Dancing Cows Lymington Gin

As a one-time resident of the New Forest National Park, it has often puzzled me that no distillery has opened up shop there in the seven years of the UK’s distilling renaissance. As such, I was very pleased to hear about Dancing Cows Lymington Gin, which is distilled in the Forest town of Lymington.

Dancing cows Lymington gin - FINAL

Bottled at 43.0% ABV, the gin is made using a mix of nine botanicals: juniper, coriander seeds, angelica root, angelica seeds, orris root, bitter orange peel, cardamom, fresh lemon zest and sweet almonds.

After distillation a distillate of hops is added along with a post-distillation infusion of juniper berries, for that extra burst of flavour.

On its own
Nose: Green and herbaceous: mint, rosemary, and some light hop notes.
Taste: Clear citrus notes are followed by light spice, then menthol pepper and piney juniper, all followed by the herbal zest of hops. Complex and engaging.

Gin & Tonic
This is a crisp and dry Gin & Tonic, with bitterness on the finish from a combination of the quinine and the hops. It’s especially good with a lime garnish, although the distillery’s suggestion of a lime and pink peppercorn garnish sounds great and I’ll update this when I’ve tried it.

//- Update! -// Gin Tonica (with lime & pink peppercorns)
Bright and refreshing – the lime adds a pleasant zing, whilst the pink peppercorns complement the hop flavours. Clean, delicious, and a great pre-dinner drink choice.

Dancing Cows Gin - Gin Tonica

This has a lovely complexity to it, with velvety notes of vanilla and spice, then some leafy, herbal notes: coriander and juniper. The finish is dry, but oily in texture.

A thick and oily Negroni with a good level of flavour and a strong and long-lasting bitterness. The hops notes from the gin work particularly well with the Campari.

In Conclusion
I enjoyed the complex and intense flavours of Dancing Cows gin and appreciate distiller embracing a variety of technique to create their gin. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonica – superb!

Keep an eye for our review of Dancing Cows aged Gin later this week.

Dancing Cows Gin is available for around £30 for 700ml from Brewers Direct


Cocktails with… Shortcross Clover Gin

One exciting trend developing in the gin industry is the rise of limited edition, seasonal or gypsy (as the Gin Foundry refer to it) gin varieties. This idea has been empowered by the increase in the number of small distilleries who have the flexibility and freedom to take on these small projects.

The craft Gin Club have been one of those leading the charge on this with a few exclusive editions featuring in their monthly gin club.

One of these were Shortcross Clover edition, bottled at 46.0%ABV this is a similar gin to their original release but the botanical balance has been adjusted to emphasise the Wild Clover which is foraged from the distillery estate.

1 Shortcross Clover Gin

On its own
Nose: Resinous and leafy with some floral citrus notes.
Taste: There is a light sweetness upfront. Notes of cassia and ginger followed by crisp coriander and citrus, and a touch of floral herbaceousness. The finish is crisp and leafy, with note of pine that linger for several minutes.

Gin & Tonic
This drink has the perfect balance of dry, refreshing crispness and sweet complexity. It is a very subtle Gin & Tonic that reveals its layers as you sip. Green, leafy notes make way for some herbal and spice notes, that – combined – remind me of heather. A complex and delicious drink.

Another delicate, but distinctive drink with a delightfully clean and smooth character, and a discernable, complex spice. Simply great.

A super-smooth Negroni: soft and elegant. The clover adds a slight sweetness, but it is subtle; it just takes the edge off of the drink. Sit back, sip, and relax.

Peter Cushing
Soft and lightly sweet to start, the gin’s flavours soon sweep to the fore with floral notes and lemon, followed by more weighty herbal notes and a pleasant, soft rootiness. Juniper comes through strongly afterwards, with warm, but dry ginger notes increasing, especially on the finish.

In Conclusion
I think Shortcross Clover edition is a great example as to how even a tweak to the botanical balance can significantly adjust the flavour profile. Sometimes a little change can be as fascinating as a big one. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic & The Peter Cushing.

