Cocktails with… Lubuski Lime

Back in June last year, I reviewed a popular Polish Gin, Gin Lubuski, as a part of my World of Gin series. Interestingly, this came from friend in New Jersey, who had sent it back over the Atlantic Ocean for me to try. When researching the gin, I discovered that they also made a lime flavoured version of their gin. Given the obscure way in which I sourced my original bottle of Lubuski, it is perhaps not surprising that the lime version was found when I made a trip to the Spanish seaside town of Salou.

I have been interested in Lime Gin for a while now, given that it is the most prevalent flavoured gin (discounting Sloe Gin, as this is more of a gin cordial*). I have tried both the Beefeater variety and that made by Seagrams; Tanqueray also make a Rangpur flavoured gin (notably controversial among some of the Diageo staff) and Ish (made at Thames Distillers) has relatively recently released Ish Lime exclusively for the Spanish market.

LubuskiLime FINAL

But, for now, let’s get back to Gin Lubuski Lime. This is essentially the same gin as the original, only with added lime essence. It is bottled at 40.0% ABV.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Juniper and lime.
Taste: Smooth initially, then a little warmth. This has a very basic flavour profile of juniper, angelica and plenty of lime, which resembles a combination of lime sherbert and melted lime sorbet. It isn’t overly sophisticated, but has a decent flavour that would lend itself well to mixed drinks, especially tall thirst quenchers. On the finish, there’s just a little soapiness.

Gin & Tonic
This is a natural and easy way to enjoy this gin. It’s very limey – there’s a surprise! – and reminds me of limeade; it is crisp, refreshing and very pleasant to drink, with a good, dry finish. There are some notes reminiscent of lime jelly, but, overall, this is a great thirst-quencher.

Martini
This makes for an interesting cross between a Martini and a Gimlet, but I quite like it. By using the diamond method of mixing to make this drink (use gin straight from the freezer), you can create a very viscous and even better cocktail. This would make an excellent aperitif, especially if you like lime.

Negroni
A nice, simple drink, with good, strong flavours. The lime adds a great zestiness, reminding me of lime marmalade. I really like this; there’s a good bitter-sweet, tart balance to it that, again, reminds me of sorbet.

In Conclusion
This is a simple, but tasty gin and mixes well. It’s not a 3-dimensional spirit and pretty much does what you’d expect; that said, I’d buy it again and happily serve it on a hot summer afternoon.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

Ish Limed 41% ABV

IshLimed

#1 On its own
Nose: Juniper and lime sherbert (almost like Love Hearts).
Taste: Juniper upfront, then coriander, followed by lemon and a long finish of lime. Simple and bold.

#2 Gin & Tonic
This where this gin shines; there’s plenty of citrus, making it crisp and refreshing. There’s also no real need for a garnish, it’s that zesty.

#3 Martini
Crisp lime on the nose, slightly caramelised. On the palate, there is plenty of juniper, followed by lime and some vanilla. The finish is quite crisp, but bitter, followed by very limey, citrus zing.

#4 Negroni
Again, this has quite simple flavour, which would benefit from some additional herbal notes (maybe via the use of a more complex vermouth than normal). It is, however, pleasant to drink, with a zingy finish that’s bitter-sweet.

In Conclusion
Ish Limed is a little more sophisticated than the Lubuski Lime, but that comes with a bigger price tag. If you want something bold and simple for jug-fulls of punch or Gin & Tonic, then go for Lubuski, whereas, for the more sophisticated, individually made cocktails, I’d suggest Ish.
* There are some technicalities when it comes to flavoured gin; here is a rough outline:
Flavoured gin = gin + fruit/essence, but no added sugar.
cordial/liqueur gin = gin-based product with added flavour (either by infusion or blending), plus added sugar and a lower %ABV.

Cocktails with… Lubuski Gin

I got a chance to try Gin Lubuski last year, but, as there was only a little left in the bottle, I only got a sip. Last week, however, someone very kindly sent me some more, enabling me to write a full review.

Gin Lubuski is the best selling gin in Poland (with a 56% market share), with the American gin, Seagram’s, coming in second (23%) and Gordon’s way behind with only 2%. Gin Lubuski was first created in 1987 and is still made to the same recipe. It is distilled from grain, bottled at 40% ABV and contains the following botanicals:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica Root
Citrus peel
Liquorice
Cassia bark
Bitter almonds
Cardamom
Cinnamon
Star anise
Cumin
Calamus (Myrtle)
Marigold flowers
Bay leaf

Lubuski also make a lime-flavoured gin and a premixed Gin & Tonic that’s sold in an aluminium bottle.

The Taste

On its own
Nose: Juniper, floral notes (rose), coriander, and marmalade-like citrus.
Taste: Black pepper spiciness, floral juniper, which was quite dry and accompanied by floral notes of coriander, violet, lavender and rose. The finish was dry and peppery and of a long-medium length.

Gin & Tonic
This made a very juniper-heavy Gin & Tonic, with a good levels of spicy, citrus and slightly soapy coriander and citrus peel. It was very refreshing and relatively traditional, although there were some rarer herbal and floral notes, too. Very tasty.

Martini
Herbaceous, with some bitter notes and hints of sage and fennel. This was followed by a characteristic juniper dryness, but it had good balance and levels of complexity, with notes of spicy coriander and floral honey. Overall, very good and pretty classic, although I would say that it was, arguably, herbal enough to sit in the “Eastern European style”.

Negroni
This made quite a sweet Negroni to start, followed by a pronounced bitterness; unfortunately, I’d say that the balance is a bit off. The drink is quite juicy and easy to drink, but doesn’t have that classic bitter/sweet mix.

As I’m aware that gin can be consumed differently in different countries, I decided to take a few of the recipes for my review from Gin Lubuski’s website.

Gin & Coke
Definitely an interesting combination; this almost tasted non-alcoholic. The herbal and floral elements of the gin mixed well with the cola (I used CocaCola Classic) to create a taste similar to a more old-fashioned or curiosity style of cola. There was a hint of dry, bitter juniper at the end, making this actually rather tasty.

Gin & Grapefruit
The gin added a great herbal note to this drink, making the flavour of the juice much fuller. At the same time, the spirit also rounded off any sharp bitterness from the grapefruit. This was a refreshing, yet comfortable, drink; very nice, indeed.

Gin & Cranberry
A dry yet herbaceous drink the dry cranberry being a good match for the flavours of the juniper. With plenty of ice it is rather refreshing with a floral lift at the end.

Lubuski Martini
I’ve included this as:

(a) it is the only Martini suggestion on the Lubuski website

(b) when looking up the gin on their distributor’s website, I noticed that they also look after a vermouth brand: Totino, who produce the following varieties of vermouth: Rosso, Blanco (white-sweet), Tropical, Cherry and Peach (the last three are, obviously, flavoured vermouths). Noticeably, there’s no dry vermouth in their catalogue, but this is not uncommon for Eastern European brands.

Equal parts Gin and White Sweet Vermouth

This wasn’t a typical Martini, but, as the Blanco is a bit sweeter than usual, the drink is more palatable than if you used a regular dry. The vermouth brought out more of the gin’s citrus notes, although the bitter herbal and sweet floral notes remain.

In Conclusion

Once again, I have been impressed by an international gin. Whilst it is not as herbal as some others, such as the Czech Rudolph Jeinek, it is more herbal than your standard London gin. I found that it was best enjoyed simply with mixers, whether that be tonic, grapefruit juice or even cola!

Special thanks to Seva for the sample.