Cocktail with…. Burnt Faith British Brandy Batch 001

The British have a long- standing history with brandy – reflected in the fact that some of the terminology for brandy is in English: VS (Very Special), VSOP (Very Special Old Pale) – but in recent years, the number of British distilleries producing brandy, and grape brandy in particular, has been few and far between.

Burnt Faith Brandy House, based in Walthamstow in North-East London, is the UK’s first and only dedicated brandy distillery. I recently purchased a bottle of their first release and whilst I’m sure many collectors will keep their bottles sealed, I for one wanted to try it! Batch 001 is distilled on a Charnetais still from a mixture of four grape varieties: Trebbiano, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscat Blanc.

The spirit is then matured in a variety of barrels such as ex-American Bourbon casks which had previously held Spanish brandy, as well as ex-Pineau des Charentes, ex-Cognac, and ex-Cherry Liqueur barrels.

The Taste

On its own
Colour: Deep amber
Nose: Creamy vanilla notes to start, joined by oak, berry-fruit, butterscotch, and a little dark, bruleéd sugar on the finish.
Taste: Soft with slight floral, fruity notes: apricot and strawberry with a touch of plum. This moves on to brown sugar and a hint of spice before a dry finish with lingering notes of Biscoff coffee biscuits.

Brandy & Soda
This drink has a gentle sweetness to it with notes of brown sugar and light, fruity grape and apple towards the finish. It reminds me of a fruit pie: slightly buttery, but overall very refreshing.

Horses Neck
The richness of the ginger goes notably well with the brandy, giving this serve hints of ginger syrup sponge, whilst the lemon adds a pleasant brightness. Another refreshing, but flavoursome drink.

On any given day, this is one of my favourite cocktails; it’s so accessible and delicious. Thankfully, Burnt Faith works really well in it, thus passing the real test for a brandy designed for mixed drinks. This Sidecar is rich, succulent, and inviting, as well as being elegant and sophisticated.

This cocktail brings out a lovely smokiness from the brandy, as well as some cherry notes. It’s really delightful – pulling the Sazerac into another dimension – well-balanced in terms of bitterness and sweetness, smoothness, and alcoholic bite – well worth a try.

Brandy Old Fashioned
A well-finessed Brandy Old Fashioned with the sweetness and spice of the brandy complementing the bitters. This has good flavour integration and is very sippable. With the addition of sparkling lemonade (a.k.a. a Wisconsin Brandy Old Fashioned), the drink does become sweeter, but nonetheless remains thirst-quenching and accessible.

Fine à l’Eau
A relatively light drink that is exceptionally drinkable in a long, light way – perfect for summer. The sugar and wood notes come to the fore and it’s pleasant to sip, but perhaps the brandy doesn’t quite have the complexity (in comparison to a Cognac) to quite pull this off, yet. Having said that, ultimately, that’s not a fair comparison and this is still a tasty drink. Colour me confused!

Champagne Cocktail
Rich, fruity notes of fruitcake with a touch of prune atop notes of cherry and stone fruit. There are also hints of vanilla and cinnamon that work well with the dry wine.

In Conclusion
I was very impressed with the first release of Burnt Faith Brandy and delighted with the complexity and versatility that such a young spirit offers. The future is exceptionally promising and I, for one, am excited to see it.

Burnt Faith Brandy is available for £36 for 70cl and it is bottled at 40.0%. It s available from their website.


Cocktials with… Wessex Distillery’s Limited Edition Lemon & Rose Coronation Gin

Following on from their excellent Platinum Jubilee Gin release in 2022 (which didn’t last long in our house), Wessex Distillery have released a Coronation Gin. Bottled at 40.0% ABV, the gin features signature botanicals of lemon and rose. Since the last release, the distillery has also been awarded “Gin Producer of the Year” by IWSC, so a huge congratulations to them.

Given how much I enjoyed the last gin, I was very excited to try this when they kindly sent me a bottle.

The Taste

On its on
Nose: Solid, resinous juniper on the nose with zesty lemon and a little hint of rose.
Taste: A superb texture with notes of sweet rose and earthy angelica followed by the sparkle of pine needles. A more candied rose flavour then develops, before lingering lemon on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
An extremely crisp Gin & Tonic where the citrus really comes through. This is backed up by robust juniper notes and a gentle, floral wisp of rose. The combination works particularly well when garnished with a slice of lemon or lime. You could add some rose petals for a bit of a flourish, but they can make it difficult to drink.

A delicious Martini with a lovely oiliness that almost makes a garnish unnecessary; essentially the lemon is already built into the drink via the gin, but it is in no way overpowering. The rose is gentle, but pleasant, helping to lift the aromatics of the cocktail. The height of sophistication and elegance!