Cocktails with… Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin

Living on the south coast, I’m always excited when gins are released in the vague vicinity of SFC HQ, so I’ve followed the story of Dorset Dry Gin, made by Conker Spirit Distillery, with close interest.

Conker Dorset Dry is made using a mix of 10 botanicals; from classics such as juniper, coriander, and cassia, to some locally-sourced botanicals, such as elderberries, samphire, and gorse flowers from Dorset.

Conker Gin FINAL

Bottled at 40.0% ABV, the gin is made using British wheat spirit and is proofed with New Forest Spring Water. Having lived there for 20 years, the New Forest is certainly a place close to my heart. Without further ado, here are my tasting notes.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Crisp, luscious leafy notes upfront, followed by a mix of citrus and spice. Light juniper notes then come through, reminiscent of pine needles.
Taste: This has a sublime texture: silky smooth and luxurious. There are light coriander notes to start, accompanied by a little sweet citrus. The flavour then moves onto dry, woody spice and a hint of creamy vanilla, before crisp, green leafy notes and a dry finish.

Gin & Tonic
Excellent – light and smooth, with gentle leafy notes leading onto a little sweet spice, zesty citrus, and then a dry, juniper finish. Smooth, silky, and very easy to drink.

Thick, rich, and smooth, with notes of nutty, earthy spice, invigorating dry citrus, and a touch of soft, vegetal florality. This is a cocktail with a lovely symphony of flavours – tip top.

A complex and jammy Negroni with some nutty, biscuity notes, followed by fresh, green flavours and an indulgent bitter-sweet finish.

In Conclusion
Conker Dorset Dry Gin is a great example of how you can balance terroir with national and international appeal. The gin is bright and tasty enough to appeal to gin drinkers on a global scale, but the notes of elderberries, as well as the leafy herbal notes of gorse and samphire, perfectly captures a flourish of Dorset in the bottle.

My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic but it was close as all drinks were excellent.

Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin is available for around £36 for 70cl from Master of Malt

Conker Spirit: Website, Facebook, Twitter

A Celebration of Colorado Gin (A Mega-Post)

Followers of SummerFruitCup might have noticed a recent uptick in the number of gin reviews posted on the website; this is in a New Year endeavour to clear some of our backlog of gin reviews.

Colorado Gin FINAL

Today’s mega-post has a theme: Colorado. Colorado is one of the top US states in terms of number of distilleries, along with Washington state, California, and New York. Should you ever be visiting the state, be sure to check out some of these great distilleries.

Cap Rock Gin (41.0% ABV)

Cap Rock Gin FINALCap Rock Gin is made by Peak Spirits in western Colorado. It uses a base spirit made from local apples and a mix of 12 botanicals, including juniper, rose, and lavender.

On its own
Nose: Fruity, rich and full. Distinctive notes of floral angelica and fresh-cut green apples.
Taste: Smooth, with a fair amount of lemon balm and citrus, followed by fragrant and crisp green apple notes that linger and zing on the palate. There’s also a little dry angelica on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Very unusual and rather fruity, with the jammy notes of apple sauce coming through, before moving onto more dry apple notes. A vibrant and delicious drink.

Bright and crisp, with a mix of dry apple and pear flavours, before some juniper at the end. There is also a pinch of sweet spice, which adds balance. I’d recommend garnishing this Martini with a wafer-thin apple slice.

This is a great take on the classic drink; the gin adds another dimension with its luscious fruit notes, adding to the cocktails typical bitter-sweet character; the sweet works well with the vermouth, whilst the bitter works well with the Campari. A very well-integrated cocktail and a drink I’ll likely return to.

In Conclusion
Cap Rock is a fun gin – great for those who want to try something a bit different, it is also a great example of how a non-NGS base spirit can work wonders in gin. My favourite drink was the Negroni, but all that I tried were very good.
Colorado Fog Gin (40.0% ABV)

Colorado Fog Gin FINALProduced at the Mystic Mountain Distillery at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Larkspur, Colorado.

