Cocktails with…. Gin Eva Olive Gin

Sometimes you come across a gin that is both such a simple idea and so well-executed that you wonder why no-one has done it before. Today’s featured gin is definitely one of those: Gin Eva’s Black Label “La Mallorquina” Olive Gin.

Produced at the Gin Eva Distillery on the island of Mallorca (Majorca), the gin is bottled at 45.0% ABV and is made using juniper, La Mallorquina olives, and coriander seed.

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The La Mallorquina olive, a mutation of the Empeldre variety of olives, is only found on Mallorca, giving a nice Terroir aspect to the spirit in addition to great flavour.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Plump juniper and a touch of zesty coriander. Crisp, but eye-catching, with a gentle, green salinity from the olives.
Taste: The olives are right there, upfront: oily and creamy, just like eating the fresh, green fruit. Exceptionally inviting, this gin instantly transports you to a Mediterranean getaway. A summery zip of citrus follows, before a dry finish of pine and green olives. Amazing.

Gin Tonic
Deep flavours with the savoury olive really coming through, accompanied by a little oiliness. The drink is exceptionally refreshing and unlike any other Gin Tonic out there. In terms of garnish, I’m quite a fan of having this naked (that is, without any garnish) or with a bit of freshly-cracked black pepper.

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Martini
Clean, soft, and balanced with an absolutely fabulous texture: thick and lustrous. The wisps of olive flavours are layered delicately within the drink, adding a pleasant and complex green, savoury note. Best served in the Dickens style – without olive or twist.

Negroni
This is the most savoury and appetite-raising Negroni I have ever had; one glass of this and you’ll be ravenous! Simply superb. If you are a fan of a Negroni, this is a version that I can’t recommend enough – excellent and delightfully intense.

Gin & Soda
A clean and soft drink with the residual oiliness of the olives and a touch of salt singing through, too. Hints of dry juniper and zesty coriander appear toward the finish. Refreshing, flavoursome, and delightful.

In Conclusion

I think that Gin Eva Olive is an exceptional and imaginative gin with an excellent texture and the flavours of the olives really shining through, bright and bold. It makes some incredible drinks, but my favourite was the Martini with the Negroni a very close second.

Gin Eva Olive is available for around £56 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

Many thanks to Gin Eva for the use of their pictures.

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Cocktails with… Hapusa Gin – from India

Hapusa Gin FINAL.jpg

Hapusa Gin is produced by Nao Spirits in India and is bottled at 43.0% ABV.

The gin use a base spirit made from wheat spirit and botanicals include:

Himalayan Juniper,
Coriander,
Cardamom,
Almond,
Ginger,
Turmeric,
Mango,
Gondoraj.

On its own
Nose: Green and resinous with oily pine notes accompanied by a hint of vanilla and mint, as well as hints of angelica and chocolate.
Taste: It is immediately noticeable how smooth this gin is; in particular, how smooth the texture of the spirit is. It’s not necessarily thick, but it is very silky. First up, there are notes of oily coriander and sweet spice. The middle is full of luscious, green leafy notes that add a real succulence to the gin as well as a distinctive brightness. The finish is full of cedar and citrus with a peppery spice – long and lingering.

Gin Tonic
A clean and refreshing Gin Tonic with a pleasant earthiness that is clean and slightly bitter. It reminds me of how the early Gin & Tonics might have tasted in the 19th century. It has lots of light, floral berry notes and the flavour of cucumber peel appears just before its crisp, dry finish.

Martini
This has an excellent mouthfeel: it is exceptionally silky, with some savoury and a splash of salinity that, combined, bring to mind umami flavours. These are followed by great bold, crunchy green notes that make for a really substantial Martini; almost a meal in a glass. Spice notes appear towards the finish, bringing to mind celery, black pepper and cucumber sandwiches. This is certainly a drink that stimulates the appetite and leaves you wanting more.

Negroni
Initial flavours of bright, resinous and sappy pine make it feel almost as if the gin had been aged in juniper wood. The distinctive gin flavours cut right through the other ingredients and the spirit makes itself heard above the hub-bub of the Campari and vermouth. The finish has more delicate nuances of floral, black tea. For fans of juniper, this is a must-try.

