The word whiskey comes from the Gaelic uisge, a shortened version of uisge beatha meaning "water of life," also known as aqua vitae in Latin. Whiskey was originally used as a medicine for both internal anesthetic use and as an external antibiotic, predominantly distilled by monks.
How it’s Made
The Grain: If other grains are used, then all grains except barley are first ground into meal, which is mixed with water and cooked. Barley is malted, not cooked. The first step in malting barley consists of soaking it in water then spread out and sprinkled with water for about three weeks, until it begins to sprout, and then dried by heating the barley with hot air from a kiln. (For Scotch whiskey the barley is peat-smoked, a soft, young carbon-rich substance formed when plant matter decomposes, giving the characteristic smoky taste.) The malted barley is then ground like other grains.
Mashing: consists of mixing cooked grain with malted barley and warm water. (In making Scotch, the mixture consists only of malted barley and water and then filtered to produce wort.)
Fermenting: The mash or wort is transferred to a fermentation vessel, usually closed in Scotland and open in the United States. Yeast is added to begin fermentation, in which the sugars are converted to alcohol. The yeast may be added in the form of new, never-used yeast (the sweet mash process) or using a portion of a previous batch of fermentation (the sour mash process.) After three or four days, the end product is a liquid containing about 10% alcohol known as distiller's beer in the United States or wash in Scotland.
Distilling: Scottish whisky makers often distill their wash twice in traditional copper pot stills until most of the alcohol is transformed into vapor. Irish whiskey is often distilled thrice in pot stills three times the size of copper ones. Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before it is aged called the Lincoln County Process. This results in a particularly smooth whiskey.
Aging: Water is added to reduce its alcohol content to about 50% or 60% for American whiskeys and about 65% or higher for Scotch whiskeys. Scotch whiskeys are aged in cool, wet conditions, so they absorb water and become less alcoholic. American whiskeys are aged in warmer, drier conditions so they lose water and become more alcoholic. All whiskey is aged in wooden barrels, usually made from charred white oak, because it is one of the few woods that can hold a liquid without leaking but which also allows the water in the whiskey to move back and forth within the pores of the wood, which helps to add flavor. In the United States these barrels are usually new and are only used once. In most other countries it is common to reuse old barrels. Whiskey generally takes at least three or four years to mature.
Blending: Straight whiskey and single malt Scotch whiskey are not blended; they are produced from single batches and are ready to be bottled straight from the barrel. Different batches of whiskey are mixed together to produce a better flavor. Caramel is added to standardize the color, and a small amount of sherry or port wine is added to help the flavors blend. A premium blended Scotch whisky may contain more than sixty individual malt whiskeys which must be blended in the proper proportions. Once bottled, and only in glass, the whiskey no longer matures, unlike wine.
Examples in order of price
Single Malt (100% malted barley from one distillery): Glenfiddich 12, Tomatin 30, Macallan 18
Single Grain (Up to 20% malted barley and up to 80% other grains such as wheat, corn, rye or oats.): Cameron Brig, Port Dundas and Jim McEwan’s Celtic Heartland
Blended Malt (A blend of Single Malts from one or more distilleries): Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Chivas Regal 18, Ballantine’s 17, Chivas Regal 25
Blended Grain (Blend of grain whiskies from two or more distilleries): Johnnie Walker Green Label
Blended Scotch (Blend of 20 - 40% SM and 60-80% SG usually from several distilleries.): Johnnie Walker Black Label, J&B
Rye Whiskey (At least 51% Rye in America. No rules for Canada. No more than 80% alcohol. Only two year minimum ageing in barrels compared to the usual three to four year minimum.): Alberta Premium (made of 100% rye mash), Whistle Pig (also 100%), Knob Creek Rye, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13
Straight Bourbon (Originated in Kentucky. At least 51% corn, at least 40% alc. Wheat or rye are usually the second grains with a third “flavoring” grain. No added caramel coloring allowed. And aged in new white oak barrels – compared to other whiskeys that may age the whiskey in barrels previously used for other alcohols i.e.: sherry, wine or bourbon.): Jim Beam, Knob Creek, Wild Creek for the more traditional 70% corn and equal wheat and rye. Four Roses for the spicy high rye recipe. Maker’s Mark for a smoother high wheat.
Tennessee Whiskey (Similar to bourbon except it is filtered through sugar maple charcoal): Dickel and Jack Daniels
Hangzhou’s Whiskey Men
Eddie Lim (Owner of Smoky Whisky Bar)
Hailing from Singapore, Eddie started business in China as an importer of fine Scottish fire-water and soon thereafter opened a bar with Stephen Notman, Scotland’s Whiskey Ambassador, called Smoky – play on transliterated words from the Chinese wei xun, meaning tipsy. A good variety of jazz and blues is played at just the right volume to enjoy the simple and elegant ambience of Smoky that exudes an aura of upper-class establishment. Eddie is dressed smartly in a vintage style sports coat and a similarly vintage flat-cap. He orders me a Tomatin 18 neat with a water sidecar. It goes down smooth like syrup and breathes out fire.
