Cocktails with… Beefeater Winter

It seems that Beefeater have excelled themselves in gin innovation this year by launching not just one, but two seasonal varieties of their gin. Beefeater Winter follows their summer edition and, in addition to Beefeater’s normal botanicals, takes flavour from pine shoots, cinnamon and nutmeg. Given the very festive nature of this gin and Mrs. B’s new fondness for hot cocktails, in a new twist for “Cocktails with…”, one half of the drinks we tried were hot.

The COOLIES

#1 Gin & Tonic
We tried this in an icicle Gin & Tonic, using real icicles from a recent cold snap. I really enjoyed this drink, as I do normally with Beefeater, but it was only at the end that I could tell the two apart: Beefeater Winter has a much spicier nose.

#2 Martini
A good Martini; the extra botanicals in Beefeater Winter complement the vermouth well and, although the drink itself was stirred until ice cold, it seemed more warming than your average Gin & It.

#3 Gimlet
A subtle and smooth Gimlet; the gin balances out the lime cordial and is quiet until the end, when the winter spice comes through, followed by a little juniper bitterness.

#4 White Lady
Beefeater Winter produced a beautifully smooth White Lady, and, as with some of the other cocktails we tried, the difference between normal Beefeater is noticeable at the finish of the cocktail.

#5 Aviation
A crisp Aviation. Although it is quite nice, I preferred most of the other drinks.

#6 Bramble
The Bramble rather overpowers Beefeater Winter, with the Creme de Mure making it too sweet; the ingredients don’t seem to blend well.

Icicle Gin & Tonic (with real Icicles!) made with Beefeater Winter

The HOT Ones

#7 Mistletoe Mist
The cranberry and mint are well matched and the nature of the gin means that the flavour comes through without overpowering the drink. This hot and fruity cocktail is a nice alternative to most hot toddies and nogs, as it’s neither creamy nor based on honey.

#8 Hot Apple Gin
This smelt liked apple sauce and reminds me of home-made stewed apples. The warmth of the gin comes through, with a little spice and some apple freshness; it’s a good alternative to the standard hot gin toddy. Mrs B. says it reminded her of a hot apple pie.

#9 Hot Alexander
A hot version of the Original Gin Alexander, this was a punt, but I was pleased with how it worked out. The standard drink is usually served ice cold and so isn’t so great for the winter, but the hot version has a delicious creaminess and provides a good appreciation of the gin and its wintery notes.

#10 Gin Egg Nog
This was a hot variation of the recipe provided by Beefeater. It tasted a little like cake batter, with a flavour of the gin at the end. The gin works well, as it is not too overpowering, but provides some spice. The drink tastes a bit like custard, but, when you consider the ingredients, that’s not too surprising.

#11 Hot Gin Toddy
I think the garnish of cloves add something to the flavour and complements the Beefeater Winter well. This gin makes a very classic gin toddy.

#12 Bakewell
Tastes like a Christmas Bakewell tart: a little milky, with sweet almond notes, all finished off with a cherry garnish. Some juniper and spice at the end.

#13 Buttered Beefeater
Hot buttered rum, Beefeater style. This was incredibly indulgent and probably should take the place of a pudding. It tastes of caramel and butter, reminding me a tad of raw flapjack mix. Drinking it through a top of layer of whipped cream adds to the sweetness and the coolness of the cream contrasts nicely with the warmth of the drink. I used molasses sugar, which seemed to work better with the flavours of this particular gin.

Beefeater Gin's Master Distiller Desmond Payne and DTS

Beefeater Gin’s Master Distiller Desmond Payne and DTS

In conclusion, I think this is another great innovation and, although I think it works well in some of the cold drinks, it really shines in the hotties; with a bit of innovation and seasonal flair, you can find some perfect winter warmers to make with this gin.

After this review, it begs one question: in the future will there be other seasonal variants of Beefeater? Perhaps a spring or autumnal gin? Time will tell, but I for one would like to see them!

Available for around £18-£20 for 70cl from The DrinkShop & The Whisky Exchange.