Gin & Tonic (19th Century)
A simple mix of Hapusa Gin, lime juice, tonic syrup and still water inspired by the early Gin & Tonics that would have likely had very little sparkle. The result is a slightly earthier, bitter drink that works really well with the gin’s character, whilst the lime juice adds a pleasant liveliness. A great choice when looking for a drink sans gas.

In Conclusion
Hapusa really feels (and tastes) like a gin with one foot in the past and one in the future. Its crisp, earthy bitterness reminds me of gin’s medicinal origins, especially in a Gin Tonic, but the character is far more complex than many of the more traditional London Dry Gins. Hapusa has a unique, delicious character and it really is worth seeking  out.

Visitors to Junipalooza this weekend can visit – tickets available here.

Cocktails with… Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla

Flavoured and fruit gins are all the rage at the moment. With many distilleries focusing on berry-flavoured or pink-coloured gins, it’s nice to see Tanqueray do something different by making an orange gin.

In the early 20th century, orange gin was one of the most popular flavoured gins of its time and orange-flavoured varieties of genever, brandy and whisky were also available. Tanqueray’s sister brand, Gordon’s, produced an orange gin all the way from 1929 to 1988.

The new Tanqueray Gin goes a bit further than the orange gins of old by embracing both distillation and infusion to add orange flavour. It also uses orange blossom in addition to citrus peel to produce a deeper, more complex orange flavour. The recipe was inspired by notes and recipes from the notebook of Charles Tanqueray himself.

Bottled at 41.3% ABV, Flor de Sevilla is flavoured with seville orange and orange blossom in addition to the traditional Tanqueray botanicals.*

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla bottle FINAL

On its own
Colour: Rose gold
Nose: Soft, earthy juniper with angelica and the delicate floral notes of violet and orange blossom, followed by hints of orange and chocolate.
Taste: This gin has a thick texture and silky sweetness before the sparkling flavour of bitter orange appears on the palate – crisp and clean, with a well-balanced level of citrus. The orange blossom gives the orange-citrus character great depth and complexity with a little backing of coriander, lemon and lime.

Gin & Tonic
This drink is quite sweet as Gin Tonics go, but works particularly well with pepper-flavoured tonic or Fever-Tree Mediterranean. It has a very floral finish that lingers for a good while after drinking.

Martini
Flor de Sevilla makes a Martini that is rather reminiscent of a marmalade Martini with a smooth creaminess and a little vanilla. It is very well-rounded with a lingering finish of bitter orange. A fresh cocktail that would make a lovely pre-dinner drink.

Negroni
This gin is a superb match for the flavours of the Campari and red vermouth; the orange adds a fantastic zestiness and the floral notes add a lovely complexity to the drink. No garnish needed!

Gin Soda
Incredibly fragrant with hint of neroli and marmalade bursting forth from the glass.The drink also has a charming, golden-amber glow to it. Taste-wise, there is plenty of succulent orange along with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon spice, before a dry, zesty finish.

Gin & Cola
A great combination: the bright, zesty orange comes through and the floral elements work well with the botanical flavours of the cola. Neat flavours of orange oil and juniper linger on the finish.

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla - Landing Strip

Landing Strip cocktail

Landing Strip
30ml Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla
30ml Dry Gin
30ml Brandy
STIR

The orange flavour of the gin works exceptionally well with warmth of the Cognac, making me think that, along with a little lemon juice, Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla could be a wonderful ingredient in a Sidecar variation – how sophisticated!

With bubbly
The citrus and floral flavours of the gin made me think that it would likely work well with sparkling wine. A measure of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, topped up with Prosecco yields a pleasant drink, although I thought the combination was a touch on the rich side. Tanqueray themselves suggest a 50/50 mix of Prosecco and soda water and the result is simply spot-on – fantastic for afternoon sipping.

In Conclusion
Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla has brought the orange gin of old right up to the 21st century, dusted it off and significantly improved it. The spirit is nuanced and complex with plenty to explore. My favourite drink was drinking it with soda water – straightforward to put together, but absolutely superb.

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla is available for around £30 for 70cl from Master of Malt, 31 Dover, and The Whisky Exchange.

*The label also states that it uses other natural flavourings and colourings.

