Cocktails with… Shortcross Clover Gin

One exciting trend developing in the gin industry is the rise of limited edition, seasonal or gypsy (as the Gin Foundry refer to it) gin varieties. This idea has been empowered by the increase in the number of small distilleries who have the flexibility and freedom to take on these small projects.

The craft Gin Club have been one of those leading the charge on this with a few exclusive editions featuring in their monthly gin club.

One of these were Shortcross Clover edition, bottled at 46.0%ABV this is a similar gin to their original release but the botanical balance has been adjusted to emphasise the Wild Clover which is foraged from the distillery estate.

1 Shortcross Clover Gin

On its own
Nose: Resinous and leafy with some floral citrus notes.
Taste: There is a light sweetness upfront. Notes of cassia and ginger followed by crisp coriander and citrus, and a touch of floral herbaceousness. The finish is crisp and leafy, with note of pine that linger for several minutes.

Gin & Tonic
This drink has the perfect balance of dry, refreshing crispness and sweet complexity. It is a very subtle Gin & Tonic that reveals its layers as you sip. Green, leafy notes make way for some herbal and spice notes, that – combined – remind me of heather. A complex and delicious drink.

Martini
Another delicate, but distinctive drink with a delightfully clean and smooth character, and a discernable, complex spice. Simply great.

Negroni
A super-smooth Negroni: soft and elegant. The clover adds a slight sweetness, but it is subtle; it just takes the edge off of the drink. Sit back, sip, and relax.

Peter Cushing
Soft and lightly sweet to start, the gin’s flavours soon sweep to the fore with floral notes and lemon, followed by more weighty herbal notes and a pleasant, soft rootiness. Juniper comes through strongly afterwards, with warm, but dry ginger notes increasing, especially on the finish.

In Conclusion
I think Shortcross Clover edition is a great example as to how even a tweak to the botanical balance can significantly adjust the flavour profile. Sometimes a little change can be as fascinating as a big one. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic & The Peter Cushing.

Cocktails with… Blackwater Gin

Blackwater Gin is made by Blackwater Distillery in Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, Ireland. I had the pleasure of visiting the distillery during my trip to Dungarvin for the West Waterford Food Festival, where we hosted an Irish Gin tasting. The release of Blackwater Gin comes at the beginning of what I think is a very exciting time for Irish distilling.

The gin is bottled at 41.5% ABV and its botanical mix includes juniper, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Local water is used for bottling.

On its own
Nose: Bold floral, citrus, and spice, with a pleasant zestiness that is followed by chocolate, cardamon, and a warm, woody cassia note with a touch of vanilla.
Taste: Juniper upfront, with a very silky, viscous texture. The start is classic in style, but followed by a pop! of intensity with coriander, bright floral notes, and citrus peel. The profile then develops into warm, sweet spice notes that lead onto the finish, which is long, lingering, and dry. This is a great example of how a distiller can achieve a procession of character and varying intensity in their gin.

BLACKWATER GIN

Frozen
Sipped straight from the freezer, coriander and floral citrus come to the fore, followed by some woody angelica and spice, moving from nutty to aromatic and bright. Again, there’s a long, lingering finish of ginger-like warmth and dry crispness.

Gin & Tonic
A brilliant and spicy Gin & Tonic with plenty of citrus and complex spice. Truly excellent; the gin integrates well with tonic to create an exceptionally refreshing drink. As you sip more, the various botanicals come through and different characters come to the fore, especially with a little ice melt. This is a full-flavoured drink that really evolves as you sip – near perfection.

Diamond Martini
Another cocktail with a good level of flavour: lots of spice and some piney notes, too. The floral and the citrus are a little more subtle with this serve, but a twist of lemon would bring these characters back. The alcohol comes also through in a robust fashion, although there is no burn. An excellent pre-dinner choice.

Stirred Martini
Very soft and smooth; you could certainly enjoy more than one of these in an evening. The variety of botanical characters shine, including: juniper, angelica, and coriander, followed by more subtle, sweet spice such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. On the finish, there is some bright, dry citrus.

