Cocktails with… Chase Gin

I first came across the Chase drinks company at the 2008 Boutique Bar Show where I tried some of their fruit liqueurs, I was also told that there was a Gin in the pipeline, naturally this intrigued me.
Chase Gin is bottled at 48%ABV and is based on their Apple-spirit Vodka (not Apple flavoured) which is created using Organic Cider apples grown on the Chase farm. Chase Gin contains the following botanicals:
Lemon Peel
Orange Peel
Bramley Apples
In addition to a Gin, Chase also make an array of vodkas including their Potato Base Vodka, voted “Best Vodka in the World 2010” and a selection of fruit liqueurs and even a Sloe Gin.
#1 Own
Nose: juniper, some angelica and some wheaty savoury notes.
Taste: silky and warm but still flavourful, strong juniper and citrus notes.
#2 G&T
A strong G&T both in terms of flavour and ABV once the ice has melted a little, the drink has a wonderful chill which, along with the apple garnish, brings out the crisp freshness of the gin.
#3 Martini
an excellent standard for a Martini, cool crisp but still with a burst of flavour; as you should expect from a Gin Martini. Juniper and Coriander really come through.
#4 Gimlet
An unusually soft Gimlet, and quite smooth although there is a freshness from the lime it doesn’t overpower the gin.Pleasant and easy to drink.#5 John Collins
Cool and refreshing drink, very pleasant but it doesn’t really bring out the best in the gin, which seems a bit lost in the drink.

#6 Aviation
Very very smooth, the Gin is rather understated in this cocktail. This is a great drink but perhaps doesn’t give the Gin the showcasing it deserves.

#7 Old Fashioned
As ever the Gin Old Fashioned is an excellent drink, brings out the flavours of the gin and as they are only complimented by sugar, water and a touch of bitter the full profile of the gin can be appreciated. Truly recommended.

#8 Bramble
Quite a tart Bramble but still pretty tasty. Has all of the cooling freshness you would expect from this drink but the flavours of the gin seem a bit hidden.

#9 Gin Bump
Sadly there seems to be a bit of a clash between the gin and the ginger ale. I don’t think this drink brings out the best in the Gin and I wouldn’t it really recommend it.

#10 Sweet Gin
The addition of sugar syrup brings out some more of the botanicals, turning the Chase Gin into more of a Gin liqueur, the liquorice, elderflower and the faintest hint of apples comes out when the Gin is mixed in this way.

#11 Milano
What a great drink, an often forgotten classic but the lemon juice, Chase gin and herbal Galliano mix really well together, each bringing something different to the drink. Cool, delicious and raising for the appetite.

#12 Pink Gin
Not all Gins work well in a Pink Gin but Chase appears to be one that does; Chase’s botanical mix is relatively low on spices and so the Angostura brings this side of the flavour spectrum to the drink. Soft smooth with a hint of spice at the end. Lovely.

In Conclusion
From the cocktails we’ve tried it seems to me that Chase Gin works best in simple cocktails, with my preference on it being used in, with the exception of the Gin & Tonic, short drinks. Definitely some highlights were the Gin & Tonic, The Martini and the Pink Gin. With the Milano and Gin Old fashioned also being highly recommended.




Harvey’s Winter Toddy

35ml of Harvey Pedro Ximenez (or Harvey Bristol Cream)
25ml Lemon Juice (15ml If using Bristol Cream)
60ml Boiling Water
Serve in a heat-proof glass

New Western Gin

This updated (March 2012) document outlining the idea of a contemporary style of gin an the  New Western Gin terminology is reproduced here thank to kind permission by Ryan Magarian.

New Western Dry Gin Philosophy/Designation Summary

by Ryan Magarian/Co-Founder; Aviation Gin, Portland, OR. (March2012 Update)

What is New Western Dry Gin?

The New Western Dry Gin making philosophy seems to have evolved over the past 12 years, as a result of efforts from both large brand houses and regional distillers in Europe and in the United States. In taking a good hard look at today’s rather loose definition of dry gin, these distillers realized a greater opportunity for artistic “flavor” freedom in this great spirit and are creating gins with a shift away from the usually overabundant focus on Juniper, to the supporting botanicals, allowing them to, “just about”, share center stage. And while the juniper must remain dominant in all dry gins to achieve definition, these gins are most certainly defined, not by the Juniper itself, but by the careful inclusion and balance of the supporting flavors, creating, what I believe to be, an entirely new designation of dry gin deserving of individual recognition.