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Event Invite: Plymouth Martini Masterclass

Thank you to Plymouth & Graphic for holding such a great evening and a fitting way to end this year-top-notch Juniper Societies: https://summerfruitcup.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/plymouth-martini-book-home-made-vermouth/

Plymouth Gin Christmas Cracker

Brought to you by The Juniper Society @ Graphic

 

 

 

 

 

Plymouth twinned with Tonic (a small mountainous village in Peru, famous for it effervescent springs and forests of Fevertrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I sit here in the Gog & Magog, a pub a few steps away from the Plymouth Gin Distillery, I would like to tell readers about an event involving the great spirit of this city.

Monday 29th November (Cancelled due to Tube Strike)

Monday 13TH DECEMBER 2010

19:00

Graphic, 4 Golden Square, London, W1F 9HT.

Plymouth Gin – The Martini Sessions will take place at the excellent Graphic Bar in London (a modern gin palace with 70+ varieties of Gin on hand) and I’m sure will be great event for the last Juniper Society for the year.

You will be greeted with a free cocktail on arrival and then will take part in two sessions:

1) The first, revolving around the Martini, with a bit of background and then some all important tastings of some variations of this classic drink; and

2) A short tasting of Plymouth Gin itself.

I’m also looking forward to what I expect to be an informative and entertaining piece on “making cocktails at home”.

A trip to the actual distillery in Plymouth is a real treat, but until you can make it down there, this is surely the next best thing. (Rumour has it the Master Distiller may be coming along, too!)

For further information, and to reserve your place, please see the Juniper Society Website or contact the bar on 0207 287 9241.

All are welcome (not just Jolly Gin Fellows) and there is no charge for the Gin Tasting, Martini Masterclass or the welcome cocktail.

Cocktails with… Hayman’s Gin

Hayman’s London Dry Gin was created by Christopher Hayman, the great grandson of James Burrough, founder of The Hayman’s Distillers and creator of Beefeater Gin. Hayman’s London Dry Gin was designed as a classic London Dry Gin and was created by Christopher Hayman as an expression of his ultimate London Dry Gin. Its botanicals include: Juniper, Angelica, Coriander, Liquorice, Orris Root and Orange & Lemon Peel; seasoned Gin drinkers may note that these are all the hallmarks of a classic London Dry Gin.

A bottle of Hayman's London Dry Gin

#1 Neat:

With a short juniper nose, this a very simple, classic gin. It is not overburdened with any showiness, with flavours of juniper and citrus and a warming finish.

#2 Gin & Tonic:

Hayman’s makes a classic gin and tonic: there are crisp juniper notes with a little citrus and a touch of bitterness. Quite refreshing.

#3 Martini:

This was a clean Martini and has some warmth behind it. Strong juniper notes come through, along with a little oiliness. This as not as crisp as Martinis made with some other gins, but it still has the classic characteristics.

#4 Gimlet:

A smoother Gimlet than most, this drink is better with a touch less Rose’s Cordial than usual. The drink is tangy and crisp, with enjoyable sour notes at the end.

#5 John Collins:

Hayman’s makes one of the best John Collins I have ever had; it was tangy and zesty; full of life and flavour. It was exceptionally refreshing (Mrs. B said it was revitalising, but I’m not sure you could put that on the bottle!). This drink, with faint hints of lemon sherbet, was really very good and quickly finished.

#6 White Lady:

A lovely White Lady; mellow and well-rounded with the bright citrus of a good lemon sorbet.

#7 Aviation:

A crisp drink, with each ingredient clearly defined. There are sharp juniper flavours in the drink: it’s a beverage that makes you pay attention, which makes it more than just another Aviation.

#8 Bramble:

The juniper balances out the sugar in this Bramble, making it less sweet and more tart than others. Readers who usually find the Bramble too sweet, this is for you.

#9 Gin Sour:

Tart, with an unexpected creamy finish (no, I hadn’t just left some milk in the shaker) and a strong juniper finish. Different to most Gin Sours that I’ve tried, but certainly worth a try.

#10 Clover Club:

Great. This drink allows the flavour of my home-made Grenadine to come through. It is reminiscent of ice-cream, with its silky texture and smooth blend of flavours.

#11 Dubonet:

In my experience, these can sometimes destroy a Gin’s flavours, but Hayman’s stands up better than most, with the juniper balancing out the fortified wine’s bitterness. There’s a nice hint of citrus, too.

