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.
Opening my bottle (cracking label FYI) and it’s quite complex. There’s definitely something perfumed but balanced with something deep and vegetal. Sage or basil perhaps? There’s something very familiar about it, and it’s annoying me that I can’t quite work it out. In the glass, the ethanol is much more obvious and the perfumed qualities has disappeared to be replaced with the one smell I miss now I’ve moved to the country: Brighton seaside. You know when you can smell various BBQs and fish and chips, mixed with smoke and suncream and alcohol? This all tones down a bit when diluted with a splash of water and on the tongue it is surprisingly soft with hints of vanilla coming through before a smokey thickness washed over you.
Mixed 50/50 with Fever Tree light tonic, and the flavour profile has changed. There’s a gentle sweetness to it which slowly, but then suddenly all at once (thanks John Green), hits you with a touch of sourness right at the back of your tongue which makes you sit up straight. Even though I used equal amounts of gin and tonic, I feel that this is as diluted as you would want it, anymore and the flavours would be lost. Perhaps mixed with a Mediterranean tonic it would allow the subtler, herbal notes to pick up.
You can get a 70cl bottle of the 40% Bristol Dry gin from Master of Malt for £25.95 – see the affordability there. I like what they have done. This certainly tastes different to your Gordon’s and Greenall’s, but at a level that entices people to pick up and bottle and try it. Whilst some might not like it, I think they are well flavoured and really good value. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.