Where did it come from?

As I see it, Tanqueray should be credited with bringing the first true New Western Dry Gins to market, initially with Malacca, which was quickly discontinued (perhaps because it was misunderstood), and later with Tanqueray Ten, an outstanding product, that I believe opened the door for a growing number of free thinking gin makers to have the confidence to become more creative with their personal interpretation of the storied spirit.  Launched in 2000, the intent of this product was clearly to create a gin with a focus away from the Juniper and onto it’s more mainstream citrus flavors, and along with its stunning “vodka centric” packaging, it’s purpose was clear; To infringe on the success of a much larger spirit market; Flavored Vodka.  This approach was next successfully realized when Hendricks Gin, launched in 2002, made a huge splash worldwide, drawing in the very same drinker with it’s promises of weighty flavors of cucumber and Bulgarian rose petal.

Alright, so I think it’s pretty clear that the New Western Dry Gin designation was born out of a desire by larger brand companies and savvy beverage marketers to sell more gin by appealing to a less adventurous drinker, the very same individual that dominates world spirit sales.  And while many gin “traditionalists” continue to frown upon these tactics, I believe these two products have done us a huge favor and, as I stated before, have opened a door into an entirely new world of flavor potential for gin makers worldwide.  And this has led to the release of a wide variety of artisan products, developed to showcase both exciting new levels of creativity, along with unique regional approaches to the creation of this spirit.  Today, the New Western Dry Gin designation continues to evolve and I am extremely pleased to see that several are entering the market, not to take to advantage of the habits and preferences of a particular imbiber, but to first and foremost showcase the whim, talent, passion, and context of their makers

How are they made?

So, after looking at the cross section of New Western Dry Gins, I think most of them would fall into the Distilled Gin (Hendricks, for instance) and London Gin production designations (define below,) which insure a high quality and fully integrated palate.

Key New Western Dry Gin Brand Descriptions:

Previous to the Juniperlooza Panel I moderated at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in the summer of 2008, I laid out over twenty dry gins to figure out exactly which brands fell under this gin making philosophy/designation that I continue to feverishly attempt to better articulate.  In doing this, I devised the simplest of equations in tasting through the bunch; If the first flavor I picked up was not juniper, but rather an alternative botanical OR if the Juniper was completely in balance with the rest of the flavors, I placed it under the New Western Dry Gin Character Designation. If the Juniper was the first thing I picked up and clearly dominated the flavor profile, front to back, than I classified it in the Classic or London Dry Gin Character Designation.  In completing, this task, I was surprised to find that several dry gins that I suspected were New Western’s, were in fact what I would consider Classic or London Dry Gins, which really goes to show how susceptible any of us can be to packaging and word of mouth.  The following are my findings:

Citrus-Forward New Western Dry Gins

Tanqueray Ten, Bluecoat, South, Right, and Bafferts

Floral, Savory, and Spice New Western Dry Gins

Aviation, Hendricks, G Vine, Zuidam, North Shore Distillers No.6, Martin Millers, Sarticious, and Blackwoods

Mistaken Identity/Modern Dry Gins that I had suspected were New Western Dry Gins, but in fact, I believe, fall into the London Dry category based on heightened Juniper presence.

No. 209, Magellan, Citadelle, Old Raj, and Damrack

A Quick Word About Gin Production vs. Character Designations:

Over the past three years, I believe I haven’t been clear enough in articulating my perspective of the difference between production and character designations which you will now find below.

American Production Designations

Gin is a product obtained by original distillation from mash, or by re-distillation of distilled spirits, or my mixing neutral spirits, with or over, juniper berries and other aromatics, or with or over extracts derived from infusions, percolations, or maceration of such materials, and includes mixtures of gin and neutral spirits.  It shall derive it’s main characteristic flavor from juniper berries and be bottled at not less than 40 proof.  Gin produced exclusively by original distillation or by redistillation may be further designated as “distilled”.  “Dry Gin” (London Dry Gin), “Geneva Gin” (Holland Gin), and Old Tom Gin” (Tom Gin) are types of gin known under such designations

European Production Designations

All gins made with ethyl alcohol flavored with juniper berries and other flavourings.  The ethyl alcohol used must be distilled to the minimum standards stated in the EU Spirits Drink Regulations.  In all types of gin; the predominant flavor must be juniper, and they must have a minimum of 37.5% alcohol by volume.  Below are specific EU Production Designations

Gin – Gin is made from:

  1. Suitable ethyl alcohol and flavourings
  2. The ethyl alcohol does not have to be redistilled
  3. The flavouring can be either approved natural or artificial
  4. The flavourings can simply be mixed together with ethyl alcohol to form gin (Compounded)
  5. There is no restriction on the addition of other approved additives such as sweetening
  6. Water is added to reduce gin’s strength to the desired retail level, but not below 37.5% abv.