My first whiskey experience was in University, playing snooker. And now when I drink whiskey it reminds me of Uni. I see a great potential for this spirit in China because Whiskey is fun. I want to change the mindset of Chinese from drinking Whiskey with sweet greet tea to understanding and appreciating the Magical Experience of drinking W. Whiskey is about enjoying the finer things in Life. Why was W first made? For health. We want to advocate that this is the Water of Life.
What would you consider your more important personal experiences or achievements?
I have been collecting Whiskey for 25 years. Firstly, I am a W distributer and China Importer starting 5 years ago. Now I have a bar. He shows me a bottle of Bladnock 22 Single Malt Scottish Lowland. This is no longer produced, it is imported exclusively by me and my company located here in Hangzhou.
What makes a Whiskey Expert?
I don’t consider myself a W expert. I’m a W lover. I have a long way to go to improve myself. I think there are really only two. Charles McClean and Dave Brum. They do blind tastings, they write books, give speeches and share knowledge.
What about you? Can you do blind tastings and tell if it’s SM or blended or barley or wheat?
As he chews his lamb, he nods knowingly with a smile. I knew you would ask me that question. I knew! Sure, I can get close but it’s not always 100%. They can be very deceiving. Eddie holds W tastings at Smoky once a month.
How do you choose which Whiskeys to place in your bar?
It depends on what is available at the moment. We want every SM on the wall. Unfortunately China is not Scotland. We have to work with the owners, importers, and distributers….some are owned by big companies or private companies and we work with them and the Scottish Development International because we want to import more products. But. Every. Single. Malt. Is different. Some rare, some new and some well-known. Some of the lesser known are good to have, even if we don’t sell them, but you can appreciate them. We want to give people a variety of choice to cater to a wide group of people.
Is price directly linked to quality? When are you overpaying?
I want you to have a practical experience. He addresses the bartender nearest us. Alvin, this is Nicholas from MORE Hangzhou magazine. This is our Mixologist from Taiwan. Can you please pour him a shot of “Big T.” A blended Whiskey from Tomatin. Just like the Tomatin 18, it is smooth going down but a shade less velvety and no fire coming out. To answer your question, this shot is only 10RMB. My eyebrows shoot up in surprise. So even for the student, we can give him a Whiskey and coke for only 20RMB.
So would you suggest all beginners to start at a low price, since quality can still be had?
Depending on what stage of life or entry level you are in. There are three main criteria. Whiskey must be Fun, it’s a Magical Experience, and each bottle has a Story behind it. It’s my job to tell the story. As to Quality or Price we shouldn’t have any filters; Variety is the Spice of Life.
Can you overpay?
Great things take time, Whiskey is one of them. But it’s more of a commercial issue, based on distillery, distribution and how the product brand name is promoted with marketing expenses. In China I can get a Macallan 30 for 30,000RMB or a Tomatin 30 for 7,000RMB. Is Bentley or Rolls Royce overpaid? What production process are you looking for? But I’m walking a fine line, because there are so called experts who may disagree. People ask me: What is the best Whiskey you ever had? I say “the Next Whiskey. And the worst one I ever had…. was the last one.”
How do you feel about Whiskey Cocktails?
He cuts a piece of medium-rare lamb and pours some Whiskey on it and then muddles it with the dark sauce and hand feeds me a bite. If he sold a premixed sauce, I would’ve bought it on the spot. You see? Whiskey can be used as a Universal base for anything. For cooking food or sauces or ice-cream. It can be paired with cigars or dessert. When you have Whiskey with food, does it take away from the purity? Whiskey has many flavors that blend, even with other liquors. Knowing that the purpose of Whiskey is for medicinal purposes and food is for health purposes, W is made of three basic ingredients, malted barley, yeast and water. Its flavor comes from an oaken barrel, maybe already filled by bourbon which gives vanilla flavor. Depending on the production process it already has many flavors. What’s your purpose for drinking W? After dinner I don’t feel like having a high alcohol content; I may have an old fashioned when other ingredients add to its value.
Any important tips to know about Whiskey?
Depending on your mood, maybe you’re drinking whiskey because you’re happy and want to enhance your mood, or maybe just to have fun and celebrate, or maybe you’re sad and want to feel better. But you must control your Whiskey don’t let W control you. Everyone’s experience is different so how can you have a Universal tip. Sure there is a proper way to drink, but who says it’s the correct way? To learn proper etiquette and general info then attend Eddie’s class every Friday night. But I can tell you about the Scottish family. There are four family members representing the four geographical locations Scotch is made. The mother is Central to the family – in Speyside – and she is smooth and motherly. The father is near her side – to the west in Islay (eye-lay) – and is strong, full-bodied, smoky and peaty. The young man – exploring up in the Highlands – is woody and oaky and becoming a man. The young sister – just under her parents’ protection in the Lowlands – is a vibrant, sweet and fragrant young rose. Scotch will invariably have the location labeled, as a matter of pride.
