Ebb + Flow Gin

A few years back, during my second (and Mrs B’s first) trip to New York, I got to try Sound Spirits’ Old Tom Gin with Aaron Knoll of TheGinIsIn. This was part of our on-going United States of Gin project, sharing the best of gin distilled in the 50 states of America. We were both impressed with the Old Tom and, in fact, Aaron states that it is one of the best that he has had; a sentiment that I can appreciate.

Until recently, however, I had never tried their unaged flagship gin, so I was excited when an opportunity to do so presented itself. Ebb + Flow Gin is made by Sound Spirits in Seattle (the city’s first Craft Distillery since Prohibition), who, in addition, make: Ebb + Flow Vodka, Sound Spirits Aquavit, Depth Cacao, Depth Menthe and Depth – Vow of Silence Herbal Liqueur.

Ebb & Flow Gin FINAL

Bottled at 47.0% ABV, Ebb + Flow Gin is made using a base spirit of malted barley and neutral grain spirit.

Ebb + Flow Gin – On its own
Nose: Pine, sweet spice and lime, reminding me a little of homemade key lime pie.
Taste: Earthy upfront, with coriander. The flavour then move onto some sweet spice, cassia and vanilla, then a dryer note, before a burst of lime and hint of lemon on the finish.

Ebb + Flow Gin & Tonic
Lots of spiced lemon, with flavours of vanilla, cinnamon and cardamom; there is then a lively lime note towards the end. Rather delicious and just the sort of gin you want in a Gin & Tonic. I also think that this gin has great potential for the Spanish Gin Tonica serve. Superb.

Ebb + Flow Martini
Very good: intense and clean in flavour, with notes of juniper, citrus, and then an array of spices, including cardamom, that complement rather than overwhelm the gin. Served diamond-style (where the gin is poured straight from the freezer, so no ice is needed), this is exceptional – exactly my sort of thing.

Ebb + Flow Negroni
Plenty of juniper and then some more spicy and herbal elements (like cardamom), a little sweetness from the red vermouth and the earthy bitterness of the Campari. This gin, however, appears to have a trump card up its sleeve: the final flavour is that of bitter citrus oil – I mostly get lime. This really sets this Negroni out from the crowd. Superb!

Cocktails with… Pinkster Gin

Several companies have experimented with making coloured gin over the last five or so years, with shades including yellow, pink, blue, green, orange and purple. Unfortunately, it sometimes seems that the focus on the colour gets in the way of having a spirit that distinguishes itself in terms of flavour, leaving the gins open to accusations of superfluous gimmickry.

Given this precedent, I was intrigued to have a chance to taste and mix with a bottle of the pink-hued Pinkster Gin early on in 2014, having heard some positive reviews from friends and colleagues.

Pinkster Gin Bottle FINAL
Pinkster Gin is made at Thames Distillers in Clapham, London and is bottled at 37.5% ABV. The gin uses a recipe of five distilled botanicals and then, post-distillation, is infused with raspberries; this adds both flavour and colour to the spirit.

The Taste

On its own
Colour: Rose pink
Nose: Dry juniper and angelica, followed by a rich, jammy raspberry note.
Taste: This is quite a “plump” gin, in that it seems like a pretty classic, dry gin to start with, with notes of juniper and coriander, but the character then changes as the jammy, fruity sweetness of the raspberries enter, stage right. The finish is clean and dry. An unusually sippable gin.

Gin & Tonic
A rather suppable, pretty classic Gin & Tonic, with the raspberries adding texture and flavour toward the end. Neither the sweetness, nor jamminess of the fruit throw the drink out of balance. I think that the suggested garnish of fresh raspberry and mint leaves has great potential.

Martini
This cocktail has a notable, pale pink colour. The flavour of the raspberries is a little more subtle than in other drinks, just adding a touch of juiciness to the finish. All-in-all, this is a clean and crisp Martini with a fruity twist at the end.

Negroni
A soft and succulent drink, which is not a bad way for a Negroni novice to first approach the cocktail. Despite this accessibility, there are still an array of interesting flavours for the ardent Negroni fan, although the character is more subtle and less punchy than versions made using some other gins.