Distilled Gin – Distilled Gin is made in a traditional still by:

  1. Redistilling neutral alcohol in the presence of natural flavourings
  2. There is no minimum strength laid down for the resulting distillate
  3. After distillation, further ethyl alcohol of the same composition may be added
  4. Additional flavourings may be added after distillation and these can be either natural or artificial flavourings
  5. The distillate can be further changed by the addition of other approved additives since there is no prohibition on their use in the definition
  6. Water may be added to reduce the strength to the desired retail level
  7. There is no restriction on the colouring of distilled gin with approved colorings

London Gin
[Note: this is different from the London Dry Gin character designation that I refer to below.]
London Gin is made in a traditional pot still by re-distilling ethyl alcohol in the presence of all natural flavours used.

  1. The ethyl alcohol used to distil London Gin must be of a higher quality than the standard laid down for ethyl alcohol.  The methanol level in the ethyl alcohol must not exceed 5 g. per litre of pure alcohol.
  2. The flavourings used must all be approved natural flavourings and the must impart the flavour during the distillation process
  3. The use of artificial flavourings is not permitted
  4. The resultant distillate must have a minimum strength of 70% abv
  5. No flavourings can be added after distillation
  6. Further ethyl alcohol may be added after distillation provided it is of the same standard
  7. A small amount of sweetening may be added after distillation provided all sugars do not exceed  0.5g per litre of finished product (the sugar is not discernible and is added to some products purely for brand protection services only.
  8. The only other substance that may be added is water
  9. London gin cannot be coloured

Character Designations

London Dry Gin

Nearly every gin on every back bar today falls into this category and is considered of the highest quality. Believe it or not, this gin can be produced anywhere in the world, must be made from neutral spirit, and have a predominant Juniper flavor with the supporting botanicals playing an extreme secondary role.  Examples included Tanqueray, Gordon’s, Beefeater, and Boodles.

Plymouth Dry Gin

This gin is both a brand and Designation of Origin, meaning it must be made in Plymouth, England. The fact that this style is made from a 100% wheat based neutral spirit, includes no bitter botanicals, and is softer, earthier, cleaner and slightly less junipery than its London dry counterparts, are recognizable points of differentiation.  Whew, now that’s sentence!!!  The only existing example of this, of course, is the Plymouth brand rendered at the Black Friar Distillery in Plymouth, England.

New Western Dry Gin

The New Western style of Dry Gin seems to have evolved over the past five years by efforts from regional distillers in Europe and the United States. In taking a good hard look at the loose definition of modern dry gin, these distillers realized a greater opportunity for artistic “flavor” freedom in this great spirit and are creating gins with a shift away from the usually overabundant focus on Juniper, to the supporting botanicals, allowing them to, “just about”, share center stage. And while the juniper must remain dominant in all gins to achieve definition, these gins are most certainly defined, not by the Juniper itself, but by the careful inclusion and balance of the supporting flavors creating an entirely new category of gin and giving the discriminating imbiber, not to mention the modern bartender, an entirely new world of flavors to explore.  Other key characteristics of New Western Dry Gins include the selection of a more obscure set of supporting botanicals and a definite imprint of the region from which the spirit was born.

Conclusion/Why is establishing this new “character” designation so important?

Since launching Aviation Gin, a gin just about everyone will agree, is way out on the fringe of modern gin making, my mind has been in overdrive not only working to truly understand the nuances of the long existing Dutch, London Dry, and Plymouth Gin designations, but in articulating a place for mine and other similar gins to reside.

