Cocktails with… Williams CHASE Seville Orange Gin

Earlier this year, I wrote about orange gin, a long-lost cocktail ingredient made by Gordon’s (amongst others). I even had a go at [making my own recreation]. At one time, flavoured gins were all the rage, from common flavours such as orange and lemon, to the more outlandish and whacky likes of maple, celery and even asparagus!

The last orange gins were snuffed out in the 1990s, with Beefeater and Bloomsbury being among the last to go, although it is still possible to buy bottle of Bloomsbury for a pretty reasonable price.

As a result, I was pretty excited to see a bottle of the new Chase Orange Gin on a recent trip to Graphic Bar, whose gin selection is the biggest in London, if not the UK.

Although made differently, the Orange Gin follows on from Chase’s success with their Marmalade Vodka. The difference between the two is that the vodka is distilled with orange peel, whereas the gin is infused with orange peel after distillation; this maturation time is determined by taste (tested every half hour) and can vary from 8 to 24 hours.

The gin itself is in the same style as the Williams Crisp Gin in that it is made from cider apples, but the botanical mix is different; the 9 botanicals of Chase Seville Orange Gin are:

Juniper Berries
Coriander Seed
Angelica Root
Lemon Peel
Orange Peel
Orris Root
Liquorice Root
Angelica Seed
Elderflower flower

The Taste

1) On its own
Nose: Dry to start, then packed with sweet, fruity notes like a luscious hot cross bun. There’s a distinctive hint of sweet seville peel, too.
Taste: This is a smooth gin, with a tiny hint of sweetness and only a little warmth builds towards the end. The prominent taste is of sweet seville orange peel, rather like marmalade. There’s also a long, dry finish. Quite excellent and most sippable.

2) Gin & Tonic
Lovely – the dryness of the gin and the bitterness of the tonic are laced with the deep, jammy and slightly sweet flavour of seville orange peel (or marmalade, if you prefer). No garnish is needed for this tasty drink, which would be such a treat for summer. Outstanding.

3) Martini
Excellent – lots of zesty orange a touch of fragrance and a hint of spice. This is very crisp and very, very tasty and, unlike many other orange gins, Chase Seville Orange is not too sweet, which makes it a good fit in a Dry Martini.

4) Negroni
This is a really nice Negroni. The gin shines through with, obviously, plenty of orange, but the marmalade aspects of the gin are somewhat subdued. Balanced and not too bitter, this has a rather charming, chocolatey finish. This produces a Negroni that’s a little bit different and performs that difficult feat of both converting some anti-Negroni folks (Mrs. B liked it) and pleasing traditionalists.

5) Sweet Martini
This drink is full of flavour, with the orange marmalade notes shining through. There are also great herbal notes, with a dry, juniper finish. Raising to the appetite, this could be the perfect drink to impress arriving guests with before dinner.

I also decided to try it out in a couple of classic Orange Gin recipes.

6) Classic #1: Comet
[30ml Orange Gin, 30ml Lillet Blanc, 2 drops Maraschino – STIR]
Dryer than a usual Comet, but just as tasty, this is clean, crisp and another excellent pre-dinner drink. The orange notes of the Lillet complement the orange in the gin well.

7) Classic #2: Moulin Rouge
[30ml Orange Gin, 10ml AB, 3 drops of Gran – STIR]
This is probably THE Orange Gin cocktail (if there is such a thing); a simple and short drink. With Chase Seville, the drinks is crisp yet with some berry sweetness and a spicy note a nice sipper as an after dinner tipple.

Finally I wanted to try out the gin’s seasonable effectiveness so tried it out in a drink for each season:

8) Autumn Buck
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, top-up with ginger ale – STIR]
Ginger upfront, followed by zesty, jammy notes of orange. There’s a dash of ginger wine or ginger liqueur, which makes it more warming without taking away the citric refreshment. Rather good, with a good amount of juniper, too.

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9) Winter Toddy
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 15ml Lemon Juice, 15ml Honey, 80ml Hot Water]
This is a warming and comforting drink. It is important to not overdo the lemon juice, as there is a obviously a fair amount of orange from the gin. You can also get creative with the garnish: I used star anise, but a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, some cloves or orange would do just as well.

10) Spring Collins
[40ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 20ml Elderflower Cordial, 20ml lemon juice – Top Up with Soda Water]
Crisp and zesty, with tangy orange and sweet elderflower notes, all signing off with a pleasantly tart finish. There’s a little bit of floral, too, making this quite light and refreshing, just like Spring.

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11) Summer Sour
[30ml Chase Seville Orange Gin, 30ml Lemon Juice, 30ml Sugar Syrup – Build over Ice and Stir ]
This is lovely; very, very crisp and clean. The flavour is of the gin initially, followed by the rich, sweet orange notes. This is a short drink, but bursting with freshness. It would make a lovely, late afternoon drink to enjoy outside.

In Conclusion
I think I’ve demonstrated the excellent versatility of the Chase Seville Orange Gin, using it in drinks from crisp coolers to winter warmers. Having a little experience with the orange gins of old, I think that this product brings the idea bang up-to-date and – importantly – gives people the choice to add extra sugar or not. The lack of sugar is also a sign of the quality of distillation and a note of distinction between spirits in the 21st Century, compared to those of the early 20th Century.

Orange Soda Tasting

HISTORY

Orange Soda, probably the third most popular category of soft drink after cola and those in the lemonade family,  is a well-established category and has some big names attached to it. Three big brands that started off making Orange Soda, Tango, Fanta and Orangina, have now gone on to create a plethora of new flavours and spin-offs. Orange Sodas are typically quite sweet, although Schweppes once made a bitter orange to accompany their bitter lemon.