Whiskey culture tends to be male-dominated. Do you feel women are intimidated by this?
That is a question I always indulge in: Women. In fact the three W’s: Women, Whiskey and Wuhan. With these three we can have a lively debate. Take away Whiskey and it’s not very interesting. You need a drink, a city, and a gender base interaction for a lively discussion. All are open and relaxed from the aromas and Alcohol and your lateral thinking may be better. So without women, whiskey is not as fun, nor the city.
Do you believe women have more discerning palates?
Well that could come down to genetics. I don’t want to go down that road and make a distinguishment. But they do have hormones that we don’t. But I will say that I know female Whiskey owners, and lovers who have a god-given talent.
They say you can tell a lot about a person by what they drink. Do you feel Whiskey women have to combat social stereotypes?
I don’t think a spirit can be classified as gender based. The distributers don’t want that because they would lose half the potential buyers. It’s because of society. But now that’s changing. Even if I notice a male dominance, I can be aware of this situation but as long as you don’t highlight it, it won’t be discomforting for them. We shouldn’t be gender-racial. I like this term better than sexist, and we if we don’t make it obvious it will become fun for all. Whiskey is Universal, W is not political; it is Apolitical.
Xie Yusuan (Owner of Joy Bar)
Several years back, Mr. Xie opened what came to be known as the first true Whiskey bar in Hangzhou. Since then, he has opened a second in Jinhua, a third on Nanshan Rd. in downtown Hangzhou, and a fourth in Chongqing. We meet where it all began at the first Joy Bar tucked away on the small street of Haiguan Rd. off of Xueyuan Rd. between Wen’er and Wensan, just behind the Zhejiang Sports College. It is a small, dimly lit, rustic locale with mortar walls and exposed brick evoking the times of prohibition. Cigar smoke wafts in the air, and the lively chatter of patrons tells tales of good business. I am presented with a velveteen Four Roses Old Fashioned cocktail with a slice of orange rind curling on a sphere of ice. Mr. Xie is dressed as casually as an American, with jeans, a baseball shirt and Yankees cap.
Usually, Chinese people like drinking Whiskey with green tea. But it wasn’t real Whiskey they were using, and I had drunk some before this way and seen it before. But my first real experience with Whiskey was just one year after graduating University. I had a Balblair 1997 SM and it changed all my previous understandings of what constituted an Alcohol and what they could be. Its aromas smelled so wonderful and the aftertaste lingered for a long time and it felt amazing afterwards. And no matter how much you drink, you won’t get a hangover the next day.
It was always my childhood dream to have a bar business where I could hang out with my friends and have live bands playing music, watching the games on the television and just having fun. For me, the Whiskey business is a great business to get into now because most Chinese people who drink it think it’s great because you will sleep well and feel very good the next day. And compared to baijiu (a strong distilled rice alcohol), it’s much smoother.
What would you consider your more important personal experiences or achievements?
The first time I came to Hangzhou not enough bars had any good Whiskies. Fast forward 3 and a half years, I have four bars, two in this city, and when people previously had to go to foreign countries to get good bottles, they now come to me for advice and bottles. So that’s what I’m most proud of: inciting a Whiskey culture here that was formerly non-existent. It’s difficult to spread W information to all the Hangzhou people, for example ways to recommend people to try W cocktails or getting out of their comfort zone. People are used to coming to the bar to get a single drink, so I aim to persuade people to try different Whiskies or W cocktails. As a result, people may have different bodily feelings or reactions, unlike what they would normally experience. They get more for their money and a higher quality.
What makes a Whiskey Expert?
An expert must collect a vast knowledge and experience, first by drinking a lot of whiskies, then being able to compare one with other different types, and finally finding the precise differences in taste between two different kinds; and this is usually done by research and knowledge of what they are drinking. And then, you may be able to form your own ideas about Whiskey. As for me, perhaps here in China I often feel like a Whiskey expert but not abroad. I am part of an excellent whiskey tasting group – the China Whiskey Tribe – that is composed of many people from all around China. To be part of this club there are three criteria: You must have accumulated enough years of tasting Whiskey; be recommended by a fellow member, and after this introduction you should attend different Whiskey tasting parties for us to see if you are qualified.
How do you choose which Whiskies to place in your bar?
I prefer Single Malt whisky and Single Malt whiskey. I try to get as many SM as I can in my bars after I try them first. They’re all so precious and unique that they are all worth having. I’ll try every Whiskey that I am able to afford.
Is price directly linked to quality?
If you are just beginning, then I suppose I would recommend a few lower priced Whiskies to try first, as you can still get a good quality taste. It’s important to try several so you can gauge what your preference is. Depending on the person and what flavors they enjoy, I may recommend accordingly. Usually for girls who aren’t used to the taste I may recommend a cocktail as a softer sweet drink like perhaps a Whiskey Sour which has sugar and lemon, however some prefer the taste of the alcohol itself. For novice men, perhaps a Speyside.
