A Brief History of Moonshine: New Whisky Boutique Pop Up

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Monks have a lot to answer for don’t they. Back in 1000-1200, monasteries ran out of grapes. As we’re all a big bunch of winos, distilleries had to get creative. Stumbling across some grain mash, they fermented the heck out of it, bypassing beer and the whole craft ale scene, and created the first modern whisky.

A few 350 years later shit got mainstream when burly ol’ Henry VIII threw his weight around and dissolved the monasteries in Scotland. Newly unemployed monks were forced to start private production of whisky and soon spread their knowledge across entire Scotland. True story.

Blind drunk

What the early distillers didn’t realise was the bad element in the spirit (methanol) which is raw antifreeze. Drinking this turned people blind and gave birth to the (personally) well known expression, ‘blind drunk’.

Satan’s poison

Whisky barrels lose over a quarter of their contents to evaporation during manufacture. This is known as the angel’s share. What’s left is called the devil’s’ choice.

North Four, North London magazine, whisky pop up, ailsa bay, ancient reserve, Alwynne Gwilt

Moonshine

Barrels are not rotated or moved when the whisky is laid down. All barrels in a warehouse are laid in one direction: East to West. The moon’s gravitation pull moves the liquid around the barrel, setting a current going in the barrel which mixes the liquid. But the reason whisky’s most popular nickname is Moonshine is due to taxes.

New harsh taxes on any unlicensed alcohol brewery greatly reduced production of whisky in entire Northern Europe. Scottish brewers started producing their beverage illegally and thousands of secret distilleries started making whisky all across northern England, often working only during night when low visibility hid the smokes from their fires. During this period whisky received the famous nickname “moonshine”.

Want to know more fascinating Devil’s choice facts? Educate yourself and get the perfect gift for your special whisky lover (or yourself) in North London this month. From the 12th to the 23rd December, Ancient Reserves are popping up in Islington with a Whisky Boutique shop giving you the LD on that moon mixed fermented grain mash. Get expert tastings, advice, bottle engravings and free gift wrapping with free entry throughout the day. Innovative and intimate whisky inspired events are ticketed in the evenings, including a tea and whisky pairing session led by Miss Whisky and luxury non-alcoholic drinks connoisseurs, Benjamin and Blum Teas.

North Four, North London magazine, whisky pop up, ailsa bay, ancient reserve, Alwynne Gwilt

So if you’ve always wanted to know how your nose works and just why the heck whisky tastes that way, why not join one of Scotland’s best loved whisky distillers, William Grant & Sons at their temporary two week home. Sample exclusive whiskies like Ailsa Bay, The Girvan Patent Still, Rare Cask Reserves and Kininvie.

Next month we’ll be chatting with the pop up organiser, International Whisky Ambassador and one of the Top Ten Women in Whisky, Alwynne Gwilt. Watch this space to hear her inspiring story.

Where: 53 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1TP

When: Monday 12th December – Friday 23rd December

Daytime Opening – 12pm to 7:30pm

Evening Events – 8pm to 10pm

Cost: Free during daytime opening, Evening events between £15 & £20

Peruse all the different events here.

Search @Ancient_ReservesWS on Instagram or #WhiskyBoutique on Twitter to find out more.

Tickets are selling out fast, so get yourself booked merry.

Photos via Alwynne’s Insta.

Whisky facts via Joachim Farncombe from Methods Unsound

North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life, interview, Tom Marshman
Culture

Finding Humour in Dark Times: Performance Artist Tom Marshman   

Currently showing at Camden People’s Theatre, performance artist Tom Marshman’s play Kings Cross (Remix) is a glorious celebration of a bygone era. The show is a tightly crafted journey through the stories of some of the people who made up the 1980s Kings Cross LGBTQ scene. Bursting with warmth, charm and affection, the play is a must see for anyone interested in learning more about London’s alternative history.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, strong and stable my arse, Theresa May, prime minister, tories, Jeremy Deller, campaign, politics
Lifestyle