Negroni
The gin comes through well, but doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. There is a rich, plump fruitiness, as well as a piney dryness in the middle. Notes of slightly sweet, woody spice gradually build before an earthy, bitter finish of medium intensity.

In Conclusion
This is a superb and delicious gin, and one that I highly recommend seeking out. They also have other products in the pipeline, which I have high hopes for, too. My favourite drink was the Gin & Tonic.

Blackwater is one of the first craft gins in Ireland and, if distillers on the island continue to produce gins to the same high standard as the likes of Blackwater and Shortcross, then the world is really in for a treat.

Cocktails with… Cork Dry Gin (Ireland)

For today’s World of Gin, we’re moving back closer to home, just a short trip over the Irish Sea, to look at Cork Gin. To me, Cork is one of those intermediate gins* (like Brokers) that was one of the first I tried after I had tasted the “inner circle” of the gin world (i.e. those easier to get hold of); the likes of Gordon’s Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, etc..

Cork Dry Gin is currently made in County Cork in Ireland at the Midleton distillery. Although it is not widely available in the UK, their website details that 80% of the gin drinks consumed in Ireland’s pubs and bars are made with Cork Dry.

Cork Irish Gin does not have the same characteristics of a Classic London Dry Gin and having tried no other Irish gins, I do not know if this is an Irish-gin thing, or just a Cork-gin thing. What I do know is that if they make up 80% of the on-trade gin sales, the residents of Ireland must like the style.

A bottle of the now discontinued Cork Crimson Premium Gin

I am currently a little hazy on the exact details of the production and botanical mix of Cork Gin**, but it is bottled at 38% ABV. I am also aware that, in 2005, a premium version was released; called Cork Crimson, this had ten botanicals, one of which was local Garden Mint, and was bottled at 41.2% ABV.

#1 Own
Quite light, with elements of coffee and vanilla; soft, with some juniper and, at only 38% ABV, there is still quite a lot of warmth.

#2 Gin & Tonic
Quite good; very juicy, with good solid notes of juniper. There’s a slightly creamy element, but this more subdued than in many of the other drinks that I tried. There is also a touch of coffee on the finish. Pretty good.

#3 Martini
Delightfully smooth, the vanilla is there again, as well as a little juniper. In a blind tasting, I could have been fooled into thinking this was actually a vodka martini.

#4 Gin Collins
Slippery and soft, like Sicilian Lemonade. The distinctive flavours of the gin are lost, but, on the upside, it’s a great drink in its own right.

#5 Gimlet
Very tangy, but rather nice. It’s invigorating and certainly wakes you up on a dreary Friday afternoon! A touch heavy on the lime, but is definitely still worth a try.

#6 Negroni
Vanilla and fruity jamminess are prevalent, followed by the usual bitterness. Rather pleasant.

#7 Gin Bump
Very tasty and refreshing; a nice standard for a Gin Bump, but with the pleasant twist of having a hint of vanilla at the end.

#8 Pink Gin
A real clash of flavours; seems a little rough and so isn’t recommended.

#9 Alexander
A delightful Alexander; frankly, the best I have ever had. A brilliant blend of juniper, vanilla, chocolate and spice, which works very well with the cream. Very well balanced. Top notch!

#10 Sweet Gin
The gin already had some cappuccino (coffee and vanilla notes) and the addition of sugar accentuates these flavours, but also increases the presence of the citrus notes too. Sweet and smooth, Mrs. B liked it and described it as “slinky”.

In Conclusion
Cork Dry Gin is still obviously a gin, but it has a slightly lighter and more confectionary style. It seems to go quite well in lighter drinks and those with pudding-like flavours. Particular highlights of the tasting included: Gin Bump, Gin & Tonic and, of course, the Alexander.

UPDATE CORK CRIMSON

Thanks to the generosity of a patron of gin I recently got the chance to try some cork crimson and I must say I was rather impressed, it is less creamy than normal Cork and is a move back toward the Classic style of many London Dry Gins.

* In the UK anyway.
** If you have any information please let me know.