Next up in my series of “I have lovely friends that buy me gin” is Edgerton Pink gin courtesy of my lovely friends Tasj and Martyn. You look at a pink gin and instantly think of strawberries and raspberries, but interestingly the colour for this gin comes from pomegranate extract. They combine this with a classic juniper forward gin, citrus and spiced notes because they believe that colour is strongly linked to the success of the brand. Created by Martin Edgerton Gill and inspired by his father’s love of the Pink Gin cocktail after time spent in the Royal Navy, the traditional drink is gin combined with Angostura bitters to cure seasickness. Martin took this and twisted it using his knowledge of herbal teas to create a contemporary pink gin using fifteen different botanicals – including supposed aphrodisiac damiana leaves.
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: The team at Maverick Drinks sent me a bottle to try, but as always – I’ll let you know what I think.
That Boutique-y Gin Company have done it again. They’ve found a random new fruit for us all to try. Today is is a finger lime. Finger limes come from Australia and they burst open with caviar-like balls which pop in your mouth (FYI this is not something I am a fan of, I have a strange thing about textures) to release a zesty burst of citrus. There’s some debate around whether a finger lime is actually a citrus fruit – currently it is classed as a “microcitrus” although apparently on a molecular level it is nothing like citrus fruits at all. But anyway. Enough nerdy chat. Let’s drink some gin.
Note: The team at Maverick Drinks sent me a bottle of this to try, but as always I will let you know what I think.
That Boutique-y Gin Company seem to have exploded recently. At first, there were a few collaborations using the unwanted spirits from distilleries. Then a few more. And a few more. Then suddenly they had a massive range including some gins they have made all by themselves. Today we are trying the Cucamelon gin. What is a cucamelon I hear you ask? Basically, it’s a native plant to Mexico and Central America which looks like a mini watermelon, but tastes like a cucumber injected with some lime. Obviously. TBGC distil these whole along with other botanicals to create what they call a “fresh, citrusy drink”. They say this works well as a G&T, but even better as a gimlet or a Cucumber Cooler with watermelon juice and mint leaves.
We’ve all heard of small batch gin where small teams hand craft their gin and run the whole business from their homes. Cabin Pressure gin is about as small as it can get – a husband and wife team working out of their garden shed in Horsham; indeed when we met David at the Sussex Festival of Gin, his wife was frantically bottling the next batch back home as they didn’t have enough stock for the coming week. They’re able to distil their gin in their shed as they use the lesser used method of vacuum distilling which allows them to distil at a lower temperature and generally in a much safer way. Due to the lower temperatures, they manage to retain more flavour from their botanicals. Talking of botanicals, they use just six of them, all of which are either organically cultivated or organic wild harvested. They use juniper (obviously) along with green cardamom, angelica root, ginger, liquorice and coriander, unusual perhaps in that it lacks a citrus fruit.
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 met the Gin Eva team at Junpalooza and they kindly gave me some samples to try. As always, I’ll let you know what I think.
You might have already read my blog on Gin Eva‘s Mallorca Dry gin (if not, you can catch up here) and today we are trying their artisan bergamot gin. This started back in 2016 when they were looking for a farm that grew yuzu as they were planning a collaboration with a Michelin starred chef which would be their featured botanical. Whilst researching this, they met Franc who specialises in citrus fruits on his farm in Valencia. They specifically loved his bergamot oranges which is a hybrid of a lime and a bitter orange. They distilled this and blended it with Macedonian juniper and nothing else. That’s right. Two botanicals. That’s it. They released the first batch in October 2017 with just 1,000 bottles, which was followed up by batch two in April 2018 of 3,000 bottles. They say this is a great sipping gin, G&T or 50/50 martini.
Note: Symphonia kindly sent me a sample to try and ramble about, but as always I’ll let you know if I’m not a fan.
Did you read about Symphonia No.1 and No. 2 gin? If not, shame on you and you can read about them here and here. The third (and currently final) gin in their range is a fruit cup. The fruit/summer cup trend seems to be growing from smaller distillers, perhaps due to the popularity of Pimms and the pink gin craze. So what makes the Symphonia fruit cup different? This 25% fruit spirit is made using raspberries from the distillery garden and berries foraged from the hedgerows in the Irish countryside. The lower ABV makes it perfect for sipping, or mixing with tonic, soda, prosecco or lemonade (essentially, whatever you want). One thing you instantly notice about this fruit cup is the colour – fruit cups usually have a pink/orange tinge to them but this is surprisingly clear.
Note: I met the Gin Eva team at Junipalooza and they kindly sent me some samples to have a taste of. As always, I’ll let you know what I really think.
Gin Eva comes from Mallorca (or Majorca depending on your choice of spelling) and has a unique background. The gin was founded by Eva and Stefan, one being a Catalan oenologist (someone that studies the science of wine and wine making) and the other a German wine grower. Stefan worked for a number of wineries before setting out to make gin, a spirit which gives him far more freedom than the wine industry does. Gin Eva is a labour of love – Stefan himself admits his first attempt was rubbish, but this drove him to practice to ensure they were getting the most out of each botanical. They now macerate their botanicals for a number of weeks before distillation occurs, a slow process but they say the gin is worth the effort. Alongside Mallorcan juniper, they use lemon and bitter orange which, they say, balances well with the juniper for a creamy and zesty taste on the palate with a light and elegant finish.