Cocktails with… Adler Berlin Dry Gin – Germany

There are few gins that have such distinctive packaging as Adler Gin and this is the only “Berlin Gin” that I know of.  The gin is made in at an 150 year old Prussian distillery and the recipe itself dates from 1874, although Adler Berlin Dry Gin, bottled at 42% ABV, was re-released in 2004.

I spoke to one of the partners at Adler Gin today who is going to be sending me some more information, so look for an update next week.

#1 Own
Nose: initally spice and juniper. Then cinnamon and ginger. rather like gingerbread. Some coriander and angelica and the juniper is neither passive nor dominant.
Taste: Spice with angelica and cardamon, rather silky with some juniper.

#2 Gin & Tonic
Very complex, with lots of spice at the end. This wasn’t a classic-style gin & tonic and it had a touch of sarsaparilla, almost like root beer. It is refreshing, however, as a Gin &Tonic should be, and the juniper is definitely there, but plays a supportive role. Good.

#3 Martini
Juniper and cinnamon spice come through in this Martini, making it, like many of the drinks we tried with Adler, full of flavour. Whilst lower on the crispness and citrus typical of some other  Martinis, I thought it was really good.

#4 Gimlet
Absolutely superb! The perfect balance of gin, sugar and lime; it’s fresh and crisp and full of zing. Highly recommended.

#5 Gin Collins
Lemon comes through quite a lot, making the drink quite refreshing and less sweet than usual. It’s refreshing, but the gin is a bit hidden. Very good as a drink, but less so as a way of showcasing the gin. Rather moreish.

#6 Aviation
Some of my Facebook friends recently voted this as their favourite gin cocktail after the Martini and Gin & Tonic. With Adler Gin, this works pretty well, although it doesn’t quite have the bite of an Aviation made with more juniper-led gins, to my mind it could do with a touch more lemon.

#7 Alexander
Very creamy and delicious; the gin blends in nicely with the other ingredients, with a little juniper and some spice predominantly coming through. Rich and flavourful, but finished very quickly.

#8 Pink Gin
A good combination: the bitters fit well with the gin, creating a clean and flavourful drink with some real depth-of-flavour; superb.

#9 Gin Bump
Slick and a touch oily, but very smooth. Sadly, despite the drink being enjoyable to drink, the gin is rather hushed; a nice combination, though.

#10 Gin Sour
Top notch; really cooling, with tartness from the lime and the bitter dryness of juniper coming through strongly. If you don’t like sweet drinks, this may be for you.

#11 Gin Old Fashioned
This was a rather tasty and sippable drink. The sugar syrup brings out the juniper, some cinnamon and nutmeg. Excellent.

#12 Maybach 12
[20ml Adler Berlin Gin (Dry Gin), 20ml Kirsch, 10ml Benedictine]
Add ingredients to an old-fashioned glass, add a large ice cube and stir.
A light golden liquid that starts off slightly bitter and then quickly moves onto being sweet and herbal, finishing up with the dryness of the juniper and kirsch. There is a long finish of dry cherry and a faint hint of sugar. A very pleasant way to drink Adler Gin.

In Conclusion
Sometimes a gin will have great packaging, but be fundamentally an example of style over substance, but this is not he case with Adler: the bottle is great, as is the gin inside. There are good notes of juniper, but, equally, there is cinnamon and spice. Because of these additional flavours, the gin makes some very good twists on classic gin cocktails that are very enjoyable to drink; those that stood out were the Gimlet, Pink Gin and Gin Sour.

An Update from the World of Gin

An Update from the World of Gin


Hindenburg Cocktails

Special thanks to and full credit to the work they have done in this area providing research and inspiration for the article.

Top: A Photo of the Smoking Room & Airlock, Right: Painting of the Smoking Lounge Below: A second painting of the Smoking Lounge – note the bottle of Benedictine in both paintings.

The first commercial flight of the Hindenburg Airship to North America took place on the 6-9th May 1936. This luxurious floating cruise-liner carried many notable persons for its “maiden flight”. Aboard the Hindenburg Airship was a dining room, a reading room and, perhaps unexpectedly, a smoking room. This was a pressurised space and was only accessible via an airlock. It was equipped with one electric lighter and before you got to the smoking room you had to pass through a small ante chamber that contained the cocktail bar. It is thought that there were some cocktails designed specifically for the Hindenburg’s Bar; few details exist, but here are some drinks inspired by the information I have found.

Kirsch Martini

#1) Kirsch Martini
The story behind this is that, on the maiden flight, during an evening party the bar ran out of gin (a travesty indeed) and so one of the innovative passengers on board suggested substituting  kirsch for gin. This individual was Mrs Pauline Charteris (née) Schishkin, the first wife of Leslie Charteris (creator of Simon Templar, aka “The Saint”).

40ml Kirsch

10ml Dry Vermouth

Dash of Grenadine


I’m not sure why the grenadine was included, but I think the touch of sweetness just takes the edge of the extreme dryness of the kirsch. This is a very dry “Martini”, but it still seems balanced. It is very clean and quite smooth, with a finish of dry cherries and a touch of cream. The warmth of the drink builds as you sip. I’ve never tried this before, but I shall certainly have it again.

#2) Old Fashioned

Another cocktail known to be served on the Hindenburg was the Old Fashioned; these typically preceded the passenger’s evening meal . This recipe comes from The Last Supper Club:

Dissolve a small lump of sugar in a little water in a whiskey glass.

Add 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters.

Add an ice cube, a piece of lemon peel and one jigger whiskey.

Mix with a small bar spoon and serve, leaving the spoon in the glass.

Excellent for stimulating the appetite it’s obvious why these were served before dinner. Smooth with a hint of sweet and smoke. Sipping one of these while floating across the Atlantic would be the height of luxury.

The Zeppelin Cocktail: with Kirsch, Adler Gin and (pride of place) Benedictine.

The Maybach 12 Cocktail: with Kirsch, Adler Gin and (pride of place) Benedictine.

aybach 12

There was a cocktail called the “Maybach 12”  that was served on the Hindenburg the recipe of which has been lost to history. Here is my recipe inspired by the bar on the Hindenburg. In the two paintings of the smoking room (and the photo of the bar) a bottle of Benedictine is clearly visible, so it could be argued that this was a popular drink on board. The gin and kirsch come from the story of cocktail #1.

20ml Adler Berlin Gin (Dry Gin)

20ml Kirsch

10ml Benedictine

Add ingredients to an old-fashioned glass, add a large ice cube and stir.

It took a little time to get the balance of the Maybach 12 right; initially, I used equal parts, but it was too sweet. The final result is a light golden liquid that start of slightly bitter and then quickly moves to being sweet and herbal, finishing up with the dryness of the juniper and kirsch. There is a long finish of dry cherry and a faint hint of sugar.

The Maybach 12 Cocktail would make a great aperitif, as it really increases your appetite.

4) LZ-129 Frosted Cocktails
This cocktail is known to have been served by bartender Max Schulze on the Hindenburg and is named after the airship’s registration number. Fresh orange juice is certainly better than concentrate when mixing this and although the drink is refreshing it has a very simple and basic flavour.

30ml Adler Berlin Gin (Dry Gin)

30ml Orange Juice

Add crushed ice and ingredients to an old-fashioned glass.

Finally here are some pictures of the bar itself.

The Hindenburg Smoking Room Bar (notice the Benedictine)

A picture of passenger enjoying drinks during the Hindenburgs's first passenger flight to the USA.

A picture of passenger enjoying drinks during the Hindenburgs’s first passenger flight to the USA.

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