How do you feel about Whiskey Cocktails?
Well there are so many, but for me personally a Whiskey Sour is like an appetizer, but a SM neat is the main course.
Any important tips to know about Whiskey?
Yes, just try as many different Whiskies as you can. And just sip a little at a time to really indulge yourself in the flavors and try to remember the tastes and how they compare to the previous one. In this way you will slowly start to find which types and then specifics you enjoy. Whiskey tasting expert Stephen Notman revealed that when doing blind tastings, he always has two whiskies and sniffs and tastes them both to better hone in on the flavors of an individual whiskey by the aid of comparison.
Whiskey culture tends to be male-dominated. Do you feel women are intimidated by this?
Yes I know what you mean, maybe a little bit but in my China Whiskey Tribe club I know a lot of females that prefer neat Whiskies just as any man. And in my bars I see many women drinking whiskey.
Do you believe women have more discerning palates?
I think men may have the upper hand for tasting. It is true that women seem to be more sensitive to the flavors but for whiskies that have a higher alcohol percent, say 50%, this may be their downfall because the flavor of alcohol itself is too overpowering and they might not be able to recognize the underlying flavors. For whiskey nosing, experts suggest diluting the sample to about 20% to better discern the range of flavors under the initial “sting” of the strong alcohol
They say you can tell a lot about a person by what they drink. Do you feel Whiskey women have to combat social stereotypes?
Some women can drink any Whiskey even when men think it’s too strong so if anything they break the stereotype, especially now more than ever in the past.
Over the past eight weeks, the Wellington College International Hangzhou community has rallied together to face and overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. During this time, Wellington College International Hangzhou is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries for admissions, and from March 30th the entire Admissions team have been back on campus assisting families through the admissions process.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, we are unable to host families on campus for our personalised tours, but that doesn’t mean you cannot learn more about the unique Wellington approach to holistic education. From phone conversations, email and video conferencing, through to our 360-degree virtual campus tours and online information sessions, we can still connect in this digital age despite our distance.
Online Open Day
On Wednesday 8th April, Wellington College International Hangzhou will be hosting an online information session, open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington.
In this webinar style event, Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou, will provide a broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, our heritage, educational philosophy and values.
Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou, will take a deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, as well as exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about.
Additionally, you will have the opportunity to take a 360-degree virtual campus tour to view the state-of-the-art facilities we have on offer and how we utilize these facilities to provide the very best possible education for the children in our care.
Finally, we will host a live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions team, allowing us to address the questions that are important to you.
Scholarships at Wellington
In order to recognise and reward the pursuit and achievement of excellence in pupils at Wellington College International Hangzhou, and to make a Wellington education accessible to a broader range of pupils throughout Hangzhou and surrounding regions, scholarships, awards and bursaries are available to different year levels at Wellington. Awards of up to 100% of the tuition fees will be available to successful applications in Year 7 or above in August 2020. For more information, please visit this link or contact our Admissions team directly.
eLearning at Wellington
Results from our recent parent survey are conclusive. Our eLearning provision is meeting the needs of our families and ensuring that children are meeting their educational needs during this difficult time. 94% of Wellington College International Hangzhou families agree that our teachers have ensured that our pupils, irrespective of time zones, have been able to access all learning materials during this period of eLearning.
Since eLearning started, Wellington College International Hangzhou pupils have been able to maintain their close-knit relationships with their teachers and classmates. These ongoing relationships, personalised learning plans, 1:1 tutoring where required and innovative use of technology to smoothly facilitate learning objectives has ensured that our children are all progressing as they should during this time.
This high-quality eLearning provision is a testament to Wellington’s ongoing commitment to always providing the best possible learning outcomes to the children in our care, regardless of circumstance or challenge. We remain committed to this objective and welcome enquiries from all parents who are interesting in providing a world-class education to their children.
To learn more about eLearning at Wellington College International Hangzhou, please click the links below to learn more;
Top 12 FAQs | All you need to know about joining Wellington!
The Admissions team regularly fields questions from parents who are keen to learn more about Wellington, and as a result have compiled the following useful FAQ. Please click the link below to see what other parents are curious about.
Do you have different questions? Are you interested in learning more about Wellington? If so, we welcome you to join our online open day being hosted at 7pm on Wednesday 8th April. We look forward to seeing you there!
Don’t forget that our Admissions team are available at any time to answer your questions. Due to the international nature of the school, we field questions at all times of the day. Feel free to contact us using any of the methods listed below and we will respond to your enquiry within 48 hours.
The Chinese hot-pot restaurant chain Haidilao is known for a lot of things, except being moderate. They will give you a free manicure and clean your shoes while you’re waiting for your table, provide a big stuffed animal to keep you company if you’re lunching alone, and perform an acrobatic dance if you order noodles.
Haidilao is the epitome of the “client comes first” mentality that will go to great length to provide you with first-rate service. However, as experience shows, some clients find that the best service is when they are left alone and not bothered by pesky over-the-top courtesy.
