Cocktails with…. Gin Eva Olive Gin

Sometimes you come across a gin that is both such a simple idea and so well-executed that you wonder why no-one has done it before. Today’s featured gin is definitely one of those: Gin Eva’s Black Label “La Mallorquina” Olive Gin.

Produced at the Gin Eva Distillery on the island of Mallorca (Majorca), the gin is bottled at 45.0% ABV and is made using juniper, La Mallorquina olives, and coriander seed.

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The La Mallorquina olive, a mutation of the Empeldre variety of olives, is only found on Mallorca, giving a nice Terroir aspect to the spirit in addition to great flavour.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Plump juniper and a touch of zesty coriander. Crisp, but eye-catching, with a gentle, green salinity from the olives.
Taste: The olives are right there, upfront: oily and creamy, just like eating the fresh, green fruit. Exceptionally inviting, this gin instantly transports you to a Mediterranean getaway. A summery zip of citrus follows, before a dry finish of pine and green olives. Amazing.

Gin Tonic
Deep flavours with the savoury olive really coming through, accompanied by a little oiliness. The drink is exceptionally refreshing and unlike any other Gin Tonic out there. In terms of garnish, I’m quite a fan of having this naked (that is, without any garnish) or with a bit of freshly-cracked black pepper.

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Martini
Clean, soft, and balanced with an absolutely fabulous texture: thick and lustrous. The wisps of olive flavours are layered delicately within the drink, adding a pleasant and complex green, savoury note. Best served in the Dickens style – without olive or twist.

Negroni
This is the most savoury and appetite-raising Negroni I have ever had; one glass of this and you’ll be ravenous! Simply superb. If you are a fan of a Negroni, this is a version that I can’t recommend enough – excellent and delightfully intense.

Gin & Soda
A clean and soft drink with the residual oiliness of the olives and a touch of salt singing through, too. Hints of dry juniper and zesty coriander appear toward the finish. Refreshing, flavoursome, and delightful.

In Conclusion

I think that Gin Eva Olive is an exceptional and imaginative gin with an excellent texture and the flavours of the olives really shining through, bright and bold. It makes some incredible drinks, but my favourite was the Martini with the Negroni a very close second.

Gin Eva Olive is available for around £56 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

Many thanks to Gin Eva for the use of their pictures.

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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.

Cocktails with… Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky

Last week, DTS & I were lucky enough to go on a long overdue trip back to The Cotswolds Distillery to celebrate the recent release of their Cotwolds Single Malt Whisky, which has been patiently maturing in a combination of reconditioned red wine casks and first-fill ex-Bourbon casks.

The distillery, set in the hypnotically peaceful countryside of the Cotswolds, was founded in 2014 and have produced an award-winning gin, along with a range of other products like their Spirited Sherry, 1616 Barrel Aged Gin, and a Summer Cup. All the while, though, they have been distilling new make spirit and filling barrels in preparation for a whisky, and their first release is finally here. Although the inaugural release has sold out, a limited number of bottles will be available for Christmas and we were able to purchase a bottle at the Distillery shop, which we eagerly took home and tried out in a few different serves.

Cotswolds Single Malt whisky

On its own

Nose: Beautifully fruity notes of banana with toffee and caramel (or porridge oats with honey and banana), and a richness reminiscent of whipped cream. After a while, notes of pineapple upside-down cake and a dash of marzipan develop, along with hints of red berries that quickly transform into notes of red grapes, especially the skins.

Taste: Given the fruity nose, I was initially surprised – not unpleasantly so – to find that the palate starts out with distinct notes of cereal and grain. This grows more complex as herbal and spice notes develop, accompanied by fruity wood flavours and hints of charred wood, too.

Finish: Delightful fruit notes return on the finish, with notes of banana bread and pineapple cream that gradually fade into clean oak with a dash of black pepper.

On our visit, we were also able to try some of the unaged new make spirit, which was fascinating. Not only was it a brilliant spirit on its own, but it was great to see where the whisky’s fundamental character started and how much of that comes from the local barley.

Cotswolds New Make

Sweet and fruity with lots of pineapple, banana, cream and light caramel notes – this is almost rum-like in character. The palate is ruled by the barley notes, which are smooth, but develop neatly onto the finish, taking on more of a chewy cereal flavour.

The fruitiness of the new make spirit is partially down to the yeast used in the fermentation process. Cotswolds use two types of yeast: Anchor, and a second variety, Fermentis, which results in more tropical fruit flavours and aromas.

On the Rocks

We quickly discovered that one of our favourite ways to drink this – and a perfect serve for a summer evening – was over ice. The richer caramel flavours are less prominent, but remain on the mouthfeel, making this a dryer drink. Notes of oak are accompanied by more herbal flavours at the start, before making way for notes from the barley.

Cotswolds Single MAlt whiksy - on the rocks

Whisky Ginger

Delicious, confectionery notes of caramelised banana, creamy vanilla and toffee that fade into sweet ginger. With additional sips, hints of red apple and grape become intermingled amongst smooth cereal flavours, reminiscent of a spiced caramel apple betty. This is an indulgent Whisky Ginger full of rich flavours, but is impressively balanced by a more woody and grain focused finish.

Whisky Soda

For those who prefer a dryer long drink, this would be a good choice. Dry, but creamy notes of chocolate come through to start, followed by salted caramel. More tropical fruit flavours then appear, ensuring that this doesn’t become astringent, before a light, but luxurious finish of banana and toffee (particularly, Toffo sweets).