A well-balanced Negroni that has a pleasant bitter-sweetness and good integration of flavours. There is a touch of rose honey on the finish, so a garnish of a lemon wedge rather than the more typical orange might be the order of the day.

Gin Highball
This drink is essentially gin and sparkling water/soda water, but is exceptionally refreshing and really allows all of the nuances of this particular gin to come through: citrus, spice, a little earthiness – a fantastic thirst quencher, especially when garnished with lime.

French ‘75
A bright and zingy drink with the merest “kiss from a rose” in the background (Seal would be happy). The Coronation Gin adds just the right touch of decadence that a drink like this deserves. Delicious!

In Conclusion
This is a wonderful gin and even though I know some gin aficionados typically like something stronger than 40.0% ABV, the way the gin has been distilled means that it really does punch above its weight in terms of flavour, so ultimately the ABV just means you’re paying a bit less tax.

Even after the coronation, this gin is well worth seeking out and is perfect for summer celebrations. The Martini was my favourite of the drinks that I tried.

Wessex Distillery’s Limited Edition Lemon & Rose Coronation Gin is available for around £39.95 for 70cl from their website. You can currently get a discount, however: use KING10 for 10% off!

Many thanks to Jonathan and all the team at Wessex for supplying me with the bottle and congratulations on the big win!

Merry Margaritas – Cocktails for Christmas

I’m rather a fan of a Christmas Margarita. I don’t recall why it started as a tradition in our household, but I remember making my very first on Christmas morning nearly 20 years ago and I’ve rarely missed it since. Sometimes it’s had to be lemon juice rather than lime, but it’s always been fresh.

The recipe has varied slightly over the years, but as someone who likes the simple life (and an equal parts Martini), I tend to use an amount of tequila that equals the combined quantities of juice and liqueur.

50ml Tequila Blanco

25ml Fresh Lime

25ml Orange Liqueur

To make, simply shake with ice and strain into a glass. I like my Margarita served “up” (without ice) in a stemmed cocktail glass, although a wine glass will do.

A selection of orange liqueurs tried in a Margarita

Your choice of orange liqueur will certainly make a difference to the final drink; as I had a few on hand, I thought I’d try them out in my Christmas Day Margarita recipe to see how they varied.

Grand Marnier – A richer orange flavour comes through, along with woodiness and floral flavours. It makes a more luxurious drink, but the lime notes seem to be less zingy and the drink lacks the crisp refreshment that many of its fans adore.

Mandarine Napoleon – The lime is rather subdued, as is the drink’s characteristic tartness, but the agave character of the spirit does come through more and the floral mandarin complements it nicely. This wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is still a lovely, elegant drink.

Cointreau Rogue – This produces a very typical and classic Margarita. The orange shines through well, complementing the lime and adding a slight zestiness reminiscent of shredless marmalade.

Cointreau Noir – Delightfully elegant. It is crisp, it is sweet, it is slightly salty and there is a lovely ripple of dark chocolate running through the whole thing – very much a high-end Margarita.

Cointreau Blood Orange – This blood orange liqueur has a slightly musty character to it, which means that it clashes a tad with the other ingredients. Not recommended, but can be rescued with a splash of regular Cointreau.

Cognac Ferrand Yuzu Curacao – An exceptionally fun alternative. This has a delightfully creaminess to it, followed by notes of candied peel and delicate floral hints of rose and jasmine, all before a clean, almost lemon-curd-esque tartness. A balanced dessert of a Margarita if there ever was one – sensational!

Margarita with Ferrand Yuzu Dry Curacao

For those who like to try something a little different, I’ve also come up with some festive variations on the Margarita.

Merry Margarita (Christmas)

[60ml Tequila Blanco, 15ml Fresh Lime, 15ml Sweet Cream Sherry, 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters]

Shake the ingredients with ice, before fine-straining into a glass. Serve with a twist of orange peel and a small square of Christmas cake on the side.

Merry Margarita

Candy Cane Margarita

[50ml Tequila Blanco, 25ml Lime Juice, 15ml Cointreau, 10ml Green Crème de Menthe]

Shake the ingredients with ice and fine-strain into a chilled, stemmed glass. Garnish with a mini candy cane and red cherry.

Candy Cane Margarita

Hot-buttered MargaritaHOT!

[20ml Reposado Tequila, 10ml Lime Juice, 10ml Grand Marnier, 5-10ml Sugar Syrup, Heaped teaspoon of butter, 60ml Boiling Water]

Stir the ingredients (except the butter and boiling water) without ice and then pour into a heat-proof glass. Top up with boiling water and then add the butter and gently stir.

