Cocktails with… Fred Jerbis Gin… from Italy

I’m always interested in gins from other countries and, whilst there are plenty of gins available from Spain, France, and Germany, I’d only ever tried one from Italy and, as nice as it was, that was a pretty standard, classic style gin.

As a result, I was very pleased to have the opportunity to try the hand-crafted Fred Jerbis gin, made by L.F. Opificium in Spilimbergo, North-east Italy. It uses five different production methods to capture its wide range of botanical flavours:

Pot Distillation
Vapour Distillation
Cold Maceration of Fresh Herbs
Cold Maceration of Dried Herbs
Hot Maceration

1 Fred Jerbis Gin

Fred Jerbis is bottled at 43% ABV and the gin is made using 43 different botanicals, including: Juniper, Angelica, Lemon, Orange, Mandarin, Orange Blossom, Liquorice, Iris, Savory, Thyme, Lavender, Saffron, Mint, Anise, Fennel, Mountain Pine, Melissa, Masterwort, Clary Sage, Wormwood, Yarrow, Hyssop, Marjoram, and Aromatic Calamus, amongst others.

On its own
Nose: Intense and complex, with an array of herbs, fruits, roots and spices. There are notes of fruit cake – like panettone or stollen – as well as rich orange and hints of woody menthol and wintergreen.
Taste: Warm and cosy in flavour, with lots going on, despite it being pleasantly mellow. Notes of cedar and woody spice are followed by forest aromatics and hint of meadow flowers. The finish is full of citrus with a bitter-sweet orange that lingers on the palate.

Gin & Tonic
A herbaceous nose with a touch of sweetness. So fresh and genuine, this is wonderfully cool and inviting. There are flavours of wintergreen upfront, before fruity notes (such as grape) and then drier, leafy notes that work particularly well with the tonic.

Gin Soda
An understandably drier drink than the Gin & Tonic, but less bitter, too. The soda allows some of the more subtle root notes to come through, such as dandelion & burdock. The orange is a little more in the background, replaced with vermouth-like flavours of anis, fennel, and artemisia.

Fragrant and somewhat floral. Smooth, but with plenty of flavour, this is a herbal Martini that’s raising to the appetite. The strong finish is of juniper, coriander, and citrus.

Very herbal, mellow, and smooth, with a pleasant, light jamminess that is reminiscent of fruit pastilles. There are also lovely elements of woody vanilla and spice, and sweet hints of anis and fennel. These are followed by a slight bitterness from the Campari, which is well-matched to the levels of juniper in this cocktail. Very good, indeed.

In Conclusion
Fred Jerbis Gin is a complex gin with a wide array of botanical flavours, from bright juniper to fresh, leafy herbs; from sweet spice to citrus. This variety of flavour is a result of their combination of distillation and maceration, and provides a great deal to explore. My favourite drink was the Negroni. – Fred Jerbis on Twitter

Which glass for whisk(e)y? A tasting with Glencairn glassware.

When enjoying whisky, obviously the spirit itself is of utmost importance, but consideration also needs to be given to the glass from which you enjoy it. There are a great plethora of glasses produced across the world that are designed to increase the appreciation of fine spirits.

Glencairn, a Scottish glassware company based in East Kilbride, Scotland, has a range of different glasses and, after recently picking up one of their stemmed copita glasses at the Cotswolds Distillery, I decided to take a closer look at their range and see how different shapes and styles can impact upon the drinking experience.

I tested all of these glasses out with Old Scout Straight Bourbon from Smooth Ambler Spirits, based in West Virginia.

L:R Glencairn Original, Mini, Cut-crystal & Copita

L:R Glencairn Original, Mini, Cut-crystal & Copita

The original Glencairn Glass

Height (full): 115mm, Height (stem): 20mm, Width (widest point): 65mm, Width (opening): 42mm

This glass, designed specifically for the appreciation of whisky, is most likely familiar to anyone who has been to a whisky distillery, shop, or bar.

  • It sits neatly in the hand and is easy and comfortable to sip from.
  • Doesn’t feel fragile.
  • The wider bowl also allows for a good view of the spirit and its colour.
  • The nose was full-bodied and extensive.