'Strong and Stable My Arse' is all of us

The Londoner behind 'Strong and Stable My Arse'. It’s a simple message. A slogan that’s straight to the point. 'Strong and Stable My Arse’ is a statement everyone can understand with a wry grin as they spot it slathered onto billboards, phone boxes and brick walls around the UK. So who could possibly be behind such a simple, cheeky, dig in the ribs campaign? Someone who knows his audience, who knows the mindset of the British like the back of his left hand.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, bank holiday plans, May, to do list, pizza, festival, drinking, eateries, day trip, deli
List

Top Four "Imma Get Greedy" Second Helpings of Bank Holiday

For some, a second bank holiday brings with it an extra day of anxiety as you wonder how to fill the 24 hour void that desk bound coffee fuelled typing usually fills. If you’re not content to lie horizontal letting gravity slide pizza down your throat, here’s our plans for your second Bank Holiday of the month.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kings cross remix, good times, london clubbing, theatre, play, review, night life
Culture

Theatre of Changing Spaces: Kings Cross in the '80s

“Only last night I found myself lost / by the station called King's Cross. / Dead and wounded on either side / you know it's only a matter of time.” [Pet Shop Boys - Kings Cross] It’s the night after the play and I’m standing at the bar of ‘The Big Chill House’ on Pentonville Road in Kings Cross. It’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ (#TBT) and happy hour is definitely over.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, laura bird, ceramics, pottery, glaze, figures, planters, candles, artist
Culture

Local Creatives: Laura Bird Ceramics

Ceramics with charisma. Local pottery genius, Laura Bird has of course graced the digital pages of It’s Nice That, sold out in Anthropologie* and taken her seat at many a London ceramics stall since just recently starting her career in ceramics. It’s no surprise she is well loved: her unique and gentle humour exudes from every jar, planter and candlestick holder, adorned with cheeky expressions and impish grins.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, walnut cafe and dining, restaurant, cuisine, launch, stroud green, finsbury park
Eat & Drink

Fresh Comfort Food: Walnut Cafe and Dining

Having worked in hospitality with a keen artist’s eye, the Arts Building knew Emma was perfect to take over the space. They were after a morning to night eatery for the neighbourhood, one for local residents and workers alike. Knowing the street’s reputation as a bit of a foodie strip, the menu had to be up to scratch for it’s discerning super-taster of a community. Yes, we’re a hungry bunch in Stroud Green.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, supper club, twin peaks, cuisine, dining, olivia potts, kate young, food writers, chefs, twin peaks, agent cooper
Events

Twin Peaks Supper Club, North London

At the time of writing this the menu has just been released for Food by Feast’s new supper club. I imagine, however, that by the time you read this every dining space will be swiftly filled. If you aren’t acquainted with the duo yet (tsk), they’re the genius collaboration of Cordon Bleu chef and food writer Olivia Potts and Guardian food writer and cook, Kate Young. Having successfully completed the likes of a Gilmore Girls supper club to rapturous applause and smacking lips recently, the latest menu experience is Twin Peaks inspired and looks equally witty and delectable.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, sound bath, gong bath experience, healing, stoke newington, event, meditation,
Lifestyle

Get Your Shaman On: Gong Bath in Stokey

Sound healing in Stoke Newington. This Thursday 18th May, The Mystery School of Sound are running a de-stress gong bath experience in Stoke Newington Ramadan Mosque. Alongside guided meditation, healing process and gong performace, you’ll get a mini intro to healing traditions of the druids and hermetic teaching.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cannes film festival, the artist, screening, film, the rose and crown, pub, Patron pop up cinema
Culture

Pop Up Cinema: Celebrate Cannes in Kentish Town

Patron Cave a Manger’s pop up cinema are shacking up at The Rose and Crown in Kentish Town to screen The Artist. Soak up the atmoshpere of the Festival du Cannes with swanky popcorn and elegant cocktails. Get red carpet ready for this special screening of The Artist - the ridiculously popular award winning silent French film that everyone fell in love with.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, arancini brothers, risotto balls, street food, pop up, food stall, stoke newington food market, church street, wrap
Events

