Cocktails with… Darnley’s View Spiced Gin

I’d heard a little about a new gin project from Wemyss Malts, the folks that brought us Darnley’s View Gin, and so I was very pleased when, last week (on our second anniversary), I received a bottle of Darnley’s View Spiced Gin.

This is a small batch London Dry Gin with added warming botanicals. I’m sure this will come into its own during the Autumn and Winter months, but, with the rainy British weather this weekend (just in time for the combined sporting extravaganza of The British Grand Prix, Wimbledon Final and Chap Olympiad), I’m sure that it’s equally welcome in glasses across the country today.

Darnley’s View Spiced Gin contains the following 10 botanicals:



The gin is bottled at 42.7% ABV, which is slightly stronger than the original Darnley’s View; the additional strength is said to bring out the flavours of the spicy botanicals a little more.

On its own
Nose: Dry and spicy, with ginger, cinnamon and maybe even a hint of turmeric. Complex and unusual.
Taste: Wow – this is a really spicy gin! It momentarily blew my mind! First off, the classic notes of juniper and citrus appeared, but then the flavour deviated down the spice route, with warm, savoury, spicy notes, such as cumin, ginger and even a touch of paprika or chilli. These flavours are well balanced and this drink really is very different to any other gin that I have tried.

I previously mentioned the seasonal attractiveness of the gin, but, in the spirit of innovation, I wanted to try it in a variety of seasonal cocktails.


Summer

1) Fruit Cup
I’ve experimented a lot with Fruit Cups, but I’ve never really gone down the spicy and savoury route (a missed trick there!), but with Darnley’s View Spiced, this drink really delivers. It was cool and refreshing, with a long, warming spiciness towards the end. As such, it is probably more of an Autumn drink than a Summer one.

2) Gin & Tonic
The savoury, spicy notes are slightly more subdued in this drink, but nonetheless work well with the tonic, creating a very unusual, but refreshing drink. I tried this without garnish and I’ll have to experiment a bit more before coming to a final conclusion on what’s best to use; I think lemon or lime would work best. It may also be interesting to try it alongside a more herbal tonic, such as 1724 or Mediterranean.


Spring

3) Collins
This was quite a refreshing drink, but the clean and relatively neutral flavour didn’t seem to go particularly well with the spicy elements of the gin; perhaps some adjustment is needed, but, using my standard recipe, this was not the best way to enjoy the gin.

4) Dry Martini
This made a very smooth & spicy Martini. I mixed it using a 5:1 ratio and, although a lot of the flavour came through and there was certainly potential there, as it stands, the drink still needs some work and seemed unbalanced and slightly sickly. I’d be keen to try it in a Sweet Martini.


Autumn

5) Gin Buck
Overall, this had a good mix of refreshment and spicy warmth, making it great if we get an Indian Summer; with a savoury spiciness somewhat reminiscent of food from the subcontinent, this drink couldn’t be more fitting. The flavour of the gin comes through well and the lime adds a zesty bite.

6) Negroni
In this cocktail, you get the classic bittersweet mix of a Negroni – crisp and refreshing – plus an extra kick of spice, as if someone has added a pinch of something from a bag that has made its way across the Ottoman Empire. I’m a fan.


Winter

7) Gin Toddy
This was a very warm and intensely tasty gin toddy; exactly the sort of warming drink that you need of a Winter’s evening or after a walk on a wet Saturday afternoon like today. No extra spice is needed and there is a unique, fiery kick that you don’t get in most toddies.

8) Ginger Old fashioned*
A light nose of ginger and juniper was supported by hints of savoury spice and salt. To taste, it was wonderfully dry for an Old Fashioned and had an initial flavour of dry juniper that was immediately followed by lots and lots of spice, finishing off with a flash of warm ginger. Different, but delicious, especially if you usually find Old Fashioneds a little sweet.

~

9) Sweet Martini
A very herbal and intense drink with plenty of sweet and savoury spicy notes. Very complex and rather rousing to the appetite. Much better than the dry version.

