Cocktails with… Ford’s London Dry Gin

When new gins are launched these days, they often use obscure or local botanicals, or are made in new, small, independent distilleries, but today’s featured gin is different: Ford’s Gin is made using classic botanicals sourced from around the world and is made at the Timbermill Distillery (Thames Distillers) – producer of many a fine gin.

Fords Gin FINAL

The gin is the brainchild of spirits industry veteran, Simon Ford, and is part of range of spirits from The 86 Co. that includes Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Cana Brava Rum and Tequila Cabeza.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Classic, straight-forward juniper, coriander and citrus.
Taste: This is a clean spirit with a pleasant mouthfeel; it is a very classic style of gin, with a small leaning towards citrus. There is a good intensity of flavour and it ticks all of the boxes for the gin traditionalist.

Gin & Tonic
A fine standard of drink, but plays it safe: another one for the traditionalist. It is a touch cloying when mixed with Schweppes, so I would suggest using Fevertree.

Martini
A clean, crisp Martini, with lots of pine and citrus, followed by a zesty tingle and a clean finish.

Negroni
Ford’s Gin produces a solid Negroni: smooth and fruity, with a little sweetness and a herbal, bitter finish. Perfect flavour integration makes this really quite excellent.

In Conclusion
If you bemoan gin “losing its roots” and the rise of bubblegum and coconut gins, then Ford’s is for you: it has bold, classic flavours that are sure to please both hardened traditionalists and 19th century Imperial Officials.

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Cocktails with.. Hunters Cheshire Gin

HuntersGin

I think that rumours that the gin boom has ended are something of an over-exaggeration. It has yet to “jump the shark”, or so to speak; in fact, as far as I can tell, there have been more gins launched in the first months of 2013 than in any other period that I can recall; definitely during the last five years that I have been following and commentating on the industry, at least.

These new gins come from a mixture of new distilleries and the big three, third-party distillers in the UK: Thames, Greenalls and Langley. It is the last distillery (run by Alcohols Ltd.) that today’s feature gin hails from.

Bottled at 43.3% ABV, Hunters Cheshire Gin was the brainchild of drinks industry veterans Jon Jones and Ian Cass and is made using the London Dry Gin method, although, notably, this term does not make an appearance on the bottle  actually the term is on the back of the bottle. The botanical mix includes: juniper, coriander, orange and lemon.

HuntersGin Bottle

On its own
Nose: Very classic, with plenty of juniper, followed by some angelica and citrus. Bold and sprightly.
Taste: Very smooth, with a little sweetness and some bold flavours: plenty of juniper, angelica and some floral notes such as orris. These are followed by some fruity citrus notes and a long, crisp finish that’s slightly reminiscent of freshly cut apple. Bold and fresh.

Gin & Tonic
Classic and so crisp; lots of fresh and zesty citrus, but still the bold and traditional juniper and angelica flavours, too. This Gin & Tonic is particularly easy to drink and accessible – a drink that will pretty much please anyone. Lovely.

Martini
Greta another classic, works well with the vermouth; coriander and the dry juniper as well as sweet zesty citrus which gives the drink a  lovely crisp edge. A good standard.

Negroni
Hunters makes a classic version of the drink that’s exceptionally smooth, with a good balance between sweet/bitter and dry. The citrus notes of the gin also complement the other notes in the drink nicely. Very good, indeed.

In Conclusion

I’m very impressed with Hunters Gin; I like its bold and crisp flavour, which makes it a little more citrusy then many classic gins, although it is not as far out as, say, the Philadelphian Bluecoat (which I also rather like). This is also a really great Gin & Tonic gin, even with a simple tonic like Schweppes; this was easily my favourite way to enjoy Hunters.

Hunter’s Premium Cheshire Gin is available for around £30 for 70cl from Master of Malt.

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Cocktails with… Jodhpur Gin

JodhpurTitle
Jodhpur Gin is a London Dry Gin made in the UK, either at Thames or Langley; my money is on the latter. It’s made with a base of Neutral Grain Spirit and is made using 13 botanicals, including:

JodhpurBots

Bottled at 43%ABV, Jodhpur Gin received special acclaim when it was awarded a gold medal at the 2011 San Francisco Awards.

1) On its own
Nose: Quite light, with a little juniper and citrus.
Taste: Clean and quite smooth, with plenty of juniper, followed by some coriander, citrus and liquorice. Then there’s a little warmth at the end. I think this will have good mixing potential.