The miniature Glencairn Glass (sometimes referred to as the “Perfect Dram” glass)

Height (full): 86mm, Height (stem): 17mm, Width (widest point): 48mm, Width (opening): 31mm

This is a smaller version of the normal Glencairn glass. Although I can’t find it on their website, they are available on Amazon and, like the original, some companies are selling branded versions (we picked one up at the Cotswolds Distillery recently).

  • I find this lighter glass easier to hold, although some may find it too small.
  • The smaller volume means that you can have more glasses of different whiskies, rather than one larger pour.
  • In my direct comparison of the glasses, I found that the sweeter, fruity notes came through more vividly using this one than the others.

Cut Crystal Glencairn Glass

Height (full): 115mm, Height (stem): 20mm, Width (widest point): 62mm, Width (opening): 42mm

The Cut Crystal Glencairn is similar in size and design to the original, but is mouth blown and hand cut.

  • Beautiful to look at; this would make a lovely gift.
  • It is much heavier than the others, especially the base, but does feel a tad more fragile.
  • The “lip” of the glass is thinner, which I found less comfortable to drink from.
  • Both the nose and the palate seemed more spirituous from this glass.

Glencairn Copita Glass

Height (full): 148mm, Height (stem): 62mm, Width (widest point): 60mm, Width (opening): 40mm

Finally, we have the Copita glass, which the website notes is used for sensory analysis by blenders and distillers.

  • Excellent for exploring the nose and colour of whiskies.
  • Good if you prefer a stemmed glass (or are concerned about warming your spirit when you hold it).
  • Has a thin “lip”, but feels balanced and substantial compared to other stemmed glasses.

In Conclusion

There’s a glass here for every occasion and customer. If you’re after a detailed sensory analysis, try the Copita glass; if you want a good, solid glass that’s nonetheless great for exploring whisky, try the original or miniature Glencairn glass; and if you want to try something a little bit different and special, try the Cut Crystal Glencairn.

My personal favourite is still the miniature Glencairn, but I was impressed by the Copita Glass and would definitely use it again, especially when I have a whisky that I want to explore over a good period of time.

The full range of Glencairn glassware is available on Amazon and at a variety of other shops (see the official website for a map).

Cocktails with Furillen Gin from Herno Gin of Sweden

Today’s article focuses on a rather special gin from our friends at Hernö Distillery in Sweden. Namely, the gin made exclusively for the Fabriken Furillen Hotel on the Furillen Penisula of Gotland Island.

The gin is the only spirit served at Fabriken Furillen and is served, not from bottles, but from a 240 litre stainless steel tank. The spirit is made using wild juniper, fresh elderflower, and fresh rose; all foraged by the hotel’s founder, Johan Hellström. In addition to these botanicals, coriander seed and fresh lemon peel are also used. The gin is bottled at 41% ABV.

Furillen Gin
On its own
Nose: Bright, vegetal notes, with hints of bright cucumber, coriander, and a hint of sea salt.
Taste: Juniper to start and then floral and citrus coriander; bright, with just a hint of oiliness. These are followed by some very fresh, crisp, leafy, herbal notes. Exciting and invigorating.

Gin & Tonic
Wonderfully fragrant; leafy and herbal, with some cucumber notes accompanied by herbal juniper and savoury notes. The finish is long and full of citrus, making this very refreshing, complex, and unusual.

Crisp, with unexpected chocolate notes upfront, followed by some bright, leafy, herbal flavours and a touch of florality, before piney juniper notes take centre stage. This gin works well at low temperatures, making this Martini an excellent pre-dinner cocktail, rousing to the appetite.

Packed full of strong flavours, this is bold and herbaceous, with bright floral notes and a little spiced citrus; the gin certainly holds up well against the vermouth and the Campari. There’s also a lovely touch of dark chocolate on the finish.

In Conclusion
It is always a pleasure to try something exclusive or rate, and this gin is no exception, but it is how the Furillion Gin embodies the terroir of where many of the botanicals are sourced that is really exciting. It is that slight hint of salinity that sets this gin apart: how it captures the character of the sea and coastline. Unique and outstanding.