The butter adds a lovely creaminess to the drink, but is neatly balanced out by the sweetness of the liqueur and syrup and the sharpness of the lime juice.

Hot-buttered Margarita

One Minute to Margarita (New Year’s)

[50ml Tequila Blanco, 25ml Fresh Lime, 25ml Cointreau Noir, 15ml Champagne]

Add all of the ingredients (except the Champagne) to a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, and strain into a cocktail glass, before topping up with Champagne. For a gaudy garnish, tape a small cocktail sparkler to the side of the glass and light. Be sure to carefully remove and dispose of the sparkler once it has gone out and before drinking, or you might end up with a singed eyebrow or worse!!

One Minute to Margarita

Hopefully these Margaritas will fill you full of festive cheer – Merry Christmas from Summer Fruit Cup!

Booth’s Finest Old Dry Gin – Returns!!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on the website so it’d have to be something pretty special for my first post back and indeed it is, the return of Booth’s Finest Old Dry Gin. Booth’s is one of the oldest if not the oldest gin house that is still in operation today, founded in 1740 by Sir Felix Booth in London.

Booth’s Gin became increasingly popular during the 20th century and features in many Post-war films (look out for the hexagonal bottle). There were two main varieties Booth’s High and Dry, a classic style London Gin and Booth’s Finest Old Dry Gin which was also known as Booth’s House of Lord’s Gin.

This second variety of Booth’s was distilled in Clerkenwell, London and was matured in wooden casks which were, at least at one point, ex-burgundy casks and more commonly ex-sherry casks. This was sometimes known as a “yellow gin”, Booth’s discontinued theirs in the mid 1970s possibly slightly later. Noted drinks authors such as Anthony Haden-Guest, Kingsley Amis and David Embury, favoured yellow gin.

Unlike modern aged gins, Booth’s was (and is only) matured for a short period of time (typically weeks) the intention being for the wood to simply “kiss” the gin and help it to mellow, as such it is mixed like any normal dry gin.

There was an attempt to resurrect Booth’s in 2016 with a soft launch in New Orleans during the Tales of the Cocktail event of that year. But despite some international distribution not much became of the resurrection, perhaps in part as there was not much of marketing push and also possibly because there was a slight sulphur issue from the use of sherry casks.

The latest iteration appeared in July 2022 following the acquisition of Booth’s from Diageo by Sazerac company in November 2018. It is distilled in the UK, bottled at 43.0% ABV and matured in sherry casks – a the moment that’s about all I now.

~ But how does it taste? ~

Thankfully first up there are none of the slightly sulphury notes that I picked up on from the 2016 batch.

Colour: very pale straw
Nose: green resinous notes with pine blossom, cedar and pine, a touch of fruity florality
Taste: Clean texture, with a gentle touch of sweetness before some, floral, menthol spice, a touch of honey and a very mellow finish with a little sweet citrus.

With ice:
Some of the woody gingerbread notes come forward a bit more, the slightly higher ABV help the gin with any dilution there may be from the ice; some slightly dry tannic notes from the wood.

Gin & Tonic
This is the sort of drink this gin was made for; it is ever so slightly woodier than some other gin and tonics I’ve had with yellow gin. As such I might be more inclined toward an orange or maybe lemon garnish to help balance the flavours.

Dry Martini
In old adverts Booth’s is often described as “the best for a Martini” or making “the perfect Martini” thankfully the new gin lives up to this reputation, the drink is delightfully resinous with lots of juniper and some cedar and pine. Crisp, refreshing, superbly smooth – sublime!

A very, very mellow with quite a lot of orange coming through, juicy and even slightly jammy in a marmalade sort of way. A gentle bitterness on the finish but overall superbly integrated and approachable.

Pink Gin
Rumour suggests that if the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was to have a Pink Gin that Booth’s was her gin of choice.

I initially tried this with just gin and angostura bitters; the bitters goes well with the light woodiness of the gin, but for my money the drink is improved with the addition of a splash or two of still, ice-cold water; then each component really fits into place and the added dilution makes this a fine summer sipper.

Gin Highball
Very clean and very crisp and works well with a lemon garnish. The slightly pencil-like woody notes of the gin come through but in a very pleasant way. A refreshing way to enjoy the gin without the sugar of tonic water.

In Conclusion
It is great to see such an historic gin back on the market and it is already a firm favorite of mine. My favourite drink was the Martini.

Booth’s Finest Old Dry Gin is available now for around £35 for 70cl from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange.

