Cocktails with… Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin

I first heard about Gilpin’s Extra Dry Gin when it won Silver at the IWSC in 2011, but further details were more of a mystery, so imagine my delight when I found a bottle in the Gin Collection of the modern Gin Palace, Graphic Bar, Golden Square. I then discovered Gilpin’s brand new website and found out that they were going to be at the Juniper Society on Monday 16th April 2012.

Gilpin’s Extra Dry Gin is made at Thames Distillers and is designed to be a gin that is extra dry in style. As a result, it doesn’t contain any of the more naturally sweet botanicals, such as liquorice or star anise, and uses bitter orange rather than the sweet variety. The botanical mix also includes two other citrus peels, sage and – uniquely – Borage (leaves). This last botanical is of particular interest to us at SummerFruitCup, as it is our logo and also an essential ingredient in a classic Fruit Cup.
The water for the gin come from Holy Well Spring in Cartmel in the English Lake District, Gilpin’s Dry Gin is bottled at 47%ABV.

Here is a full list of botanicals:


1) OWN
Nose: Sweet, with some warmth, spicy vanilla, cucumber peel and pine.
Taste: Very soft and smooth to start, with a slight, marmalade-like sweetness and a jammy pluminess. The end was dry, with lots of juniper and the finish was quite fresh and of moderate length. Very clean and easy to drink for a 47% spirit.

2) GIN & TONIC
This was a zingy and dry Gin & Tonic with a substantial burst of citrus and some more complex, fresh, herbal notes towards the end. I think that the likes of Fevertree or Schweppes will work better with this than Fentimans or 6 O’Clock, as, otherwise, you’re in danger of having too much citrus. Clean and refreshing and very quaffable for a 47% gin.

3) MARTINI
Dry, crisp and refreshing. Quite smooth, with a hint of oiliness, but plenty of flavour and a little alcoholic power. A very pleasant, dry cocktail with a touch of sage and a slightly bitter finish. A high-end Martini.

4) NEGRONI
A very dry and pretty bitter drink with a really depth of flavour. Sweet herbal to start and then a very intense dry dark bitterness. Memorable and one for the bitter fans.

5) FRUIT CUP
The gin really comes through, adding an extra layer of flavour to the drink in comparison to most pre-made fruit cups. There’s a good amount of sweetness, with a refreshing, yet full, flavour and a pleasant citrus chord.

6) SWEET MARTINI
Another very clean and smooth drink; the sweet vermouth contrasts well with the dryness of the gin, the result being a Sweet Martini that is dryer than many. There were some good herbal notes, citrus and a crisp, refreshing finish courtesy of the borage.

7) GIN COLLINS
Fresh and fizzy, this reminded me of a boozy lemonade. Surprisingly, the gin seems a little overwhelmed by the sugar and lemon. I found that the best way to improve this drink was to add an extra dose of gin (typically not something to complain about); this makes the drink more balanced, but still not spectacular.

Gilpin's Gin Tonica with willow Water Ice!

8) Matthew Gilpin’s Gin Tonica
I recently spoke to the driving and founding force behind Gilpin’s Gin, Matthew Gilpin, to ask him for his recommended serve for a Gin Tonica; here it is:

Fill a Balloon Glass Full of Ice
60% Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin
40% Fevertree Original Tonic
Slice of Lemon Garnish

I was lucky enough to be able to make my ice out of Willow water, which is sourced at the same place as the water used to make the gin.

This was certainly a strong drink, but the fruity, juicy elements of the gin really came through, as did some of the more earthy, herbal elements and the distinct freshness of the borage. The best way to describe it would be BURSTING; I think it is excellent and a rather pleasant way to round-off a Friday afternoon.

In Conclusion
Gilpin’s Gin is an excellent addition to the gin market and is a new favourite of mine. Its main asset is that it’s very dry, whilst retaining a fresh character with a crisp citrus element. My favourite drink was easily the Martini, although there was a host of other tasty drinks, too.