Cocktails with… Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Last week, DTS & I were lucky enough to go on a long overdue trip back to The Cotswolds Distillery to celebrate the recent release of their Cotwolds Single Malt Whisky, which has been patiently maturing in a combination of reconditioned red wine casks and first-fill ex-Bourbon casks.

The distillery, set in the hypnotically peaceful countryside of the Cotswolds, was founded in 2014 and have produced an award-winning gin, along with a range of other products like their Spirited Sherry, 1616 Barrel Aged Gin, and a Summer Cup. All the while, though, they have been distilling new make spirit and filling barrels in preparation for a whisky, and their first release is finally here. Although the inaugural release has sold out, a limited number of bottles will be available for Christmas and we were able to purchase a bottle at the Distillery shop, which we eagerly took home and tried out in a few different serves.

Cotswolds Single Malt whisky

On its own

Nose: Beautifully fruity notes of banana with toffee and caramel (or porridge oats with honey and banana), and a richness reminiscent of whipped cream. After a while, notes of pineapple upside-down cake and a dash of marzipan develop, along with hints of red berries that quickly transform into notes of red grapes, especially the skins.

Taste: Given the fruity nose, I was initially surprised – not unpleasantly so – to find that the palate starts out with distinct notes of cereal and grain. This grows more complex as herbal and spice notes develop, accompanied by fruity wood flavours and hints of charred wood, too.

Finish: Delightful fruit notes return on the finish, with notes of banana bread and pineapple cream that gradually fade into clean oak with a dash of black pepper.

On our visit, we were also able to try some of the unaged new make spirit, which was fascinating. Not only was it a brilliant spirit on its own, but it was great to see where the whisky’s fundamental character started and how much of that comes from the local barley.

Cotswolds New Make

Sweet and fruity with lots of pineapple, banana, cream and light caramel notes – this is almost rum-like in character. The palate is ruled by the barley notes, which are smooth, but develop neatly onto the finish, taking on more of a chewy cereal flavour.

The fruitiness of the new make spirit is partially down to the yeast used in the fermentation process. Cotswolds use two types of yeast: Anchor, and a second variety, Fermentis, which results in more tropical fruit flavours and aromas.

On the Rocks

We quickly discovered that one of our favourite ways to drink this – and a perfect serve for a summer evening – was over ice. The richer caramel flavours are less prominent, but remain on the mouthfeel, making this a dryer drink. Notes of oak are accompanied by more herbal flavours at the start, before making way for notes from the barley.

Cotswolds Single MAlt whiksy - on the rocks

Whisky Ginger

Delicious, confectionery notes of caramelised banana, creamy vanilla and toffee that fade into sweet ginger. With additional sips, hints of red apple and grape become intermingled amongst smooth cereal flavours, reminiscent of a spiced caramel apple betty. This is an indulgent Whisky Ginger full of rich flavours, but is impressively balanced by a more woody and grain focused finish.

Whisky Soda

For those who prefer a dryer long drink, this would be a good choice. Dry, but creamy notes of chocolate come through to start, followed by salted caramel. More tropical fruit flavours then appear, ensuring that this doesn’t become astringent, before a light, but luxurious finish of banana and toffee (particularly, Toffo sweets).

Rob Roy

This works well, with the whisky’s richness and sweet fruit and caramel notes neatly highlighted by the red fruit and herbal notes of the vermouth. The whisky’s toffee and cereal notes also come through well, despite the strong flavours of this cocktail, before a very dry, woody and particularly herbal finish that lingers pleasantly on the palate. This would work well as either an aperitif or a digestif.

In Conclusion

As we toured the distillery, it struck me that the Cotswolds team had used a fascinating combination of traditional expertise – learning from people who have been in the industry for decades – and their own experimentation to produce their whisky, not being afraid to do things a little differently if they preferred the spirit that it produced.

They focused on producing a great new make spirit that captured the flavour of their local barley and the result is a lively, flavourful whisky that is fun and tastes great. Highly recommended.

  • Mrs. B

Our 70cl bottle from the Distillery shop cost £44.95. If you’d like to keep an eye on the availability of Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, you can do so on their website or at Master of Malt.