Stokey Food Market: Fundraising for the Community

Unfortunately rising rents are affecting community spaces in Stoke Newington and their availability. St Mary’s Centre currently provides a space for projects including the Foodbank, Hackney Migrants centre and the Night Shelter but they're at risk of losing their space. To help raise funds to redevelop the space and increase awareness, they are organising a weekend food market in Stokey. The pop-up food market is a launch event for their huge fundraising drive to rebuild the community rooms attached to St Mary's Church in Stoke Newington.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, kate oates, yoga, instagram, chocolate mousse, raspberry, healthy, recipe, avocado, cacao
Eat & Drink

Eating North London: Healthy Chocolate Breakfast with Kate Oates

Healthy chocolate mousse and sexing up your smoothie with Kate Oates. We have found ourselves a yoga guru in Kate Oates, a healthtastic yogi based in Crouch End. When we met her last year she hinted at a few of her own culinary creations and boy were we intrigued. Asking for an exclusive recipe for you health conscious readers, we received a taste sensation of an idea for chocolate breakfast.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, single cylinders, speed dating, bolt motorbike shop, alternative dating
Lifestyle

Alternative Speed Dating with Single Cylinders

“All My Single Cylinders, All My Single Cylinders”. Two girls, sick to the back teeth of Tindering and Bumbling about the bars of London, decided to create their own speed dating night. Involved in the biker community of East London they have created a special series of nights combining live music, motorbikes and speed dates. Bolt Motorbike Shop of Stoke Newington is their latest venue, providing a more intriguing backdrop for your date night and quashing the usual awkwardness of sparse, brightly lit speed dating scenarios. You can admire the motors, enjoy your free drinks and listen to some live music with some top notch handpicked company.

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, proper piirakka, Karelian pasties, pies, pop up, cuisine, finland, Aapo Nieminen
Eat & Drink

Pop Up Proper Piirakka in Finsbury Park

In case you’ve never had a piirakka, (also known as Karelian pasties, pies or pirogs) they’re a delicious Finnish treat that you need to try immediately. Whether savoury or sweet, they’re basically a light pastie made with rye flour and a pretty unique variety of filling options. Meet Aapo Nieminen, a native Finnish local who grew up with piirakka. After getting tired of asking friends and family to bring him these naughty little pasties whenever they visited he came up with a plan. “They are an important part of everyday finish life. One day I thought why not just make them yourself?”

Read More...
Lifestyle

North London Bike Tour: Giro d'North Four

The lycra is optional. Coffee however, isn't. On Friday 197 cyclists descended on Sardinia to compete in the 100th edition of the Giro d'Italia. For those of you that don't have wardrobes filled with lycra you might never of heard of it but Think Tour d'France but in Italy. Still drawing a blank?

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, cookie dough, cafe, naked dough, old street
Eat & Drink

Millenial Munchers Heaven: Cookie Dough Cafe

Naked Dough have appeared like a pair of beautiful fairy godmothers to lead me to an actual edible cookie dough dance party. Plus they didn’t even tell me what I should wear, they genuinely don’t care. Naked Dough is a new restaurant serving edible cookie dough from tubs, cones and even carry home pots. The ingredients are raw egg free and the flour is heat-treated so you need not worry-like-Edwina-Currie about salmonella and stomach bloat (unless you’re gluten free of course. In which case I’m sorry you’ve stumbled upon this torture page of an article).

Read More...
North Four, North London magazine, mint vintage, denim, jeans, launch, party, stoke newington
Events

MINT Vintage, The Denim Edition

Ten years ago MINT Vintage first opened in Covent Garden before moving on to the more creative surrounds of Stoke Newington, pioneering fashion forward vintage. Every piece is hand selected and sourced from all over the world, ensuring every garment is trend driven but timeless and always unique. This May they’ve decided to transform their world in to an “oops we were trying to make corduroy and came up with denim” dreamland*.

Read More...