On the Rocks
This a good way to enjoy both the colour and the flavour of this gin, with lots of botanical notes presenting themselves, including juniper, coriander and angelica, all of which complement the berry notes and touch of leafiness in the gin. Another accessible way to drink gin neat.

In Conclusion
I expressed some concerns over some coloured gin early on in this article, but Pinkster is, amongst others, one of the exceptions. I like the balance of its flavours and the gin definitely fills a gap in the market for a fruity gin that is not overly sweet or sickly. I particularly like serving it with ice or in a Gin & Tonic.

Burns Night – What To drink with Haggis, Neeps and Tatties – with Drambuie

Today is Burns Night, but apart from the obvious dram of neat Scotch, what other drinks can you enjoy before, during and after your Burns Night dinner?

BEFORE DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Rusty Robby BurnsRUSTY ROBBY BURNS

This is inspired by The Bobby Burns from J.R. Sheridan’s cocktail bible, ‘How to Mix Fancy Drinks’, first published in 1901. It’s also something of a hybrid of a Rusty Nail and a Rob Roy.

15ml Drambuie
30ml Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky
15ml Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Stir well with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Rich, herbal flavours from the outset, with some lighter wood notes and sweet vanilla from the whisky, too. There’s also a refreshing burst of almost bitter, but rich fruitiness from the vermouth. Dry spice notes, including powdered cinnamon and cloves, lead to a medium-long finish of wood.

DURING DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Highball DrinkDrambuie Highball

10ml Drambuie
15ml Lemon Juice
25ml Dewar’s Blended Scotch Whisky
150ml Ginger Ale
Method: Build in a highball glass with ice.

Vibrant and full of flavour, with notes of lemon sherbert that are followed by a slightly more bitter note of fresh lemon juice and herbs sweetened with honey. The Scotch comes through towards the end, with a light, but distinct woodiness and dry vanilla. The lemon reappears on the finish, and is refreshingly dry.

3

3

AFTER DINNER

Burns Night Cocktail Drambuie Old Fashioned DrinkA Dram Old Fashioned

10ml Drambuie
3 dashes Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)
50ml Dewar Scotch
Method: Stir and strain.

This is a slight variation on an Old Fashioned, with the sugar cube being replaced by the sweetness of the Drambuie, which also adds some complex herbal notes that complement the bitterness. The flavours of the Scotch come through, too, and are accented by the other ingredients. A pleasant drink to finish the meal off with.

 

 

Cocktails with… Filliers Barrel Aged Gin

I have written a fair bit about yellow gin recently and I’m very excited that more varieties seem to be coming to the market. Followers of the site may also recollect my article on Filliers Dry Gin from Belgium, including my rave review of it mixed in a Negroni with Martini Gran Lusso – a simply superb drink.

As such, it was wonderful to see the two subjects – yellow gin and Filliers – come together in Filliers Barrel Aged Gin. Bottled at 43.7% ABV, this is made using the same recipe as the Filliers Dry Gin 28, but it is aged for around 4 months in ex-Cognac
barrels.

Filliers Barrel Aged Gin Bottle - Yellow Gin

The Taste

On its own
Colour: Very pale straw yellow.
Nose: Juniper, citrus, coriander and a little cinnamon and wood; quite light.
Taste: A lovely, thick texture with the classic gin flavours such as juniper, angelica,
coriander and citrus upfront, followed by more mellow notes of vanilla, nutmeg
and oak. The finish is long and dry. This is a great example of a classic
yellow/aged gin, with a good balance between the gin and the wood.

Dry Martini
A good, bold-flavoured Martini with crisp juniper and citrus and then a more mellow finish of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla from the wood. This is an excellent example of what a traditional yellow gin Martini should be.

Sweet Martini
A lovely flavour, with a great mix of sweetness, herbal and spiced notes. The finish is good and dry, with just a little citrus. My suggested garnish would be a cherry or orange twist.