On its own
Nose: Soft and vodka-like; a bit of vanilla, but not much else.
Taste: Very smooth and clean. The grain base is apparent, but there is almost nothing else there. The vaguest whiff of juniper does start to come through, or perhaps I just imagined it. Almost void of flavour, this has a finish that is very dry, sucking the moisture from the mouth. Adding a little water, a faint orange character emerges.

Gin & Tonic
This is an unfortunately cloying drink, although not without a refreshing quality. The gin’s flavour needs to be emboldened to allow the spirit to stand up to tonic. I use British Schweppes, so I imagine that it would be utterly lost against a HFCS-based tonic.

If this was a vodka Martini, it would be excellent: clean and smooth, with a good texture and a tiny hint of lemon citrus. But as a gin Martini, this sadly falls short; it has a dry finish, but no discernable juniper.

This is a clean and somewhat refreshing drink, but the gin is totally lost to the other ingredients.

In Conclusion
There are some definite good points about Colorado Fog Gin: the base is of good quality in terms of texture and background character and the spirit has little burn or unpleasant stewed flavours. Unfortunately, it really lacks any discernible botanical character and as such I struggle to consider it as a gin. The best way to drink it was in a Martini – especially if you like vodka Martinis.

Colorado Gold Gin (40.0 % ABV)

Colorado Gold Gin FINALProduced by the Colorado Gold Distillery in Cedaredge, Colorado, the distillers of this gin use local grains to produce their spirit base in addition to local water.

On its own
Nose: Sweet grain, beer, and coriander.
Taste: The sweet base comes through again on the palate: it’s quite bready, with herbal notes such as fennel and anise before dry juniper and a fresh finish of sweet citrus.

Gin & Tonic
A drink with a strong nose of pecans and pear. The taste begins with a little malt and hops, which transforms into notes of pecan and almond, before some sweet marmalade citrus. The finish is nutty and very dry. Certainly an unusual Gin & Tonic, but nonetheless refreshing.

This is almost like a white whiskey Martini, full of grainy, bready notes. It’s dry and clean, with fine notes of juniper and coriander, plus a stem, plant-like quality on the finish.

Colorado Gold Gin makes a mellow Negroni that, thanks to the base spirit, has a character reminiscent of geneva. There are some particularly bitter, dry, tannin notes, plus some herbal elements. An unusual, but cosy cocktail with a curbed bitterness and lingering sweetness of anise and fennel.

In Conclusion
Colorado Gold is certainly a very contemporary gin; with a lot of its base spirit coming through, the slightly sweet spice may well be too much for some traditionalists, but I enjoyed it. My favourite drink was the Negroni.
Denver Dry Gin (40.0% ABV)

Denver dry Gin FINALA product of Mile High Spirits in the city of Denver, this gin is produced in a large glass still. It is made using botanicals that include: juniper, citrus, coriander, and Grains of Paradise.

On its own
Nose: Clean, with a generous dose of juniper, plus citrus and earthy notes.
Taste: A classic style of gin, but with a modest sweetness, this has plenty of juniper, as well as a pleasant mix of lemon and lime, all followed by some earthy notes. This is an excellent gin with both good texture and flavour.

Gin & Tonic
The drink has a light louche to it, plus a strong nose of pine. To sip, it is an extremely crisp, crystal-clean drink: there is refreshing juniper and citrus, plus the the earthy, floral flavours of angelica. A really good drink that ticks all the boxes.

Very oily and, again, the drink louches slightly. Nonetheless, it is easy to drink and has a wide variety of signature classic gin flavours, all rounded off with a sweet spicy lift at the end of the finish.

This is a Negroni with a fine interplay between bitter and sweet. There are notes of zesty citrus, plus the dryness of cedar and pine, before, once again, the drink is brought to a close with the gin’s signature spicy flourish.

In Conclusion
Denver Dry Gin is a first-class example of a truly classic London Dry Gin and is probably the best I have encountered that is produced outside of the UK. All of the drinks were excellent, but my favourite was the Gin & Tonic.
Dancing Pines (40.0% ABV)

Dancing Pines Gin FINALDancing Pines Distillery is in Loveland, Colorado, a little north of Denver. Their gin recipe uses just six botanicals.