Just over 3 years ago, this whole New Western Dry Gin notion became crystal clear to me and, I believe, the establishment of this or a similar designation (whether the name New Western, ifself, sticks or not) is benefits the gin category for two reasons:

  1. Identity – In order for any product to find a market, it must have a clear identity making it immediately recognizable to its potential consumers.  In my opinion, for the Aviation’s, Hendrick’s, and other gins discussed above to have any chance at long term success, they need to have a recognized designation of their own, signaling their unique production and carving out a clear understanding of product for those potential consumers for years to come.
  1. Protection – With so many New Western Dry Gins entering the market, many that may or may not actually be “gin”, I remain concerned the unless a clear designation is created for these gins, the entire category might find itself not only diluted, but more dangerously unrecognizable ten years from now.  Creating the New Western Dry Gin designation protects all other styles and insures each one’s individual growth for years to come

Raiders of the Lost Cocktail Cabinet X – Abbott’s Bitters

The Old Abbotts Bitter - Thanks to CocktailDB for Picture.

There has been a bit of break in episodes from Raiders of the Lost Cocktail Cabinet so, to make up for this, this weekend we have a double-feature on long-lost bitters.Part one focuses on another ingredient whose demise is lamented in ‘Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails’, Abbott’s Bitters. These were produced by C.W. Abbott of Baltimore until the 1950s, which suggests that they survived Prohibition (no mean feat). The Cocktail Database describes them as one of three most important aromatic bitters brands of the twentieth century, alongside Angostura Company and Peychauds.Recreation of these bitters today, even with a recipe, is a little tricky as Tonka Bean was a key ingredient, which is now banned in food and drink in the USA. Even in countries where it can be consumed, it is heavily regulated.Through the grapevine, I heard about a project that Bob’s Bitters were working on and I was very pleased when Bob from Bob’s Bitters was kind enough to send me a sample of his brand new Abbott’s Bitters. For the story of how the bitters were resurrected, click here.

The Taste
#1 Manhattan,
The bitters adds an extra level off flavour, with additional hints of almond, amaretti and a touch of cinnamon, as well as other fruit and spices, somewhat reminiscent of simmnel or fruit cake. It matches well with the Martini Rosso and the Wild Turkey Rye – quite excellent.
#2 Martinez
There’s quite an autumnal or wintry feel from the sweet spices in this cocktail. It’s a little reminiscent of gingerbread or mincemeat, but not in a sweet way. The Sloane’s Gin worked well and both Mrs. B and I really liked this, thinking it quite Christmas-y.

#3 Swan Cocktail

Unusual flavours, quite dry and a touch of anise. Bitter add an extra complexity and the vanilla note went well with the pastis. Bracing and rousing for the appetite.

#4 Old Fashioned
Absolutely lovely. A hint of smokiness comes through. It’s a little lighter and creamier than the same drink made using Angostura. A caution would be to not put too much sugar in, but, really, this drink is just great.

#5 Martini
A pale yellow colour, and clean and crisp; the middle has a touch of smokiness and then there’s some cloves and Christmas spice on the finish. The bitters works well with Sloane’s Gin, making a drink with a long finish.

#6) Pink Gin
More fragrant than most Pink Gins, but the cinnamon/sweet spice notes that you get when using angostura is still present, so there is still an element of familiarity. There’s a huge amount of flavour and it it works very nicely with the Sloane’s Dry gin.

In Conclusion

In a similar way to Boker’s, I am very glad that Abbott’s Bitters has been resurrected; to my mind it is a sweeter, lighter and more confectionery type of bitters and, as such, has its own niche to carve out. I see some really great potential uses in Autumnal or Winter cocktails.

Our favourite drinks were; Martinez, Manhattan and Old Fashioned.

Chase Summer Fruit Punch (A Fruit Cup)

Since the hunt for Uganda Waragi, no spirit has alluded me more than the mysterious Chase Fruit Cup by William Chase. Last month saw the release of the excellent Sipsmith Summer Cup and so I was keen to see how the Chase one shaped up.

I was originally told about its existence and its exclusivity by a chap in a bar, but, at the same time, I was being told that it was exclusively for a particular client. After a series of false leads and disappointments, I received a tip-off yesterday as to where I could find some.

Luckily, I was in town that evening* and so yesterday we popped into Bistro du Vin, Dean St., Soho.

Chase’s Fruit Cup is vodka-based and is actually described as a “Summer Fruit Punch”. It was made exclusively for the Grand Opening of the Bistro in Soho, with the production run being limited to just 24 bottles. It is also unusual as it is bottled at 40%ABV; most Fruit Cups, including Pimm’s, are bottled between 20 and 25%ABV, with the premium likes of Plymouth and Sipsmith being bottled at 30% and 29% ABV, respectively. The colour of Chase Summer Punch is a rather vibrant deep crimson; a very berry-like shade.