Cocktails with… Cotswold Distillery’s Espresso Martini

Bottled cocktails are both something rather old and rather newsworthy; that is, after many, many years in the wilderness, they are starting to make a comeback. The attraction is simple: excellent, high-quality cocktails that are ready to drink with minimal preparation and a convenient, affordable price.

Cotswolds Espresso Martini - Botttle FINAL

We’ve written about the excellent range by Master of Malt, but, on a recent trip to the Cotswolds Distillery, I learnt how they had taken a slightly different approach when making an Espresso Martini.

The Espresso Martini was created in the 1990s by Dick Bradshaw and typically consists of a mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, sugar syrup and fresh espresso. At the Cotswolds Distillery, however, they make their bottled cocktail not through a compounding of the various ingredients, but by producing a range of distillates: coffee (Enorga and Malabar), coriander seed, fresh orange peel, and spice (mace, cassia, and cinnamon). These are then blended together and lightly sweetened. Let’s see what it tastes like.

Cotswolds Espresso Martini - Frozen FINALOn its own (from the freezer)
Nose: Dark, rich coffee beans and rich fruit.
Taste: More rich coffee, mingled with dark chocolate and cherry, followed by a delicate sweetness that gradually intensifies to a short, but lovely, genuine sugar note. Towards the finish, the notes of chocolate are combined with spiced orange.
Finish: Light, intriguing floral notes of coriander and rose or violet creams here and there, with the continuation of the same fruity, chocolate and coffee notes.

Cotswolds Espresso Martini - Soda FINALTall Espresso Martini (with soda)
This has lovely – and decidedly non-sickly – notes of chocolate orange; in particular, cocoa powder and a sweet fruitiness (both orange and richer, darker fruit like cherry). The fizz lightens the drink so that it has an almost cola-like element to it at the start, which gradually develops into notes of coffee and dry cocoa. A great way to make a spirited version of a coffee soda.

In Conclusion
Cotswolds Distillery’s Espresso Martini is full of flavour and unexpected complexities, making it an excellent example of how a bottled cocktail can be much more than something you could make at home. I also liked the innovative method of production, and am intrigued to know what other products might be available in the future.

The Espresso Martini would be perfectly placed at the end of a meal on its own (with its fruity, chocolatey, coffee notes), or at any time when mixed with soda. Now I’m just left with the conundrum of deciding how to drink the rest of our bottle!

Cocktails with… Tanqueray Bloomsbury Gin

Over the past few years, Tanqueray have released a series of limited editions: Tanqueray Malacca, and their Old Tom Gin. The Master Distiller of Tanqueray, Tom Nichol, has recently retired, but before he left, he created Tanqueray Bloomsbury (47.3% ABV), which is what we’re going to be taking a look at today.

Tanqueray Bloomsbury is based on a recipe created by Charles Waugh Tanqueray (son of the founder) that dates from the 1880s, when the Tanqueray distillery was located in Bloomsbury, London.

Its botanicals include: Tuscan juniper, coriander, angelica, winter savoury, and cassia bark.

Picture thanks to Nicholas Cook

On its own
Nose: Brilliant, bright juniper; juicy and resinous, with the crispness of pine needles and fragrant complexity of pine blossom.
Taste: Rather resinous, there is piney juniper upfront and hints of cedar. This is followed by light, slightly bitter citrus notes from coriander, as well as an array of floral notes towards the finish, along with some dryness.

Gin Tonic
The gin’s presence is easily felt in this drink, with a long, crisp, razor sharp finish of fresh juniper. Refreshing and reviving, this is a straightforward Gin Tonic with a sublime simplicity to it.

Bright and fresh, with plenty of juniper, pine, and cedar notes, as well as hints of black pepper and menthol. An excellent and bold cocktail.

Very bitter and intense: the juniper-focused gin sings through, adding some dry, tannic, resinous notes. In the middle, there are also some dark chocolate notes, before an intense and lasting bitterness on the finish.

In Conclusion
Tanqueray Bloomsbury bucks the trend of gins moving towards a more contemporary style, but, as Tom Nichol’s last hurrah at Tanqueray, I wouldn’t expect anything less. Whilst I embrace innovation in gin styles, this goes to show that there is still much to explore in the classic realm.