Nose: A nice bright nose of juniper and lemon, along with a tinge of sweet, but pronounced alcohol.
Taste: Nice balance. Quiet upfront, building to a moderate level of juniper with an anise and fennel seed mid-note. The finish closes with a tinge of lemon, which is long and lingering. It has the character of a mild, but quite flavourful gin.

Gin & Tonic
Very crisp, clean. There’s a reasonable balance of flavour, with some citrus notes, and a particularly dry finish. An okay Gin & Tonic, but not great.

A cocktail with a spicy and savoury element on the nose. To drink, this is a very smooth Martini, with silky notes of fennel/anise coming through, accompanied by dry pine and a citrus finish. Very nice.

Dancing Pines makes a soft and clean Negroni with good spice and citrus notes, as well as hints of floral and vanilla. It is less intense than some other Negronis, but nevertheless has a good, if subtle flavour. Very easy to drink.

In Conclusion
Dancing Pines is a subtle gin that makes good use of its botanical flavours. My favourite drink was the Martini.
Rob’s Mountain Gin (44.0% ABV)

Today’s review looks at the first of two gins from Spring 44 Distillery in Loveland, Colorado. Rob’s Mountain Gin is a limited edition spirit; each edition has a different formula, this was Formula #44.

On its own
Nose: Zesty, with notes of coriander, lemon, and lime, as well as a hint of black rubber.
Taste: Smooth and very creamy, with herbal notes and a silky note of citrus vanilla. The finish is lovely and dry, with lots of juniper notes. This gin has great balance; a splendid sipper.

Gin & Tonic
A drink with a spicy, complex nose, this Gin & Tonic has plenty of juniper upfront, which gradually gives way to sweet spice and more herbal notes.

Thick and full of flavour; there are plenty of herbal and spiced notes, as well as some citrus, fennel, and anise, and more of a sweet note towards the end. Sophisticated and flavoursome, this is a delight to drink.

Excellent – well-rounded and full-bodied, with a rich, slightly jammy, but bitter finish. The finish has a real, long-lingering bitterness that is complemented by the cocktail’s herbal character and tangy citrus.

In Conclusion
Rob’s Mountain Gin is a truly first-class spirit that is delicious either on its own or when mixed. My favourite drink was the Martini.
Spring 44 (44.0% ABV)

Botanicals: Juniper, Coriander, Nutmeg, Agave Nectar

On its own
Nose: Lemon, rose, and spicy coriander.
Taste: This gin has a thick, mouth-filling texture and is absolutely packed full of luscious juniper: fruity and jammy, with a lovely freshness. The finish has more zesty notes of coriander, plus spice and pepper.

Gin & Tonic
Lively, with plenty of citrus notes, plus hints of lemongrass and coriander. Light, bright, and very thirst-quenching.

Another satisfying cocktail that is clean and crisp, with an icy shard of juniper, coriander, and citrus flavours. A Martini with a booming character, this is superb. Textbook.

A good, intense Negroni with a solid bitter-sweetness, as well as notes of citrus, juniper, and an array of earthy botanicals. Very good and definitely one that will please Negroni traditionalists.

In Conclusion
Overall, Spring 44 is a well-made gin with a good character and flavour-integration. My favourite drink was the Martini.
Spirit Hound (40.0% ABV)

SpiritHound FINALSpirit Hound Gin is made by Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyons, Colorado. Their juniper is sourced from the local area by patrons of their bar, where one bag of juniper berries = a free drink. As such, the varieties used vary, but will likely include both Juniperus Communis and Juniperus Scopulorum. Spirit Hound distill their botanicals using a vapour basket and their mix includes: juniper, cinnamon, anise, cardamom, and clove.

On its own
Nose: Juniper that’s accompanied by fruity notes such as watermelon and cantaloupe. There is also some cucumber notes. Exceptionally fresh.
Taste: Initial citrus flavours lead onto those of sweet spices such as cassia, nutmeg, and cardamom. The piney, juniper finish lasts for a good while and contributes to what is generally a good, thick texture.