It is bottled in their usual tall bottle, with their standard limited edition label (see Chase Smoked). Here is the text, in full, from the back of the label.

#1) Own
It is rare that people drink Fruit Cup on its own, but in order to get an idea of the spirit’s character, I thought I’d give it a bash.
Nose: Very strong; a fruity nose, with sharp berry notes such as sloe, damson and blackcurrant. There were also some bitter, leafy-green notes, like crushed mint.
Taste:Full of berry jamminess; sweet, but also quite tart. This does not feel like you are drinking a 40% spirit, but rather a 20% liqueur. As Chase suggests, this is unlike any other Fruit Cup and has some distinct Cassis-like qualities. Mrs B. also picked up a little salty savouriness too.
#2) With Lemonade
The traditional mixer for a Fruit Cup, although not their serving suggestion. This drink had very strong, sharp, sweet berry notes and was also quite sweet and reminded me a lot of blackcurrant squash/cordial & lemonade or Cassis & soda water. The drink lacked any herbal complexity that you would expect from a Fruit Cup and, for me, was just too sweet. I think this is why lemonade is not the recommended serve.

#3) With Ginger Ale
This is the suggested serve for Chase Summer Fruit Punch and mine was garnished with lemon, blackberry and mint. This was much better than the lemonade and the sweetness was far more balanced. Once more, there was a disappointing lack of herbal notes, although the drink does have a lot more depth when mixed this way. With the strong berry flavours and the ginger, this started to have rather an autumnal feel, which I quite liked. If it had some more fiery ginger notes it would be even better.

#4) With Ginger Beer
Inspired by the desire to mix the Punch/Cup with some more fiery ginger flavours, I decided to try it with ginger beer. The stronger ginger was certainly an improvement, but the downside was that the ginger beer was quite sweet and so the drink became a bit sickly. The bartender suggested adding a little lime to balance it out and I think that would work well. Alternatively, using a less sweet ginger beer, such as Breckland Orchard or Luscombe Fiery, would work. Once again, the underlying sweetness of the Cup/Punch makes it harder to mix with.



In Conclusion

I’m really glad that I got a chance to try Chase’s Summer Fruit Punch and it certainly fulfills the label’s promise to be “a unique Fruit Punch like no other you have ever tasted”, making it a welcome innovation to the market.I’d like to see it have wider distribution, but, for me, it needs to be less sweet. I think that the high levels of sugary sweetness would turn a lot of consumers and bartenders off.In addition, some more herbal notes would add some depth and sophistication to the flavour and I think these could be incorporated without the loss of the unique berry profile of the product.

Finally, the 40%ABV that the spirit is bottled at seems an odd choice and I would suggest reducing it to something like 30%. This is assuming that the reduction in proof would not seriously adversely effect the flavour and I don’t think it would. Although the drink doesn’t taste very alcoholic, a few glasses of this drunk in quick succession could really creep up on you. Also, a 40% spirit will need to have a higher price point than a 30% one, if only for the higher duty that would need to be paid, making the product less competitive.

2011 has been an exciting time for the world of Fruit Cups and hopefully 2012 will see a larger production run of Sipsmith Summer Cup and a further offer from Chase, too.

Thanks to Caroline, Laura, Nick and Rob for their help with this article.

* It was the New Sheridan Club Night and we received an excellent talk on Mother of Pearl.

Old Sixteen Rum – A Crodino & Bacardi Lemon Cocktail

The Old Sixteen Rum is a variation on the Sixteen Rum. The original cocktail name apparently comes from a Count in Piedmont who served this drink to attract young and fashionable guests to his home. The cocktail then became popular with the elite and the more sophisticated circles of Italy, especially at receptions and parties. It is said that the drink is offered as a token of esteem and as a wish of success to guests (mainly in the field of love).

Today’s cocktail is a variation using Bacardi Limon and a 5yr Old Martini Rosso

25ml Martini Rosso 5yr Old
(I didn’t have any of this so I used normal Martini Rosso with a dash of Antica Formula)
100ml Crodino
25ml Bacardi Limon
Lemon Wedge, squeezed

The Taste

Very pleasant, the lemon bacardi makes a fresher, more furity drink and the Martini continues to add a complex herbal note with the dash of Antica bringing some deeper, more bitter notes. As before the balance between the Crodino, Bacardi Lemon and vermouth is spot on but this time there is even more flavour is even more intense.

