Cocktails with… Knockeen Hills Heather Gin

Today is the first day of Spring and, to celebrate, I thought that today’s Gin Review (of Knockeen Hills Heather Gin) should feature some suitably seasonal drinks.

Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is from the same folks that make Knockeen Hills Poteen; I’m sure a fair amount of that was enjoyed last Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day). They also make an Elderflower Gin.

The Heather Gin was first released in 2009 and is bottled at 47.3% ABV. The Elderflower Gin (and the one I reviewed) was originally bottled at the same strength, but this has recently been reduced to 43% in order to bring out more of the elderflower flavour and result in a tastier product overall.

Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is made at Thames Distillery and contains four botanicals:


From the botanical mix, you can see that the gin is not simply flavoured with heather, but rather that heather is a prominent botanical (after juniper, of course).

Although this initially has a strong juniper flavour, this gin is actually much smoother and more mellow than many, certainly in a G&T. Some fruitiness then develops towards the end, accompanied by a hint of floral notes. Although it is quite light, it is also rather dry.

Gin Tonica

This a Spanish style of G&T; a nod to Knockeen Hills’ popularity in Spain. The Gin & Tonic was served in a large balloon glass filled with cracked ice and garnished with some crushed juniper berries; one berry had also been run around the rim.

After a little while, the outside of the glass becomes heavily frosted, which I quite like.
As for the drink, it is delicious: the garnish brings out the juniper of the gin, producing something of a super-charged G&T. Despite this, it had the same light dryness as the normal G&T.

007 Gin & Tonic
(From Dr. No)
[Juice of one lime + shells, 50ml Gin, will with ice, top up with tonic]
A nice combination, complex and full of flavour. This a crisp and cooling drink, the lime comes through more an also the very faintest hint of vanilla. This drink is a great way to relax and cool down.

Knockeen’s Pink Lemonade
[50ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 150ml Pink Lemonade*]
Add ingredients to a tall glass with plenty of ice and garnish with citrus fruit slices.
The tart lemonade goes well with the strong juniper and slightly floral aspect of the gin, creating a drink that is clean, crisp and oh-so refreshing. Definitely a taste of the summer drinks to come.

Grapefruit Fizz
[25ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 25ml Grapefruit Juice, 25ml Sugar Syrup, 100ml Soda Water]
Very refreshing; less zing and tart than a normal Gin Collins, but still full of citrus, with a hint of bitterness from the grapefruit. Grapefruit and gin are usually good partners and this drink is no exception.

Kiwi Kooler
[30ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, Half a Kiwi, 1/2tsp Sugar]
Muddle half a peeled kiwi in the bottom of a shaker, add gin and sugar, shake and fine-strain.
Initially, you get the gin, which is followed by the sweet, succulent kiwi. The dry juniper reappears on the finish. Some floral elements pop up throughout, but I thought this was quite a tart drink, overall.

Pretty classic to start: juniper, coriander, and citrus, all followed by herbal heather notes.

Rather tasty; a little smoother, sweeter and more floral than most Negronis, but rather tasty nonetheless.

50ml Sugar
100ml Lemon Juice
500ml Water
A Handful of Red Berries

Combine ingredients in a jug and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Make sure that you muddle or crush the strawberries/raspberries/cranberries whilst straining.
Refrigerate overnight.
Before drinking/bottling, strain out the berries.

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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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