Gin & Tonic
Spice and nutty notes come through: sweet anise and fennel, as well as cinnamon, a hint of nutmeg and cardamom, as well as a hint of sassafras. The spice notes are warm, but the drink is still refreshing, especially with a citrus wedge as garnish.

Strong notes of liquorice, anise, cinnamon, fennel, and cardamom came through well. This is a slightly sweet and very spicy Martini. I think a lemon twist would be the best garnish. Very smooth and well-rounded.

A full-flavoured drink with warm spice in the middle and an intense bitterness at the end. Clean, fresh, and revitalising.

In Conclusion
A refreshing gin with a complex character. My favourite drink was the Martini, although all of the drinks were excellent.
Woods Treeline Gin (40.0% ABV)

Wood High Mountain Distillery make a range of spirits from their site in Salida, Colorado, including single malt and rye whiskies, elderflower liqueurs, and both aged and unaged gins.

On its own
Nose: Juniper, cassia, cinnamon, and some salty fennel.
Taste: This has a smooth texture to start, with more spicy pepper towards the end. There are, however, some spicy notes to start with: nutmeg, cinnamon, and fennel. This is a pretty spicy gin, with a dash of sweetness, but is nevertheless very smooth. It has many of the flavours that I would associate with an aged gin: the sweetness, the spice.

Gin & Tonic
Zesty citrus to start, followed by warm vanilla. This is a spicy Gin & Tonic with a little sweetness in the middle, before a dry finish of refreshing pine.

A Martini with a silky mouthfeel, this is well-rounded with juniper and spiced notes of fennel, anise, and nutmeg. It’s a splendid drink and an excellent example of a more contemporary Gin Martini made with an American Craft Gin.

Plenty of sweet anise upfront, but with lots of other flavours, too, such as citrus and spice. The drink almost tastes as if the glass has had an absinthe rinse. It has a great flavour profile and a superb bitter-dry finish.

In Conclusion
Woods Treeline Gin is a lovely, complex gin that makes some cracking cocktails; my favourite was the Negroni.

Cocktails with… nginious! gins – from Switzerland!

Nginious was founded by Oliver Ullrich and Ralph Villiger, two chaps from Switzerland that had previously owned a gin bar in Zurich.

nginious Gin Range FINAL

nginious! Swiss Blended Gin (45.0 %ABV)

The first gin that they created was in response to a desire to capture the soul and character of Switzerland in a gin by utilising local botanicals and flavours. The botanicals are distilled in batches and then blended together, in a similar method to that used by Gin Mare.

The Swiss Blended Gin is made using 18 botanicals:
Juniper Berries
Sweet Orange
Liquorice Root
Blackcurrant Leaves*
Hay Flowers*
Clover Blossoms
Laurel Berries
Bee Balm* (part of the mint family)
Carline Thistle Root

nginious swiss blended FINAL

On its own
Nose: Very herbaceous. This has lots of pine and green, leafy alpine notes, along with a gentle ginger spiciness.
Taste: This has an oily texture, with mellow juniper notes and a lightly sappy, sweet, and woody pine flavour coming through. Leafy and herbaceous, with good complexity. The main palate has light notes of citrus, florals, and spice, before the warm spiced notes of ginger and cardamom on the finish, with just a hint of bready sweetness.

Gin & Tonic
Spicy and resinous, with woody, herbal notes and spiced notes such as cardamom and anise. Bold and complex, and a great all-year-round Gin & Tonic.

This cocktail has lots of bright juniper and the intense citrus spice of coriander, before notes of oily citrus peel and, finally, some more woody spice.

Bright and very fruity, with dry juniper and luscious pine notes at the start. These are followed by citrus and spice, especially coriander. This is lighter than many Negronis, in terms of bitterness, but is absolutely packed with flavour.

nginious! Summer Gin (42.0% ABV)

The Summer Gin is made using botanicals that include:
Juniper Berries
Fresh sweet limes
Jasmine blossoms
White pepper
Rhubarb roots

ngInious Summer Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Vibrant, fruity, and floral notes, with plenty of zesty citrus that makes it lively and engaging. There are also hints of orchard and stone fruit.
Taste: Perfumed floral notes upfront quickly make way for plump stone fruit: plum, cherry, and peach. This is followed by the citrus zip of coriander, then woody, lightly menthol pepper notes. There’s also a touch of delicate honeyed flowers in the middle of the palate.