Cocktails with… Encyclopedia Britannica Gin 1902

For my recent research into Old Tom Gin, I have visited the British Library to inspect some manuscripts first hand. Whilst looking at the 1902 version of Encyclopedia Britannica, I came across a recipe for gin. Given the ubiquity of the book, it is likely that the recipe represents something that is typical of the time.

After giving the recipe to a distiller friend, I was fortunate enough to taste a sample of gin made to this century-old recipe; here are my findings.

On its own
Nose: Complex and rich, with hints of chocolate wafers and brandy spice, plus just a touch of citrus. Unique.
Taste: This has a superb texture with a richness that is normally associated with high-end aged spirits. Strong notes of coriander come through, with a bright, citrus spice that is followed by hints of menthol pepper and resinous juniper. In the middle, there is a rich creaminess of sweet vanilla and notes of chocolate with a definite cakey element to them, making the flavour reminiscent of pain au chocolat.

Gin & Tonic
This gin works surprisingly well, with malty coriander and a citrus sweetness to it. There are definitely some elements of genever with bready, grain notes that are quite subtle, but noticeable. The finish, which lasts for a long time, has a dry bitterness to it.

Martini
Very clean, like a shard of ice, this is cooling with a little sharpness. This cocktail is just what a Martini should be – surprisingly so, given the high amount of coriander in the mix, but very good nonetheless.

Negroni
Very floral upfront, with vanilla, citrus, and the flowery spice notes of coriander shining through. There’s then a little sweetness from the vermouth, before a partnership of intensity between the gin and the Campari. The finish is a lovely mix of earthy bitterness and juicy fruitiness.

In Conclusion
It is fascinating to try a recipe that has been widely published in such a mainstream book as the Encyclopedia Britannica. What was equally fascinating was its less than typical flavour profile and how it was, in many ways, closer to some modern contemporary gins, whilst, at the same time, having more than a whiff of genever about it. Perhaps this is an early genever?

Cocktails with… Old Sport Dry Gin – from Greece!

Bottled at 42.0% ABV Old Sport Gin is made at the Callicounis Distillery, situated in Kalamata on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece. The gin is made using:

Juniper
Angelica
Coriander
Lemon
Bitter Orange
Orris
Liquorice
Cardamom
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Rosemary

And Mastiha, a local botanical. Mastiha is the resin of the Mastic trees native to Chios, a Greek island off the east coast of Turkey. Mastiha has a pine and cedar flavour when chewed.

Old Sport Gin Greece FINAL

On its own
Nose: A sweet nose with hints of liquorice, caraway, and coriander.
Taste: Old Sport is a relatively sweet gin with complex spice notes: caraway, fennel, anise, liquorice, cassia, and nutmeg. These flavours are all followed by a little pepper, orris, and dry, herbal notes. There’s a touch of juniper and angelica on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Herbaceous, with some maltiness and sweet spice: cassia, fennel, anise, cardamom, and nutmeg. This exotic flavour profile then makes way for a more traditional, dry finish of juniper and angelica. Complex and refreshing.

Martini
This cocktail has a good level of salinity that makes the drink rousing to the appetite. This is followed by a delicate mix of ginger, anise, and cinnamon. This has great food-matching potential.

Negroni
Soft, with notes of cinnamon spice and sweet anise. This is a sweeter-than-usual Negroni with a little citrus bitterness on the finish.

In Conclusion
It is rather unusual to find a gin from Greece, and it is something that I have been waiting for about ten years. Thankfully, Old Sport did not disappoint. Its rich, spicy notes make it a fun companion for a selection of small tapas-like snacks such as olives or seasoned nuts, as well as a great way to try slightly different versions of tried-and-tested cocktails. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic.

Cocktails with… Whittaker’s Gin

Today’s review has a special focus on one distillery: Harrogate Distillery and their award-winning gin brand, Whittaker’s. The distillery was started by Jane and Toby Whittaker in 2015 and is based in Nidderdale, Yorkshire. Whilst only two years old, the distillery has already released an exciting selection of gins.

