Cocktails with.. Berkeley Square Gin

Berkeley Square is one of those gins that I liked at first sip, ever since I had a little snifter at the Graphic Bar in Soho. I was fortunate to sit in on a tasting session with the creator of Berkeley Square and Bloom, Joanna Moore* of G&J Greenalls. She explained that the inspiration for the gin came from her love of her garden and using the produce of her garden in home cooking. She also explained that she designed the gin to be appear stronger (in terms of ABV) than it actually is.**Berkeley Square contains 8 botanicals:
Cubeb Berries
Kaffir Lime Leaves
#1 Own
Nose: Clean and soft; slightly reminiscent of talc. Additional hints of pine with a touch of floral and something that reminds me of freshly kneaded dough.
Taste: Pine to start, followed by floral notes, in particular lavender, and a touch of herbal savoury towards the end.  It was very clean and quite smooth; that said, it certainly tasted stronger than 40%ABV.#2 Gin & Tonic
Pine-y juniper and basil, as well as a touch of sage, are strong amongst the the initial flavours and the juniper in particular stays towards the end. This was quite an earthy and green Gin & Tonic, but still quite refreshing and well-liked by me.#3 Martini
Rich, herbal and citrus-y, with a hint of eucalyptus. The lavender came through well, as did some of the deeper herbal notes. All of this worked well with the herbal and floral characteristics of Dolin Dry vermouth. This is a heavily flavoured Martini that is, frankly, superb and one of the best out there.

#4 Negroni
Lovely and very unusual; basil and lavender contribute to a great herbal concoction that goes well with the rich vermouth and intense Campari. The drink had a brilliant, balanced bitterness that was rather invigorating.

#5 Gin Buck
The ginger ale really accentuates the herbal notes of this gin; it made me ponder on what a herbal soda must taste like. That said, the resultant intensity seems to unbalance the drink and the juniper is all but lost. I thought this was a nice enough drink, but it doesn’t really do justice to the gin.

#6 Gin Old Fashioned
Intense, dry and herbal. The juniper came through well, as did the basil and a touch of lavender. Overall, it was quite a savoury mix, which, when balanced out by the sugar, made for an intriguing combination. Complex and contemporary.

#7 French 75
This, sadly, isn’t the best way to enjoy Berkeley Square, as the subtle flavours of the gin are masked by the wine. Although a little herbal flavour did manage to come through, it seemed to clash with the Champagne.

In Conclusion
When I first tried Berkeley Square, I thought it was the closest to “Single Malt” that a gin had ever came for me; a gin that could just be enjoyed on its own. After a little closer study, I think that that option, for me, still holds true. Nonetheless, it also makes a smashing Martini.

*Joanne also makes, among other gins, my favourite gin, Boodles, and my least favourite, Richmond, as well as: Bombay Dry, Bombay Sapphire and the excellent Bombay Sapphire EAST.
** I think she was successful with this; I probably would have guessed the gin to have been between 43-45% ABV if I hadn’t have known otherwise.