Gin & Tonic
Lively and zesty, with lots of exciting citrus notes. This is a plump, refreshing, and truly delicious drink.

Very floral, with jammy hints of rose, violet, and Turkish Delight, followed by plump, fruity citrus and juniper. There’s a hint of crushed, spicy coriander on the finish.

Dry fruit notes, including freshly cut apple and stone fruit, followed by a mellow, bittersweet interplay between the vermouth and Campari. Refreshing, summery, and invigorating.

nginious! Cocchi Vermouth Cask Gin (43.0%ABV)

The third gin that we’re looking at today is an unusual double-aged vermouth cask gin. The Swiss Blended Gin is aged in 225 litre barrels that originally held Cocchi Barolo and then Cocchi vermouth.

The first filling of the barrels from Cocchi is for one week, simply to remove the immediate, heavy flavours of the vermouth – in a way, this is conditioning the barrels for their second filling with high-proof gin. The final gin is a blend of these two aged distillates.

nginious Cocchi Vermouth Cask Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Red fruits, pump and juicy before some floral notes come forward reminiscent of an alpine meadow. the comes some of the deep herbal notes commonly associated with vermouth, woody and earthy.
Taste: Very fragrant and lively to start with, plenty of citrus too. In the middle the impact of the wood comes forward bitter woodiness combines with the bitterness of the grapefruit finally a sweet lift of spice on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
This works surprisingly well – many aged gins don’t work so well in a Gin & Tonic, but the Cocchi Vermouth Cask Gin has a great herbal complexity to it that works well alongside the flavours of the tonic water. It’s an intense, dry, and thirst-quenching drink.

Bright, resinous juniper really shines through and, unlike many others that I’ve tried with aged gin, the wood adds a herbal bitterness, followed by a more delicate, woody sweetness.

A complex cocktail with delicious wood and herbal notes; there are also increased vermouth notes from both the spirit and the wine. The pine and juniper come through well, before the lightly bittersweet notes of the Campari.
nginious! Smoked & Salted Gin (42.0%ABV)

Our final gin for today is a very unusual spirit, made with an original botanical recipe of juniper, coriander, bitter orange, ginger, quinces, and chestnuts.

Before their individual distillation, the chestnuts are cold-smoked for 40 hours. The salted element comes from smoked stone salt from the Swiss Alps, which is created by evaporating brine; the resulting salt crystals are spread out and smoked on larch tree boards.

nginious Smoked and Salted Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Creamy notes of crème brulee and toasted caramel, along with a hint of smoke and a little salinity.
Taste: The salt flavour is upfront, followed by more smoky flavours, somewhat reminiscent of smoked ham. This is followed by the more traditional gin notes such as juniper, angelica, and citrus spice. Very unusual and complex.

Gin & Tonic
Even with an unflavoured tonic, this works well, but I think that it could excel even more with some of the more herbaceous tonic waters.

A very smooth and smoky Martini – savoury, with hints of smoke cheese and meat, but with great woody notes, too. Complex and unique.

This gin makes an unusual Negroni and its salty element really comes through at the start. The vermouth and smoke flavours mix well together, before a classic bittersweet Negroni finish.

Cocktails with… Sipsmith House of Commons Gin

The Visitors Centre in the House of Commons has a plethora of gifts available for purchase, from tea towels to jigsaws, postcards to teddy bears. They also sell booze: a variety of spirits, wine, and beer. Recently, Sipsmith were awarded the contract to provide the “House of Commons” Gin. Excitingly, this is bottled at 40.7% ABV, which is lower than their standard 41.6% ABV. This lower ABV results in a different flavour.

