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.

Cocktails with… Adler Berlin Dry Gin – Germany

There are few gins that have such distinctive packaging as Adler Gin and this is the only “Berlin Gin” that I know of.  The gin is made in at an 150 year old Prussian distillery and the recipe itself dates from 1874, although Adler Berlin Dry Gin, bottled at 42% ABV, was re-released in 2004.

I spoke to one of the partners at Adler Gin today who is going to be sending me some more information, so look for an update next week.

#1 Own
Nose: initally spice and juniper. Then cinnamon and ginger. rather like gingerbread. Some coriander and angelica and the juniper is neither passive nor dominant.
Taste: Spice with angelica and cardamon, rather silky with some juniper.

#2 Gin & Tonic
Very complex, with lots of spice at the end. This wasn’t a classic-style gin & tonic and it had a touch of sarsaparilla, almost like root beer. It is refreshing, however, as a Gin &Tonic should be, and the juniper is definitely there, but plays a supportive role. Good.

#3 Martini
Juniper and cinnamon spice come through in this Martini, making it, like many of the drinks we tried with Adler, full of flavour. Whilst lower on the crispness and citrus typical of some other  Martinis, I thought it was really good.

#4 Gimlet
Absolutely superb! The perfect balance of gin, sugar and lime; it’s fresh and crisp and full of zing. Highly recommended.

#5 Gin Collins
Lemon comes through quite a lot, making the drink quite refreshing and less sweet than usual. It’s refreshing, but the gin is a bit hidden. Very good as a drink, but less so as a way of showcasing the gin. Rather moreish.

#6 Aviation
Some of my Facebook friends recently voted this as their favourite gin cocktail after the Martini and Gin & Tonic. With Adler Gin, this works pretty well, although it doesn’t quite have the bite of an Aviation made with more juniper-led gins, to my mind it could do with a touch more lemon.

#7 Alexander
Very creamy and delicious; the gin blends in nicely with the other ingredients, with a little juniper and some spice predominantly coming through. Rich and flavourful, but finished very quickly.

#8 Pink Gin
A good combination: the bitters fit well with the gin, creating a clean and flavourful drink with some real depth-of-flavour; superb.

#9 Gin Bump
Slick and a touch oily, but very smooth. Sadly, despite the drink being enjoyable to drink, the gin is rather hushed; a nice combination, though.

#10 Gin Sour
Top notch; really cooling, with tartness from the lime and the bitter dryness of juniper coming through strongly. If you don’t like sweet drinks, this may be for you.

#11 Gin Old Fashioned
This was a rather tasty and sippable drink. The sugar syrup brings out the juniper, some cinnamon and nutmeg. Excellent.

#12 Maybach 12
[20ml Adler Berlin Gin (Dry Gin), 20ml Kirsch, 10ml Benedictine]
Add ingredients to an old-fashioned glass, add a large ice cube and stir.
A light golden liquid that starts off slightly bitter and then quickly moves onto being sweet and herbal, finishing up with the dryness of the juniper and kirsch. There is a long finish of dry cherry and a faint hint of sugar. A very pleasant way to drink Adler Gin.

In Conclusion
Sometimes a gin will have great packaging, but be fundamentally an example of style over substance, but this is not he case with Adler: the bottle is great, as is the gin inside. There are good notes of juniper, but, equally, there is cinnamon and spice. Because of these additional flavours, the gin makes some very good twists on classic gin cocktails that are very enjoyable to drink; those that stood out were the Gimlet, Pink Gin and Gin Sour.

An Update from the World of Gin

An Update from the World of Gin

Cocktails with… Veresk Russian Gin

The World of Gin Map (Click to enlarge) Green = We've tried a gin from that country Pink + "we're working on it"

The World of Gin Map (Click to enlarge) Green = We've tried a gin from that country Pink + "we're working on it"

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to receive a very thoughtful gift from my good friend, Mr. Pasha of Moscow: a Russian gin. I was immensely interested to try a gin from a country so well-known for its vodka. This also marks the launch of our “World of Gin” project: a simple concept, where we try gins from a variety of different countries of the world to see how they approach gin. See below for a map showing which international gins I’ve tried and countries that produce gins that I know of, but have not yet had the chance to try.
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So what about the Russian gin? It is called “Veresk Dry Gin, 1898”. “Veresk” translates as “heath”, and the bottle has a traditional fox hunting scene at the top. Although on the front it says, “Distilled in England”, the back of the bottle and website make it clear that it is actually made at the Veresk Kashinskiy Distillery (liqueur and vodka plant) in Kashina town, about 130 miles north of Moscow.

The Veresk drinks company was founded in 1901 and, today, makes a variety of products, including vodka, liqueurs, creme liqueurs, brandy and bianco vermouth.

Veresk gin is wheat-based, bottled at 40% ABV, and defined as a distilled gin. It is known to contain “juniper and spices”, but it has such a strong cardamon note, both in flavour and smell, I would highly expect it to contain this, too.

1) Own: There are strong notes of juniper & coriander on the nose. The taste is defined by notes of juniper, citrus, and coriander to start, with cardamon on the finish. It is quite heavy, botanical-wise, but rather well-balanced with a touch of tongue-bite at the end.

2) Gin & Tonic: This drink tasted very fresh, with hints of cardamon;  if you like this spice you’ll probably really enjoy this. I was also pleased to find that juniper is also distinctly present.

3) Martini: Rather smooth; the vermouth comes through strognly, but isn’t overpowering. Flavourful, but crisp; pretty good.

4) Pink Gin: A subtle blend, but one that does bring out the cardamon of the gin, which is a good match for the Angostura. A herbally intense drink that will certainly wake you up.

5) Gimlet: Good but it is lack that thin crisp edge that I think a great Gimlet should have. Not bad nonetheless.

6) Gin Bump: This drink was pretty good, as the herbal elements went quite well with the ginger ale. Whilst this was a good Gin Bump, it is not the best example and I enjoyed many of the other drinks on this list more.

7) Milano: Delicious: the sweet vanilla and herbal notes work well with the botanicals of the gin, in particular the cardamon and coriander. The lemon juice gives it a slight tartness. Rather pleasant.

 8) Negroni: Quite bitter, this is good but the Campari has a tendency to slightly overpower this particular Gin, which is a shame.

9) GT Turbo:
Excellent, bitterness from the tonic syrup, matches with the citrus and any tart edge is taken off by the gin and it’s strong herbal elements. Really, very good.

10) Old Fashioned:
Another great Gin Old Fashioned, it seem that Veresk works particularly well with any cocktail containing Angostura bitters, a synergy between the herbal spiciness of the gin and the bitters I think. Lovely stuff.

In Conclusion

I honestly wasn’t sure I’d ever get to try Russian Gin (I hear it’s very hard to find domestic gin in Russia) so it was really surprise when I received some yesterday. For a country that is famed for it’s vodka production Veresk Gin is a pretty decent product that mixes well and has that unusual cardamon note as a trade-mark. The Gin & Tonic was excellent as was the Milano and the GT Turbo.