2) Gin & Tonic
i) with Fentimans
A fresh, citrusy nose. In terms of taste, this is a perfectly pleasant and refreshing drink (it would maybe work well with a little bit of lime), but the characteristics of the gin are a little overwhelmed. Regardless, this is a very refreshing and pleasant drink.

ii) with Schweppes
Quite classic and clean, with a reasonable balance between the gin and tonic. Very straightforward, with classic juniper and citrus notes and a notable quinine bitterness at the start. I see this as being something of a blank canvas with which to express yourself using your garnish.

Jodhpur Gin Bottle

#3) Martini
Clean and crisp, with juniper and some sweet spice, like cinnamon or vanilla, and a lift of citrus on the finish. Light, but with plenty of flavour and a sweet middle. Altogether rather classic in style.

#4) Negroni
Well-balanced, with a good level of bitter-sweetness. This is right in the middle of the Negroni spectrum: exactly what you would expect. Full, with a well-rounded flavour.

#5) Gin Buck
This is a great gin for a Gin Buck: not too complicated, but all the boxes are ticked; there’s dry juniper, zesty citrus and a few earthy, herbal notes. All in all, this makes for a very refreshing drink, which is rather quaffable. A little sweet juniper comes through at the end – well-liked by all who tried it.

Jodhpur Pink Grapefruit Gin Tonica

Jodhpur Pink Grapefruit Gin Tonica

#6) GinTonica
i) Pink Grapefruit and Juniper
Excellent: very fresh and juicy, and improves even more with a little squeeze of the pink grapefruit wedge. It makes for a simple, yet attractive garnish in terms of sight, scent and taste. Exceptionally refreshing and rather moreish.

ii) Granny Smith Apple
If you are looking for crispness with a little sweet lift at the end, then this is the drink for you. When drinking, you get the same crispness that you would get from biting into a cool apple. The scent from the apples is also surprisingly prominent.

Jodhpur Granny Smith Apple Gin Tonica

Jodhpur Granny Smith Apple Gin Tonica

In Conclusion
Jodhpur is an example of a gin in the classic style: good and traditional, with no particularly unusual characteristics. This makes it excellent for mixing in a variety of gin drinks; my favourite cocktail was the Negroni.

Cocktails with… Cremorne Gin

Colonel Fox’s London Dry Gin’,  launched in June 2012 it is part of CASK Liquid Marketing’s Cremorne 1859 spirits range. It is a collaboration between: CASK, Charles Maxwell, of Thames Distiller’s; and the artist Charlotte Cory, who is responsible for the artwork and label design.

Colonel Fox’s is a classic-style London Dry Gin made at Thames Distillery in London. It’s produced in batches of 100 bottles at a time and contains a mix of six botanicals:

Juniper Berries
Coriander
Angelica
Cassia
Liquorice
Bitter Orange Peel

#1) On its own
Nose: Quite soft, with notes of juniper, coriander and orange.
Taste: Again, this is quite a soft and smooth spirit. It has some dry juniper and sweet liquorice towards the end and citrus in the middle.

#2) Gin & Tonic
Classic, fresh and refreshing, with juicy citrus and a dry quinine and juniper finish. An Evans-style lemon and lime garnish works well, I think.

#3) Dry Martini
Initially, this is a soft and clean Martini, but it has more of a kick at the end. It’s smooth, although the coriander and citrus come through well, followed by a dry finish that is is long-lasting. I would recommend lemon peel as a garnish.

#4) Negroni
A powerful Negroni with lots of flavour and plenty of bitterness, this is most certainly for the hard-core Negroni fan; the sort who wants the drink to grab them by the scruff of the neck. Call me a masochist, but I thought it was lovely and with a twist of orange it is sublime.

#5) Hot Toddy
This is a great gin to use in this drink, where it adds some bold gin characteristics as well as a little warmth and a tiny touch of spice without being overpowering. Very tasty, indeed. I would propose using a herbal liqueur, such as Bénédictine (or King’s Ginger), instead of sugar syrup.

#6) Sweet Martini
A warming and comforting cocktail; simple, but very smooth. The dry gin works well with the sweet herbal elements of the red vermouth and the deeper herbal notes of the gin come through well.

In Conclusion
This is a classic style of gin in a stylish (but not ostentatious) bottle and with a reasonable price tag. My favourite drink was undoubtedly the Negroni.

Colonel Fox Cremorne Gin is available for around £22 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange.