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.
#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.
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.
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.
A crisp Aviation. Although it is quite nice, I preferred most of the other drinks.
The Bramble rather overpowers Beefeater Winter, with the Creme de Mure making it too sweet; the ingredients don’t seem to blend well.
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.
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.
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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