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… 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.

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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.

Cocktails with… Whittaker’s Gin

Today’s review has a special focus on one distillery: Harrogate Distillery and their award-winning gin brand, Whittaker’s. The distillery was started by Jane and Toby Whittaker in 2015 and is based in Nidderdale, Yorkshire. Whilst only two years old, the distillery has already released an exciting selection of gins.

Whittakers Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Original (42.0% ABV)

A classic and smooth gin made with neutral grain spirit and a botanical mix that includes:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Lemon
Hawthorne Berries
Bilberries
Bog Myrtle
Garden Thyme

On its own
Nose: An intense, botanical nose that bursts forth from the glass. There is a vibrant mix of juniper and pine notes, from juicy berries and crisp pine needles to fragrant notes of blossom.
Taste: This gin has a lovely, dry flavour with just a touch of sweetness at the end. It has an excellent texture: very smooth with minimal heat – just enough to to add boldness to the flavour profile. Rich and complex juniper notes are complemented by citrus, warm spice, and then fruity berry notes that add both that slight sweetness and also a little tartness and zing. The finish is long and lingering. All-in-all, this is a classic gin that has its own distinguishing flair – delicious!

Gin & Tonic
Beautiful resinous juniper upfront, adding a bright “sparkle” to this drink from the start. A little citrus follows, then the fruity notes of dried berries. A balanced and exceptionally refreshing drink.

Martini
This Martini is wonderfully bright, with beautiful pine and juniper notes – crisp and fragrant – that make the cocktail really sing. Dryer flavours follow, working well alongside the powerful juniper, before a touch of more fruity notes on the finish.

Negroni
Exceptionally smooth. Again, beautifully rich juniper notes come through, bringing with them hints of citrus and coriander. These are followed by a fruity tartness from the berries, which makes this an unusual Negroni, but are also a fantastic addition. Finishing up, this cocktail keeps its classic, mellow bittersweetness.

Whittakers Navy Gin FINAL

Whittakers Navy Strength (57.0% ABV)

A higher ABV version of their original gin with the same botanical mix, but a slight adjustment of the botanical balance.

On its own
Nose: Earthy, with a light, sweet florality.
Taste: Very resinous: the juniper absolutely bursts through in this gin, which helps to give you a full appreciation of the berry: from its lighter, floral notes all the way through to deep, soapy cedar.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
A particularly herbal Gin & Tonic with bready notes before a biscuity spice and hints of coriander. Jammy berry notes then develop, before a dry finish that makes this a bold and yet thoroughly refreshing drink.

Martini
Bold and very zesty, with bright, deep, and resinous notes of cedar and juniper. The floral finish is long and lingering, neatly balancing and complementing that juniper. This is a powerful example of a classic Gin Martini; one that should be served very cold and, because of its great sippability, enjoyed sparingly.

Negroni
A citrus and coriander-forward Negroni with a great level of zestiness. This has a perfect intensity of flavour and would make a good aperitif.

Whittakers Clearly Sloe Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Clearly Sloe

A modern take on the sloe gin. Sloe berries are infused or macerated in the Whittaker’s Original Gin for six months, before the liquid is redistilled with a little liquorice. The resultant gin retains much of the character of the sloes, but none of the colour. Unlike most sloe gins, it is unsweetened.

On its own
Nose: A fantastic nose full of the rich, slightly tart notes of the sloe berry coming through, along with more jammy berry notes and an aromatic nuttiness.
Taste: Sloe berry comes through again on the palate, along with deep, resinous juniper notes. A little sweetness from the fruit followed, accompanied by a touch of marzipan. This is an absolutely superb spirit and a great example of a distilled sloe gin.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
The sloe berry flavours shine through: sweet and jammy with just a little tartness, followed by light, floral almond flavours and a fresh, citrus finish.

Martini
This is a superb cocktail that tastes just like an extra dry sloe gin: bold and resinous juniper to start, which develops into the bright stone fruit flavours of the berries. Delicious!

Negroni
The sloe berries really shine through in this cocktail – there is a lovely combination of the dry fruitiness and sweet almond & marzipan, all with a restrained bitterness. This is a totally different take on the Negroni, but a fantastic one.

In Conclusion

Whittaker’s have crafted a superb selection of gins with significant range, whilst keeping an apparent house-style. The imaginations of Toby and Jane really come through in their products and, whilst I enjoy all of the spirits, I always find myself drawn back to their original London Dry Gin.

If you want to try the full range, including their contemporary Pink Particular Gin, I can heartily recommend the gift pack of four 20cl bottles available on their website:
https://www.whittakersgin.com/shop/product/36378/Whittaker039-s-Gin-4-x-20cl-Gift-Pack/

Cocktails with… Le Tribute Gin

Le Tribute is produced by Destilierias MG, which is a family-run distillery that was founded in 1835. The distillery is located in Vilanova, a village in Catalonia around 30 miles west of Barcelona.