Frozen
The chill improves the texture without the gin losing its character; very viscous and silky. There are some good, crisp notes to start, a warm and comforting middle with a little light spice – like cinnamon sugar – and some light wood notes, followed by a long, dry, slightly bitter finish.

Negroni
Full of strong, bold flavours, with some very bitter, woody, herbal notes, too. The aged gin works really well with the vermouth,
which brings a rich mouthfeel and complexity. An excellent aperitif after a long day.

Cocktails with… Bartenders Finest Dry Gin

BartendersDryGin

Bartenders Dry Gin

Followers of the World of Gin section may recall that, unusually, the sample for my review of Polish Gin, Gin Lubuski, came from my friend Seva in the USA. (I later reviewed the lime version, which I picked up in Spain.) Today, I am looking at a bottle of a Romanian Gin that has also gone from Europe to North America and back again.

The gin in question is called Bartenders Premier Finest Dry Gin. It is distilled in Romania by S.C. Global Spirits Company S.R.L. and is bottled at 40% ABV.

On its own
Nose: Chocolate and pine.
Taste: Quite intense and fiery, with notes of citrus, pine and coriander, and a full, slightly viscous texture. The power of the alcohol also stays with you for a while.

BartendersGin Bottle

Gin & Tonic
Reasonable pine and citrus make this quite a light and refreshing Gin & Tonic. It’s nothing special, but a good thirst quencher.

Martini
Creamy citrus to start, with just a hint of chalkiness and then some pine. Whilst not bad, this is improved by an olive garnish.

Negroni
This is a simple Negroni: the gin takes a bit of a backseat to the other ingredients, however some pine does comes through. The drink is warming with a long finish; not excellent, but quite drinkable.

In Conclusion
Bartenders Gin is not the most amazing gin out there, but, at the right price, would be perfectly acceptable and could be a good mixing gin. My favourite drink of those that I tried was the Gin & Tonic.

Cocktails with… Ophir Gin

Many readers will be familiar with Joanne Moore and the excellent work that she has done in creating the floral Bloom Gin and the herbal Berkeley Square. The latest installment in her gin range is spice-led, with Ophir Gin. This gin, like the others, is bottled at 40% ABV and features Juniper from Italy, Coriander from Morocco, Angelica from Germany, Orange from Spain, Grapefruit & Cumin from Turkey, Cardamom Ginger & Black Pepper from India and Cubebs from Indonesia.

Ophir Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Complex savoury spice: caraway, cardamom, cassia, nigella seed, cumin and some juniper dryness, too.
Taste: Smooth and with a good, clean flavour: dry juniper, coriander and citrus to start, then the spice approaches: hints of cardamom, cumin, caraway and a slight menthol note towards the end.

Gin & Tonic
The tonic seems to really accentuate the spice elements of the gin and there is a balance of both sweet spice and some more savoury flavors, such as cumin. Given the colonial nature of the gin’s branding, it is excellent that this works so well in a Gin & Tonic. There’s also a great burst of cardamom on the finish.

Martini
Very, very flavourful: sweet spice upfront, moving onto a more savoury, spicy finish. Ophir mixes very well, producing a crystal-clean result; very good, indeed, which fits in well with the excellent Martinis made by its sister gins, Berkeley Square and Bloom.

Negroni
A lively Negroni that is very spicy, but not too bitter. The vermouth seems neatly accentuated by the spice notes of the gin, although that classic Negroni bitterness is definitely there, courtesy of the Campari.

Sweet Martini
The sweet, herbal notes of vermouth work well with the complex, spiced character of the gin, making an good, if intense after-dinner digestif.

In Conclusion
There are other spiced gins on the market, but they seem to either side with sweet spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cassia) or savoury spice (cumin, ginger, pepper); Ophir is nice in that it has a little of both. My favourite drinks of the above were the excellent Gin & Tonic and the intense Sweet Martini.

Win tickets to the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final

Today, we are looking at one of the stalwarts of the gin world; namely, Beefeater. This is in part because the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final is on Thursday 7th November 2013 and we are giving away 2 tickets to the final (see below).