At one time Chinese Internet was replete with articles titled along the lines of “Don’t let Haidilao know your birthday, it’s too scary” where users would detail their experiences dealing with the restaurant’s overblown birthday service that included singing and dancing waiters holding LED lights and more. Some have even joked saying “If you hate your friend, go to Haidilao for their birthday.”
To tackle the problem and better cater to the needs of different groups of customers, Haidilao recently introduced a witty solution. Tables in some of the chain’s restaurants are now equipped with “Do not disturb” flip-boards. Customers who do not want to be approached too often by waiters can use the sign to fend off their insistent advances.
The flip-board also provides other options such as “I’ll serve dishes myself” meaning that the waiter does not need to help with the dishes frequently or “detailed services are not required” telling waiters that they are only wanted to bring dishes and clean the table.
According to Haidilao, the service is still in the pilot stage, and it will be tried in some stores. It will continue to be optimized according to the needs of customers and different situations. Stores and employees will be continuously encouraged to innovate and provide customers with more personalized services.
Though Haidilao's service has always been known as "perverted", but sometimes it is too intimate and it can cause embarrassment. A while ago, a post named "Don't let Haidilao know your birthday" went viral on the internet.
“I went to Haidilao with my girlfriend, we just asked if we could get a discount on birthdays, then a group of people appeared with LED lights and sang the birthday song, they even gave us a ‘Most Beautiful Girlfriend Reward” and asked us to read the girlfriend vows to each other.’
“Two of us went to celebrate my friend’s birthday at Haidilao, we hid the cake in our bag and sneaked some scoops every now and then, just because we were so scared that the waiters would find out that’s her birthday, then we would be the super star of the night.”
“Look at me, I looked so surprised and happy!”
Therefore, for many customers who like Haidilao, the appearance of "Do Not Disturb" flip-board is simply a relief and has been unanimously appreciated by everyone.
From a steaming glass of traditional mulled wine, brimming with spices, to an indulgent mudslide cocktail, our winter drinks recipes are perfect for seeing in the festive season. Curl up in your fluffiest jumper with a creamy peppermint hot chocolate, or get the party started with a batch of our marvellous mulled gin.
Keep everyone's glasses topped up with our favourite festive drinks, and mouth-watering non-alcoholic drinks for every taste. Find top mixology tips, reviews of our favourite products and even more triple-tested recipes in our cocktails & drinks hub.
Spiced Apple Syrup with Clementine & Cloves
Our spiced apple syrup with clementine and cloves will add a burst of fabulous Christmas flavour to any drink. Try adding to hot apple juice or mulled wine for festive fruit and spice. It's even delicious drizzled over ice cream for an upgraded frozen treat. It will keep for about a month, so store it in the fridge ready for impromptu gatherings.
200ml apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole allspice
1 mace blade
2 whole cloves
Small strip fresh ginger
1 clementine, zest finely peeled with a vegetable peeler
100g golden caster sugar
1. Heat the apple juice with the whole spices, ginger, zest and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then strain the syrup into small bottles.
It wouldn't be winter without a steaming mug of mulled wine, complete with a glug of sloe gin for a sweet twist. Simply leave your wine, (we recommend an unoaked tempranillo) to infuse with seasonal spices like star anise and cinnamon and a little citrus zest. Keep a batch warming on the stove and let guests top up their glasses. Want to try something different this year?
750ml bottle red wine
1 large cinnamon stick, or 2 small ones
2 star anise
2 strips lemon zest, pared using a vegetable peeler
4 tbsp caster sugar
100ml sloe gin (we used Gordon's) (optional)
1. Put the red wine, cinnamon, star anise, cloves, lemon zest and sugar in a large pan. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins.
2. Remove from the heat and cool, leaving to infuse for about 30 mins.
3. To serve, heat without boiling, stir in the sloe gin (if using) and pour into mugs or heatproof glasses.
Winter Whisky Sour
Warm up from the inside out with our simple winter whiskey sour. Give the classic sour a couple of delicious tweaks and it's ready for the festive season. Add a splash of orange juice to your favourite bourbon, a little sugar syrup, some fresh fruit and some sparkle. Need some more help getting into the spirit?
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
½ tbsp sugar syrup
2 slices of oranges
Gold edible glitter
1. Using a small paintbrush (or your finger), brush some honey around the rim of two tumblers and use another small paintbrush to stick edible gold glitter around each.
2. Fill each glass with crushed ice. Put the bourbon into a cocktail shaker with the lemon juice, orange juice and sugar syrup. Shake and strain into each glass, and serve with an orange slice and short straws.
Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Nothing says 'indulgence' like a velvety-smooth hot chocolate, made with rich dark chocolate and double cream. Stir our peppermint hot chocolate with a striped candy cane and let it melt into the drink for a refreshing minty flavour. These delectable drinks are hard to resist. Got something.
