Cocktails with… Beefeater Crown Jewel – 2015 Release

Sometimes it is when something is gone that we miss it most. Such was the case with Tanqueray Malacca, which was met with a mixed response when it was first released, but achieved legendary status once it was discontinued, leading to its resurrection a few years back.

There is perhaps one other discontinued gin that has such cult status, especially amongst bartenders: Beefeater Crown Jewel. This gin was launched in 1993 for duty free/travel retail. It was made using the classic nine Beefeater botanicals, plus grapefruit, and was bottled at 50% ABV.

Beefeater Crown Jewel 2016.jpg

The original gin was discontinued in 2009, shortly before the release of Beefeater 24, which. in a nod to Crown Jewel, also has grapefruit in its botanical mix.

Fast forward to 2015, and Beefeater Crown Jewel was re-released, available to the on-trade and at the Beefeater Visitor Centre. It is described as being an exact recreation of the original.

On its own
Nose: Upfront, there is bright and zesty citrus: grapefruit and soft, tangy orange.
Taste: Surprisingly soft for a 50% ABV spirit, this is creamy with soft citrus notes. The gin starts out refreshing before growing more balanced with notes of liquorice, coriander, and juniper. There’s a long, lingering finish with a light stalkiness and citrus zest.

Gin & Tonic
Intense, with a bold botanical flavour that easily stands up against the tonic. The bright citrus note of the grapefruit is a great addition.

Martini
Sublime – soft and delicate, but with a confident, powerful flavour. Very smooth, silky, and sophisticated. The gin notes are more balanced and the citrus less prominent.

Negroni
Strong in terms of power and flavour intensity. This has a super-charged version of the normal citrus flair of Beefeater combined with the extra dose of grapefruit, which sings through and stands up extremely well to the Campari, making a punchy Negroni.

In Conclusion
It’s great to see this old favourite back. Smooth, but strong, the high ABV and bold, but balanced citrus notes make it a good choice for mixed drinks. I enjoyed it most in a Martini.

Cocktails with… C.O.L.D. (City of London Distillery) Gin with a Bonus Irish Gin review

COLD Gin Title

Continuing our series on UK Craft Gins, today’s focus is on a new distillery in the City of London. For those not familiar with the make-up of Europe largest metropolitan area, London is not just one city, but the combination of two cities and boroughs. One of the cities is the City of Westminster, where Parliament sits; the other is the City of London, also known as the square-mile, which is the financial heart of the Capital and includes St. Paul’s Cathedral. Just a stone’s throw from this architectural masterpiece by Sir Christopher Wren lies C.O.L.D. (City of London Distillery).

C.O.L.D. Gin is made by Master Distiller Jamie Baxter (who used to work at Chase), who also consults independently for aspiring distillers. The gin is bottled at 40% ABV and contains the following seven botanicals:

Juniper
Coriander Seed
Angelica Root
Liquorice Root
Lemon
Orange
Pink Grapefruit

COLD Gin FINAL

#1 On its own
Nose: Plenty of creamy citrus, a bit like lemon curd, as well as juniper and coriander.
Taste: Smooth and well-rounded, with juniper, coriander, citrus and a hint of raisin at the end. Very well-balanced, with plenty of citrus with a slightly sweet “lift” on the finish.

#2 Gin & Tonic
Bold flavours with lots of dry juniper, lemon and a hint of vanilla and citrus from the pink grapefruit. Quite citrusy, zesty, bold and refreshing.

#3 Martini
Very classic: quite crisp, with lots of citrus and dry juniper. As you drink more, the lemon comes through more strongly, so there’s no need for a twist, but an olive may work well.

#4 Negroni
Quite sweet, actually, with a snug smoothness. It seems quite soft, although there’s still a substantial shard of bitterness, thanks to the Campari at the end. A soft start, with a wild finish.

In Conclusion
This is a rather classic gin that is obviously well made and work particularly well in long drinks like the Gin Collins (my favourite) and the gin and tonic. There are plans to release a “Square Mile Gin” bottled at a higher ABV and I look forward to trying that.

But wait, there’s more!

On a recent trip to Shebeen, The Poitin Bar in Kentish Town, with Dave Mulligan, Louis Lebaillif and Michael Vachon of Master of Malt, I got the chance to try an Irish Craft Gin, probably the first I have tried: Dingle Gin.

Dingle Irish Craft Gin

Dingle Gin is made at the Dingle Whiskey Distillery in County Kerry, Ireland. It is made with a variety of botanicals, including: Juniper, Angelica, Coriander, Rowan, Fuschia, Bog Myrtle, Heather and Hawthorn.

#1) On its own:
Nose: Juniper, coriander and lime.
Taste: Quite smooth, with lots of coriander, followed by a dry, slightly spicy finish. This gin has both some sweetness and some culinary appeal to it, and should make some interesting cocktails.

#2) Gin & Tonic
Very clean, with lots of coriander and citrus, making this a fresh and crisp drink. Another dimension is then added to the drink with notes of lavender, spice and a long, dry finish.

Cocktails with… Butler’s Gin

ButlersTitle

With what is perhaps the beginning of a renaissance in artisanal gin distilling in the UK, it is exciting to speak to someone who is not only doing their own distilling, but also coming to the industry from a wholly different angle.

Such was the case when I first spoke to Ross Butler of Butler’s Gin. Ross started out by wanting to create a product that reflected his character and, as a part of this, he wanted to start off debt-free, purchasing raw materials only when an order came in. When I spoke to him, Ross spoke of the trade-off between time and money and how he had decided to invest time in his product rather than borrowing money. It seems to have paid dividends, as Butler’s Gin is now due to launch in the USA and the EU next month. Given that he only sold his first bottle of gin on 22nd February 2013, this is remarkable.

Butler’s Gin is made in Hackney and takes a London Dry Gin, which is made to Ross’  specification and recipe, which he then infuses with various botanicals kept in muslin bags, a bit like over-sized tea bags. The infused botanicals include lemongrass and cardamom.

ButlersGinBottle

On its own

Nose: A dry, berry juniper with liquorice root, allspice, ginger/cardamom and lemongrass.

Taste: A measured, classic start of juniper and coriander, followed by some sweeter, spiced notes such as ginger, cassia and cardamon. This is all rounded off with a long finish of lemongrass.

Gin & Tonic

A clean gin and tonic with juniper, plenty of spice from the cardamom and citrus from the lemongrass. My tonic recommendation would be Fevertree and maybe Schweppes; however I would steer clear of eFentimand or Waitrose own-brand as they are too citrusy.

Martini

All of the crisp juniper and citrus that you would expect from a Martini, but with the added character of cardamom, spice and then the dry grape character of the vermouth. Full of flavour and pretty classic, if you are talking about the Martinis of the ‘30s and ‘40s rather than the ultra dry drinks of the ‘50s and ‘60s, but that’s just how I like it.

Negroni

The bold flavours of this gin work well in a Negroni; it’s exceptionally flavourful, with some dark chocolate spice coming through, along with a finish of cardamom and citrus.