Cocktails with… Cotswold’s Distillery’s Spirited Sherry

It’s great to see so many new distilleries open across the UK, as well as the return of whisky production, but of course both producers and would-be consumers of Anglo-whisky need to be patient, as it takes three years and a day to produce spirit that can legally be called whisky.

Of course, distillers being innovative sorts and consumers being rather impatient, you can occasionally get a sneak peek of what is to come. Good examples include the English Whisky Distillery early Chapters series, London Distilling Company’s unaged rye spirit, and the English Spirit Distillery’s Expedition series.

On a recent trip to the beautiful Cotswolds Distillery, we picked up a bottle of “Spirited Sherry”, described as “a delicious marriage of our own sherry-cask aged malt spirit with finest Pedro Ximenez sherry”. When the Cotswolds first whisky is released in a little over two years, it will contain some sherry-aged whisky.

Cotswolds Spirited Sherry

The Taste

On its own
Colour: Deep, rich brown with a hint of burgundy.
Nose: Warm notes of Pedro Ximenez that don’t overwhelm and develops into nose of rich fruit cake and spice: cherry, raspberry, and raisin, all with just a hint of cola and honey.
Taste: This is a smooth and flavourful spirit with a great profile. It starts dry, with notes of dried apple and sherry-soaked wood, before it gradually, but decidedly, grows sweeter and moves onto notes of raisin and tart apple.
Finish: The spirit warms on the finish and the rich, fruity notes of Pedro Ximenez including raisin and honey come through strongly. It then becomes dry as it fades with woody notes and a hint of black pepper.

Old Fashioned
A delightful, lighter version of an Old Fashioned. The beginning is light, but lively, with notes of the Pedro Ximenez coming through, accompanied by more tropical, fruity notes, such as dried pineapple and a hint of orange. Towards the finish, the notes lighten even more (unlike some Old Fashioneds, which can turn syrupy and sickly), with echoes of the sherry and maple coming through.

A very summery Manhattan, with – again – a lighter mouthfeel, but still a good burst of flavour. Rich fruit comes out to start, but dry, not sweet. The vermouth then appears on the palate, with a rush of sweetness before a much drier finish of the Pedro Ximenez combined with woody vanilla notes.

In Conclusion
This is a wonderful spirit with great potential to produce traditional whisky cocktails that have a lighter texture with no reduction in flavour. The Pedro Ximenez came through in all of the drinks that we tried, but didn’t dominate, allowing for other fruit notes to appear. A delightful, well-thought-out product from the Cotswolds Distillery.

Spirited Sherry is a distillery exclusive and is available from the Cotswolds Distillery at £11.95 for 20cl or £34.95 for 70cl.

Cocktails with… East London Liquor Company Spirits – Celebrating their first birthday!

Today is the first birthday of one of the brilliant new additions to the distilling scene in both London and the UK as a whole. East London Liquor Company is located in Bow Wharf, East London, and is a great example of an urban destination distillery. It has a lovely bar with views into the still house and a separate bottle shop that not only sells a variety of products made by the distillery, but also a wonderful selection of other spirits from around the world; not least, products from the Lost Spirits Distillery in California.

Following a recent visit, we shall be looking at their three gins and rum.

1. London Dry Gin – 40.0% ABV

This gin’s botanicals include: lemon & grapefruit peel, coriander, angelica root, juniper berries, cubeb berries, and cardamom; and it’s currently available for around £21 for 70cl from Master of Malt. East London Liquor Company's London Dry GinOn its own

Nose: Creamy with hints of nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla, as well as a touch of crisp citrus.

Taste: A lovely combination of flavours: upfront there is bright, juicy citrus, before creamy, sweet spice, and ginger. The finish is more dry, with crisp juniper notes. Well-integrated and sippable.

Gin & Tonic

Classic, fresh, and crisp with a little sweet spice in the background before the fresh, crisp, dry notes of juniper and coriander come through. This is a very solid choice for a Gin & Tonic that works well with a wide selection of citrus garnishes, although my personal preference is lime.


This makes a clean Martini with good intensity of flavour. There’s a little soft spice in the middle, before a lovely, dry crispness on the finish. A citrus twist would be my recommended garnish.