In Conclusion
I think that Darnley’s View Spiced Gin is a great innovation and really adds something new to the ever-expanding gin market. It works better in some Classic cocktails more than others, but it nonetheless has a lot of potential, especially in the creation of new drinks.

Of those that we tried, our favourites were the Fruit Cup and both of the Winter drinks.

*An old fashioned made with King’s Ginger instead of sugar syrup and Spanish Bitters

Cocktails with… Tanqueray Rangpur

I remember hearing about Tanqueray Rangpur before it was released in its test markets of Maryland and Washington DC. I must say, I was rather jealous of these folks and it seems that something similar is soon to be happening with Bombay Sapphire East.*As time went on, it gradually became available in specialist import shops like The Whisky Exchange and now you can even buy it in Waitrose, so I think it’s fair to say that it’s now truly arrived in the UK.I received a request to review this gin a few weeks back and as, this weekend, three separate people also asked me about it, I think it’s time to put pen to paper.What makes Rangpur different?
Tanqueray Rangpur is flavoured with Rangpur Limes, which is a nod to the Colonial British who once used this citrus fruit to take the edge off of their gin.** The name of the fruit comes from the town of Rangpur in Bangladesh; it’s also known as the mandarin lime or the canton lime. Despite the name Rangpur Lime, the fruits are actually more similar to a lemon-mandarin hybrid than most other “limes”, but this is a mere trifle.
Botanicals
Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
The Secret Tanqueray Botanical
~
 with the addition of fresh:
Rangpur Limes
Ginger
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There has been a history of lime-flavoured gins, with versions made by both Beefeater (now discontinued) and Seagram’s (still made). I have had the fortune to try both of these gins and my bottles are now enshrined down at the Plymouth Gin Wall. I’ve not seen any mention of a Gordon’s Lime Gin***, but if anyone has, please leave a comment.
.
The Taste
.
Own
The liquid is clear, although the bottle is tinted a light green. There’s lemon, lime and juniper on the nose and a hint of sweetness, similar to that of Rose’s Lime cordial. To taste, there are strong flavours and it seems a little fizzy. There’s bold lemon and lime flavours and hint of juniper and coriainder. It’s finish is similar to that of lemon sorbet.

From the freezer
Very viscous and just short of freezing. OK to drink, but it seems to have been polarised, with the citrus now being more dominant and the more subtle flavours being lost.

Gin & Tonic
Not great: there’s some bitterness and although the lime flavour is there, when mixed with Schweppes Tonic, the resulting drink is a bit sickly. I’d recommend using a dryer and cleaner tonic, like Fevertree or Thomas Henry, when mixing Tanqueray Rangpur.

Martini
Some sweet lime, quite clean and moderately crisp. Quite pleasant; I think that some folks may not like the sweet citrus at the end, but, then again, some will.

Gimlet
i

Gin & Cranberry Juice
The cranberry and lime flavours go really well together and, in this drink, they create a very fresh and very tasty tipple. This is not a drink that I would have initially thought of, but it is a great way to enjoy the gin.

Fruit Cup
Fresh and zingy; the lime and ginger work very well together. Less crisp and not quite as refreshing as most fruit cups, but, still, it is rather good.

Negroni
Great: softer than most Negronis, but the drink is picked up by some citrus zing and a touch of tartness. Some notes of Key Lime Pie.

In Conclusion
Since its creation in 2006 and subsequent release internationally, Tanqueray Rangpur has obviously had commercial success. For me, although, it made some other nice drinks, I am still to be convinced of the merits of using it in a Gin & Tonic. Despite this, mixing it with cranberry juice was superb and I also enjoyed the Negroni.

*Bombay Sapphire East is a new product that has black peppercorns and lemongrass in addition to Bombay Sapphire’s existing 10 botanicals; it is being tested in New York and Las Vegas from September. See our review here.
** Add a little quinine and sugar, and you’d be close to an early G&T.
*** Gordon’s have made Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit and Spearmint Gins so it does makes me wonder why I’ve never heard of a Lime one.

