Cocktails with… Savier’s Artisan & Juniper Gin

After a chance encounter at the gin junction (the centre of London’s gin world), aka the Graphic Bar, Monday found myself and Mr Hartley attending a rendezvous on a roof terrace in Kings Cross. Byron of the Gabriel Collective brought along some beer and tequila from South Africa for us to try, as well as some gin from The Savier Spirits Company.

The two bottles of gin that we tried were exceptionally new (batch 001) and I think they may be the only bottles in the country (this often claimed, but in this particular case I’m pretty sure it was true).

Mr Hartley enjoys a glass of Savier Gin on a rooftop in Kings Cross

The Savier Organic Spirits Company is based in South Africa and they make a Cocoa Vodka, a Plain Vodka, an Artisan Gin, and a Juniper Gin. The gins are made to a secret recipe in the USA (maybe North Carolina*) and are then shipped over and bottled in South Africa. Both Gins have been certified organic for USDA National Organic Program by the C.C.O.F.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “What is a Juniper Gin?”. After all, surely all gins are Juniper Gins? Well, yes, all gin, by definition, has to taste of juniper, but the Juniper Gin is more than that: it is the product of macerating some of the Artisan Gin in fresh juniper berries. This produces a slightly cloudy drink, the colour of light cloudy apple juice.

Artisan Gin
Originally I thought this had quite a quiet nose, but gradually it seems to open up, particularly with the addition of water: notes of juniper, coriander and some herbs – perhaps fennel – are accompanied by a flavour that reminded me of salad or cucumber.

This was a very fresh gin and after few sips the cucumber became quite pronounced there was also a good portion of juniper. In this way it reminded me of both Miller’s and Hendrick’s Gin. There was a slight sweetness too, but the predominate taste was juniper; this is a gin that has slightly stepped away from the growing trend of creating sweet and floral gins.

This drink had notes of sweet citrus, juniper and pine. There was also some fennel or anis. It had a very fresh finish, with that slight hint of cucumber or green salad coming through at the end. Very refreshing; a great cooler.

The Artisan Gin Martini was really packed full of flavour: juniper, coriander and a fresh crispness at the end. Frankly, this is the best new Martini I’ve had in a while.

Gin Bump
The gin is still well-pronounced in the drink, with the same freshness as you get in the Gin & Tonic; the slight difference is that there is a touch of sweet ginger at the end. I used Waitrose Ginger Ale, which is not too sweet, but I think some of the sicklier brands of mixer would be too much alongside gin and would ruin the drink.

This was a moderately crisp, but rather smooth cocktail. The two dominant flavours were juniper and lime, which, for some gin traditionalists, is as it should be. For me, I think it makes an excellent drink, with the cucumber-like element adding a touch of freshness right at the end.

OK, pretty subtle and could do with a touch more flavour to my mind.
White Lady
Absolutely superb, citrus, juniper, sweet & tart and so beautifully rounded. One of the best I’ve had.

Very sweet initially, before the bitterness of the Campari approaches. For those that don’t like Campari, I fear that this one will not be for you, but if you like the flavour profile of a Campari Soda, with the sweet followed by bitterness, try this. As I continue to drink it, it grew on me and I think it was actually pretty darn good.

Juniper Gin
On its own, the Juniper Gin was quite subtle and, although there was additional juniper, it wasn’t over-powering. Overall, this was very soft and pleasant to drink on its own.

We also tried the Juniper Gin after it had been chilled in a freezer. It had a slightly syrupy texture, but was nonetheless quite pleasant to sip from the freezer on its own, in the same way you would a good-quality and flavourful vodka.

Slightly cloudy, almost louched, this G&T was very strong on the juniper with some coriander and citrus at the back. It was also slightly sweet and less crisp than most Gin & Tonics; quite soft. It had a more simple flavour than the Artisan & Tonic.

This was, again, cloudy, which is very unusual for a Martini, but I was quickly distracted from this by a really heavy hit of the juniper. There was a lot of warmth from the alcohol. A little “rough and ready” as Martinis go, but good nonetheless.

Gin Bump
The Gin Bump was very much to my taste: there was a good amount of juniper with a touch of bitterness and ginger, followed by a touch of sweetness. Served with lots of ice, this is just great.

A good drink, but the flavours were less defined then they would usually be in this drink. That said, it does have a soft warmth, which is uncommon for a Gimlet.

OK, pretty subtle and could do with a touch more flavour to my mind.
White Lady
Smooth and delicious, heavy citrus and juniper a very flavour intense drink and rather good. Top notch.

First you get the gin, then (very stongly) the vermouth and, finally, the Campari; there was a nice flavour progression, but, once again, the flavours seem a bit muddied.

In Conclusion

It was real treat to try these and the Artisan Gin is a good quality product which doesn’t deviate too far from tradition and is certainly a Gin to be mixed. This is against the rise of more “sippable gins” that have been brought out into the market, which sometimes tend to be lost when cocktail making.

But the real gem in the Juniper Gin, I think innovation is good and this was an experiment was worth trying. I’ve never seen gin made like this before (if you have please let me know!). the fresh Juniper does add a very juicy element and is surprisingly not too overpowering in terms of Juniper.

On “my travels”  I offered samples of the Gin (neat) to about a dozen different folk and the majority preferred the Juniper Gin but it is when it is mixed that the Artisan really comes into it’s own.

Cocktail highlights for the artisan Gin were the White Lady, Martini and Gin & Tonic.

My thanks to Byron for providing us with these samples and conducting such an enjoyable tasting.

*After further research I am not 100% certain that this is actually the case.

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About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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