House of Commons Sipsmith Gin FINAL

On its own
Nose: Citrus and vanilla, with a great selection of rich, plummy fruit notes and pine jelly.
Taste: Exceptionally smooth palate, with notes of spicy coriander upfront, as well as some earthy floral notes, before creamy citrus and a long, dry finish with just a hint of black pepper. Overall, this is a complex, smooth, and very accessible spirit.

Gin & Tonic
A sparkly nose with a little spice and pepper, with citrus and angelica. This is a luscious Gin & Tonic: delicate, fresh, smooth, succulent, and oh so refreshing, with a fine lemon flavour running throughout. Light and everything you could want from a Gin & Tonic.

A smooth and full-textured drink with a hint of sweetness and citrus, before a clean, crisp, and dry finish. Easy to drink, but with a powerful character.

A well-integrated, mellow, and soft Negroni. Accessible, even to those who are not usually Negroni fans. There is a very crisp, gently sharp note of juniper, before light spice and the signature herbal bitterness of the cocktail come into play.

In Conclusion
Th gin worked well in all drinks providing a more mellow gin flavour to the other higher ABV Sipsmiths. An excellent gin for lunchtime or the afternoon. My favourite drink was the gin tonic.

Sipsmith House of Commons Gin (Available exclusively from the Jubilee Gift Shop (the one inside Parliament) £28 for 70cl, 40.7% ABV)

Cocktails with… Lola & Vera Gin

Gin has been popular in Spain for a long time, but, until recently, most of this was produced in the UK and then imported into Spain; the renaissance of gin distilling in Spain was a little behind that of the UK.

Since then, some new distilleries have opened, including Santamania in Madrid, whose gin I had the chance to try in 2014, along with their aged gin. In 2015, they launched a new gin named after their two pot stills: Lola & Vera.

1 Lola and Vera FINAL

Bottled at 40.0%ABV, Lola & Vera Gin is made using a grain alcohol base and the following botanicals: juniper, lemon, orange peel, cardamom, cassia, liquorice, anise, ginger, sunflower, and apple.

The apple is macerated in the spirit first and is then filtered out before the spirit is distilled with the other botanicals to make the gin.

On its own
Nose: Fresh, fruity, and juicy, with hints of citrus, coriander, and pine.
Taste: This is a very smooth spirit with some gentle citrus from orange and lemon. There are also some richer spiced and chocolate notes, before a good, dry finish.

Gin & Tonic
Flavoursome and jammy, with some lovely plum and berry notes, before a finish of zesty citrus. Crisp and very refreshing.

A particularly citrusy Martini, this is bright and brilliant: juicy, with just a little spice on the finish. It is also wonderfully smooth – an excellent cocktail.

This makes a very solid Negroni: it has an intense bitterness with a good level of interplay between sweet spice and herbal notes, before a bitter citrus finish.

In Conclusion
Lola & Vera is a classic and crisp gin with a pleasant flair of citrus that makes it great for mixing. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.

~ Bonus Santamania Gins ~

Santamania 37.5%

On its own
Nose: Bright citrus – orange and lemon – as well as notes of fresh tea leaves.
Taste: Quite a light gin, with tea and vanilla upfront and then some citrus – a combination of orange and coriander – before a long, dry, slightly fruity finish

Gin Tonic
A straightforward but pleasantly refreshing gin tonic, rather zesty with tnags of lemon and lime as well as a light juniper dryness.

Soft and silky, with complex citrus and floral notes. This has an absolutely first class texture and is a pleasure to drink.

A good, solid drink with hints of citrus and chocolate, before some dry notes on the finish. Smooth and well-integrated.

Santamania Reserve

On its own
Colour: Green/straw
Nose: Light, woody citrus.
Taste: A soft, smooth spirit with a gradually building warmth. There are notes of freshly cut wood and vanilla upfront with fine, fruity notes. The taste gradually becomes dryer with hints of citrus as you sip.

The smooth vanilla oak notes really come through when frozen, as do the wood characteristics before a very dry finish.

A very clean aged gin Martini: delicate spice and a touch of sweetness before dry, woody and citrus notes.

A rather nutty Negroni with an intense chocolatey, earthy bitterness with notes of peanut brittle on the finish. A little woody, too.