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… Gordon’s Pink Gin

In the past, I’ve written various times on the popularity of strawberry gin in Spain and I have long expected gins to follow suit in the UK, although it seems to have taken a few years for the first major strawberry gins to emerge. This is Gordon’s “Pink” Gin, which is pink in colour and has nothing to do with the old naval cocktail of the same name.

The gin is made using Gordon’s gin, along with strawberries, raspberries and redcurrants. It is described as having “natural fruit flavours and a subtle touch of juniper” and is bottled at 37.5% ABV.

Gordons Pink FINAL

On its own
Nose: Strawberries and cream with a tart hint of raspberry and the faintest whiff of earthiness.
Taste: Sweet upfront, with a flavour reminiscent of jelly and slooshy (slightly melted) ice cream. This develops into florid notes of blossom and blackberry. The finish has a subtle dryness and a little coriander.

Gin & Tonic
The berry notes really come through well, with juicy, sweet flavours of strawberry and raspberry and a hint of creaminess. There is a touch of dry juniper and angelica on the finish. This would work well garnished with strawberries or, if you’re feeling decadent, a sliver of vanilla pod.

Martini
A particularly perfumed Martini, sipping this cocktail is a bit like kissing a Great Aunt: the berry notes seem to merge with those of the vermouth to create a florid flavour that overwhelms the drink. This is definitely not the best way to enjoy this gin.

Negroni
This makes a rather sweet Negroni; the berry notes of the gin really come through and, if anything, the red vermouth and possibly even the Campari are the ones that are overpowered. An unusual take on this cocktail, which will not appeal to all, but is worth trying, especially for those that might have tried a Negroni once and found it way too bitter.

Gin & Cola
Very sweet with lots of bright berry notes – mostly strawberry, but with a bit of raspberry, too. I fear this may be too sweet for many hardened gin drinkers, but that in itself doesn’t make it a bad drink. It will certainly appeal to those with a sweet tooth, being slightly reminiscent of a coke float made with raspberry ripple ice cream. Actually, the more I drink it, the more I like it – it’s unexpectedly indulgent!

In Conclusion
I think that Gordon’s Pink Gin is a much better product than many of the Spanish strawberry gins; it is less sweet and has a dryer profile, and the additional fruit notes add complexity. Whilst I don’t think it works in all classic gin drinks, it worked particularly well when mixed with tonic and cola.

Cocktails with… Peachey’s Norfolk Dry Gin

Cocktails with… Peachey Gin

Peachey Norfolk Dry Gin was created and is produced by Janet Peachey of Peachey’s Spirits. The gin is made in “Lucky”, a 30 litre stainless steel still from America, using a botanical mix of:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Lemon
Sweet Orange
Orris Root
Cardamom
Liquorice
Vanilla

The gin is bottled at 43.0% ABV.

Janet Peachy Gin (2).JPG

On its own
Nose: Light malt with aromas of coriander and lemon biscuits.
Taste: Ginger and cardamom at the start with a little hint of chocolate; this develops into bright and leafy notes of citrus. This is a complex gin that gradually unfurls on the palate like a flower in sunshine. Pleasantly balanced and lovely to sip on the rocks.

Gin & Tonic
Spicy and aromatic with plenty of coriander, cardamon and ginger. There’s a little sweetness before a zesty finish with a hint of juniper. Succulent and refreshing.

Martini
Citrus rich and leafy notes of lemon balm and lemon thyme are mixed with a little verbena. Then comes a twinkle of warm ginger, accompanied by aromatic cardamom and a little pine mixed with fragrant coriander on the finish.

Gin & Soda
Citrusy with notes of malt hops make this a deep and layered drink. Whilst it might be less piney than your average Gin & Soda, it is nonetheless very refreshing.

Negroni
A bold and punchy Negroni with the gin providing a multilayered array of leafy, herbal, citrus and spiced notes that really hold their own against the Campari. A lingering note of ginger spice is a pleasant addition to the Negroni’s typical earthy bitterness on the finish.

In Conclusion
Peachey Gin is a fresh and aromatic gin, full of pleasant citrus-spice notes. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic.

http://www.peacheysspirits.com
http://www.facebook.com/Peacheys-Spirits-1398698517120138/

Cocktails with… Griffiths Brothers Gin

The last gin we reviewed (a little while back – sorry folks!) was one from the Home Counties (Campfire Gin based in Tring, Hertfordshire). Today, we nip across the border to Buckinghamshire and the Griffiths Brothers of Amersham.