Beefeater was founded by James Burrough in 1876 in his distillery in London. At that time, most gin brands were named after their founder, for example: Felix Booth, Charles Tanqueray, and Alexander Gordon, but James Burrough named his brand after something thoroughly reminiscent of London: the yeoman warder, the guards of the Crown Jewels of England in the Tower of London, the Beefeater.

Today, Beefeater is made in Kennington and still contains the original botanical mix of nine ingredients as prescribed by James Burrough over a century ago. Here is a breakdown of the botanicals in both the original Beefeater and its variants.

BeefeaterBotanicals3

Beefeater 40% ABV

On its own
Nose: Coriander, lemon and orange, with some lemongrass at the end and just a hint of a malted milk biscuit.
Taste: Smooth, with a creamy texture and a little sweetness. Orange flavours come through toward the end, with notable juniper on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Classic and clean, with some sherberty citrus that works well with the bubbles of the tonic. Then there’s a good, dry finish. I’d recommend using either a lemon or orange garnish.

Martini
A truly classic Martini, with the great mix of dry, slightly piney juniper, herbal angelica and then some crisp, slightly sweet citrus from the coriander and orange, both of which mix well with the herbal vermouth.

Negroni
A nice, mellow and accessible drink that’s quite sweet initially, but with a bitter finish and a hint of chocolate. A good garnish would be either orange or grapefruit. Very sippable; almost liqueur like.

Beefeater 40 47 Bottles

Beefeater 47% ABV

On its own
Nose: More of the juniper, angelica and other herbal and spice notes come through, with less citrus.
Taste: Still a clean and smooth spirit, considering it is another 7%ABV in strength. The citrus is more forward at the start and the lemon is more balanced against the orange. Altogether, this is a dryer gin, which is less sweet and more spicy, vibrant and intense.

Gin & Tonic
A dryer Gin & Tonic, this almost seems sharper and more streamlined. I really like it and my suggestion for a garnish would be lime, as the slightly sour notes work well with the crispness of the drink, whereas I think that the sweetness from lemon muddles the flavours a bit.

Martini
A dryer and more intense Martini, with more juniper and more lemon, whilst the softer, sweeter elements are less pronounced. Although both drinks had the same volume of vermouth in them, this drink is far dryer. I can see why the 47% Beefeater is so popular for Martinis in the US and was the go-to brand throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Negroni
Once again, this is a dryer drink with a richer, more herbal complexity and is a good example of a textbook Negroni. Quite excellent.

WIN TICKETS TO THE BEEFEATER FINAL!

Beefeater 24 is delighted to provide the winner of our competition with two tickets to the Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition Final in London, where eight finalists from the bartending community across 26 countries have been selected to compete and showcase their skills and creativity. Expect classic cocktails with a modern twist and the very best in mixology.

DATE: Thursday 7th November
TIME: 6.30-8.30pm
VENUE: 9 Grosvenor Place, London, SW1X 7SH

To be in with a chance of winning, simply email david@summerfruitcup.com with the subject heading “Beefeater Comp”. The competition closes at 16:00 on Friday 1st November and the winner will be picked at random and notified shortly thereafter.

T&Cs: Beefeater are offering a pair of tickets for two adults over 18 years old. Winners will need to make their own arrangements for transport/accommodation.

National Calvados Week – Cocktails with… Pere Magloire VSOP

This week is National Calvados Week and, to my mind, it is perfect timing. This aged apple brandy from Normandy is one of my favourite Autumnal drinks; still fruity, but warming as the nights start to draw in.

www.nationalcalvadosweek.com

For our part, we shall be writing a little introduction to Calvados and having a closer look at Pere Magloire VSOP.

PereMagloire VSOP Calvados

What is Calvados?

Calvados is a brandy, but instead of being made from fermented and distilled grapes (as many other French brandies are), it is made from apples; in essence, it is the result of distilling cider. The region where Calvados is made in Normandy, Northern France is also known for the quality of their cider, so it makes sense that distilled products based on this are of such a high quality.