Rob Roy

This works well, with the whisky’s richness and sweet fruit and caramel notes neatly highlighted by the red fruit and herbal notes of the vermouth. The whisky’s toffee and cereal notes also come through well, despite the strong flavours of this cocktail, before a very dry, woody and particularly herbal finish that lingers pleasantly on the palate. This would work well as either an aperitif or a digestif.

In Conclusion

As we toured the distillery, it struck me that the Cotswolds team had used a fascinating combination of traditional expertise – learning from people who have been in the industry for decades – and their own experimentation to produce their whisky, not being afraid to do things a little differently if they preferred the spirit that it produced.

They focused on producing a great new make spirit that captured the flavour of their local barley and the result is a lively, flavourful whisky that is fun and tastes great. Highly recommended.

  • Mrs. B

Our 70cl bottle from the Distillery shop cost £44.95. If you’d like to keep an eye on the availability of Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky, you can do so on their website or at Master of Malt.

Cocktails with… 6 O’Clock – Brunel Edition

As a longtime resident of Portsmouth I’ve always had an affinity with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, perhaps Britain’s greatest engineer. Brunel is also of great importance to the city of Bristol, where the SS Great Britain and the Brunel Museum are both located.

Today, I’m looking at a gin inspired by Brunel: 6 O’Clock Brunel Edition. Additionally, for every bottle sold, £1 will be donated to the SS Great Britain Trust’s new museum ‘Being Brunel’ which opens in 2018.

6 o clock Brunel Gin

The gin, bottled at 50.0% ABV, is made using the original 6 O’Clock Gin as a base and adds more juniper and six new botanicals:
Lemon
Cardamom
Nutmeg
Cumin
Cassia bark
Cubeb

On its own
Nose: Exotic spice, anise, caraway and cumin with a touch of ginger.
Taste: Surprisingly smooth for 50% ABV, with a light, sweet spiciness upfront that gradually makes way for notes of vanilla and lemon. Smooth and clean, there’s also a touch of juniper jelly and coriander before a final burst of black menthol pepper with a little lingering, green pine.

Gin Tonic
This makes a rather spicy Gin Tonic with plenty of cinnamon and ginger notes, making it somewhat reminiscent of a spiced sponge. Juicy fruit notes follow, with a little citrus peel before some cumin and a hint of dark chocolate. Overall, this is a dry, refreshing drink with wonderful notes of intercontinental spice.

Martini
The rich spiciness comes through well in this cocktail: there’s a little dry cinnamon followed by more savoury notes of cumin and ginger with just a touch of turmeric. Sweet citrus and cardamom notes then develop, before a slightly earthy finish.

Martini-on-the-Rocks
Given the slightly higher ABV of this gin, some drinkers may prefer the slightly more dilute Martini-on-the-Rocks. Fill a tumbler to the top with ice, add 35ml of gin and 10ml dry vermouth and garnish with an olive or lemon peel.

The herbal and spiced notes of this gin work really well with the slightly wetter drink and, in comparison to the Martini, more of the vermouth comes through, too.

Negroni
A bold and “crunchy” Negroni with bright notes of fresh celery stalks accompanied by the spices found in the other drinks. The finish is earthy and slightly resinous and really lingers on the tongue.

With Cola
The gin adds a savoury spiciness to this serve, with notes of paprika, turmeric and ginger. Mixed with the cola, the gin also provides a hint of chocolate, but – overall – the drink is not overly sweet and has a pleasant, fiery, dry spice to it.

In Conclusion
6 O’Clock Gin: Brunel Edition is a bold gin that is great for mixing; the additional botanicals make this a great twist on what was already a lovely gin. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic.

6 O’Clock Brunel edition is available from their website for £43 for 70cl.

Cocktails with… Griffiths Brothers Gin

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

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

Griffiths Brothers Gin FINAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cocktails with… Campfire Gin – from Puddingstone Distillery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cocktails with… Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin

Lemon Gin was a regular fixture of the early 19th Century, with Gordon’s and Plymouth both making varieties. These gins were often made via infusion, but fast-forward to the 21st Century and Sipsmith have resurrected the idea with their distilled Lemon Drizzle Gin.

Originally released as a part of their pilot Quarterly Sipping Service (recently more formally launched as the Sipping Society), such was the popularity of the gin, especially with employees of Marks & Spencer, that production was increased and M&S given the product as an exclusive. Here are my thoughts!

sipsmith-lemon-drizzle-gin

On its own

Nose: Zesty citrus oil and a creamy, citrus blossom, plus a little coriander and leafiness.

Taste: A thick texture and slight sweetness, followed by a fine array of citrus notes; a combination of the fruit, leaf, and flower of citrus that combines to give a lemony flavour in 6:1 surround. Like many signature botanical gins, the juniper is paired back, but that, along with angelica and coriander, is evident towards the finish.

Gin Tonic

Bright, clean, crisp citrus notes sing through, making a very refreshing, really delicious drink – a textbook Gin & Tonic.

Martini

Delightful citrus notes, creamy, and delicate; reminiscent of a lemon syllabub, or – indeed – a lemon drizzle cake, with a crisp, dry finish.

Negroni

A cocktail with a strong and balanced flavour with an extra liveliness from the lemon, which is well-integrated and wonderfully smooth.

In Conclusion

Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle is a fun, modern interpretation of the lemon gins of old. The fact that the flavour is 100% distilled is a great improvement in quality compared with those of the 1930s-1940s. If you are near a Marks & Spencer, it is well worth seeking this out. My favourite cocktail was the Gin Tonic.

Sipsmith Lemon Drizzle Gin is available for around £24 for 500ml Exclusively from Marks and Spencer.