200g bar plain chocolate, broken into chunks
150ml pot single or double cream
Sugar, to taste
6 peppermint candy canes, to serve
1. Put the chocolate in a pan with the milk. Gently heat, stirring until all the chocolate has melted. Continue heating until the milk is steaming, then remove from the heat and stir in the cream.
2. Divide the hot chocolate between 6 mugs, add sugar to taste and hang a candy cane on the edge of each. Pass the mugs round and let everyone stir their hot chocolate with their candy cane – letting as much of the sweet peppermint dissolve as they fancy.
Cinnamon Buttered Rum
Once you're tried our super smooth, gently spiced cinnamon buttered rum, it'll be your drink of choice when the nights draw in. Serve up mugfuls of this buttery brilliance for your next party. Neither sickly sweet nor too citrussy, this perfectly balanced tipple will warm you up in no time. Whether you prefer white or dark, spiced or smooth, we have a rum cocktail recipe to get your party started.
2 tbsp golden caster sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
200ml spiced rum
1. Gently heat the butter, golden caster sugar and cinnamon sticks in a saucepan until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
2. Stir in the spiced rum, then pour into four small heatproof glasses to serve.
Mulled Pear & Cranberry Punch
Our versatile mulled pear & cranberry punch can be served as a cocktail or a non-boozy version, simply miss out the sloe gin. The beauty of this all-in-one recipe means you can simply chuck your ingredients in a pan, leave to heat, then ladle out as needed. It takes just ten minutes to make, so no need to sweat it out in the kitchen.
1l pear cider
1l pear (or cloudy apple) juice
1l cranberry juice
Good handful fresh or dried cranberries
150ml sloe gin
2 cinnamon sticks
2 vanilla pods, scored lengthways
Put all the ingredients into your biggest saucepan or casserole dish. When you're ready to serve, heat to just below simmering point, then ladle into glasses.
This creamy, coffee-flavoured cocktail is for adults only. Our mudslide is pure decadence, something to be savoured and sipped at your leisure.
50g dark chocolate
60ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
60ml Irish cream liqueur
100ml double cream
1. Put two small tumblers in the fridge to chill overnight. Put 30g of the chocolate in a shallow bowl and melt in the microwave in short bursts. Dip the rim of the chilled glasses in the melted chocolate, then stand them upright so it gradually drips down the sides. Return to the fridge until you're ready to serve.
2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then pour in the coffee-flavoured liqueur, vodka, Irish cream liqueur and double cream. Shake until the outside of the shaker is very cold.
3. Put a few ice cubes in the prepared glasses, then strain in the cocktail. Finely grate over the remaining chocolate and serve with a paper straw.
Winter Pimm's Punch
This archetypal English cocktail isn't just for summer. Our Winter Pimm's punch is paired with sweet brandy and light apple juice for an instant cocktail cabinet winner. You'll probably have most of the ingredients already lurking in kitchen cupboards. It can be served warm or cool, depending on what you prefer.
1½ l apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
Combine the Pimm's and brandy with the apple juice in a jug filled with ice, cinnamon sticks and a sliced apple and orange.
Looking for something a little different than the standard festive fare? Move over wine, this mulled gin is our new favourite Christmas cocktail. Infuse apple juice with aromatic spices like bay, cloves and cardamom, a few crushed juniper berries and a little honey for sweetness. Cut through rich canapés and sweet treats with this more delicate drink.
400ml apple juice
½ lemon, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 small cinnamon stick
3 juniper berries, lightly crushed
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp runny honey
For the garnish
4 bay leaves
2 lemon slices, halved
1. Divide the gin between four small heatproof glasses or teacups.
2. Tip the apple juice into a saucepan with the rest of the ingredients. Heat gently until simmering, then strain into a jug. Pour the mulled apple juice into the glasses with the gin and stir gently to combine. Garnish each glass with a bay leaf and half a lemon slice and serve warm.
Perk up the after-dinner lull with a luxurious Irish coffee. A grating of fresh nutmeg on top of the thick layer of cream adds some seasonal fragrance. Need some help choosing the perfect dram? Read our review of the 10 best Irish whiskies, from light and smooth to rich and spicy.
2 tbsp double cream
150ml freshly brewed black coffee
50ml Irish whiskey
½ - 1 tsp brown sugar
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1. Lightly whip the cream just so it’s very slightly thickened, then set aside.
2. Pour the hot coffee into a mug or heatproof glass, then add the whiskey and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Gently float the cream on the top and sprinkle the nutmeg over the cream. Serve hot.
My first encounter with Marco was through my friend’s WeChat moments. I can’t really recall for what reason we added each other, all I could remember were his big muscles and that bright smile hailing from L.A. Later on, we had more contact due to a few common friends who are involved with martial arts and I started to know him more.
Who is Marco
Marco has gained quite a reputation in the martial arts world since arriving in Hangzhou in 2018. He used to train at Checkmat Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in USA, an international academy, competition team, and family of Jiu Jitsu practitioners. Founded in 2008 by Master Vieira, Checkmat now has affiliate academies in thirty-four American cities and sixteen countries worldwide. You can find world-class, hands-on instruction that has been tested on the practice mats and proven on the competition field.