Calvados has an appellation contrôlée, which means that it can only be made in a certain area of France and strict rules govern its production. For example, all Calvados must be aged for a minimum of 2 years in oak casks.

Pere Magloire is a Calvados Pays D’Auge, which means that is subject to even more regulation than regular Calvados; it has to be made in the Eastern part of the Calvados region. Pere Magloire is made in the village of Pont l’Eveque. In addition to the rules defining Calvados AOC, Calvados Pays D’Auge must be made from cider that has fermented for at least 6 weeks and must also be distilled twice (double distillation). In the theory of distilling, the longer fermentation (consuming more sugars) and the double distillation should lead to a cleaner, dryer, smoother, and higher quality spirit.

So what does it taste like?

On its own

Nose: Fantastic – very engaging and enticing; rich apples with just a hint of acidity, reminding me of refreshing, still cider. Also, hints of spice and vanilla.

Taste: A well-rounded spirit and one that leads on well from the nose. Dry, crisp apple with a little sweetness in the middle, along with hints of toffee, caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg, which provide an impression of spiced baked apple. It has a warming finish, but no burn; as you continue to sip, a pleasant, cosy warmth builds in the chest. Just what you need on a cold, rainy day.

PereMagloire VSOP Calvados collins

Calvados Collins

25ml Calvados, 25ml Lemon Juice, 25ml Sugar Syrup, 150ml Soda Water. Add the ingredients to a hi-ball glass with ice.

Tart and refreshing, with the lemon juice bringing out the dryer, crisper notes of the Calvados and the sugar adding some balance. This would make a pretty lovely dinner drink or something to enjoy in the afternoon, catching the last sunny hours before winter. For an extra touch of indulgence, replace the sugar syrup with honey.

Calvados & Ginger Ale

50ml Calvados, 150ml Dry Ginger Ale, Ice. Add the ingredients to a hi-ball glass with ice (lemon wedge optional).

An inviting nose of apple and ginger, that is also quite fresh. In terms of taste, the drink is light and refreshing, with some sweetness; if you prefer a slightly dryer or tarter drink, a quick squeeze of a lemon wedge should do the trick.

PereMagloire VSOP Calvados Manhattan

Calvados Manhattan

50ml Calvados, 25ml Red Vermouth – stir & serve in a cocktail glass.

A wonderfully complex cocktail, equal to many of the whiskey-based varieties. It has a lovely, red-gold colour and an initial flavour of the fruity, slightly tart apples that is followed by rich herbal notes and a little sweetness. The warming nature of the Calvados presents itself on the finish, as well as a note of dry apple.

PereMagloire VSOP Calvados OldFashioned

Calvados Old Fashioned

Take a tumbler/old fashioned glass, add a sugar cube, bitters and a little water, and muddle the cube until the sugar has dissolved. Add 50ml Calvados. Stir gently with ice and strain into another pre-chilled Old Fashioned Glass.

A thick and viscous drink, with the bitters bringing out some of the more delicate, sweet spiced notes of the Calvados. A drink well-suited for after dinner, as an alternative to savouring a brandy balloon of the spirit; there’s a liveliness to the flavours, which will keep you engaged for the evening ahead of you.

In Conclusion

I really enjoyed experimenting with Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados and found that it worked equally well on its own and in mixed drinks; it has the character to be mixed, but the smoothness and complexity to be savoured on its own. Of all of the cocktails that I tried, I’d say my favourite was the Calvados Manhattan, but, personally, give me a glass of the spirit on its own and I’ll be more than happy.

Pere Magloire VSOP Calvados is available for £25.86 for 70cl from The Drink Shop this is a special price for National Calvados Week.

 

“Me & My Botanical” – A Gin Guild Presentation

MeandMyBotanicalTitle

After a busy week at the beginning of October with the London Gin Summit and Craft Distilling Expo, I decided to make it a quiet London Cocktail Week for me this year. Having said that, at least one event that I definitely didn’t want to miss was The Gin Guild’s “Me and My Botanical” event, which involved five of the UK’s top distillers.

