Earlier this year, I wrote about orange gin, a long-lost cocktail ingredient made by Gordon’s (amongst others). I even had a go at [making my own recreation]. At one time, flavoured gins were all the rage, from common flavours such as orange and lemon, to the more outlandish and whacky likes of maple, celery and even asparagus!
The last orange gins were snuffed out in the 1990s, with Beefeater and Bloomsbury being among the last to go, although it is still possible to buy bottle of Bloomsbury for a pretty reasonable price.
As a result, I was pretty excited to see a bottle of the new Chase Orange Gin on a recent trip to Graphic Bar, whose gin selection is the biggest in London, if not the UK.
Although made differently, the Orange Gin follows on from Chase’s success with their Marmalade Vodka. The difference between the two is that the vodka is distilled with orange peel, whereas the gin is infused with orange peel after distillation; this maturation time is determined by taste (tested every half hour) and can vary from 8 to 24 hours.
The gin itself is in the same style as the Williams Crisp Gin in that it is made from cider apples, but the botanical mix is different; the 9 botanicals of Chase Seville Orange Gin are:
1) On its own
Nose: Dry to start, then packed with sweet, fruity notes like a luscious hot cross bun. There’s a distinctive hint of sweet seville peel, too.
Taste: This is a smooth gin, with a tiny hint of sweetness and only a little warmth builds towards the end. The prominent taste is of sweet seville orange peel, rather like marmalade. There’s also a long, dry finish. Quite excellent and most sippable.
2) Gin & Tonic
Lovely – the dryness of the gin and the bitterness of the tonic are laced with the deep, jammy and slightly sweet flavour of seville orange peel (or marmalade, if you prefer). No garnish is needed for this tasty drink, which would be such a treat for summer. Outstanding.
Excellent – lots of zesty orange a touch of fragrance and a hint of spice. This is very crisp and very, very tasty and, unlike many other orange gins, Chase Seville Orange is not too sweet, which makes it a good fit in a Dry Martini.
This is a really nice Negroni. The gin shines through with, obviously, plenty of orange, but the marmalade aspects of the gin are somewhat subdued. Balanced and not too bitter, this has a rather charming, chocolatey finish. This produces a Negroni that’s a little bit different and performs that difficult feat of both converting some anti-Negroni folks (Mrs. B liked it) and pleasing traditionalists.
5) Sweet Martini
This drink is full of flavour, with the orange marmalade notes shining through. There are also great herbal notes, with a dry, juniper finish. Raising to the appetite, this could be the perfect drink to impress arriving guests with before dinner.
I also decided to try it out in a couple of classic Orange Gin recipes.
6) Classic #1: Comet
[30ml Orange Gin, 30ml Lillet Blanc, 2 drops Maraschino – STIR]
Dryer than a usual Comet, but just as tasty, this is clean, crisp and another excellent pre-dinner drink. The orange notes of the Lillet complement the orange in the gin well.
7) Classic #2: Moulin Rouge
[30ml Orange Gin, 10ml AB, 3 drops of Gran – STIR]
This is probably THE Orange Gin cocktail (if there is such a thing); a simple and short drink. With Chase Seville, the drinks is crisp yet with some berry sweetness and a spicy note a nice sipper as an after dinner tipple.
Finally I wanted to try out the gin’s seasonable effectiveness so tried it out in a drink for each season:
8) Autumn Buck
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, top-up with ginger ale – STIR]
Ginger upfront, followed by zesty, jammy notes of orange. There’s a dash of ginger wine or ginger liqueur, which makes it more warming without taking away the citric refreshment. Rather good, with a good amount of juniper, too.
9) Winter Toddy
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 15ml Lemon Juice, 15ml Honey, 80ml Hot Water]
This is a warming and comforting drink. It is important to not overdo the lemon juice, as there is a obviously a fair amount of orange from the gin. You can also get creative with the garnish: I used star anise, but a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, some cloves or orange would do just as well.
10) Spring Collins
[40ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 20ml Elderflower Cordial, 20ml lemon juice – Top Up with Soda Water]
Crisp and zesty, with tangy orange and sweet elderflower notes, all signing off with a pleasantly tart finish. There’s a little bit of floral, too, making this quite light and refreshing, just like Spring.
11) Summer Sour
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 30ml Lemon Juice, 30ml Sugar Syrup – Build over Ice and Stir ]
This is lovely; very, very crisp and clean. The flavour is of the gin initially, followed by the rich, sweet orange notes. This is a short drink, but bursting with freshness. It would make a lovely, late afternoon drink to enjoy outside.
I think I’ve demonstrated the excellent versatility of the Chase Seville Orange Gin, using it in drinks from crisp coolers to winter warmers. Having a little experience with the orange gins of old, I think that this product brings the idea bang up-to-date and – importantly – gives people the choice to add extra sugar or not. The lack of sugar is also a sign of the quality of distillation and a note of distinction between spirits in the 21st Century, compared to those of the early 20th Century.