Cocktails with… Hammer Gin from Norway

I’ve been aware of Hammer Gin from Norway for a little while, so I was excited to recently try it. Launched within the Norwegian Market in 2003, Hammer Gin is made near Oslo, Norway by Arcus, who currently operate the only distillery in the country. The Gin’s recipe is originally from England and dates back to 1776.

Hammer uses water from springs in Hadeland near Oslo. This water is said to be filtered and purified by the sedimentary rock minerals in the air. These rock formations are estimated to be over 300 million years old. Hammer uses a double distillation process, as well as a special filtration system, to achieve the best flavours from its botanicals.

The Taste

#1) Own
Nose: A classic London Dry; there are notes of juniper and coriander, with a little violet.
Taste: Pleasantly smooth, the prominent flavour is classic, with juniper, coriander and a little angelica at the forefront.  Long dry finish from the juniper.

#2) Gin & Tonic
This is a great example of a Gin & Tonic: there were some bitter-fresh notes from the juniper and citrus, with a little pine in the mix, too. Extremely refreshing and a great way to enjoy the gin.

#3) Martini
Very, very smooth. I used a 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth, which achieves a nice balance. The flavour is a subtle mix of juniper, coriander and a very light hint of cinnamon on the finish. Full of flavour and easy to drink.

#4) Tom Collins
Quite tasty; it is not uncommon for a gin to be lost in a Collins, but Hammer Gin holds its own and can be easily tasted. Full of flavour, the gin works well with the citrus from the lemon juice.

#5) Gin Buck
A simple, but effective way to cool down on a hot late afternoon and a delicious way to quench your thirst. There’s a pleasant interaction between citrus juice, gin and the sweet warmth of the ginger ale. I like this an alternative to a Gin & Tonic.

#6) Basil Smash
Fresh notes of green salad from the basil went very well with the citrus and herbal notes of the gin. The lemon juice and sugar syrup add some depth to drink, but it maintains its balance nonetheless. A very approachable way to enjoy the gin.

#7) Gin Sour
This is, essentially, a compact Collins and with Hammer Gin it was tart, but it also rather rousing and would make a good pre-dinner cocktail. Exceptionally refreshing, with a finish reminiscent of fruit salad.

Jungle Juice

Jungle Juice

#8) Jungle Juice
A variation on the Moscow Mule it comes from T.E Carlings 1951 “Complete Book of Drink” his recipe calls for:

“a nip of gin, a nip of lime juice, add ice top up with ginger beer”

Delicious, fizz warmth, spice and sweetness from the Hartirdges Ginger Beer balanced out by the lime and the juniper of the gin. This really cools you down and is a pleasure to drink. For this drink my “nip equated to 25ml.

In Conclusion

I was really pleased to be able to try Hammer Gin and it’s great to experience a superb example of the London Dry style of Gin that was made outside of the UK. Albeit still to a British recipe. This gin will do well in any of the classic dry gin drinks – Gimlets, G&T and Martinis and these were some of my favourites. I also have a new found fondness for the Jungle Juice.

This entry was posted in World of Gin and tagged , , , by DTS. Bookmark the permalink.

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.

6 thoughts on “Cocktails with… Hammer Gin from Norway

  1. I almost can’t believe this is actually any good. Usually the spirits of these ‘monopolist’ companies fall short as localized copies. Like supermarket cola to true Coke.

    Perhaps I will look twice at the Hammer bottles next time. It is cheaper than the British gins too, reinforcing my impression of this as our Norwegian ‘Aldi gin’.

    • Hey Jelly,

      Thanks for the comment, I have a little knowledge of Arcus from researching this article. But given it’s rarity in the UK it seems quite rare and boutique here; an interesting comparison. The various folks I’ve given it to have been impressed with it (although I’ve not yet given it to Gin’s most scathing critic) as a no-nonsense London Dry Style.

      If you do try it, please let us know what you think.

  2. The nose straight from the bottle top.. to me it is all Tanqueray. Really, it smells just like Tanqueray does out of the bottle.

    Neat, I quite like it. I don’t usually drink gin this way, but the taste isn’t bad. Very classic, the way a gin should be.

    G&T (with regular Euro Schweppes, nothing else available) – something’s happened. it reminds me of Tanqueray here too, but it is less citrusy than Tanqueray. It’s more of a one-note biter. It seems almost like a combination of juniper bite and plain alcohol burn.

    All in all, I’m not that convinced.. but it might just be me having a preference to the earthy Plymouth style. I love the spicy, tasty aftertaste after every sip of G&T with Plymouth. Other gins have aftertaste, sure, but it’s not as long, as interesting or as pleasant as the Plymouth aftertaste.

    • Never mind. The alcohol burn, no idea what I did. Same proportions. It’s far tastier now that I’m halfway down the bottle. Spicy, but more of a pepper than the earthy spice of Plymouth. I like it. I prefer it to Tanqueray now.

  3. Great to hear Jellydonut. I never ceased to be amazed at how different a spirit can taste to me day by day.
    I’ve just got hold of GoldenCock Old Tom, have you tried that?

    • Nope. My list is very short:
      1st: Gordon’s, in a couple of gin and tonics. First and last time I drank Gordon’s, it’s definitely not bad (heck, it got me started) but it’s just.. nothing special. No reason to buy it over any others. Not when gins like this one are actually cheaper than Gordon’s!
      2nd; Tanqueray. I was sold on the marketing, the ‘vapor infusion’ process, and convinced it was better. I quite liked it but it seems almost like it’s harsher than most?!
      3rd; Bombay Sapphire. I remember liking it at first, but with perspective I find that it’s not as tasty as the others.
      4th; Plymouth. I love this gin. I’ve said enough about it before, so I won’t repeat myself :p
      5th; G’Vine Floraison. This gin is weird. I don’t think I like the ‘floral’ aspect. (or perhaps its the grape spirit base?) It’s a bit like drinking perfume, and its a bit sickly. It’s a very well made gin, just not to my taste unfortunately.
      6th Hammer. Yes, you observe correctly, I haven’t even had Beefeater yet. I am but a poor student. Next year I will have an ostentatiously stocked spirits cabinet, not to worry. ^_^

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