The best thing about having lovely friends combined with a birthday and house warming party is that nice people buy you nice gin. Today’s gin is courtesy of my friend Jo, who lives in Bristol, who gave me a bottle of Bristol Dry Gin. When I last visited her I had spotted it in a bar, but as we had popped in for a snack before afternoon tea, I thought it might be a tad too early for a gin. Launched in 2016, Bristol Dry gin was developed by a group of bartenders under the ethos that they were creating a gin for everyone, not just those that can pay £40+ per bottle. Since 2016, they have expended their range to include a Docker’s Strength (55% so named after the dockers from Bristol), the Turbo Island Edition which is a whopping 75% ABV, and a vodka. Today though we drink their Dry gin which underwent rigorous taste testing at their base in The Rummer Hotel, which historically has a reputation for their pionnering cocktail bar. They keep their botanical list pretty secret, stating only the use of “juniper, citrus and angelica root”, so, let’s see if I’m able to guess any more.
Note: I met the Gin Eva team at Junipalooza and the kindly sent me some samples to try, as always I’ll let you know if I don’t like it.
You may have already seen my posts on Gin Eva‘s Mallorcan Dry and Bergamot gin and today we are drinking their special edition La Mallorquina. Named after a traditional olive variety that can only be found on Majorca, they use the leftover olives from a olive mill that have had the oil extracted. They then steep these in pure grain spirit for several weeks before the distillation process to then blend with juniper and coriander distillates. Whilst they say this works well as a gin and tonic, this is really designed to be drunk as a dry martini – even better if you replace the vermouth with sherry. That might be a bit much for me, but let’s see how it tastes.
Note: I was sent a bottle of this to try, but as always, I’ll let you know if I don’t like it.
I am often asked how I got into drinking copious amounts of gin, so today I tell the story. Basically, at my first proper job I was the only one that didn’t drink gin and tonic. So I started drinking gin and lemonade (which I stand by as a drink) but that wasn’t good enough. I just couldn’t get on board with the tonic. Randomly there was an event being hosted by Yelp at a bar in London with Langley’s gin and Fever Tree tonic. So off we went and I discovered a world bigger than Gordon’s gin and Britvic tonic. Since then, Langley’s has always had a place in my heart as I think of it as the first proper gin I tried. So when I was offered a bottle of their Old Tom gin recently, I jumped at the chance. Langley’s was founded in 2011, but it took them until 2013 to get the first bottles of Langley’s No. 8 gin into the market. Since then they have won a plethora of awards and they launched the Old Tom gin in 2016 and First Chapter gin in 2017. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know I’m a fan of Old Tom gins and a Tom Collins cocktail, and Langley’s version is based on a recipe from 1891 using eight botanicals with notes of orange, tangerine, fennel and nutmeg.
Note: I contacted the Generation Distillery team and they sent me a sample to try, as always, I’ll let you know what I think.
Generation 11 gin is another addition to the growing, and brilliant, Sussex gin scene. Based in Chailey (just outside of Lewes), Generation distillery comes from a husband and wife team with a passion for locally sourced, quality ingredients with great flavour. Their passion for sustainability is evident – the lavender comes from Kent, the coriander is grown two villages away and their botanical supplier is based down the road from them. They managed to re-commission a well which is used to draw up local ground water for their gin. Alongside the floral notes from the lavender, they add cardamom and pepper for some warmth and a twist of lemon for a hint of sweetness.