Apparently this variation is popular at reunions of old friends and is thought to bring back memories of good times past. It also goes very well with a cigar.

Cocktails with…. Crodino Non-Alcoholic Aperitif

I got a lead on Crodino from Billy of Billy’s Booze Blog, so first off, my thanks to him.

Crodino is a non-alcoholic aperitif made by the Campari Group. It gets its name from Crodo, the area in north-west Predmont where the product has been bottled since 1964. According to their website, Crodino is the most consumed and most famous non-alcoholic aperitif in Italy.

Under the brand “Crodo”, Campiri make Chuotto (a citrus and cinchona mix), Lemonsoda, Oransoda, Pelinosoda, Tonicsoda and Mojitosoda. All of these are non-alcoholic.

Campari also make Campari & Soda (this was very popular in Italy and available in small flasks), as well as Aperol & Soda and a premixed Cinzano.

I was interested in Crodino as a drink, but in addition, given the nature of this site, it’s mixer potential appealed immensely.

Crodino is a bright shade of rust-orange, similar to the Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru. There is certainly a bitter-sweet character to it. Very sweet and syrupy at the beginning, with hints of vanilla and a touch of orange. After this comes the herbal bitter notes which are good way to round off the drink. For me, this was best served with lots of ice and a squirt of citrus fruit.

Sixteen Rum Cocktail

After some investigation, it appears that the signature cocktail for Crodino is the Sixteen Rum.
The name apparently comes from a Count in Piedmont who served this drink to attract young and fashionable guests to his home. The cocktail then became popular with the elite and the more sophisticated circles of Italy, especially at receptions and parties. It is said that the drink is offered as a token of esteem and as a wish of success to guests (mainly in the field of love).

25ml Martini Rosso
100ml Crodino
25ml Rum
Lemon Wedge, squeezed

This was delicious: the balance of the vermouth and Crodino, with some freshness added by the lemon and fortification, is just right. It’s worth experimenting, but I’d recommended a light rum for this drink. The perfect drink to welcome guests and completely refreshing.

A variation, known as Old Sixteen Rum, uses 5 yr old Martini Rosso and Bacardi Lemon-flavoured Rum. This is popular at reunions of old friends and is thought to bring back memories of good times past. Apparently it goes very well with a cigar.

Gin & Crodino
50ml Dry Gin, 100ml Crodino
I used Taurus Gin, a good staple of the London Dry category, and mixed the drink as I would a Gin & Tonic. Sadly, the Crodino was too sweet for even a dry gin and the resulting mix was rather sickly.

Crodino & It
Equal parts Red Vermouth & Crodino
A simple drink, which was refreshing with a slice of orange or lemon and created a very enjoyable and refreshing aperitif. The vermouth takes the sweet edge of the Crodino, but does not cover up its other flavours and complements the mixer’s taste with some more bitter herbal notes.



25ml Gin, 25ml Campari & 100ml Crodino

.Inspired by the fact that the sweetness in the Crodino needs a little taming, I added Campari to the mix. This produced a superior drink, with the the bitter-sweet element of a drink like a Campari & Soda. Fruity and herbal, the drink improves further with the squeeze of a lemon wedge.

Dry & Wry

25ml Grappa, Juice of half a lemon, 100ml Crodino

This was originally meant to be a Collins-type drink. I thought that the addition of sugar syrup would be unnecessary and wanted to make it more Italian, so I subbed the gin for Grappa.

Dryness comes form the Grappa, tartness from the lemon and a bitter-sweetness from the Crodino. It is complex and fruity with hints of fruit, fruit stone and almond.

This is definitely a different sort of drink and, in its own way, very refreshing; it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe for a more seasoned palette it will be a delight. It has a pleasant aftertaste, but it’s a clean one and so doesn’t impact the flavour of what you might be supping next.

Mrs. B described it (in what I’m told is a good way?) as a “taste onslaught”.

In Conclusion

I think Crodino is a great product and is great fun to experiment with. I’m not sold on how much I like it as a soft drink (it just seems to sweet), although, with a bit of lemon juice and ice, it become quite palatable (and remains non-alcoholic).