For those not familiar with Amersham, it is at the very top left of the Tube map, at the very end of the Metropolitan Line.

Griffiths Brothers Gin FINAL

The Griffiths Brothers make their gin in a rotavap named Roberta and it is bottled at 43.5% ABV. Here are its botanicals:

Juniper Berries
Coriander Seed
Angelica Root
Lemon Peel
Orange Peel
Orris Root
Grains of Paradise
Liquorice Root
Cassia Bark
Elderflower
Orange Blossom
Bay Laurel
Barberries

On its own
Nose: Bright and very citrus-y on the nose, with a hint of celery and black pepper, all followed by a touch of earthy, rooty liquorice.
Taste: Crisp leafy notes come through to start: bay laurel and the crisp crunchiness of celery. Then comes a symphony of citrus, from the zesty, pithy peel to the fragrant aromatics of the blossom. Additional crispness comes from the grains of paradise at the end, along with a lovely mouthfeel courtesy of the liquorice.

Gin Tonic
A delicious and delicate Gin Tonic with a very pleasant interplay between the gin’s citrus and leafy notes. It has strong flavours that stand up well to almost any tonic, creating a refreshing treat of a drink.

Martini
This cocktail has a lovely, light oiliness that provides plenty of flavour: delicate, floral citrus as well as hints of crunchy leaves, almost cucumber-esque. Then there’s a slight of peppery salinity before a touch of spice on the finish. I’d recommend garnishing this with a thin strip of cucumber peel.

Negroni
The orange comes through from the gin and works exceptionally well with the Campari and vermouth. The gin’s leafy notes add a fantastic additional depth to the drink.

In Conclusion
Griffiths Brothers is a flavoursome gin with a pleasant interplay between a range of citrus and crisp, leafy notes. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic.

Cocktails with… Campfire Gin – from Puddingstone Distillery

This week, it was with great excitement that I got to try the final version of Campfire Gin. Made at the Puddingstone Distillery in the Chiltern Hills, it is a spirit and distillery whose progress I have followed closely, with the added bonus that they are based quite close to the in-laws.

The gin is described as bridging traditional and progressive styles – what some people refer to as a Transatlantic or Cary Grant Gin; a gin grounded in the British distilling tradition, but with a little modern flair. It is probably my favourite style.

campfire-gin-final

Campfire Gin has traditional botanicals such as juniper and orange, as well as the more contemporary choices of hazelnut and coffee berry.

On its own
Nose: Citrus, with a chocolatey berry note and a hint of dark chocolate/coffee, then a little juniper toward the end.

Taste: This is a smooth and elegant spirit that evolves in the mouth: to start, notes of juniper and the round, plump flavours of sweet orange – zesty with a little spice. Then comes a little berry jamminess, before a mix of nutty dark chocolate and earthy florality. There’s a little more spice on a long and lingering finish.

Gin Tonic
Soft, subtle, and spicy, with berry notes, followed by some milk chocolate and orange. All of this makes for a mellow and sippable drink.

campfire-gin-martini

Martini
Dead smooth, with the orange peel adding a lovely, aromatic air. It is crisp, but has some cosy middle notes of berry fruit, as well as deeper earthy notes.

Negroni
The jammy notes of the coffee berry work well with the herbal vermouth and the bitter-sweet Campari, giving the drink both a succulent quality and a pleasant mellowness. A very good Negroni that is really rather moreish.

In Conclusion
Campfire Gin delivers exactly what it promises and is a fine balance between traditional and modern gins. The gin is layered and the dark chocolate and berry notes work really well with the juniper, angelica, and other botanical flavours.

My favourite drink was the Negroni, although Campfire Gin is great to drink on its own.

Blended Drinks with the Amazon Basics Blender

Despite the fast-approaching wintery weather, you can still find yourself needing a cooling drink over the christmas time (am I the only person that goes to a relative’s house whose thermostat seems to be constantly stuck on “Inferno”?).

One great way to cool down is with a blended frozen drink, so I was delighted when Amazon sent me one of their Amazon Basic Ice-crushing Blenders to try out and immediately set out to test a variety of drinks, both with and without alcohol, but all perfect for a festive party.

amazon-blender-frozen-margarita

Frozen Margarita – Wasting Away in Margaritaville (Serves 2)
This is probably my favourite blended drink, especially if accompanied by the Jimmy Buffett hit.
100ml Blanco Tequila
300ml Margarita Mix
2 cups of ice
Blend ingredients together and serve.

