The Akashi Tai sake brewery has been in existence since 1856, based in the fishing town of Akashi in Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan. They have taken the sea bream (‘Tai’) as their symbol because they admire the strength, drive, curiosity and tenacity of this fish that fights for survival in the strong currents of Osaka Bay. Further inland they are blessed with fertile lands and fresh springs that produce good rice.
This is the sake that the Akashi Tai brewmasters reach for at the end of a working day. To qualify as ‘Honjozu’, at least 30% of each rice grain must be milled away before fermentation to remove fats and proteins that can affect the flavour – but in this case, Akashi Tai remove 40%. Genshu means undiluted – brewers normally add water to temper the alcohol level of a sake – so this one is fuller in body, has a more concentrated flavour and is a bit stronger than most sake (and wine for that matter) at 19% ABV. It has a rich, woody aroma, a velvety texture, a lingering finish and hints of citrus fruits. It is dry and accompanies rich dishes or even cheese and can be served chilled or warm (our preference is chilled, especially in the hotter months).
BANDANA MONKEY BAR
Bandana Monkey Bar is a cocktail bar at award-winning restaurant with an award-winning bartender at the helm. Dan Morgan (Cheltenham Bartender of the Year 2018) joined Koj in Cheltenham (Cotswold Life’s Best Newcomer 2018 and Cheltenham BID’s Best Restaurant 2018). Although Dan is classically trained and can knock up a mean Martini, Daiquiri or Mai Tai, he now curates an innovative Japanese cocktail list using ingredients such as sake, mirin and shochu. With 15 Japanese whiskies, Bandana Monkey is the best stocked specialist bar in Cheltenham. Pop in for a cocktail and order from the famous buns menu.
Whether it’s food or drinks, we share Akashi Tai’s mantra that adhering to authenticity and tradition doesn’t mean being conservative or non-progressive. To truly respect tradition is to keep it alive, and to do that you sometimes need to be willing to question the status quo and challenge received wisdom. This requires insatiable curiosity and strength of character to follow your own path, but with a profound understanding of and respect for the centuries of tradition and craft that have led to where we are now. In the case of the sea bream, swim against the current because you never know what you might find.
LITTLE OAK VINEYARD SIEGERREDE 2016
A surprisingly dry wine produced from grapes on Siegerrebe vines that are most suited to the climate in England.
Little Oak Vineyard, located near Chipping Campden, was started by Steve Wilson and first planted in 2006 with 400 Siegerrebe vines. 2016 was their best year to date with fantastic quality grapes, a great yield and almost perfect sugar and acidity readings on the days the grapes were harvested.
THE EBRINGTON ARMS
For over a decade, The Ebrington Arms has been one of the most highly regarded pubs in the Cotswolds. In July 2017, the pub was crowned as the UK's number one village pub by The Times in 2017, as well as featuring their Top 30 UK Pubs for 2019. They have held 2 AA Rosettes for 8 consecutive years and were awarded the County's Dining Pub of the Year 2019 in The Good Pub Guide.
As well as being a great place to eat it is also a wonderful place to stay with five luxury ensuite rooms.
They are also home to the Yubbington Brewing Company that produces some wonderful home-brewed craft ales.
MOSCATEL MERSEGUERA 2016 TRAGOLARGO BLANCO
A white wine from Alicante in South East Spain which is amazingly orange in colour! This is due to “skin-contact” where the skin is in contact with the wine for a short amount of time meaning the tannins and characteristics of the skin are partially displayed, similar to how red wine is made. Flavour wise you can expect a dry beginning (due to the skin-contact) followed by a beautiful, almost orange nectar flavour due to the Moscatel grape. A very well balanced wine and a must for anybody wanting to try something new!
THE PLOUGH AT COLD ASTON
The Plough Inn Cold Aston is a beautiful Cotswold pub recently taken over by husband and wife team Thomas & Josie Hughes. Expect a warm welcome as soon as you walk in the door (either by the roaring fire or the smiles of the staff) in this traditional 17th Century Pub. Grab a drink at the bar and choose from a great selection of craft beers, real ales, wines & spirits. Or, if you are feeling hungry grab a table and enjoy anything from a bar snack to a full three course meal. The menu changes with the seasons but always focuses on fresh, high quality and local ingredients
JEAN PAUL THEVENET MORGON 'LE CLACHET' 2015 BEAUJOLAIS
Jean-Paul Thévenet is one of the winemakers responsible for bringing greatness back to
Beaujolais. He is very old school in his winemaking philosophy and makes this wine from 70
year-old vines in the Morgon area, which are cultivated organically and yield very little fruit.
The grapes are fermented with natural yeasts without the addition of any sulphur dioxide.
After fermentation Thévenet ages the wine for eight months in used oak barrels that he gets
from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti before being bottled without filtration.
Bursting with aromas of bright red fruit which explode on the palate, the wine has a
wonderful brine-like quality and a long cooling mineral finish. This is what Beaujolais is really
THE GRAPE ESCAPE
The Grape Escape is a wine bar in Cheltenham offering a selection of over 250 labels and a
weekly changing list of wines available by the glass. The bar is run by wine-loving husband
and wife team Ant and Zo who's passion is infectious and service is impeccable.
There are regular events including wine tasting, quizzes as well as some amazing daily offers. On the first Monday of every month they host a wine tasting event, giving you the chance to try some fine wines from all over the world. The tastings are all themed and might cover a specific region, grape variety or even a single producer.
VIOGNIER 2016 DOMAINE VEDILHAM
Sourced from the vineyards of Domaine de Vedilhan in the Narbonne region of southern France.
The nose of peaches, apricots and pears herald the arrival of intensely concentrate fruit flavours on the palate, with a hint of zestiness giving extra complexity. Through full flavour and weight, the wine remains very balanced and textural with a clean, fresh finish – served chilled.
THE LYGON WINE BAR
The Lygon Wine Bar is a relaxed wine bar with a focus on Italian and European Wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. If you're popping in for a glass and are feeling a little peckish, enjoy a selection of Italian bites and casual dishes. In the heart of the village of Broadway, they've captured the Cotswolds charm in our unique venue that is both stylish and contemporary.