In Hangzhou, Marco started his own brand - Marcola Jiu Jitsu. It offers Jiu Jitsu training classes to people of different ages, whether professional or not. As one of the few black belt holders in China, his classes are really popular. Marco’s lifelong love of competitive athletics has molded him into both a lover and a fighter. His passion for athletics and a genuine desire to help people reach their fitness goals motivates him to continue learning each day, and develop new techniques to challenge himself and his clients. You see doctors, lawyers, students, law enforcers, businessmen and women walk into his class for the same reason - to get better at Jiu Jitsu.
Marco’s full name is Marco Alvarado and his Chinese name is rather cute: 马可乐. His Chinese friends would just call him 可乐, same as Cola. Before we tell you more, take a look at his incredible championship records below, the man is a real fighter.
Bronze Medal at International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship Blue Belt
Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation All Americas Tournament Purple Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF Pan American Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF World No Gi Championships Brown Belt
Gold Medal at IBJJF American Nationals No Gi Brown Belt
Silver Medal at Jiu Jitsu World League San Diego Championships Black Belt
Gold Medal at NABJJF All Americas Tournament Black Belt
Marco has been involved in many kinds of sports - boxing, taekwondo, karate, running, American football – and also physical rehabilitation. Like many other athletes, Marco’s first coach was his dad who was a boxer. Marco was just 5 years old when his dad introduced him to boxing. It was the classic story, his parents decided to put him in taekwondo and karate training when they found out that little Marco was being bullied in kindergarten. Six years later, he received his first black belt in taekwondo.
After that, he decided to move on to a new sport: running. From sixth grade till he graduated college, he never stopped running and he became one of the US national athletes in track and field.
Eventually, he knew he needed to find another new sport to challenge himself. One day, he went to a free Jiu Jitsu class at his college. Someone caught him in a choke, he had no idea what to do and that got him really interested. He wanted to know how it happened, how he did it, and how to do it back. He was 22 at the time. 10 years later, he won the Gold Medal at North American Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Championships.
It’s Ok to Lose, Just Learn From It
As an amateur boxer who has only been training for 4 months, there was a question I really wanted to ask so I brought it up when we were having a lunch break at Blue Frog. “Before you had your first fight, how did you overcome your inner fear?” Marco took a bite of his big, juicy burger and said “My first Jiu Jitsu tournament was six months after I started training, I was very nervous. We sparred every week in college, so I learned how to deal with the fear, but this time was different. I knew who my opponents were, but I didn’t know what was going to happen. I got destroyed badly in two fights, one guy caught me in the armbar in 20 seconds, the other guy beat me so bad like 20-0. I left deflated and frustrated, but I wanted to do it again, I wanted redemption. This gives you more motivation to go back to train harder and learn from mistakes. In the fights later on, I started to get into my rhythm and started doing well. Sometimes maybe you don’t want to tap and lose in practice, because it hurts your pride for a day or two, but you come back for more training. It’s ok to lose, just learn from it. That’s an important life lesson.” During Marco’s career, his arms were almost broken a couple of times, he tore some ligaments on his knees and he got two broken teeth. With all these injuries, he had to learn about physical therapy in order to fix himself.
“Martial arts is more about avoiding problems than anything else. These days, there are always those untrained people or the ones who watched too much UFC and are looking for trouble. If you trained a little, you’ll have respect for your body. This stuff is no joke, it can really be dangerous.” Marco continues, “My teacher used to say if there is a fight, he’ll just run away, because he would feel bad for the guys once he’s had enough. He would turn around and fight.”
Back in L.A, Marco was teaching in a big chain gym where he soon became friends with a Taiwanese trainer. He followed his friend’s journey that brought him to Hangzhou to continue teaching for Checkmat and he became aware that there are a lot of blue and purple belt holders who opened Jiu Jitsu schools in Hangzhou, but there were only 2-3 with a black belt teaching here. Marco thought that he can bring people more advanced technique and professional training. So in June, 2018, Marco came to start his first job in a gym in Xiaoshan, teaching conditioning and creating a Jiu Jitsu program.
MMA vs. Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
I couldn’t help asking what Marco thinks about this outspoken Chinese MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong a.k.a. “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog has made it his mission to expose fake kung fu over the past two years by pulverising fraudulent traditional martial arts “masters”, but his actions have drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. “In my point of view, Bruce [Lee] was the first MMA fighter in the history of martial arts, because he was always so open minded about everything. He took things that he thought were useful and added on something unique of his own. I think Xu Xiaodong’s mission is to show that not one martial arts is dominating. If you know a bit of everything, that is more effective. I think Jiu Jitsu is very useful and complete, cause you go from standing to the ground, you can also go back up to defend yourself, knowledge is powerful. Martial arts is changing, and you need to keep yourself updated. Back home, some guys can use their chi to make someone fall. This is not video games, we call it McDojo.”