This is a superb drink and the machine really blends the ice well, resulting in a smooth slush that is a treat to drink and stays cold for a long time.

amazon-blender-strawberry-daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri (Serves 2)
100ml White Rum
75ml Sugar Syrup
50ml Fresh Lime Juice
5-6 Strawberries
2 cups of ice
Blend ingredients together and serve.

The Strawberry Daiquiri is a fruity and pleasantly tart drink. It is also a brilliant, bright pink in colour. Again, the both the ice and fruit are thoroughly blended, with no large chunks.

~ CHOCOLATE SHAKES ~

For those who fancy an indulgent non-alcoholic drink, I’ve also undertaken some experiments with chocolates (many of which are synonymous with Christmas time in our household) in milkshakes.

amazon-blender-after-eight-shake

After Eight (Serves 2)
4-6 After Eights thins (wrappers removed)
300ml Semi-skimmed Milk
2 Scoops Vanilla Ice-cream
50ml Vodka (optional)

A great combination of an after-dinner mint, drink, and dessert. The dark chocolate is neatly balanced out by the sweet mint fondant – superb.

 

Malteasers
14 Malteasers
300ml Semi-skimmed Milk
2 Scoops Vanilla Ice-cream
50ml Bourbon (optional)

Malt is a long-established ingredient for a shake and the fun thing about this drink it that you get bits of the blended chocolate throughout the drink, rather than all sinking to the bottom.

amazon-blender-daim-bar-shake

Daim (Dime Bar) (Serves 2)
2 Daim Bars
300ml Semi-skimmed Milk
2 Scoops Vanilla Ice-cream
50ml Golden Rum (optional)

This is another one of my favourites: the milk chocolate covers a mix of brittle caramel/toffee and nuts. As the centre of a Daim is brittle, it blends really well and the nutty, chocolatey, slightly salty flavour is well-distributed throughout the drink. We’ll definitely be making more of these!

Ferrero Rocher
6 Ferrero Rochers
300ml Semi-skimmed Milk
2 Scoops Vanilla Ice-cream
50ml Brandy (optional)

This makes for a tasty, but rather odd drink, as a lot of the Ferrero Rocher pieces float and create a foamy layer that you have to drink through. It is possible to filter this out, however, and the result is a super-smooth and delicious milkshake that tastes just like Ferrero Rocher.

Overall, I like the blender’s solid construction, ease of use, and ability to blend. As readers can see, it makes a great range of drinks, too. I also really like the lid’s seal, which helps to reduce mess and spills, whilst being easy to take on and off.

One top tip is that it’s a good idea to rinse the glass of the blender immediately after use to avoid any ingredients drying and sticking to the inside.

My favourite drink was the Frozen Margarita and the Daim milkshake.

AmazonBasics 1.5 Litre Ice-Crushing Blender in Black is available from Amazon.co.uk for around £25.

 

Cocktails with.. Loch Ness Gin

Loch Ness Gin launched in September 2016 so, as today is the last day in that month, it seems a fitting time to post my review. It’s always so nice to see a gin on its journey from conception, through development, to the finished product; and this has been one such product for me.

The gin is made in Athbhinn Dores, Inverness, which is on the shores of Loch Ness. The family of the husband and wife team behind the gin have lived and worked in that part of the Highlands for over 500 years.

lochnessgin

Unusually for a European Gin, Loch Ness use their own, local juniper, which they harvest especially for that purpose. Here are my tasting notes.

On its own
The nose is soft and creamy, with pleasant hints of citrus and spice. The softness follows through onto the palate, making the gin very accessible and easy to drink. There are light, fresh, leafy cucumber notes, as well as a touch of plump, juicy berries. The more traditional gin notes of juniper and angelica come through towards the finish, intermingled with creamy spice notes.
The gin starts off soft and gentle, but has a botanical character that gradually builds, the more you drink.

Gin and Tonic
Crisp and refreshing, with a luscious, leafy note and a hit of salinity, before some creamy citrus. Easy to drink and super-smooth.

