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
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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.

Whispers of Whisk(e)y returns… Johnnie Walker The Adventurer

Today’s review, which comes after far too long a break, takes a look at another whisky: one from the Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Collection, a series inspired by the journeys of those who took Johnnie Walker across the world. Available via travel retail, you might have spotted these as you explored the whisky sections of Duty Free shops.

DTS and I first encountered The Adventurer before a trip to America a couple of years ago and we were a little confused at its store placement: very much apart from the other Explorers’ Club whiskies and with little information available on it. Intrigued, we bought a bottle. That was a few years (and bottles) ago.

johnnie-walker-adventurer-final

On its own

Nose: A saline, almost briney smokiness to start, with notes of tobacco, dry wood chips, and echoes of pineapple. Lovely spiced notes build up over time.

Taste: Very soft on the tongue, but with more force of flavour on the palate afterwards. There is a pleasant smokiness, before lasting notes of dry, not tart pineapple, light wood, and chilli, then sweeter spice with more smoke on the finish. A lovely dram that, personally, I think is perfectly halfway between the Red and Black Labels.

Rob Roy

Pleasantly dry, but the Rosso comes through well. Wisps of smoke are followed by lots of complex herbal notes. The finish remains lovely and dry, with notes of dark liquorice and a hint of berries. Finally, there is a clean, light, and woody smokiness.

Old Fashioned

The Adventurer makes an unusually sharp, almost bitter Old Fashioned that makes a wonderful aperitif. Subdued honey notes are followed by the smoke and spice. Like the Rob Roy, its finish is very dry, but full of smoky flavours, along with a little lime and vanilla.

Whisky Soda

Exceptionally dry, this is a refreshing, grown up drink. The soda water lengthens the whisky well, without masking any of its flavours. To start, there is dry vanilla, before a flash of sweeter smoke, then more charred notes that linger on a refreshing, woody finish.

Whisky Ginger

Again, this works well, but produces a much sweeter drink than the others. It is creamy, too, with lots of vanilla and just a dash of smokiness – more than you’d get with the Red Label, but not as much as with the Black Label. The finish is long, with solid notes from both the ginger and the whisky’s oak notes.

 

It is worth noting that the Explorers’ Club Collection covers a broad price range, but The Adventurer is the cheapest, at around £32 for a litre in Duty Free. It can be found for around £40-45 in the UK. Given the combination of price point and the international theme of the collection, we decided to try a few additional, unusual long drinks alongside our normal line-up.

with Coconut Water

This is an unexpectedly brilliant, refreshing drink. The coconut water adds the extra sweetness and creaminess that The Adventurer holds back on, resulting in smooth notes of pineapple and light coconut that fade into smoke, dry apple, and oak on the finish. Exceptionally easy to drink, especially in warmer weather.

with Ting

These flavours, again, go surprisingly well together – there is bright, vibrant, citrus (lemon and grapefruit) that flows seamlessly into the light smokiness of the whisky. The finish has notes of vanilla and pineapple, and a continued stream of smokiness.

with Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola

Intrigued at how well some of these combinations were turning out, we decided to try The Adventurer up against one of my favourite (and most flavourful) soft drinks: Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola. The result? A tasty drink with great structure and body. Not too sweet, there’s a dry woodiness to start, that is quickly swept up in the complex, herbal flavours from the cola. The Adventurer’s smokiness appears on the finish – soft to start, but gradually increasing – and works very well with the more medicinal notes of the mixer.

In Conclusion

The Adventurer is a great addition to the Johnnie Walker line-up. With its light texture, but combination of distinct smokiness, dry pineapple, and spiced notes, it makes for a whisky that is both easy to sip – sitting midway between the Red and Black Labels in taste – and works exceptionally well in mixed drinks. A firm favourite in our household.

— Mrs. B.

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.

 

Cocktials with… Martin Miller’s 9 Moons Gin

A question that is often asked of me, whatever country I’m in, is “What is your, or one of your, favourite gin(s)?”.

Of course, this is a dynamic and difficult question to answer; not least because some of my favourites are not available internationally. But one of my Top 10 gins that is readily available is Martin Miller’s. In fact, it has been in my Top 10 for over a decade. So it was with great excitement that I heard about Martin Miller’s 9 Moons – the first permanent edition to their range for 17 years.

