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.

Cocktails with… Mombasa Club Gin

There are a number of gins that are produced in the UK, but are then directly transported and so are not available for purchase in their country of origin. Mombasa Club is one such gin, which is produced by Thames Distillers and is exported to Spain.

Mombasa Club is bottled at 41.5% ABV .

There is also a Mombasa Club Reserve, which is bottled at 43.5%ABV.

photo

Mombasa Club Gin – thanks to Nicholas for the picture

 

On its own
Nose: Bright juniper and spice, with cumin and dry cinnamon.
Taste: This is a spiced gin, but not one that is too intense or deviates too far from gin’s classic style. A well-rounded spirit with dry notes of juniper, angelica, and a little citrus coriander.

Gin & Tonic
A lovely Gin & Tonic: refreshing, airy, and rather classic, but with dry spice in background; in particular, cumin and ginger.

Martini
Delightfully clean and smooth, with notes of juniper, citrus, and a pleasant spiced element. Again, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin come through; subtle, but notable.

Negroni
This makes for a cocktail with a good, strong flavour. It is dry, but has a little, subtle spice to it, which is followed by a powerful finish. There’s a fair bit of bitterness, but it’s accompanied by a pleasant freshness.

In Conclusion
Mombasa is a full and spicy gin that adds great character to the drinks that is mixed in, as well as a smooth freshness. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.

Cocktails with… Gordon’s Castle Gin

Gordons Castle Gin FINAL

Gordon’s Castle Gin is inspired by the walled garden at Gordon Castle estate in Moray, Scotland, although it is made at the Timbermill Distillery in London. As a result, its botanicals include: mint, lavender, and gooseberries. The gin is bottled at 43.0% ABV.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Juniper, coriander, citrus, and an earthy spiciness with a hint of nutty chocolate.
Taste: This gin has a smooth texture. There is a touch of vanilla, followed by juicy citrus, juniper, and a little menthol pepper on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Just like the gin served neat, this is another classic drink: dry and fresh, with a hint of citrus. The notable dryness is accompanied by a pleasant crispness, whilst the gin works well with no garnish either lemon or lime would work well, I think I’d go with the former.

Martini
Clean and crisp, with a dry finish. This has a whole array of luscious, fruity, leafy elements, plus a touch of herbaceousness. Again, classic and very good.

Negroni
Simple, but very, very bitter, with lots of earthy notes. This is incredibly intense, with some vegetable notes somewhat reminiscent of asparagus. Overall, this is bold, with good flavour integration.

In Conclusion
Gordon’s Castle Gin is a classic gin with a little extra dryness and a touch of bitterness, as well as some pepper menthol notes that help it to stand out from the crowd. It is very mixable, indeed, and without a doubt the extra-bitter Negroni was my favourite.

Cocktails with… Ford’s London Dry Gin

When new gins are launched these days, they often use obscure or local botanicals, or are made in new, small, independent distilleries, but today’s featured gin is different: Ford’s Gin is made using classic botanicals sourced from around the world and is made at the Timbermill Distillery (Thames Distillers) – producer of many a fine gin.

Fords Gin FINAL

The gin is the brainchild of spirits industry veteran, Simon Ford, and is part of range of spirits from The 86 Co. that includes Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Cana Brava Rum and Tequila Cabeza.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Classic, straight-forward juniper, coriander and citrus.
Taste: This is a clean spirit with a pleasant mouthfeel; it is a very classic style of gin, with a small leaning towards citrus. There is a good intensity of flavour and it ticks all of the boxes for the gin traditionalist.

Gin & Tonic
A fine standard of drink, but plays it safe: another one for the traditionalist. It is a touch cloying when mixed with Schweppes, so I would suggest using Fevertree.

Martini
A clean, crisp Martini, with lots of pine and citrus, followed by a zesty tingle and a clean finish.

Negroni
Ford’s Gin produces a solid Negroni: smooth and fruity, with a little sweetness and a herbal, bitter finish. Perfect flavour integration makes this really quite excellent.

In Conclusion
If you bemoan gin “losing its roots” and the rise of bubblegum and coconut gins, then Ford’s is for you: it has bold, classic flavours that are sure to please both hardened traditionalists and 19th century Imperial Officials.

Cocktails with… Entropia Gin with Ginseng and Guarana

Entropia Gin is made by Entropia Liquors in the Galicia region on the north-west tip of Spain (the bit north of Portugal). The company make a Gin Pure, using botanicals that include juniper, coriander, orange, lemon, and liquorice, but today’s featured gin is made using almond and hibiscus, too. After distillation, the gin is infused with guarana and ginseng, which gives the gin its colour. Both gins are bottled at 40% ABV.

EntropiaGin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Juniper, as well as some darker resin notes. There are also tannins reminiscent of sweet black tea, bergamot, and Earl Grey. Complex, with sweet, lingering spice.
Taste: Juniper mixed with the tannin tea notes, plus some citrus. The tea adds some woody notes reminiscent of aged gin, with vanilla and oak towards the finish, alongside some plump, fruity citrus.

Gin & Tonic
Entropia Gin works well with tonic: its tea elements and floral character are highlighted by tonic water, bringing something new to the table. This is a drink full of complex flavours and is wonderfully thirst-quenching.

Martini
A very pleasant and sweet Martini. The herbal tannin notes associated with tea work especially well in this cocktail. There is also a little fruitiness in the middle and malty oak towards the end. A deliciously different Martini, both in flavour and colour: a pale gold.

Negroni
Rather viscous and thick, this is quite a good cocktail; there is intensity from the juniper and pine, as well as a touch of lemon and tea. Sweeter than a normal Negroni, this is a different take on the drink.