We kicked off with Tom Nichols…

Tom Nichols - Tanqueray

Tom Nichol – Tanqueray

Tom Nichol (Tanqueray Gordons) – Chamomile

Tom discussed his fondness for this daisy flower, which he uses in Tanqueray Ten and that Joanne Moore uses in Bloom; both described by Tom as floral gins. Up until 10 years ago, it was quite unusual to find chamomile being used as a gin botanical. Looking at the flower itself, it is the centre that contains the most oils..

.

Charles Maxwell (Thames DIstillers) – Juniper & Liquorice

Charles Maxwell - On Juniper

Charles Maxwell – On Juniper

Juniper (Juniperus Communis)

  • The essential ingredient for gin, which is almost exclusively grown wild (although cultivated in the Netherlands).
  • Historically, it is closely linked with traditional medicine and is still being studied today.
  • Prior to World War One, juniper grew in abundance around the downs and surrounding areas of London, which is one of the reasons that London became a hub for gin manufacturers.
  • These juniper bushes were removed so that the space could be used for agriculture to ease food shortages during the war.
  • In the early days of gin, the botanicals would have been used to cover the taste of poor-quality spirit as much as to add a distinguished and complex flavour.
Charles Maxwell - Thames

Charles Maxwell – Thames

Liquorice

  • Also known as “sweet root”, liquorice contains a compound 50 times sweeter than cane sugar.
  • It contains glycyrrhizin, which is toxic with excessive consumption and, hence, is heavily regulated, especially in the USA.
  • The jury is out as to whether or not glycyrrhizin acid actually passes over with distillation.
  • Using liquorice root in stick vs. powdered form creates a slightly different effect.
  • But both add a complex, sweet note and a earthy softness.

.

Desmond Payne (Beefeater) – Citrus & Tea

Desmond Payne - Beefeater

Desmond Payne – Beefeater

  • Citrus is an important botanical that gives upfront, clean, fresh and sometimes sharp notes to gin.
  • Lemons and oranges are the most popular types used in gin production.
  • A distiller’s choice of using Italian vs. Spanish lemons and sweet vs. bitter oranges impacts upon a gin’s flavour.
  • Other citrus choices include lime, grapefruit, tangerine and pommelo.

.

He then outlined his five categories of gin:

Juniper-led;
Citrus-led;
Spice-led;
Herbal-led; and
Floral-led.

On the subject of drinking gin neat, Desmond said:

“(The) Evidence of a good gin is that you can drink it on its own.”

Which is a thought that I agree with; in general, if a gin tastes good on its own, it is more likely to mix well in a Martini, Negroni or with Tonic.

Tea

  • Desmond was inspired to use tea as a gin botanical after he tried Beefeater mixed with chilled green tea.
  • This happened after the tonic that was available in Japan, where he was at the time, was not bitter enough (quinine is heavily regulated in Japan).
  • In response, Beefeater 24 incorporates two teas into its botanical mix.
  • Tea mixes so well with other ingredients because it has very large molecules, which “fit in” well with other flavours.

Peter McKay (Alcohols Limited) – Coriander & Orris Root

Peter McKay - Alcohols Ltd.

Peter McKay – Alcohols Ltd.

  • Coriander is seen as the second most important botanical and is used both as a herb (leaf) and a spice (seed).
  • Few gins exclude coriander from their recipe, but an example is Van Wees 3 Corners Gin (made using juniper & lemon).
  • Key growing areas are South and East Europe, South-west Asia, India and North Africa.
  • In 2013, the best coriander is coming from Bulgaria. The reason? Its higher oil content, which is key when this year’s crop is unusually low in its contents of essential oils.

Peter also mentioned how different levels of coriander in conjunction with other botanicals impact upon a gin’s flavours. For example:

High Coriander + Angelica = Dryer Character
Low Coriander + High Juniper + Citrus = Sweeter Character

Orris Root

  • This acts as a binder or catalyst for the other flavours of gin botanicals (angelica and jasmine will also do the job).
  • It is made from the underground stem of the florentine iris.
  • These plants grow well in fine and sandy soil and take three years to cultivate; they are usually harvested in the dry month of August.
  • Plants are harvested by hand and, once the stem and leaves are cut off, the roots are planted.
  • The stem is then peeled and then dried several times in the open air.