The Distance Between China and the World
Many are also immersed in the joy of Zhang Weili who won China’s first Gold Belt in MMA. She is now gearing up to defend her UFC strawweight title against the former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk on March 8, 2020. Marco thinks that China has started to close the gap with the other western countries and now there are more and more young Chinese fighters in UFC. Marco told me, “With Jiu Jitsu, specifically, China is a little bit behind. Brazil and US now are the two countries with the best fighters. There are a lot of 15-18 years old kids that have been training since they were 5. That means they have over 10 years of experience on the mat which is more than me. They have all those tricks that I have never seen, the level is just incredible. Even though China has a lot of catching up to do, they are doing a good job.”
How Did My First Jiu Jitsu Class Go?
I joined Marco’s class at R8 a few weeks ago. I was not only impressed by his superb Jiu-Jitsu skills, but also his passion in coaching. When a fight moves down to the ground, it can be quite brutal, especially in Jiu Jitsu where there are so many different kinds of chokes. It seems that getting bruises, breaking teeth or arms are normal in this sport. Plus, did I mention that if you are practicing with a guy, you’d better get used to some rather odd positions? Even Marco himself admitted that Jiu Jitsu positions can sometimes be awkward.
So I didn’t go in with a lot of confidence, but Marco’s explanation and demonstration of each move made everything seem possible. It is a grappling-based martial art where the central theme is the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force him to submit. Due to the fact that control is generally easier on the ground than in a standing position, much of the technique of Jiu Jitsu is centered around the skill of taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling for dominant control positions from where the opponent can be rendered harmless. All those awkward positions can be very effective; the basis behind it is all about leverage. It’s about using the whole body on another body part, even if your opponent is a bodybuilder, he can’t win. If you are skilled in Jiu Jitsu, you can definitely hold yourself against 95% of the population; most people don’t even know how to fall down properly.
The Beauty of Jiu Jitsu
Marco has about 30 tough students at the moment and he’s determined to stay for a much longer time. Recently he took 7 people to attend the Shanghai Tournament and got 10 gold medals, this shows that this tiny team is going in the right direction. For the next step, Marco wants to create a kids’ program. He wants to share what he has with the next generation.
"It's important to stay focused and keep an open mind when it comes to learning Jiu Jitsu." The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle goes beyond just training. It's about taking care of yourself, making friends, and striving to put your 'best foot forward'. Setting your mind to learning and improving every week will help you to improve mind, body and soul. His over-all team goal is to improve at least 1% every week and this requires a positive attitude.
In light of the success of the first online open day, Wellington College International Hangzhou is very much aware of requests for an additional session held on a weekend, to enable more families to tune in and join the interactive Q&A session. The coming online open day will be held at 10am on Saturday 18th April.This event is open to anyone keen to learn more about Wellington College International Hangzhou.
The open day includes;
· A broad overview and introduction to the Wellington College family of schools, royal heritage, educational philosophy and values by Mr. Paul Rogers, founding Executive Master of Wellington College Hangzhou.
· 惠灵顿杭州校区总校长Paul Rogers将对惠灵顿大家庭的姊妹学校、悠久历史、以及我们的教育理念和价值观做整体介绍。
· A deeper dive into what makes a Wellington education unique, and a presentation exploring many of the common topics that parents are curious about by Ms. Kathryn Richardson, Principal of Wellington College International Hangzhou
· 杭州惠灵顿外籍人员子女学校校长Kathryn Richardson将深入阐述惠灵顿教育的与众不同之处以及就家长们关心的一些常见问题与大家进行探讨。
· A live Q&A session where participants will be able to interact with the speakers and Admissions Team, allowing the team to address the questions that are important to you.
All interested families are suggested to scan the QR code on the poster to register. Registered attendees will receive a reminder notification prior to the event starting.
Welcome Back to Wellington
As pupils quickly approach the highly anticipated return to schools in Hangzhou, Wellington College Hangzhou has been strictly following the local regulations on epidemic prevention in order to prepare the Wellington community for a smooth transition back to normality.
At Wellington College Hangzhou, ensuring the safety of the school community and protecting the health of Wellington pupils and staff always takes top priority. Over the past three months, the Senior Leadership Team and a specially appointed school emergency team have implemented a detailed COVID-19 plan that covers all aspects of school life, and ensures that strict guidelines will be followed to minimize risk and increase safety.
The Wellington College Hangzhou campus has undertaken a comprehensive site inspection by both the Education Bureau and the Hangzhou medical authority. Both inspection teams were incredibly impressed with Wellington’s preparations.
Wellington understand that this will be a difficult transition for their children, yet remain confident that with careful guidance, and through demonstrating the Wellington Values of Courage, Kindness, Responsibility, Respect and Integrity, the children will adapt quickly and fully embrace the mission of ensuring a safe return to school.
Get Weekly Events to your Mailbox