Today is the first day of Spring and, to celebrate, I thought that today’s Gin Review (of Knockeen Hills Heather Gin) should feature some suitably seasonal drinks.
Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is from the same folks that make Knockeen Hills Poteen; I’m sure a fair amount of that was enjoyed last Saturday (St. Patrick’s Day). They also make an Elderflower Gin.
The Heather Gin was first released in 2009 and is bottled at 47.3% ABV. The Elderflower Gin (and the one I reviewed) was originally bottled at the same strength, but this has recently been reduced to 43% in order to bring out more of the elderflower flavour and result in a tastier product overall.
Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is made at Thames Distillery and contains four botanicals:
From the botanical mix, you can see that the gin is not simply flavoured with heather, but rather that heather is a prominent botanical (after juniper, of course).
Although this initially has a strong juniper flavour, this gin is actually much smoother and more mellow than many, certainly in a G&T. Some fruitiness then develops towards the end, accompanied by a hint of floral notes. Although it is quite light, it is also rather dry.
This a Spanish style of G&T; a nod to Knockeen Hills’ popularity in Spain. The Gin & Tonic was served in a large balloon glass filled with cracked ice and garnished with some crushed juniper berries; one berry had also been run around the rim.
After a little while, the outside of the glass becomes heavily frosted, which I quite like.
As for the drink, it is delicious: the garnish brings out the juniper of the gin, producing something of a super-charged G&T. Despite this, it had the same light dryness as the normal G&T.
007 Gin & Tonic
(From Dr. No)
[Juice of one lime + shells, 50ml Gin, will with ice, top up with tonic]
A nice combination, complex and full of flavour. This a crisp and cooling drink, the lime comes through more an also the very faintest hint of vanilla. This drink is a great way to relax and cool down.
Knockeen’s Pink Lemonade
[50ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 150ml Pink Lemonade*]
Add ingredients to a tall glass with plenty of ice and garnish with citrus fruit slices.
The tart lemonade goes well with the strong juniper and slightly floral aspect of the gin, creating a drink that is clean, crisp and oh-so refreshing. Definitely a taste of the summer drinks to come.
[25ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 25ml Grapefruit Juice, 25ml Sugar Syrup, 100ml Soda Water]
Very refreshing; less zing and tart than a normal Gin Collins, but still full of citrus, with a hint of bitterness from the grapefruit. Grapefruit and gin are usually good partners and this drink is no exception.
[30ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, Half a Kiwi, 1/2tsp Sugar]
Muddle half a peeled kiwi in the bottom of a shaker, add gin and sugar, shake and fine-strain.
Initially, you get the gin, which is followed by the sweet, succulent kiwi. The dry juniper reappears on the finish. Some floral elements pop up throughout, but I thought this was quite a tart drink, overall.
Rather tasty; a little smoother, sweeter and more floral than most Negronis, but rather tasty nonetheless.
100ml Lemon Juice
A Handful of Red Berries
Combine ingredients in a jug and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Make sure that you muddle or crush the strawberries/raspberries/cranberries whilst straining.
Before drinking/bottling, strain out the berries.