Whittakers Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Original (42.0% ABV)

A classic and smooth gin made with neutral grain spirit and a botanical mix that includes:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Lemon
Hawthorne Berries
Bilberries
Bog Myrtle
Garden Thyme

On its own
Nose: An intense, botanical nose that bursts forth from the glass. There is a vibrant mix of juniper and pine notes, from juicy berries and crisp pine needles to fragrant notes of blossom.
Taste: This gin has a lovely, dry flavour with just a touch of sweetness at the end. It has an excellent texture: very smooth with minimal heat – just enough to to add boldness to the flavour profile. Rich and complex juniper notes are complemented by citrus, warm spice, and then fruity berry notes that add both that slight sweetness and also a little tartness and zing. The finish is long and lingering. All-in-all, this is a classic gin that has its own distinguishing flair – delicious!

Gin & Tonic
Beautiful resinous juniper upfront, adding a bright “sparkle” to this drink from the start. A little citrus follows, then the fruity notes of dried berries. A balanced and exceptionally refreshing drink.

Martini
This Martini is wonderfully bright, with beautiful pine and juniper notes – crisp and fragrant – that make the cocktail really sing. Dryer flavours follow, working well alongside the powerful juniper, before a touch of more fruity notes on the finish.

Negroni
Exceptionally smooth. Again, beautifully rich juniper notes come through, bringing with them hints of citrus and coriander. These are followed by a fruity tartness from the berries, which makes this an unusual Negroni, but are also a fantastic addition. Finishing up, this cocktail keeps its classic, mellow bittersweetness.

Whittakers Navy Gin FINAL

Whittakers Navy Strength (57.0% ABV)

A higher ABV version of their original gin with the same botanical mix, but a slight adjustment of the botanical balance.

On its own
Nose: Earthy, with a light, sweet florality.
Taste: Very resinous: the juniper absolutely bursts through in this gin, which helps to give you a full appreciation of the berry: from its lighter, floral notes all the way through to deep, soapy cedar.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
A particularly herbal Gin & Tonic with bready notes before a biscuity spice and hints of coriander. Jammy berry notes then develop, before a dry finish that makes this a bold and yet thoroughly refreshing drink.

Martini
Bold and very zesty, with bright, deep, and resinous notes of cedar and juniper. The floral finish is long and lingering, neatly balancing and complementing that juniper. This is a powerful example of a classic Gin Martini; one that should be served very cold and, because of its great sippability, enjoyed sparingly.

Negroni
A citrus and coriander-forward Negroni with a great level of zestiness. This has a perfect intensity of flavour and would make a good aperitif.

Whittakers Clearly Sloe Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Clearly Sloe

A modern take on the sloe gin. Sloe berries are infused or macerated in the Whittaker’s Original Gin for six months, before the liquid is redistilled with a little liquorice. The resultant gin retains much of the character of the sloes, but none of the colour. Unlike most sloe gins, it is unsweetened.

On its own
Nose: A fantastic nose full of the rich, slightly tart notes of the sloe berry coming through, along with more jammy berry notes and an aromatic nuttiness.
Taste: Sloe berry comes through again on the palate, along with deep, resinous juniper notes. A little sweetness from the fruit followed, accompanied by a touch of marzipan. This is an absolutely superb spirit and a great example of a distilled sloe gin.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
The sloe berry flavours shine through: sweet and jammy with just a little tartness, followed by light, floral almond flavours and a fresh, citrus finish.

Martini
This is a superb cocktail that tastes just like an extra dry sloe gin: bold and resinous juniper to start, which develops into the bright stone fruit flavours of the berries. Delicious!

Negroni
The sloe berries really shine through in this cocktail – there is a lovely combination of the dry fruitiness and sweet almond & marzipan, all with a restrained bitterness. This is a totally different take on the Negroni, but a fantastic one.

In Conclusion

Whittaker’s have crafted a superb selection of gins with significant range, whilst keeping an apparent house-style. The imaginations of Toby and Jane really come through in their products and, whilst I enjoy all of the spirits, I always find myself drawn back to their original London Dry Gin.

If you want to try the full range, including their contemporary Pink Particular Gin, I can heartily recommend the gift pack of four 20cl bottles available on their website:
https://www.whittakersgin.com/shop/product/36378/Whittaker039-s-Gin-4-x-20cl-Gift-Pack/