Cocktails with… Whittaker’s Gin

Today’s review has a special focus on one distillery: Harrogate Distillery and their award-winning gin brand, Whittaker’s. The distillery was started by Jane and Toby Whittaker in 2015 and is based in Nidderdale, Yorkshire. Whilst only two years old, the distillery has already released an exciting selection of gins.

Whittakers Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Original (42.0% ABV)

A classic and smooth gin made with neutral grain spirit and a botanical mix that includes:

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Lemon
Hawthorne Berries
Bilberries
Bog Myrtle
Garden Thyme

On its own
Nose: An intense, botanical nose that bursts forth from the glass. There is a vibrant mix of juniper and pine notes, from juicy berries and crisp pine needles to fragrant notes of blossom.
Taste: This gin has a lovely, dry flavour with just a touch of sweetness at the end. It has an excellent texture: very smooth with minimal heat – just enough to to add boldness to the flavour profile. Rich and complex juniper notes are complemented by citrus, warm spice, and then fruity berry notes that add both that slight sweetness and also a little tartness and zing. The finish is long and lingering. All-in-all, this is a classic gin that has its own distinguishing flair – delicious!

Gin & Tonic
Beautiful resinous juniper upfront, adding a bright “sparkle” to this drink from the start. A little citrus follows, then the fruity notes of dried berries. A balanced and exceptionally refreshing drink.

Martini
This Martini is wonderfully bright, with beautiful pine and juniper notes – crisp and fragrant – that make the cocktail really sing. Dryer flavours follow, working well alongside the powerful juniper, before a touch of more fruity notes on the finish.

Negroni
Exceptionally smooth. Again, beautifully rich juniper notes come through, bringing with them hints of citrus and coriander. These are followed by a fruity tartness from the berries, which makes this an unusual Negroni, but are also a fantastic addition. Finishing up, this cocktail keeps its classic, mellow bittersweetness.

Whittakers Navy Gin FINAL

Whittakers Navy Strength (57.0% ABV)

A higher ABV version of their original gin with the same botanical mix, but a slight adjustment of the botanical balance.

On its own
Nose: Earthy, with a light, sweet florality.
Taste: Very resinous: the juniper absolutely bursts through in this gin, which helps to give you a full appreciation of the berry: from its lighter, floral notes all the way through to deep, soapy cedar.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
A particularly herbal Gin & Tonic with bready notes before a biscuity spice and hints of coriander. Jammy berry notes then develop, before a dry finish that makes this a bold and yet thoroughly refreshing drink.

Martini
Bold and very zesty, with bright, deep, and resinous notes of cedar and juniper. The floral finish is long and lingering, neatly balancing and complementing that juniper. This is a powerful example of a classic Gin Martini; one that should be served very cold and, because of its great sippability, enjoyed sparingly.

Negroni
A citrus and coriander-forward Negroni with a great level of zestiness. This has a perfect intensity of flavour and would make a good aperitif.

Whittakers Clearly Sloe Gin FINAL

Whittaker’s Clearly Sloe

A modern take on the sloe gin. Sloe berries are infused or macerated in the Whittaker’s Original Gin for six months, before the liquid is redistilled with a little liquorice. The resultant gin retains much of the character of the sloes, but none of the colour. Unlike most sloe gins, it is unsweetened.

On its own
Nose: A fantastic nose full of the rich, slightly tart notes of the sloe berry coming through, along with more jammy berry notes and an aromatic nuttiness.
Taste: Sloe berry comes through again on the palate, along with deep, resinous juniper notes. A little sweetness from the fruit followed, accompanied by a touch of marzipan. This is an absolutely superb spirit and a great example of a distilled sloe gin.

With Fever-Tree Tonic
The sloe berry flavours shine through: sweet and jammy with just a little tartness, followed by light, floral almond flavours and a fresh, citrus finish.

Martini
This is a superb cocktail that tastes just like an extra dry sloe gin: bold and resinous juniper to start, which develops into the bright stone fruit flavours of the berries. Delicious!

Negroni
The sloe berries really shine through in this cocktail – there is a lovely combination of the dry fruitiness and sweet almond & marzipan, all with a restrained bitterness. This is a totally different take on the Negroni, but a fantastic one.