Martini
So subtle and elegant, this Martini has a mysterious mix of spice with flirtatious, herbal, leafy notes. The result is an eminently sippable Martini with a sweet lift at the end.

Negroni
A full and plump Negroni with a long, lingering finish; lovely, bitter intensity; and a background chord of herbaceous spice. Superb! Complex, will well-integrated flavours.

With Soda
Very crisp with a salty, leafy note reminiscent of samphire or seaweed, this is an exceptionally fresh drink with plenty of resinous, woody pine notes.

Pink Gin
A gentle, soft, and graceful drink with a light spice and gentle florality, plus a fresh leafiness on the finish.

French ‘75
Loch Ness makes a complex French ‘75 with a great, leafy florality and a hint of fruity berries. Elegant and luscious, with a touch of rose jam on the finish – superb.

In Conclusion
Loch Ness Gin is a great addition to a rapidly expanding selection of Scottish-distilled gin with a smooth and refined character.

Loch Ness Gin is available for around £45 for 70cl.

Bank Holiday Gin Tonics

With the Bank Holiday upon us (the last one in the UK until December) and the possibility that at least a few days in the long weekend will actually be dry and hot, I thought I’d share a few simple ideas for some gin tonic serves to impress your guests this weekend.

Glassware

In this sort of heat (currently it is 28.8c here) I want a very cooling drink with plenty of ice, so a glass like the large copita/fish-bowl glass popular in Spain for the Gin Tonica is the best bet. It does take at least 8 cubes to fill one of these, however, so unless you have an ice maker, I suggest getting a bag or two of ice.

If you don’t have a copita glass, than a large wine glass or stemmed beer glass (think the Stella Artois Chalice) will also work well. The stem helps to keep your drink cool, keeping your warm hand further away from the drink.

 

Recipes

Typically, I use between 25ml-50ml of gin and 150ml of tonic. These are slightly weaker than many might usually enjoy their gin tonic, but these drinks are meant to be long and cooling, and too much alcohol in great heat is not a great idea.

Gin Tonica Aug 2016 - Plymouth and Millers

The Classic

Plymouth Gin with Lemon and Lime Wedges (aka the Evans Style)

Plymouth Gin has a light sweet spice to it, which is balanced out nicely by the slightly sharp lime, whilst and the lemon complements the citrus in the gin.

The 21st Century Gin

Martin Miller’s gin with Strawberries and Cracked Black Pepper.

An unusual garnish choice on paper, but ever since one of the Miller’s brand ambassadors showed me this, I’ve been hooked. Fresh, succulent fruit works well with the refreshing nature of the gin, and the black pepper adds balance and bite. For an extra chill factor, use frozen strawberries.

Gin Tonica Aug 2016 - Apostoles and Shortcross

The Leafy Gin

Principe de Los Apostoles Gin with Rosemary and Baby Spinach

The gin itself is quite “green” – herbaceous and leafy – and the rosemary gives the drink distinctive, aromatic herbal notes as well as adding to the visual spectacle. The spinach adds more to the look than the aroma or flavour, although the leaves can also be a pleasant snack to munch on as you drink.

The All-Rounder

Shortcross Gin with Orange and Coffee Beans

I’m a big fan of Shortcross Gin from Northern Ireland and it has great mixability, including in a gin tonic. I’ve been experimenting with non-typical, but readily available garnishes and my good friend Julia Nourney suggested coffee beans to me. The beans add a deep, dark element to the nose, whilst still allowing the juniper to slip through. When you sip the drink, it is almost all about the gin, with just a little lusciousness from the orange. Almost a two-phase gin tonic.

The Maverick

Bombay Sapphire & Cola with Orange and Chocolate Bitters

Gin Tonica Aug 2016 - Bombay Sapphire & Coke

Putting gin with cola is seen by many, in the UK, as heresy, despite the fact that this is how gin is enjoyed in many countries in Africa and further afield. The only point that matters is – does it taste good?

In my opinion, it does. Bombay Sapphire, with its complex botanical flavour and light pepper notes works really well with cola, creating a flavour that is reminiscent of an old-school botanical cola; there are even some dry, piney notes in the background. The orange adds a little zest, whilst the chocolate bitters contribute to the drink’s finish.

In Conclusion

Summer drinking is meant to be friendly and fun; it’s a time to relax with friends and family. As such, the drinks should be fun, too. Hopefully this article has provided a little inspiration for you to up your summer drinks game.