The gin, bottled at 43% ABV, is made by individually distilling botanicals and blending the distillates together.

The following botanicals are distilled with wheat spirit:

Juniper
Lime
Kumquat
Pink & Green Grapefruit
Tangerine
Cardamom
Sweet & Bitter Oranges

Also lemongrass, which is usually distilled with water, rather than alcohol. This is because the flavours and aromas are soluble in water; water also helps to keep the fresh character of the botanical.

Le Tribute Gin Bottle FINAL

On its own
Nose: A wide array of citrus notes: lime, lemon, orange and then the blossom of tangerine or mandarin intermingled with a touch of vanilla.
Taste: A clean and smooth spirit with a finely tuned character and delightful citrus notes: this has a complex symphony of flavours, but the citrus does not overpower the other botanical notes such as juniper, coriander or angelica. This is a superb example of how a gin can be taken in a new, contemporary direction without losing the core of what gin is about.

Le Tribute Gin with Le Tribute Tonic
So vibrant, so fresh, so citrusy – this drink is so bright and exciting that there is really no need for a garnish at all. It is as if the gin has a “built in garnish”, it is that flavoursome. A succulent and refreshing Gin & Tonic with subtle spiced notes and no cloying finish at the end. Simply sublime!

Gin & Tonic
This makes a zesty and crisp Gin & Tonic, even when paired with a more basic tonic water than the one specifically designed for the gin. This pairing is not as a good as the bespoke one, but is nonetheless very good, with lots of lingering, but refreshing citrus notes.

Le Tribute GinTonic FINAL

Martini
A beautifully fresh and zesty Martini: crisp and invigorating flavours of lemon, lime and orange, before a lightly floral note of pine blossom with a hint of plum-like jamminess at the end. Rich, intriguing and rather yummy.

Negroni
A delightful Negroni: the complex array of flavours in the gin really lifts the drink, giving it a real liveliness, whilst the sweet, floral jammy notes like those of kumquat and tangerine add a fruitiness that takes the edge off of the bitter Campari. A lovely drink to sip on a terrace before dinner.

With Cola
This is one of the best Gin & Colas that I have ever had: the bright citrus notes are brought forward, giving the drink a beautiful vibrancy, full of lively zesty notes and a crisp, clean finish. Exceptionally refreshing – a must try!

Le Tribute Tonic Bottle FINAL

The Le Tribute tonic water bottles, just as attractive as the gin bottle.

In general we don’t talk too much about packaging on here, but with Le Tribute, the beauty of the bottle has to mentioned, although it largely speaks for itself. It might sound bizarre, but it’s a real joy to pour from this bottle and have it beside you as you sip. Everything is high quality, especially the copper-look cap. What is really exciting, though, is that the quality of the spirit inside the bottle is as good as the quality of the bottle.

In Conclusion
I think that La Tribute is superb gin – one of the best I’ve tried in the last 12 months. It has a great brightness and zest; whilst being packed full of citrus is remains balanced enough to be easily discernible as a gin. All of the drinks were superb, but I think the Gin & Tonic was my favourite.

Cocktails with… Darnley’s Spiced Gin Navy Strength Edition

Following on from the recent review of 6 O’Clock Brunel Edition comes another, high-strength and spicy gin – this time from Darnley’s of Scotland, who have released their spiced Navy-strength gin.

Bottled at 57.1% ABV, the gin is made using the same botanicals as the original Spiced Gin, but with an extra boost of juniper.

Darleys Spiced Navy Gin

On its own
Nose: Bold, plump juniper upfront, followed by notes of cumin and cardamom with a touch of ginger.
Taste: This is full of strong flavours, with a great oily texture that coats the tongue and has a light sweetness to it. A touch of liquorice is accompanied by warm spice: cinnamon, cassia, savoury cumin and aromatic cardamom.

Gin & Tonic
A plump and juicy Gin & Tonic that works particularly well with a wedge of orange as a garnish. The anise comes through, along with flavours of sweet cumin and hints of ginger and cardamom.

Martini
This makes a very strong Martini, as you might expect from the high ABV, but in a small, 1oz portion it is perfect as a small, but punchy pre-dinner cocktail. The spice is intense and works well with the flavours of the vermouth. Serve super-chilled; ideally, poured straight from the freezer.

Negroni
A pleasantly savoury Negroni with notes of cumin and caraway coming through, along with ginger. This gin gives the drink a light salinity, whilst also keeping the classic bitter-sweetness of the other ingredients in check.

With Cola
The exotic spice notes work especially well with the cola and the strong botanical flavours that come from the Navy-strength really stand up to the mixer. This is a great example of a Gin & Cola.

In Conclusion
I think Darnley’s Spiced Gin works particularly well at a higher ABV and the extra juniper gives the gin an added boost. My favourite drinks were the mini, yet potent Martini and – surprisingly – the gin mixed with cola.