In Conclusion

Whittaker’s have crafted a superb selection of gins with significant range, whilst keeping an apparent house-style. The imaginations of Toby and Jane really come through in their products and, whilst I enjoy all of the spirits, I always find myself drawn back to their original London Dry Gin.

If you want to try the full range, including their contemporary Pink Particular Gin, I can heartily recommend the gift pack of four 20cl bottles available on their website:
https://www.whittakersgin.com/shop/product/36378/Whittaker039-s-Gin-4-x-20cl-Gift-Pack/

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Cocktails with… Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin

MasonsGinTitle

Today is World Gin Day and so it’s fitting that today is the day that Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin is launched to the world. Masons Gin is based near Ripon in Yorkshire* and uses water from the local Harrogate Spring to cut the distillate ready for bottling, which is done at 42.0% ABV.

As Karl Mason is something of a Gin & Tonic aficionado, I decided to focus this review around this colonial drink; Karl even suggested some garnishes that he thought worked well in Gin Tonicas. But first, let’s try the gin on its own…

MasonsDryYorkshireGinBottle

Nose: Fennel and coriander, as well as a little leafy lemon.
Taste: A smooth spirit with some malty, grain notes reminiscent of gin made with a white whiskey base. This is followed by coriander mixed with some piney elements alongside some juniper. The flavour then moves onto some herbal notes such as fennel, liquorice and caraway; this combination of flavours both adds a little sweetness and gives the gin a long, lingering finish.

Classic Gin Tonic (Fevertree)
Excellent – full of flavour, with some malty notes and the juniper, it is very rounded and comforting, almost “cuddly”. Then, you get some great fennel and liquorice on the finish. This is definitely something different. My suggested serve for this would be to use plenty of ice and a nice wedge of fresh lemon.

MasonsDryYorkshireGin1938GinTonic

1938 Gin Tonic
This is a Gin Tonic as Served at Shepheard’s in Cairo in April 1938. Take a rickey glass, rub the inside with the peel of a lime. Pour in a jigger (35ml) of Masons Yorkshire Dry Gin, add ice cubes, a slice of lime or lemon, and fill with Fevertree Indian Tonic Water.

As covered by Twitter: @summerfruitcup

The drink allows the gin to come through especially the anise/fennel/liquorice giving it a slightly sweet start. This is then balanced out by the juniper and coriander as well as the lime peel and ganrish. As the ice melts and the drink get a little cold it improves even more. Very refreshing and a nice dry crisp finish. Overall @YorkshireGin makes a tasty GT but it is not your usual fair, good for those seeking something less pedestrian. Good stuff 1938 AD.

Karl’s Suggested Garnishes – All with Fevertree Tonic

MasonsDryYorkshireGinAppleAnise

Gin Tonica (garnished with star anise and apple)
Tasty stuff, with the crispness of the apple and the anise bringing out the fennel and liquorice notes of the gin. Fresh and crisp and, for extra bite, you can munch on the tangy apple. A fine Gin Tonica for a lazy Saturday afternoon; lively, but not too intense and relatively light.

MasonsDryYorkshireGinOrangeCardamom

Gin Tonica (garnished with orange peel and cardamom pods)
If you want a fragrant Gin & Tonic, then this is superb. I really like how the orange complements the flavours of the gin and the spice of the cardamom works well with the fennel/liquorice notes of the gin. This is superb, vibrant and refreshing.

Gin Tonica (garnished with red grapefruit)
A simple, but very effective garnish, with the rich, zesty citrus juiciness working well with the character of the gin. Crisp and refreshing.

MasonsDryYorkshireGinRedGrapefruit

As lovely as all of these drinks are, how can you test a gin without trying it in these two classics?

Martini
A good, solid drink with juniper, citrus and some malty, grainy notes, coriander and the some sweet fennel notes, too. There’s a long glow of flavour with a little warmth on the finish. Bold and classic with a slightly contemporary edge, but plenty to keep you interested as you drink, and wanting another.

Negroni
This is another good drink: the fennel/anise/caraway notes work well with the Campari and vermouth, almost giving the drink an impression of an absinthe rinse around the glass. It has a good bitter-sweet balance, with a full flavour, rich texture and lasting finish.

*It is currently actually made under contract in Cambridgeshire by the English Spirit Company, but that is only whilst the Yorkshire distillery is being built.