#12 Milano:

Amongst all of the cocktails that I tried, this was one of the few disappointments: the Gin seemed to be lost amongst the Galliano (this is not always the case) and so it didn’t showcase the it very well.

#13 Pendennis:

Hayman’s produced a very different Pendennis cocktail to those that we have had with other Gins. A jammy apricot flavour, similar to that of an apricot jam tart (my favourite flavour) appears about halfway through the drink. The full flavour of the Gin comes through and Mrs. B said it tasted strongly of “Pink” (whatever that means?).

#14 Alexander:

This cocktail had an intriguingly fruity smell; it started with hints of cream and chocolate, moving to warmth and a fuller appreciation of the Gin. The flavours blend together well, so that the battle for dominance between gin and cacao, which is characteristic of the Alexander, is notably absent.

#15 Singapore Sling:

I always enjoy a Singapore Sling, and this was certainly no exception. This cocktail takes a little more effort to make, but it’s worth it. Hayman’s Gin seemed to go well with pineapple juice, with its slight bitter edge balancing out the sweetness of the fruit.

#16 Income Tax Cocktail:

This was a smooth cocktail, with only a little juniper coming through. It rather masks the gin, however, and so is not the best cocktail to enjoy Hayman’s Gin in.

#17 Hot Gin Cocktail: HOT

Mrs B. has a newfound fondness for Toddy drinks; so much so, that I only got a sip to check that it was OK before handing it over. These thoughts are hers: yummy! This is the epitome of a hot toddy: the warmth of the drink starts it off and this effortlessly flows into the warmth of the alcohol at the end. It is incredibly comforting, and definitely my favourite of the cocktails we tried.

#18 Bakewell: HOT

This smells like a Bakewell tart, with an almondy milk taste and a little juniper on the finish. The Gin doesn’t interfere, but complements the other flavours. The cherry completes the drink.

All-in-all Hayman’s really is a classic London Dry Gin and if that’s what you look for in your Gin then Hayman’s is certainly for you. It worked very well in a Gin & Tonic and in cocktails that were sweet and contained citrus, such as the excellent John Collins. For an alternative to these fruity cocktails, try a lovely Alexander or one of the cracking hot gin drinks.

Hayman’s London Dry Gin is bottled at 40%ABV and is available for around £16.

Hayman’s also make an Old Tom Gin, a Sloe Gin and a Gin liqueur.

For more Gin Reviews please visit Cocktails with…

Cocktails with… Foxdenton

With so many excellent reviews of various Gins online, I found myself hesitant when I considered how best to test a Gin for one of my posts. I eventually concluded that, rather than just tasting the Gin and trying it with tonic and in a Martini – an excellent method in itself – I would instead try a greater array of Gin cocktails. I thought I would test this method with a rather new Gin: Foxdenton. I would just like to state that my list of eighteen Gin cocktails is by no means exhaustive and my method is a work-in-progress.

Foxdenton Gin is produced by the Foxdenton Estate Company in Winslow, Buckinghamshire*. The Estate itself dates back to 1367. They also produce sloe, raspberry and blackcurrant Gin.

Foxdenton includes the following botanicals:

  • Juniper
  • Angelica Root
  • Coriander
  • Lemon Peel
  • Orris Root
  • Lime Flower

#1 Foxdenton Gin – Neat

The strength of this Gin (48% ABV) produces a strong tingling sensation in the mouth and it’s certainly a Gin that packs a punch. It has pronounced flavours of citrus and juniper, particularly on the finish. This a Gin-lover’s Gin and moves away from a recent trend of gentle, more “sippable” Gins being created.

#2 Gin & Tonic

I started with Schweppes Tonic. Why? Because it is one of the best selling there is. I found that a hearty garnish of lemon really complemented the mix of Gin and Schewppes, although, out of personal preference, I would tend to use Fentimans; this is because Foxdenton benefits from the lemongrass flavours in Fentimans, making for a rather tasty drink.

#3 Martini

A lovely crisp and clear Martini; simple, as a Martini should be. Works well with a lemon twist as a garnish. The extra strength works well in this and it was well-liked by the Martini drinkers in the group.