In Conclusion
I think that Entropia is a shining example of the new styles being released by Spanish distilleries.
It is in a contemporary style, but doesn’t lose what it means to be a gin, and introduces some exciting, new flavours that work really well in gin cocktails.

Cocktails with… Douglas Fir Gin

Anyone who is even slightly familiar with gin will be familiar with the connection between the spirit and the word “dry”. It is likely that this came about to distinguish a spirit from the opposite – in this case, “sweet” gin such as some Old Tom Gins – but, linguistically, the opposite of dry is also wet. Until recently, this was a label that had only been embraced by Beefeater Wet, but today’s gin is also described on the distillery website as “wet by definition”; the gin is Bainbridge Heritage Distillers Organic Douglas Fir Gin, which is bottled at 45.0%ABV.

Doug Fir Gin

This gin is made using American Wheat and a mix of 10 botanicals:
Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
2 types of citrus
Orris
Liquorice
Cardamom
Fennel Seed
Douglas Fir

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Vanilla, a light hint of cider vinegar and juniper.
Taste: This is a soft and well-rounded spirit with cinnamon and ginger upfront, before a gradually building chorus of juniper and vivid pine – all that you would imagine from a Douglas Fir Gin. Superb.

Gin & Tonic
A rich and silky drink – almost sappy in places – with complex flavours of pine and fir: juniper berries, pine needles, and pine cones. There are then some woody notes, a touch of cedar, and some warm spice such as cassia, anise, and fennel. Lovely.

Martini
A rather tasty mix of spiced vanilla and pine. Clean and very crisp, this has a simple, but pleasant flavour and a long, dry spice finish.

Negroni
A warm, cosy nose with hints of spiced pear. The cinnamon really comes through, mixed in with fresh, bursting juniper berries; although the bitterness from the Campari is curbed slightly, this is a really good drink and I could happily sip a number of these over an evening. Tip top.

In Conclusion
Douglas Fir Gin is really excellent and whilst it veers away from the classic dry style, the inclusion of the fir means that there are still plenty of rich, green, piney notes that will appeal to traditionalists. It is a gin that works well, both when served on its own and in cocktails, but, personally, I would prefer to just sip and enjoy the spirit unadulterated.

Cocktails with… Cutlers Gin

Today’s gin is from California, a powerhouse of American craft distilling. It is made by Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, which is based in Santa Barbara. In addition to their gin, they make a vodka, 33 Bourbon, Silver Whiskey, and Apple Pie Liqueur.

Cutlers Gin FINAL

Bottled at 46.0% ABV, Cutler’s Dry Gin is made using a botanical that includes:
Juniper
Angelica
Californian Citrus
Cardamom
Elderflower
Jasmin

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Very zesty, with lemon, citrus, vanilla, and spice.
Taste: Cardamom spice and citrus, followed by juniper and angelica. This is a warm spirit, but is by no means unrefined, and has a long, citrus finish.

Gin & Tonic
The flavour is full of citrus: lemon and lime; very fresh, with just a hint of cardamom spice. All in all, this is a lovely, refreshing drink that is full of personality.

Martini
This cocktail is a flavoursome drink, with lots of bold citrus. This is a great way to enjoy the strong citrus nature of the gin and no garnish is needed. Just superb!

Negroni
A vibrant and citrusy Negroni with bright cardamom as well. The gin’s flavour stands up well to the other ingredients and complements them, too, resulting in a pleasantly harmonious drink that is rounded off by a moderately bitter finish.

In Conclusion
Cutler’s Dry Gin is a lovely spirit; it has good balance and a complex character, with an excellent interplay between citrus, spice, and juniper. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.

Cocktails with… Bombay Dry Gin (37.5% ABV)

The launch of Bombay Sapphire’s new distillery at Laverstoke Mill coincided with a rejig, certainly in the UK, of their gin portfolio; notably, the original Bombay Dry has had a makeover (changing from a red to a blue colour scheme) and a reduction in ABV to 37.5% ABV. This was to position the spirit as more of an introduction to the range, so we now have Bombay Dry (8 botanicals, 37.5% ABV), followed by Bombay Sapphire (10 botanicals, 40.0% ABV), and then Bombay Sapphire East (12 botanicals, 42.0% ABV).

I’ve often considered Bombay Dry to be under-rated and so I’m pleased to see it being given the attention it deserves. However, dropping the ABV of a spirit can be a risky business (I know some folk who still bemoan the reduction in strength of Gordon’s some years back), but it can certainly work, too; Jack Daniels was a higher ABV in the times of Sinatra, but is still exceptionally popular today.

Bombay Dry Gin 37.5 FINAL

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Fresh juniper with some jammy fruit notes, a hint of citrus, and woody, earthy notes.
Taste: A very classic style with a good level and intensity of flavour. There are earthy, woody notes with hints of florality upfront, followed by piney juniper and a hint of fresh, zesty citrus, before a long, smooth, and dry finish.

Gin & Tonic
Despite the (appearingly unjust) criticism of the lower ABV, this drink truly proves that Bombay Dry is still a cracking gin that makes a great Gin & Tonic, full of punchy, fresh piney juniper and a hint of citrus. The trick with this gin is to use the tonic sparingly – I suggest a 2:1 ratio of tonic to gin.

Martini
An excellent flavour: clean and crisp, like a shard of ice. Delightful and a textbook example of the drink: neither too dry, nor intense, so a good choice for the Martini newbie.

Negroni
A soft and smooth drink with strong notes from the Campari and red vermouth, although some dry pine and citrus also come through. A mellow and pleasant drink.

In Conclusion
I think that the new Bombay Dry makes a great addition to this end of the gin market and represents good value for money. The gin stands up well to mixing in a variety of classic drinks, is sippable on its own, and makes a solid Gin & Tonic.