WOW4 – Lyme Bay Whisky & Ginger Liqueur

I have known for some time that Lyme Bay make some delicious fruit liqueurs, and I distinctly recall buying my dear husband a small decanter of their cherry brandy not long after we met, which quickly disappeared (possibly at one of his very first, informal tastings), and so I was quite excited when he recently handed me a miniature of their Whisky & Ginger Liqueur.

The bottle is neat and elegant, and reminds me of the countryside gift shops in which I have seen it neatly lined up alongside many others of a similar style, each containing a wonderful, richly coloured liquid. This liqueur is a golden yellow, like marmalade, and, unlike most whisky liqueurs that I’ve tried, its colour is not hidden behind dark glass, but is proudly on display.

Once in the glass, I quickly realised that the appearance of the bottle wasn’t the only distinctive feature of this whisky liqueur: raising the glass to my nose, I was surprised to find that, instead of any hints of whisky or honey, my senses were met by the smell of white wine, followed by ginger.

After my senses had recovered from this unexpected occurrence, I took a sip. Indeed, the liqueur tasted like a sweet white wine; this flavour quickly faded and was followed by root ginger notes, the warmth of which remained pleasantly for a good while, giving a spicy finish to the drink.

Needless to say, this is unlike any of the other liqueurs that I have written about, but it wasn’t a nasty surprise: Lyme Bay’s Whisky & Ginger Liqueur was extremely easy to drink and, whilst any whisky flavours were decidedly delicate, the warmth from the ginger makes this a lovely winter sipper that isn’t too strong or sweet.

For more Whisk(e)y Liqueuer Reviews please click here

Ginger Ale Cocktails

With the approach of the Ginger Ale Tasting at Graphic on the 17th January, I thought that I would look at some other drinks, beyond the Gin Bump (or Buck), that use ginger ale as an ingredient. Of course, the Horse’s Neck is one of these, but I will skip over this, as it will be the subject of another post.

 

Clockwise from back left: White Horse,Ginger Daisy, Happy Thought, Brunswick Cooler, Sloe Gin Bump, Dog's Day, Postmaster.

Postmaster
This cocktail is quite similar to a Gin Bump, although it less tart, without the citrus. For that reason, for me, it has a little edge on the Bump. I think it is important when making a Postmaster (or a Bump) to use a gin of moderate strength, around 42%, and one that isn’t too over-powering.

Happy Thought
A rather different non-alcoholic cocktail, this is a good take on an iced tea. We found the extra fizz from the ginger ale quite pleasant. Mrs. B got a lot of gingerbread flavours from this drink, found it quite yummy and thus it was her favourite.

Dog’s Day
Rather reminiscent of a rum and soda to start, with a slight smokiness from the whisky on the finish. The orange adds a little spritz of freshness to the drink.

Sloe Gin Bump
The sloe gin that I used, a home-made variety, was deliberately dryer than most, so it was interesting how the ginger ale brought out the sweetness in the gin. But it was still quite tasty; typically, I prefer my sloe gin with ginger ale to tonic water, with my ultimate preference being bitter lemon.

White Horse
A very tasty cooler; the ginger, Scotch and orange blend well together. I found this most refreshing, although Mrs. B thought it could use a touch more flavour; perhaps another splash of bitters was in order?

Ginger Daisy
To be to the point, this tasted very much like a brandy and ginger ale, but took a good deal more effort to make. Given the minimal improvement to the flavours of the simpler version, I’m not convinced that this is worth the bother. I was also surprised at how little the gin came through.

Brunswick Cooler
A lovely, simple cooler. This was so cooling that the cold went down my throat and chilled it like a good whisky warms it. Most unexpected; I have only ever had this twice before, both times  with Martinis (and one was made using liquid nitrogen). It still eludes me as to what exactly caused it, but a great drink nonetheless.

In conclusion:
It seems clear that ginger ale is a particularly good ingredient in non-alcoholic cocktails, as it was included in some of the best I have ever tasted. When mixed with alcohol, it seems that the simple cocktails are the better ones; good examples of this being the Postmaster, Dog’s Day and Sloe Bump.

Top Alcoholic Cocktail recommendation: Postmaster
Top Non-Alcoholic Cocktail recommendation: Happy Thought