Martin Millers 9 Moons

9 Moons shares the same botanical DNA as Martin Miller’s and Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gins. A high strength version of the gin then is rested for “9 moons” (aka 9 months) in ex-bourbon casks. The cool climate in Iceland helps to slow down the maturation impact of the barrel on the gin, which stops the wood flavours from overwhelming the spirit.

The first release is limited to 2,000 bottles, but there is potential for further releases and what I can only imagine is a fine selection of excellent gin resting in interesting casks in Iceland.

The Taste

On its own
Colour: Pale Champagne
Nose: A medley of citrus – bright lime and grapefruit – plus violets, berry fruits, light vanilla, and oak.
Taste: To taste it is also quite citrusy, which is unusual for a matured gin; it is also fresh, with a crunchy leafy note. A little sweetness in the middle is reminiscent of liquorice with some violets, before the more resinous juniper and a slight creamy note of wood and vanilla. The finish is lightly bitter, woody, and earthy, with a touch of pepper spice, and, at the very end, is that familiar, Miller’s crispness.

From the Freezer
The liquid is a little sweeter and the wood flavours are more pronounced, as are the violet notes, making it seem to be part gin, part gin liqueur. It has a thick, indulgent texture and would be a good choice to serve at the end of a meal.

Negroni
9 Moons makes quite a sweet Negroni, but a particularly complex one, too. Delicate, confectionary floral notes are followed by a combination of citrus flavours and an earthy bitterness. Overall, nicely balanced.

Sweet Martini
A cocktail with deep and rich flavour: the red vermouth works really well with the gin, adding a herbal bitter-sweet flavour. Clean, crisp, and complex wood notes come through on the finish, accompanied by a raisin and spice note, reminding me of Dundee cake.

Soda
Light and floral with dry notes and the a luscious crisp leafy note, exceptionally refreshing and a lovely way to enjoy the gin in a long drink without it losing it’s character.

In Conclusion
I really enjoyed trying Martin Miller’s 9 Moons Gin and I was particularly pleased to find that the Miller’s character that I love from their other three gins is still discernable in this spirit. My favourite serve was sipping it neat, and I thoroughly look forward to future releases.

9 Moons is available from 1st September. For further information, please visit www.martinmillersgin.com

Cocktails with… Hernö First Craft Gin

Mrs B and I recently returned from a fantastic trip to Northern Sweden as guests of the lovely folks at Hernö Gin Distillery. Whilst visiting the distillery, Jon shared with us a gin made to this first ever recipe; the balance of botanicals is similar to that of their Artisan Gin with one variation: meadowsweet is replaced with almond.

Herno MEadowseet.jpg

Meadowsweet Infusion and Dried Meadowsweet at Herno

Although meadowsweet has been used in other gins, such as Hendricks and Caorunn, it wasn’t until visiting the distillery in Dala that I really understood what it adds to a gin. Tasting a maceration of meadowsweet in alcohol, lots of lightly floral hay notes come through; slightly reminiscent of bison grass or holy grass vodka.

That’s probably enough of a focus on a botanical that is not even in this gin! Hernö First Craft’s botanical mix does include: juniper, coriander, lemon, black peppercorns, cassia, vanilla and lingdon berries and is bottled at 40.5% ABV.

Herno First Craft Gin

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Floral, oily notes with woody juniper and citrus, along with aromatic coriander.
Taste: Quite dry, but with rich citrus, floral, and spice from the coriander that I see as a trademark of Hernö’s gins. There’s also a creamy nuttiness with a hint of chocolate and marzipan. The finish is of light, dry, resinous juniper and a little citrus peel.

Gin & Tonic
Full of flavour, with rounded coriander notes and a slightly bready malt flavour. Then comes citrus and a little berry tartness. Clean and well-integrated.

Martini
A crisp, bright, and juniper-rich, resinous Martini. Clean, like a shard of ice. A pure delight of a drink with a long, dry, spicy finish.

Negroni
A resinous, yet smooth cocktail; a pleasant nuttiness comes through, with an underlying sweetness to it. This has a great texture and a good dose of bitterness on the finish.

In Conclusion
In comparison to their other gins, Hernö 2012 First Craft Gin is dryer in style, but still maintains the distillery’s signature character. Well-worth seeking out. My favourite cocktail was the excellent Martini.