Cocktails with… Griffiths Brothers Gin

The last gin we reviewed (a little while back – sorry folks!) was one from the Home Counties (Campfire Gin based in Tring, Hertfordshire). Today, we nip across the border to Buckinghamshire and the Griffiths Brothers of Amersham.

For those not familiar with Amersham, it is at the very top left of the Tube map, at the very end of the Metropolitan Line.

Griffiths Brothers Gin FINAL

The Griffiths Brothers make their gin in a rotavap named Roberta and it is bottled at 43.5% ABV. Here are its botanicals:

Juniper Berries
Coriander Seed
Angelica Root
Lemon Peel
Orange Peel
Orris Root
Grains of Paradise
Liquorice Root
Cassia Bark
Elderflower
Orange Blossom
Bay Laurel
Barberries

On its own
Nose: Bright and very citrus-y on the nose, with a hint of celery and black pepper, all followed by a touch of earthy, rooty liquorice.
Taste: Crisp leafy notes come through to start: bay laurel and the crisp crunchiness of celery. Then comes a symphony of citrus, from the zesty, pithy peel to the fragrant aromatics of the blossom. Additional crispness comes from the grains of paradise at the end, along with a lovely mouthfeel courtesy of the liquorice.

Gin Tonic
A delicious and delicate Gin Tonic with a very pleasant interplay between the gin’s citrus and leafy notes. It has strong flavours that stand up well to almost any tonic, creating a refreshing treat of a drink.

Martini
This cocktail has a lovely, light oiliness that provides plenty of flavour: delicate, floral citrus as well as hints of crunchy leaves, almost cucumber-esque. Then there’s a slight of peppery salinity before a touch of spice on the finish. I’d recommend garnishing this with a thin strip of cucumber peel.

Negroni
The orange comes through from the gin and works exceptionally well with the Campari and vermouth. The gin’s leafy notes add a fantastic additional depth to the drink.

In Conclusion
Griffiths Brothers is a flavoursome gin with a pleasant interplay between a range of citrus and crisp, leafy notes. My favourite drink was the Gin Tonic.

Cocktails with 58 Gin from London

Gin 58 is one of those gins that I’ve known about for a while and it is great to see it gain momentum. It is one of a growing number of new distilleries in London and was created by Mark Marmont. The gin is bottled at 43% ABV.

Fifty Eight 58 Gin.jpg

On its own
Nose: Subtle hints of coriander seed, citrus peel, and the fragrant floral notes of cilantro.
Taste: Good, solid flavour intensity and a well-balanced product. It has a range of flavours, from sweet spice to earthy root notes, as well as the bright, clean notes of pine and citrus. This has a vibrant, spicy finish that is interspersed with oily juniper. A beautiful soft spirit that is easily appreciated when sipped neat.

Gin & Tonic
Very refreshing – everything you look for in a Gin & Tonic. There’s citrus upfront, with coriander, juniper, and angelica on the finish.

Martini
A delicate, elegant Martini with pleasant subtleties. There are lovely, resinous juniper notes with some light, sweet spice of cassia and vanilla, before a citrus finish.

Negroni
Rich, resinous, bold, and intense. This has a lovely balance between all three ingredients, finishing with a bright, dry juniper flavour and a good dose of signature earthy bitterness and a hint of menthol pepper.

In Conclusion
Gin 58 is a great example of a gin that combines the flavour profile and mixability of a classic gin with the sippable elegance of a contemporary one. This is a shining addition to the renaissance of gin distilling in London. My favourite drink – although it was very difficult to choose between them – was the Gin & Tonic.

Cocktails with… Liverpool Organic Gin

I have been waiting, since the start of the renaissance of Craft Distilling in the UK, for more and more cities to have their own regional distilleries. As such, it was great to hear more recently about Liverpool Gin, which launched at the end of 2013, and to have a chance to meet founder John O’Dowd at the Guild Ginposium in June.

Liverpool Organic Gin is made at the Liverpool Organic Brewery near Bootle toward the north of the city. It is bottled at 42% ABV and exclusively uses organic base spirit and botanicals.

Liverpool Gin Bottle FINAL

On its own
Nose: Intriguing and engaging, with lots of bright, floral citrus from the combination of peel and coriander, followed by dry, leafy herbs and a touch of savoury.
Taste: Slightly malty citrus, which reminds me of homemade lemon shortbread, then there is a hint of milk and a touch of coconut. After this, the profile becomes dryer, with a herbal leafiness and the floral notes of angelica, before then a touch of fresh, sappy juniper.

Gin & Tonic
This has a light louche and a whole lot of citrus, which literally bursts forth from the drink, making it very lively, indeed. Accompanying this is a slight lemon maltiness or biscuit-like flavour, which reminds me of lemon shortbread. This is a great thirst quencher, even without a garnish, and I look forward to see how different garnishes work in it.

Martini
A drink that has the clarity and purity of a vodka Martini, but the complex flavour of a gin one. There are some lovely bright and juicy citrus elements that shine through, as well as a little biscuity spice and floral coriander before a long, dry, slightly perfumed finish.

Liverpool Gin Tonica

Gin Tonica with Watermelon
Fantastico! This is a drink that truly engulfs the senses, being visually attractive, with an engaging aroma and delightful taste. The watermelon adds a beautiful freshness to the drink and the watermelon complements it in a way that no other garnish could – simply inspired.

NEGRONIS

After speaking to John and discussing his fondness for the Negroni, I decided to try out a few different methods of mixing this particular cocktail.

Classic Negroni
This is a full-textured Negroni that really fills your mouth with a luscious texture. The citrus and floral coriander came through strongly, and the gin certainly holds its own against the strong flavours of the Campari and vermouth.

Frozen Negroni
Pre-bottling and chilling a Negroni in the freezer results in a thick and viscous drink. The lower temperature helps to compensate for the lack of dilution by take the edge of the alcohol. This version is full of bold flavours, with all of the ingredients coming through well. There is a good amount of floral citrus from the gin, followed by a dry bitterness.

Shaken Negroni
The shaking airates the drink, filling it with tiny air bubbles that make it appear cloudy; this also gives the drink a lighter, almost “fluffy” texture. With some gins, I think that shaking a Negroni would throw-off the balance of flavours, but with Liverpool Organic it works quite well. As a point of difference, I’d serve this in a cocktail glass without ice, rather than a tumbler

Stirred Negroni
Well-stirred, this drink is exceptionally cold and smooth, and just seems more “streamlined” than the shaken version. Rich and luscious, it slides down easily and is altogether rather morish. For my money, I’d choose stirring over shaking 4 times out of 5.

In Conclusion
Liverpool Gin has bold and well-defined flavours and will appeal to gin fans, especially those who enjoy a fair bit of citrus freshness. The strong botanical flavours make it perfect for mixing in a variety of drinks, but the ABV of 42% means that it is still quite accessible for sipping neat.

My favourite drink was the Gin Tonica with the watermelon and my favourite Negroni was the Classic, followed by the Stirred.

 

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.