#4 Gimlet

Here, I think, Foxdenton excels: Foxdenton and Rose’s Lime Cordial are a great combination. There was some disagreement as to whether the drink was better with a splash of soda, but it was unanimous that both were very good. The one downside is that the lime does hide some of the subtleties of the Gin, but it is still a tasty drink.

#5 John Collins

Another favourite, although I was perhaps a little lighter on the sugar and lemon than I would be generally. This is incredibly drinkable, with a nice juniper kick at the end. The extra strength of the Gin was noticeable, but certainly not overpowering. This was a great summer drink but one that I could enjoy year-round.

#6 Bramble

Pleasant; the strength of the Gin is still apparent, but its flavour, in particular its citrus notes, contrasts well with the sweetness of the Creme de Mure. A lovely little drink and a good use of the Gin. A variant of this using Foxdenton’s Blackjack would be interesting.

#7 Gin Fix

A grandfather of a cocktail; quite easy to drink and, although it gives the Gin some warmth, it truly doesn’t do this particular Gin justice.

#8 White Lady

The extra kick provided by the Gin’s 48% strength is nice a change for this drink, making it strong, yet smooth. Whilst this is a less delicate White Lady than most, it certainly makes more of an impression and is therefore strongly recommended.

#9 Gin Sour

This shows off the Gin almost as well as drinking it neat. The Foxdenton’s flavour really comes through: the juniper dominates, and there is a neat marriage between the lemon juice and the Gin’s citrus. A good way to savour the Gin’s characteristics.

#10 Pendennis

Not an outstanding mix, but the various ingredients do produce lots of flavour in a partnership where the Gin still pulls its own.

#11 Aviation

Clean and crisp; a little lemon, with a compliment of juniper at the end. I really liked this drink and think that it makes a very palatable alternative to a Martini. It would be great to try this with some of the newly released Creme Yvette: a floral liqueur that has not been previously available for a few decades.

#12 Milano

This is not a stereotypical Gin cocktail, but it was suggested by a friend. It is a mix of Gin, Galliano and Lemon Juice. This was surprisingly nice and the ingredients all mix well together, the herbs and spice of the Galliano being a pleasant complement to the Gin’s botanicals.

#13 Clover Club

Another delicious combination: the muskiness of the juniper contrasts with the syrup’s sweetness and both balance out the lemon juice. This cocktail gives the Gin its due, is very, very smooth and delightfully moreish.

#14 Alexander

Mrs. B thought this tasted like alcoholic ice-cream and, indeed, it is very tasty, but masks the flavour of the Gin; still, a nice drink.

#15 Dubonet Cocktail

This drink allows the flavours of the Gin to come through and the bitterness of the Dubonet compliments that of the juniper. This is rather different to the other drinks that we tried and showcases the Gin in a different way, but it did make me feel rather hungry and could make a fine aperitif. All in all, it  works well.

#16 Negroni

I have to disclose that I am not a big fan of Campari and so the Negroni is not my usual cocktail of choice, but being a classic Gin cocktail, I thought it should be included. Foxdenton does make one of the better Negronis that I have had, but, although you can taste the Gin, this drink is still dominated by the bitterness of the Campari.

#17 Bronx

Nice and cool, but not a drink that is really to my taste. There is a strong flavour of juniper, but the citrus in the Gin does not work as well with the orange notes in this cocktail as it has done with those of lemon and lime in previous drinks.

#18 Ramos Gin Fizz

Despite how unique and tasty this drink is, you almost wouldn’t know that it had any Gin in it at all. If you wanted to enjoy the various flavours of Foxdenton this is not the best way to do so.

In conclusion, Foxdenton works well in citrus drinks such as the Gin Sour, White Lady and Aviation. It is best enjoyed in a Martini with a twist of lemon and, when mixed with tonic, is well suited to a healthy wedge of lemon as a garnish, but my favourite Foxdenton drink was the Gimlet (although there were some close runners-up).

If you like a Gin with a good strength (both flavour and proof) and are a hearty fan of juniper or citrus cocktails, Foxdenton is something I would strongly recommend you try.

Foxdenton Gin (48%ABV) £23.40 for 70cl
www.foxdentonestate.co.uk

As requested the recipes can be found here.

For more of our Gin Reviews please click here

*Technically the gin is actually made at Thames Distillers in London