A Two-minute Challenge in the Run-up to World Gin Day

Classic Gin Drinks

A Two-minute Challenge in the Run-up to World Gin Day

Whilst there are thousands of tasty gin drinks, there are probably three real classics: the Gin & Tonic, the Martini, and the Negroni.

The great thing is that everyone has their own take on these drinks; whether that be a favourite gin, a preferred method of making it, and/or a garnish that particularly finds favour. This year, why not share this with the gin community as we all celebrate World Gin Day?


It’s simple: create a two-minute video and upload it to your favoured platform with #worldginday and the relevant hashtag from the list below. Each drink will feature on different day in the run-up to World Gin Day.

Gin and Tonic – #wgdgandt (Tuesday 9th June 2020)

Martini – #wgdmartini (Wednesday 10th June 2020)

Negroni – #wgdnegroni (Thursday 11th June 2020)

Here are some examples:





Cocktails with…. Gin Eva “La Mallorquina” (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 seeds.


The La Mallorquina olive, a mutation of the Empeltre variety, is only found on Mallorca, so the use of this botanical gives a nice terroir aspect to the gin 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 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 combining the harmonious flavours of pine and green olives. Amazing.

From the Freezer *NEW*
Served at an extra cool temperature, the gin develops a notably silky and luxurious texture. The olive flavours shine through with a slight oiliness and a pinch of pepper. I’ve given this to guests in a Martini glass and they would have sworn I’d given them a gently dirty Martini. Such complexity from a lone spirit – superb!

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.


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.

Diamond Martini *NEW*
A Diamond Martini is made using gin served straight from the freezer. In this case, it produces a cocktail with a rich and luscious texture and a lovely interaction between the gin’s olive and juniper flavours and the vermouth’s herbal and woody notes.

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.

Red Snapper *NEW*
The Red Snapper is a gin version of the Bloody Mary, which is perhaps one of the most popular savoury drinks there is. As such, you might imagine that an olive gin would work well….
you’d be right!
The gin adds great complexity from its olive notes, but the complexity of the other botanicals also shines through, too. Once you’ve had a Red Snapper with this gin, I’m not sure if any others will compete.

In Conclusion

I think that Gin Eva Olive is an exceptional and imaginative gin. It has an excellent texture and the flavours of the olives really shine 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 £49 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

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

Gin of the Year 2019 Results

Craft Distilling Expo’s
Gin of the Year Competition Results

The Craft Distilling Expo (26th-27th September 2019) is pleased to announce the results of the 7th annual Gin of the Year competition. Over 70 gins were entered from a variety of countries.

New for 2019, the competition added a panel for (non-gin) botanical spirits, in recognition of this growing section of the market and how its popularity helps to reduce the dilution of gin as a category.

Classic Gin of the Year 2019
That Boutique-y Gin Company Gin Gin Panda (ATOM Brands)

Highly Commended – Classic Gin
Middle Kingdom Gin (Ginsmiths of Liverpool),
Sling Shot Gin (Lough Ree Distillery),
That Boutique-y Gin Company Summertide Gin (Cooper King / ATOM Brands)

Contemporary Gin of the Year 2019
Jacquard Gin (Strawhill Estate Spirits Company)

Highly Commended – Contemporary Style Gin
Acqueverdi Gin (La Valdôtaine),
Cuckold’s Revenge (Shed 1 Distillery),
Jolie Rouge Dry Gin (Hernö Distillery)

Flavoured Gin of the Year 2019
That Boutique-y Gin Company Squeezed Yuzu Gin
(ATOM Brands)

Highly Commended – Flavoured Gin
Casino Blend (Big Daddy Distillery Ltd (T/A Hubbards Gin)),
Da Hong Pao Tea Gin (Bimber Distillery),
Raspberry Gin (Warner’s Distillery)

Navy Gin of the Year 2019
Navy Gin (Brighton Gin)

Old Tom Gin of the Year 2019
Campfire Old Tom Gin (Puddingstone Distillery)

Highly Commended – Old Tom Gin
Gin Eva – Old Tom Gin

Signature Botanical Gin of the Year 2019
That Boutique-y Gin Company Smoked Rosemary Gin
(ATOM Brands)

Highly Commended – Signature Botanical Gin
That Boutique-y Gin Company Fresh Rain (ATOM Brands),
Giggle in the Ginnel (Shed 1 Distillery)

Botanical Spirit of the Year 2019
Cinnabar (Portsmouth Distillery)

All of the spirits were tasted blind. The gins were initially tasted on their own, with the top scoring spirits then moving through to a second round where they were tasted with Fever-Tree Tonic Water.

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,

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.

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.

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:
Cassia bark

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.

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.

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.

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.