Nik Fordham (Bombay Sapphire) – Angelica & Spice

Nik Fordham - Bombay Sapphire

Nik Fordham – Bombay Sapphire

Angelica

  • There are 60 types, but Angelica Archangelica is the type used in gin production.
  • It thrives in damp conditions and is harvested after its second year, once it has flowered and then died back.
  • The seed provides fragrance, whereas the stem is often crystallized and turned into a sweet or mixed with reindeer milk.
  • The root has some juniper and earthy flavours and aromas.

Nik also spoke a little about cinnamon, cubeb berries and grains of paradise.

Question Time

MeAndMyBotanicals - Q&A

The panel then invited questions from the floor, chaired by Simon Difford.

They spoke a little about terroir, where botanicals are sourced from. Largely, it seems that the source of the botanicals is subject to change, based on quality. Peter mentioned they had recently switched their supply of coriander from Russia to Bulgaria.

Simon Difford

Simon Difford

When asked about the rationale for using only “Juniperus Communis” (the only type of juniper allowed in EU production of gin), given that some US gins use other varieties to great effect, the panel gave a mixed response, ranging from:

  • “rules is rules”;
  • Communis is the most common variety found in Europe;
  • One other species (Juniperus Oxideridus) has been linked to poisonings; and
  • Potential protectionism, to stop US imports of gin.

Based on these comments, amongst others, it strikes me that the most likely explanation is that when the rules were written, the use of Western Juniper, Utah Juniper, and Rocky Mt. Juniper was relatively unknown. As the document is a technical one, it was not sufficient to simply say gin should be flavoured with “Juniper” – a species need to be specified, too; hence, Juniperus Communis.

www.theginguild.com

DTS with Sam Carter and Nik Fordham of Bombay Sapphire - Many Thanks to Gin Guild Director Nicholas Cook for sending this over.

DTS with Sam Carter and Nik Fordham of Bombay Sapphire – Many Thanks to Gin Guild Director Nicholas Cook for sending this over.

The African Martini – from the New Bond Book – SOLO – Spoiler Free Zone!

Today is the launch of “Solo”, the new James Bond book by William Boyd. In true Fleming tradition, it’s packed full of detail on food and drink; there’s even a recipe for a vinegarette, as well as instructions on making a Vodka Martini and, finally, a new cocktail. I’m a big Bond fan (both books and films) and having now read the book in its entirety, I think that this is probably the best Bond novel since Kingsley Amis’ (Rober Markum) “Colonel Sun”.

Most of my writing on the new Bond Book will be on http://www.tjbd.co.uk, but, as this is a gin drink, I thought I’d share it with you:

SoloAfrican Martini

The African Martini

Gordon’s Gin (47.3% ABV Export)
Limes
Ice
Tumblers

Pour a couple of fingers-worth of gin (50ml) into the glass, add the juice of half a lime (throw away the shells), and add ice. Give it a quick swirl.

When you want another drink, just build it on top of the remains of the existing one.

The Taste
A great combination of flavours and the use of Gordon’s harks back to the Vesper from Casino Royale. It is strong, yet refreshing and mellows with ice melt. The essential flavours are, understandably, juniper and lime and I think that it’s simple, but rather lovely. Essentially, it is a gin sour (without the sugar).

Postscript Inspired by Bond/Boyd’s African Martini:
Having made the drink above, I made a variation of my own:

Evans On Safari

Gordon’s Gin (47.3% ABV Export)
Lemons and Limes
Ice Tumblers

Pour a couple of fingers-worth of gin (50ml) into the glass, add the juice of quarter of a lime and quarter of a lemon (throw away the quarters), and add ice. Give it a quick swirl.

When you want another drink, just build it on top of the remains of the existing one.

This is inspired by the Evans Gin & Tonic (which uses both lemon and lime as garnishes). It has a more mellow and crisper (less sour) taste than the original, producing a slightly more nonchalant version.