In cocktails, it works well with those that can add some extra bitterness (Campari, Vermouth, Aperol) or tartness (citrus juice). Without question, my favourite drink was the Sixteen Rum and the Dry & Wry.

Thanks to Billy, Alex, Duncan and all the folks at the Whisky Exchange for you enthusiasm, inspiration and encouragement in writing this article.

Crodino is available in an eight pack of 10cl Bottles for £5.95 at the Whisky Exchange

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Juniper society June – Hayman’s Launch New Reserve Gin!

Special preview of
Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin
Monday June  6th 2011
Graphic Bar, 4 Golden Square Soho.
W1F 9HT.
020 7287 9241
This Monday will see a special preview of the new product from Hayman’s their 1850 Reserve Gin. I’ve heard a bit about this and it sounds rather special. We’ve review a few of their other products ont he site, details of which can be found here:

Alcoholic Ginger Beer Update #2 – Church’s (Aldi) & Leg Warmer

Church's and Leg Warmer Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Note that the lady on the second bottle is wearing both stockings and leg warmers, that's what you call a woman!))

Church’s and Leg Warmer Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Note that the lady on the second bottle is wearing both stockings and leg warmers, that’s what you call a woman!)

It certainly seems like the Alcoholic “Ginger Beer” is growing at a steady rate;  at the beginning of the year, I was aware of just three varieties, but now I’m about to review #9 and #10. You know something is a boom when the low-cost supermarkets want a piece of the action, and that is exactly what has happened with the first of today’s ginger beers.

Church’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer: From Aldi

Church’s (from Aldi)  %ABV

This is available at a very reasonable £1.39 for 500ml, so it’s pretty cheap, but how does it taste?

This is quite fiery and gingery, but probably the least alcoholic-tasting that I have had. It was very similar in many respects, except colour, to Old Jamaican Ginger Beer and had that same heavy warmth of fieriness at the end. The upside of this is that it is not too sweet, which means you could probably drink more of it. There’s also a slight, bitter muskiness at end. The downside is that it is may be a touch too fizzy for my liking.

Still, it represents excellent value for money and is a pretty good product overall.






Leg Warmer (Piddle Brewery) 4.3%ABV

The second ginger beer comes from the Piddle Brewery in Piddlehinton, Dorset.  Amongst other products, they also make the following beers: Jack’s Riddle, Silent Slasher and the seasonal Santa’s Potty.

Leg Warmer itself is a seasonal beer, for the summer, and it is made with Styrian Golding and Saaz hops and real ginger.

Certainly an ale-led Ginger Beer, it has the appearance of a cloudy pale ale, with no fizz; it is quite hoppy, with ginger at the end, but it is quite subdued. However, it is most pronounced on the aftertaste. It certainly isn’t one that you’d serve on ice and it has a suggested serving temperature of 12-13 oC. Unlike most of the other ale-led Ginger Beers, this is not too rich nor stout-like, which makes it rather more refreshing.

This is available from various Piddle Brewery Outlets; I got mine from the excellent top notch Champagne Charlie’s near Ocean Village in Southampton. Worth checking out if you’re in the area and looking for something a bit special.

For the rest of the Alcoholic Ginger Beer Tasting, click here.

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Secret Notes

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This is just a work-in-progress article, a fully-fledged version with tasting notes, pictures and spelling/grammar corrections will be posted next week.

I’m working on a full article for Organic Fruit Cup following a request on Twitter.

I was surprised that there appears to be no organic vermouth available in the UK, I wonder if organic wormwood is hard to find or something?

So I am currently making my own organic flavour-infused aromatized wine that I can then mix with Organic Gin/Vodka/ whisky to make a fruit cup that I can then mix with Organic Lemonade.

My Recipe:

One bottle of Organic Red Wine (Italian Terra Viva Merlot 2010 – £6.99 Waitrose)

Juice and Peel of one organic lemon and organic orange

Peel of half an organic cucumber

One organic teabag infused in  the wine for 15 mins (Organic Earl Grey – £1.29 Waitrose)

One dessert spoon of organic brown sugar

I’m going to leave it to infuse in a Kilner Jar for 24 hrs and give it a taste, if it’s ready then I’ll staring and bottle, if not I’ll leave it a bit longer. If it needs more sugar I shall add some.

If you can get organic cinnamon/nutmeg/cloves you could also use these in your infusion.

When mixing it with gin, I’d suggest mixing your aromatized wine in equal measure.