TASTE

#1 Orange Tango  [ASP, SAC*]
This had a medium fizz with very small bottles. It tasted of orange, with some hints of vanilla and a slight mineral quality. It wasn’t especially clean and got a bit sweet and cloying after a while, but over ice it’s pretty refreshing. Mrs. B said it reminded her of a cross between orange squash and orange sherbet; she quite liked it.
6, 7

#2 Fanta [ASP, SOD SAC*]
A slightly more neon yellow in colour, this also had medium fizz, but the taste of orange was less distinct and less fresh. Rather sweet, it had an unpleasant habit of clinging to your teeth, which is never a good sign. It says “made with real fruit”, but I never would have guessed.
It reminded Mrs. B of orange Calpol and she found it quite cloying and slick.
4 , 4

#3 Fentiman’s Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger
A rather appetising colour, being somewhat reminiscent of freshly squeezed juice. There was a slight maltiness on the nose, as well as in the initial taste. This moved onto a deep, slightly bitter orange flavour, which then moved onto a fresher, fruity finish. After the taste of orange came some fieriness that lasted quite a long time.
This is a different type of soft drink and one for folks who find the usual thoroughfare of fizzy pop too sweet.
8 , 1

#4 Belvoir Organic Orange and Manadrain Pressé
A dark yellow-orange and cloudy drink, this had minimal fizz, but was still quite refreshing. It was a smooth drink with a full, tangy orange flavour and some light, fruity notes and hints of vanilla. The sweetness seemed quite balanced, but, by the time I finished the glass, it had become a bit thick and sickly for my liking.
6 , 6

#5 Sunkist [ACE, SOD SAC*]
With a medium-to-high fizz, this was a tangy orange offering with a little hint of vanilla afterward. It was quite fresh and rather pleasant, but a touch cloying at the end; overall, still pretty good. In contrast, Mrs. B hated it, saying it was too fizzy – here we disagree.
7 , 3

#6 Orangina
Initially, there were fresh and juicy flavours of orange. A medium-to-low level of fizz gave it a light effervescence that dominates the drink, but also gave it a refreshing spritz. Not too sweet and with a really orange tang on the finish, we both thought this was excellent.
9 , 8

#7 Juicology
This was the first of our still mixers. The nose was fruity, with a touch of spice and a hint of violet/rose (or turkish delight) at the end. This was a very smooth product and was very well-balanced; we could tell that some effort has gone into making this. The main flavour was a tangy orange, followed by a light warmth from the ginger and nutty cardamon on the finish. Lovely and succulent.
8 , 6

#8 Capri-Sun
Cool, fruity and refreshing, but there was a slight chalky squeakiness in the texture towards the end. The orange flavour is very similar to that of orange sweets, in particular fruit pastilles.
Mrs. B  liked it found it very refreshing; she found it to have a soft sweetness and an aftertaste of marshmallows.
5 , 5

#9 Still Fanta
Very sweet and rather syrupy, the tangy orange was there, but more subdued than in most others. As an orange soda, this wasn’t great, but for nostalgia reasons I still really like it.
6 , 5

#10 San Peligrino
To start, there was a fresh flavour of orange juice and a medium-to-high level of fizz. Quite tangy and refreshing, this was somewhat reminiscent of orange juice and lemonade.
8, 7

#11 Abbondio 

Medium-high fizz, fresh orange fruit flavour and some creamy hints of vanilla. Rather nice, possibly a touch on the sweet side but it doesn’t really take away from the drink that much.
7, 5
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#12 Luscombe St. Clements
This use Sicilian Oranges and Raw Cane Sugar. Medium fizz with a slight orange sourness, not too sweet and quite fresh a hint of the bitterness you get from Bitter Lemon and int he UK this is the closest I have found to what I think Bitter Orange would taste like. As such it very refreshing a good thirst quencher.
8, 8
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RESULTS

#1 Orangina
#2 Luscombe St. Clements
#3 San Pelligrino

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MAKE-YOUR-OWN

I’m quite a fan of bitter lemon and as I could not, sadly, get hold of any Schweppes Bitter Orange, in the spirit of innovation, I decided to make my own.

On with the recipe:

Juice & zest of 3 large oranges

Pith of 1 orange

1/2 tsp of Chili Powder

1 tsp Cinchona Bark

4 tsp Citric Acid

300ml Granulated Sugar

100ml of Water

Quite pleasant, with fruity orange flavours and a dry, bitter finish. Cooling and very, very refreshing. I still prefer bitter lemon, but this is a close runner-up.

COCKTAILS

1st Step Cocktail
The bourbon and bitters gave it a feel of an Old Fashioned and the Orangina gave it the same aftertaste that the orange twist gives to an Old Fashioned. Complex and refreshing, I think only by using a good qaulity orange soda like Orangina could you pull this off. This is an Old Fashioned for beginners.

Harvey Wallbanger
I used one of the still drinks, Juiceology Manadarin, Cardamom and Ginger, for this drink. It was very clean, with some vanilla and herbal notes, fresh orange and a hint of spice and fire from the juice. There was quite a lot of flavour and I’d advise using quite a clean, crisp vodka to stop too much flavour interfering with the other flavours of the drink.

Bronx Fizz
Packed with flavour: the herbal complexity of the vermouth, the dryness of the gin and one of the vermouths, and the sweetness of the Orangina and the other vermouth, all tied together by the Angostura Bitters. It also had a tangy orange finish. Quite refreshing, I thought it would make a pleasant aperitif.

*ASP = Aspartame, SOD SAC = Sodium Saccharin, SAC = Saccharin, ACE =