Alex Kratena Launches Paragon Cordial – Prize Draw Competition

Monin have teamed up with Alex Kratena to release a range of single botanical cordials for bartenders and we have some to giveaway.

With London Cocktail Week (and a bit), BCB and RumFest coming up this month you can guarantee that there are going to be a fair few product launches ahead, Monin got ahead of the rush this week with the launch of Paragon.

Alex being the cordial host

Bartenders, brand people, journalists and general drinks enthusiasts gathered at Tayēr + Elementary on Monday afternoon, the number of people turning out on one of the last liver resting days of the foreseeable future showed just how excited the industry was to see what Alex had come up with this time.

His launch presentation was given with a backdrop of clips of him in jungles smelling plants and villages dancing like a loon with the locals, it was obvious the research hadn’t been done in a lab somewhere in France.

It turns out that this has been a 3 year project for Monin and Alex. A project that was designed not just to produce a great product (and presumably make some cash) but also to protect and raise awareness of certain plants, botanicals etc.

We were presented with three new products, the first of a series of ‘botanical chapters’ which will become ‘an encylopedic collection of ingredients for bartenders’. The first three variants comprise the Pepper Collection, three cordials based on three different peppers found in the exotic locations Alex smelt and danced his way through with the Monin team.

As we were talked through the three cordials we were given samples along with a cocktail featuring each made by Monica Berg and the rest of the Tayēr team, plus some rather delicious food matches coming out of the kitchen.

As you would expect with Alex it wasn’t as simple as finding some peppers and cordialising them, there was some science type stuff involved.

First up the peppers – White Penja Pepper from Cameroon, Rue Berry from Ethiopia and Timur Berry from Nepal. Each of these forms the base of one of the single botanical cordials presented in, rather fancy looking, 48.5cl bottles.

Next up the extraction process (as in the way the flavour comes out of the peppers as opposed to the plan to get Alex out of a jungle in case of crazed Gorilla attack) – a mixture of techniques were used. Most fancy sounding of these is CO2 extraction, a process used in many areas but most recently brought to light with the CBD trend. It basically uses pressurised carbon dioxide to pull the desired phytochemicals from a plant.

Alongside this infusion is used (a three week process) and alcoholate distillation (an infusion which is then redistilled). Each of these techniques ‘extracts a particular element of the ingredients’ flavour profile, allowing for the recreation of the complete flavour spectrum’.

Finally there is the acidic side of things and here they really out did themselves by discovering a new one. Whilst out in Cameroon they found Oku honey and from that discovered a new type of gluconic acid, which is particularly useful for ‘its property of enhancing long lasting flavours without adding any additional tasting notes’.

That is more than enough googling of scientific websites for one day, how does it taste?

Well in short they taste delicious. More importantly they are a new product that will give bartenders a new range of flavours to play with and create some amazing drinks. The three we had were, unsurprisingly from the Tayēr + Elementary team, fantastic and we were tempted to put on a fake moustache and creep into the next session for some more.

But why take our word for it, why not get your hands on a set of all three of the range? Simply fill in the wee form below and go into the hat to win a three bottle set courtesy of Monin.

Paragon Pepper Collection

Paragon White Penja Pepper
Origin: Cameroon
Profile: Horsehair/Menthol/Camphor

White Penja Pepper is harvested when ripe in the province of Moungo, then dried in the sun. All the production stages (harvesting, retting, washing, drying and sorting) are entirely carried out by hand. Penja Pepper has gained worldwide gastronomic reputation and in 014 became the first product of Africa to obtain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. The volcanic soils of Penja give the white pepper its fresh aromas of menthol and camphor.

Paragon Rue Berry
Origin: Ethiopia
Profile: Passion/Jasmine/Hay

Rue comes from the Ruta chalepensis plant, frown in tropical Africa and, more specifically, in Ethiopia where it’s used as a herb or medicinal plant. The foliage has a powerful aromatic and sweet scent, while the berries have a stronger and spicier taste. Kuti, an infusion using coffee leaves, is traditionally flavoured with fresh Ruta chalepensis leaves, and some local cheeses are made using these leaves to add flavour to the milk. The berries are used in the renowned Ethiopian berbere blend of spices.

Paragon Timur Berry
Origin: Nepal
Profile: Grapefruit/Herbal/Woody

This Nepalese pepper is picked from small trees from the Zanthoxylum armatum species, which grow in the wild in the Mahabharat Range. With its fresh and citrus notes, it is easy to see why some call it the grapefruit pepper. This little berry is used in all dishes from the Terai lowlands of southern Nepal.