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… www.summerfruitcup.com Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

Fever-Tree Pre-mixed Gin and Tonics

Every year there seems to be a new “pocket of gin” that distillers and brands turn their attention to. This year, it’s time for the pre-mixed Gin & Tonic to grab the spotlight. 2019 has already seen releases from Sipsmith and Chilgrove (both very good) and now Fever-Tree have thrown their hat into the ring with three premixed (ready-to-drink) expressions.

Fever-Tree Premix

As the bottles’ labels describe them as “targeting picnic and party occasions”, I shall be chilling the bottles down and drinking directly from them, as you would if you were out-and-about.

All three products come in 275ml screw-cap glass bottles and have a strength of 6.3% ABV. They are currently selling for £2.75 each in Tesco (although at the time of printing they are part of their 4 for 3 deal). Here are my thoughts.

1) Premium Indian Gin & Tonic – with juniper-forward gin
This has a high level of fizz, which is always magnified by drinking from the bottle, and the juniper comes through well. This is followed by bright citrus and some lighter floral elements of rose. All-in-all, rather refreshing.

Ingredients: Carbonated Spring Water, Sugar, Gin, Citric Acid, Natural Flavourings including Quinine.
Energy per 100ml: 287kJ/69kcal

2) Elderflower – Fresh and Floral – with lightly floral gin
I actually prefer the more modest level of fizz of this one in comparison to the Indian Tonic. There are notes of sweet elderflower to start, with hints of rose and chamomile, too. This is less classic and, in a sense, less “ginny”, but then that’s to be expected when using a flavoured tonic. It is a really nice approximation of a gin and Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic – very good, indeed.

Ingredients: Carbonated Spring Water, Sugar, Gin, Elderflower, Citric Acid, Natural Flavourings including Quinine.
Energy per 100ml: 277kJ/66kcal

3) Refreshingly Light – with juniper-forward gin
Whilst noticeably lighter in flavour profile, this nonetheless has a decent amount of gin flavour, making it somewhat reminiscent of a mix of tonic water and soda water. Notably clean and crisp, this is, to my mind, the most refreshing of the bunch.

Ingredients: Carbonated Spring Water, Gin, Fructose, Citric Acid, Natural Flavourings including Quinine.
Energy per 100ml: 201kJ/48kcal (About a 30.0% reduction compared to the other two)

Overall I think the full range are of good quality and are helping to improve the overall reputation for pre-mixed gin and tonics. I found them a bit fizzy straight away but after a minute they are perfectly quaffable.Fever-Tree Premix

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Hayman’s Gin and Tonic Glasses & Hopped Gin

Readers of Gin Magazine may have seen my recent article appraising a range of different Gin & Tonic glasses, looking at what worked and what could be done better. It was rather serendipitous, therefore, when the results of Hayman’s latest project arrived last week! Today, I’m taking a look at the Hayman’s Gin & Tonic Glass.

Haymans Bumper Tonic Box

A long tall glass, similar to a hi-ball or Collins glass, it has a slight concave in the middle, which makes it easier to hold, and has a solid bottom and a thin lip. The glass is inspired by a 19th Century design found in the family archives.

In my experience, everyone has their favourite type of glass: copa, tumbler, hi-ball; people tend to love one or two and hate others. Personally, I’m quite a fan of all of those previously mentioned, but the Hayman’s glass is the best version of a hi-ball glass that I’ve come across and is simply a delight to drink from.

Not only does it allow the flavour and aromas of the drink to burst forth, it also has a luxurious, “special occasion” feel to it, aided by the elegant decoration, including a subtle “H” so that you know that it’s Hayman’s.

I’ve given this glass to various guests over the past week or so and it’s been a hit with all of them, which reflected my own experience: when I first opened the box, I pretty much didn’t drink out of anything else (except for tea) for 24 hours.

Hayman’s Gin and Tonic Glasses are available for a very reasonable £6 a glass (+p&p) from the Hayman’s Website.

But wait there’s more….

Hayman’s Hopped Gin

A new limited edition gin from Hayman’s, this is a Bartender Release made in collaboration with Jordan Sweeney of the Wigmore Tavern at the Langham Hotel in London. Jordan won the “Hayman’s True Taste Competition 2018” and the prize was a five-day distilling apprenticeship with Master Distiller Christopher Hayman and Distiller Sam Pembridge.

Haymans Hopped Gin

During this time, Jordan created this gin at Hayman’s. It is made using a base botanical mix of the ten classic Hayman’s botanicals, to which he added Golding and Fuggle Hops and Grapefruit Peel. Hops used to be a very popular ingredient in gin and were often used in the fabled Hollands Gin of old.
On its own
Nose: Citrus and chocolate with light hopped notes. Elegant and fragrant.
Taste: An excellent texture: so thick and viscous with a hint of oiliness. Once again, there are notes of chocolate and citrus – in particular grapefruit – then the flavour of fresh, green hops develop, followed by black pepper and resinous juniper.

Gin & Tonic
Soft and citrusy with the occasional whisper of hops that adds a green, leafy complexity and a light bitterness to the drink, all of which pairs well with the tonic. A wedge of ruby grapefruit is an obvious garnish choice here.

Martini
A particularly elegant way to enjoy the gin; it’s almost as if it’s a Martini served in a glass that has had a beer schnapps rinse. It has great body and harks back to the early days of the Martini.

Negroni
A punchy Negroni that’s full of character. The hops really power through the other ingredients, adding intensity and depth to the cocktail’s bitterness. Nonetheless, there is a lovely synergy and balance between the ingredients. Definitely a Negroni for the hard core fans.

Salty Dog
A great, but simple combination. The ruby grapefruit really brings out the floral hoppy notes in the gin, creating a refreshing drink with a gentle kick. Just superb.

Hayman’s Hopped Gin is available from the Hayman’s Website priced at around £39 for a 70cl bottle.

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.

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… 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.