entirely glass wall one of only four California Spiders in aluminum (valued at $12m) undergoes painstaking restoration. 
Read more »

16 Dec 2014

SPIRITS: Chilgrove

CHRISTOPHER Beaumont-Hutchings and I sip violet-tinged Aviation sours alongside positively fatty Scottish oysters at the Rib Room’s bar. The sturdy looking, brass and dark wood build of this old-school drinkers’ haven at the five-star Jumeirah Carlton Tower seems appropriately grand given there is cause for celebration. 
 Read at Harper's >

11 Dec 2014

SPIRITS: Haiti’s Bittersweet Fruits

I STAND amid two years’ worth of skins in sacks. The neatly-stacked stockpile allows Grand Marnier to continue to fulfil orders of its 12 million bottles of liqueurs per year in the face of earthquakes, strikes and even revolutions. “But if we leave Haiti,” says Maille reading my questioning expression, “what happens to the 200 families of the workers?”
Read at Alexander & James >

17 Nov 2014

TRAVEL: Terminal Dining

“OUR studio is like a salmon: swimming against the tide,” says Afroditi Krassa. Her accent is attractively deeply-spiced. Born in Britain in 1974, but raised in Greece, Afroditi defied both her endocrinologist father and solicitor mother by pursuing design rather than follow in either of their footsteps. We meet at a no more than two-at-a time security booth somewhere below the concourse at the recently-rebuilt Queen’s Terminal, Heathrow. As I have my less than enhancing pass picture taken against a makeshift white paper background, Afroditi confides that, despite considering nearly every detail, today will be the first time she will actually dine at Heston Blumenthal’s ‘The Perfectionists’ Café’...
Read at Good Things magazine >
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3 Nov 2014

SPIRITS: Great British Truffles

HIS name is Rudi - short for Rodolfo il Caricatore del Tartufo – Rudolph, charger of the truffle!” says silver-haired James Liddell of his shaggy Lagotto Romano dog who gallops into the distance. Despite having a cute, sheep-like coat, kept closely trimmed – ‘tiresome for a working dog, attracting burrs and grass seeds,’ the enthusiastic beast who constantly, audibly tastes the air, has already unearthed several black ‘diamonds’. “Watch him carefully,” advises James as we try to keep up. “He dictates the speed of the hunt.”
Read at Alexander & James >

14 Oct 2014

TRAVEL: Winter in Mauritius

TO their surprise, two drifters, just married, become six drifters as four journalists clamber aboard the craft to bob upon the inky waters. Once aboard, fisherman Dessie punts ‘Hasslo’, a wooden fishing skiff named after his grandfather, to deeper seas. A cloud of spent two-stroke momentarily chokes the air, hardly visible in the before-dawn darkness. In the distance, clouds shaped like mountains, battleships, and even the island’s mascot, the dodo, threaten to eclipse the sunrise to which we steer...
Read at Arbuturian >
Photos at Visuals >