December is a tricky time – well, by tricky I mean I get my Craft Gin Club delivery and because it’s Ginvent I don’t get to open my delivery until later in the month. This month we got a bumper box: four cans of Merchant’s Heart tonic, festive nuts, Pedrino sherry and tonic spritz, a bottle of cava, biscuits, winter tea, and the main event – Copperfield A Christmas Carol gin. Distilled in the Surrey hills, husband and wife team Chris and Katherine (who between them have a degree in biochemistry and chemical engineering, and a PhD in brewing and distilling) were left home alone after their children grew up and decided it was time to set up their distillery. Inspired by the classic books collected by Katherine, and named after a legendary policeman in their village, the Surrey Copper Distillery was born. Going full steam ahead, they designed a spirit lab and distillery, ordered two 2 litre and one 20 litre copper pot stills for their gin, plus a second 20 litre still for their vermouth. All are named after literary characters – Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Alice, and Wendy (Darling), and their branding is an homage to illustrations on antique book covers. Their original London dry gin uses – you guessed it – a historical recipe found in a library archive of pink peppercorns, cubeb berries, rose petals, hibiscus and elderflower. This time we are trying their Christmas gin exclusive to Craft Gin Club members which focuses on cloves, cinnamon, star anise, orange, rosemary and sage. So, how does it taste?
Note: I contacted the team at Mews Gin to see if they wanted to send me a sample for the blog and they were kind enough to send me one. As always, you’ll know if I’m not a fan.
Mews Gin is a new artisan distillery set up in the heart of Surrey using the combined skill of founding brothers Richard and Daniel Mew. After two years of researching and experimenting with recipes and distilling, they had their final product in 2014 – just in time for a family wedding. Daniel is an engineer bringing technical skills and precision to the process and Richard brings his business experience to form their team – and a gin that combines “the vibrancy of youth with the subtlety of maturity”. Whilst I don’t fully understand that sentence, I think this is reflecting in their branding – the bottle label feels both modern and classic. But what about the gin? All of the classic botanicals are joined with pink peppercorn, lavender and cubeb berries. They vapour distil their gin – costing more in time and money – but they think this is key to making a lighter, more subtle gin.
Cracking open my little bottle it smells nice and citrusy, a smell which sticks when mixed with water in a glass. Straight up this doesn’t taste like 38%. Very smooth and very easy to drink, there’s a hint of juniper and a hint of citrus. Not really getting the peppercorn but there is a lightness that I associate with flowery gins which I presume comes from the lavender. There is no alcohol burn as it goes down – a sign of a good gin!
Mixed into a simple gin with two parts tonic (sadly still Tesco) this is different to usual. It tastes like a classic gin, but just at the back of your throat you get a sudden hit of flavour. I can’t fully describe what it is, but either way this is fresh and zingy (yes, I went for zingy). It has woken me up after my long day at work and 5k run and I imagine this little bottle won’t be lasting very long.
A bottle of the 38% gin is currently available on Master of Malt for £31.95 (although also currently sold out) and I would snap this up, pronto! This has the flavour and characteristics of a much more expensive bottle, so if you can snaffle it for under £32 then grab it while you can. You can get in touch with Mews on Twitter and Facebook.