Soft spiciness, with some lightly  sweet woody spice, ginger and cardamom coming through before a little sweet herbal complexity from the vermouth and then a dry earth bitterness from the Campari. Solid and sound – satisfaction for any Negroni fan.

2. Premium Gin: Batch No1 – 45.0% ABV

The first of ELLC’s premium gins has botanicals including: juniper berries, coriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit peel, and cubeb berries. An additionally interesting note is provided by the use of Darjeeling tea. It is currently available for around £31 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

East London Liquor Company's Premium Gin Batch No1On its own

Nose: Rich spice with a hint of nuttiness and pleasant dry, leafy notes.

Taste: Bold flavours, with a hint of dark chocolate at the start, followed by bright spice and citrus from cracked coriander and vibrant grapefruit, before some floral hints. The finish is full of piney juniper and dry angelica, with a very slight hint of menthol pepper and alpine flowers, too.

Gin & Tonic

A classic Gin & Tonic with brilliant fresh, zesty citrus and a touch of oiliness. This is a clean drink with a long, dry, crisp finish. Serve with plenty of ice and a generous wedge of ruby grapefruit. A quality tonic, like Fevertree, helps to let the citrus aromatics come through, but the gin definitely still holds its own against Schweppes.


Very floral, with plenty of citrus, too; the pink grapefruit shines through as well as plenty of coriander seed and leaf. This cocktail has a lovely fragrance that stops just short of being overpowering and closes with a light, dry menthol finish.


Good long, dry notes: piney and resinous with a  gradually-building bitterness that crescendos into a long, bitter finish with notes of intense, pure, dark chocolate and a hint of strong-roasted coffee with a touch of gentian root.

3. Premium Gin: Batch No2 – 47.0% ABV

Moving onto their second premium gin, this is slightly stronger (47% ABV) and is made using: juniper berries, corriander seeds, cassia bark, angelica root, thyme, winter savory, fennel seeds, orris root, lavender, lemon peel, sage, and bay leaf. It’s currently available for around £32 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

East London Liquor Company's Premium Gin Batch No2On its own

Nose: Bright spice, hints of wood, floral citrus and piney lavender.

Taste: Again, this has a bold flavour with plenty of spice as well as some green anise and caraway notes; cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, too. Rich and spicy, the higher ABV of this gin brings more complex aromas and flavours. Resinous pine and lavender on the finish.

Gin & Tonic

This has lots of delightful spicy notes that add an excellent complexity to the drink. Woody hints of cassia, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla are followed by the more traditional dry and crisp notes of a Gin & Tonic, such as lemon peel and piney juniper, with just a touch of forest lavender. Lemon peel would be a great choice for your garnish or, for those who like things a little less sweet, lime.


Bold and spicy with notes of fresh leaves, rich resinous pine needles, and lavender. Oily and intense, the spirit coats the mouth and hangs around for a long time, bringing with it notes of woody spice – cassia and nutmeg – before a little menthol pepper at the end.


This cocktail has lots of buttery, earthy notes, plus a hint of spice and dark chocolate and a touch of gentian root. Thick and luscious, it has a great intensity that will appeal to the aficionados that like their Negronis to grab them and make them sit up and pay attention.

4. Demerara Rum – 40.0% ABV

Finally, we have ELLC’s rum, which is distilled in Guyana from 100% Demerara sugar in a two column, wooden coffey still, before being aged for at least 3 years in ex-bourbon casks.

East London Liquor Company's RumOn its own

Nose: A light creaminess with hints of coconut milk and vanilla, plus a touch of crushed biscuit and roasted banana.

Taste: This has a lovely, soft, satin-like texture with milky creaminess upfront and then some caramelized sugar that gradually becomes darker, although not quite reaching the deep treacle notes of some English naval rums. A soft fruitiness then comes through towards and on the finish, with more banana, pineapple, and a spot of whipped cream before a light woodiness.

Dark & Stormy

Good – the flavours of the rum come through nicely and work well with the spice and ginger of the mixer. The lime adds balance to the drink. Overall, the character of the rum stands up to the drink and creates a smooth and refreshing cooler.

Happy birthday, East London Liquor Company!