Cocktails with… Gold 999.9 Gin

Continuing the theme of gins available in the Spanish market and with Advent starting tomorrow, it seemed that a gin with a suitable colour scheme would be appropriate.

GOLD 999

Gin 999.9 is made in Alsace, France. It is based on a recipe from the 20th Century and is produced in a still made from gold. Gold is a better thermal conductor than copper, so that makes some sense, but it is also much softer, not to mention far more expensive.

The gin is bottled at 40.0% ABV and is made using botanicals including: juniper, coriander, angelica, cassia, vanilla, tangerine, poppy, and violet.

On its own
Nose: Bright orange: hints of peel, orange oil, and orange blossom. There’s a little tanginess, too, plus some sweetness and a little mustiness.
Taste: On the palate, there is a more balanced sweetness and plenty of orange notes, along with some chocolate. It really is packed full of citrus, though, with notes of lemon, orange, and clementine. It is reminiscent of the orange gins of old, with additional hints of dry juniper and angelica on the finish.

Gin & Tonic
Strong flavours of menthol pepper come through, with hints of bitterness. This is very strong and may be too much for some, but the oiliness and intense bitterness may appeal to Negroni fans.

Sweet and incredibly citrusy, with bold flavours of tangy orange. This reminds me of Martinis made with vintage examples of Orange Gin.

This isn’t a terrible drink, but – bizarrely, given the bitterness of the Gin & Tonic – it is one of the sweetness Negronis that I have ever had. It’s flavour profile is dominated by citrus, reminding me a tad of Negroni sorbet.

In Conclusion
Those looking for a Classic London Dry Gin should look elsewhere; this gin, whilst a nice product, is rather sweet and heavy on the citrus, reminding me of a dry triple sec.

That said it did work well in the Martini.

Cocktails with… Elephant gin


Our gin reviews have been a little thin on the ground lately, so, to make up for it, we shall be publishing one each day this week (except Friday, when we shall switch to Champagne). Today’s review is of a German gin with an African twist, which I first tried a few weeks back at Dukes Hotel in London.

Elephant Gin is bottled at 45% ABV and contains a mix of 14 botanicals:

The Base Botanicals

Sweet Orange Peel
Cassia Bark
Fresh Apple
Pimento Berries

The African Botanicals

Mountain Pine Needles
Devil’s Claw
Lion’s tail
African Wormwood

Elephant Gin

The gin was inspired by the founder’s adventures in Africa. This inspired the use and selection of African botanicals, along with the gin’s name and packaging. In addition, 15% of the profits from sales of Elephant Gin go to help support two African Elephant foundations that help to protect African wildlife and curb the 35,00 elephants killed each year for
their ivory.

nose: herbal with a hint of brine. Some leafy vegetal notes and a hint of lavender.
taste: spice comes through and mixes with the green herbal notes. a full-flavoured gin with a smooth texture and building warmth as you sip. A long piney finish with a hint of citrus.

Gin & Tonic
A dry gin and tonic, with a little citrus but it is the spicy notes that comes through more as well as a little herbalness. The spice is not sweet like gingerbread nor is it savoury like curry or chilli rather it is somewhere in the middle. Easy to drink but relatively subtle I think some good fun could be had experimenting with the best garnish.

Strong and crisps Martini (as a nod to Duke’s hotel I used the Diamond Pour method) from the freezer the Elephant Gin is very viscous and has a great texture. The herbal flavours as well as a little citrus and touch of floral comes through to start. This makes way for a dry, slightly bitter juniper/pine on the finish. excellent.

I had an inkling that Elephant Gin would work well in a Negroni and it does. The pine/juniper combination is dominant and the wormwood in the gin really compliments the bitter flavours from the Campari and the vermouth (of course vermouth also contains wormwood). Herbal, tasty and satisfying.

In Conclusion

In addition to having an excellent social outlook, superb packaging and an interesting botanical mix, Elephant Gin has a great flavour and mixes well (ultimately, the most important factor). My favourite drink(s) were the Martini and Negroni.


Elephant Gin is available for around £30 for 50cl from The Whisky Exchange

The Pink Gin Cocktail & Lebensstern Bottled Pink Gin

The Pink Gin Cocktail is an old navy drink, a mix of gin and Angostura Bitters. Gin was the Naval Officer’s drink of choice and the bitters were thought to have medicinal properties. Traditionally, the drink is associated with Plymouth Gin, a spirit from a city with strong naval connections.

But recently I tried Lebensstern Pink Gin, which was kindly sent to me along with a bottle of Adler Berlin Gin (see the review here).

Not to be confused with the likes of Edgerton Pink or Pink 47*, Lebensstern Pink is actually Lebensstern Gin with added Bitter Truth aromatic bitters.
The gin was originally made specifically for the Lebensstern Bar, which is situated on the 1st floor of Cafe Einstein, a Coffee House in Berlin.

Also in the brand portfolio of Lebensstern is a London Dry Gin (43%) and a Caribbean Rum.

Annual production of Lebensstern is limited to 1,000 bottles and is bottled at 40%ABV.

Lebensstern Pink Gin vs. A freshly made version with Plymouth Gin

Lebensstern Pink Gin vs. A freshly made version with Plymouth Gin

As I mentioned before, the Pink Gin Cocktail is synonymous with Plymouth Gin and so I wondered, how does a freshly mixed drink fare against the bottled Lebensstern Pink Gin? The tasting was done blind; here are the results:

I Plymouth Gin
Quite herbal, with nice juniper and citrus notes, but perhaps a touch watery and a bit flat at the end.

II Lebensstern Pink
A richer, herbal taste, with a hint of sweetness. Complex and intense. Clear winner.

Frankly, I was surprised at the result as I am a big fan of Plymouth**, but the Lebensstern pipped to the post in my Pink Gin tasting. I expected the freshly mixed one to be superior, but the Lebensstern was more complex and had a more defined and lasting flavour.

I also tried Lebensstern Pink in some other drinks:

Room Temperature: Juniper, cinnamon and other spices & roots. Quite soft and very similar in character to a Pink Gin. Some warmth and a finish of juniper, cinnamon and anise.
Frozen: Surprisinglyly non-syrupy texture; very cold, but very flavourful. From the freezer, the gin is more herbal and more bitter. It’s tasty, but, for me, not as good as drinking it at room temperature.

Gin & Tonic
Quite refreshing; a pleasant way to lengthen the gin with hints of cinnamon and sweet spice coming through. A dash of lemon juice or a wedge improves the balance, I think.

Seems quite strong***, crisp and the sweet spice comes through again. For my money, though, I’d rather have the gin on its own.

Old Fashioned
Excellent: easily the best cocktail I have tried with Lebensstern. Smooth and soft, it is complex, bitter-sweet and rather lovely. A great drink to have whilst you contemplate and mull-over the day.

In Conclusion

I was definitely impressed with Lebensstern Pink and the idea of making a cocktail within a cocktail definitely intrigued me. My tasting of this comes at a time when I’ve recently tried some other good-quality bottled/premixed cocktails (see my Hand-made Cocktail Company Review) and the Lebensstern certainly fits that label, too. My favourite ways of drinking it were on its own at room temperature, with ice, and in an Old Fashioned.


* By this, I mean that neither Pink 47 or Edgerton Pink (to my mind) follow the flavour profile of the Pink Gin Cocktail. Pink 47 has a very faint pink tinge and Edgerton, although being very pink, is flavoured with pomegranate, not bitters.

** I’d like to see a true re-match sometime, with a professionally-made Pink Gin vs. the Lebensstern; maybe a task for the next time I’m down at the Plymouth Distillery?

***(i.e. alcoholic strength)

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