Today is exciting because it’s an extra Craft Gin Club day (shout out to Lizzie for sorting my delivery problems)! I’m not meant to get my next subscription box until September, but when I saw what was in the box this month, I had to get one ASAP. Dry Island Gin is the lovechild of two great distilleries, Four Pillars in Australia and Herno in Sweden, and this is their Eurpoean exclusive launch! Being mutual fans of each other’s work, they got chatting and after discovering they had a lot in common and throwing around some ideas, they decided to collaborate and work together. The first step sounded like a lot of hard work – tasting the whole Herno and Four Pillars range side by side to work out what characteristics from their current range should go into the collaboration. They decided to aim for a classic gin using Swedish meadowsweet and Australian river mint, strawberry gum and roasted wattleseed to bring together a range of flavours and textures. This is a Four Pillars gin, made in Australia using their base spirit and the pure water which is one of the aforementioned pillars, with Jon from Herno weighing in with the distillation. Removing Four Pillars’ still plates, Jon recommended they distil at a lower temperature over a longer period to for higher purity. I’ve waited long enough, so let’s crack this open.
Note: I love the Hayman’s team and they kindly sent me some samples, but as always, I’ll let you know what I think.
You’ve hopefully already read my thoughts on the Hayman’s London Dry and Old Tom gins, and today we are trying their sloe gin. A lot of sloe gins can be too sickly sweet which I find a bit cloying, so it will be interesting to see how this fares. To make their gin they steep wild harvested sloe berries in their London Dry gin for three to four months using, as always, a traditional family recipe. Sloe gin is generally seen as a winter drink, but they suggest pairing it with some sparkling wine for a different take on a kir royale style cocktail.
Note: I love the Hayman’s team. After visiting their distillery and trying all their gin, they kindly sent me some samples.
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll have read my blog post about Hayman’s London Dry gin. Well, guess what? I have more gin! Today I am trying their Old Tom gin which, as a style, is one of my favourites. You may or may not know but a Tom Collins is one of my favourite drinks. The Hayman’s version of Old Tom gin is heavy on the citrus and juniper to create a rich mouthfeel, which then has an undercurrent of sweetness that lets you know you are drinking an Old Tom rather than London Dry.
Note: I met Lukasz from Pothecary gin at Junipalooza and he kindly sent me a bottle to try – as always, you’ll know if I don’t like it.
Pothecary gin was created because two friends share a passion for artisan – and organic – produce. This isn’t a London Dry style gin, they label theirs as “British blended” because they do things a bit differently over at Pothecary HQ. They distil each botanical separately and then blend these together before adding the water to lower the ABV. I’m not sure I’ve come across another gin that uses this method – gins that add flavours after the distillation certainly, but distilling each botanical on it’s own? Let me know if that is less unique than I think. Alongside the usual suspects of lemon peel (organic) and juniper (foraged) they use only three more botanicals – organic lavender and wild foraged tilia flowers and black mulberries (also organic). So how does this taste?
Note: I met the Doctor Polidori team and they kindly gave me some bottles to try, but as always I’ll let you know what I REALLY think.
Doctor Polidori tonic comes from Germany from the same people that make Ferdinand’s Saar gin, and I think we’re all thinking the same thing. Who the hell is Doctor Polidori? To know this we have to open our history books to around the time of Lord Byron, Polidori’s client and travelling companion (and originator of the vampire-fiction genre). His records formed the foundation of this modern interpretation of tonic. They have two tonics in their range – the dry tonic which is infused with botanicals such as basil and thyme and a cucumber tonic which includes (funnily enough) cucumber extract which makes the tonic “a refreshing experience beyond compare”. So, how do they taste?
Note: I met the Twelve Keys team on their launch day at Junipalooza and they kindly gave me their final bottle to put on the blog, but as always, I’ll let you know what I think.
Twelve Keys gin is new. Brand new. I mean they literally launched at Junipalooza on 9 June. They also have a beautiful man in their advertising. But that’s irrelevant (it’s not). Inspired by Basil Valentine – a 15th century alchemist – the twelve botanicals vary from honey (from their own wildflower meadow) to fig, quince, basil and apricot. The fruits are balanced with caraway, frankincense and cinnamon to create a rounder flavour. When I tried this at Junipalooza, they garnished this with a coffee bean and a small piece of fig, and the coffee bean added a depth to the flavour – and I don’t even like coffee!