Tag Archives: gin

Gin Cocktails | Lady Patricia Mother’s Day cocktail

Lady Pat

I inadvertently got my start in understanding gin from my mother. She’s a herbalist so I learnt about herbs and flowers and flavours from as early as I can remember. I taste the difference between echinacea angustifolia and echinacea purpurea from ten paces, but I also learned about things like liquorice root and angelica and cardamom and juniper. I learned about essential oils and how they are made through distillation. I learned about the volatility of natural oils, how scent profiles, and indeed flavour profiles, are made up of top, middle and base notes. All the techniques I use to critique gin, all learned at my mother’s knee.

So for Mother’s Day I wanted to design a cocktail especially for my mum. She’s quite particular about what she likes. Nothing too sweet and nothing too strong, but she loves flowers. So I started with flowers; lavender and elderflower. Cocktails are about balancing sweet, sour and strong, so sweet if from homemade lavender syrup, and St Germain Elderflower liqueur, the sour from a dash of lemon juice and the strong from (wait for it…) gin!

Lady Pat composite30mL lavender syrup *
15mL St Germain Elderflower liqueur
7.5mL fresh lemon juice
15mL gin, a light flavoured clean gin like Bombay Sapphire will work well
Sparkling mineral water

Combine syrup, liqueur, juice and gin in a tall glass with lots of ice, stir gently. Top up glass with chilled sparkling mineral water. If you, or your mum, have a sweet tooth you can leave out the lemon juice and use a good cloudy lemonade instead of mineral water. Serve with a twist of lemon peel as a garnish, or with a lavender flower if you have one.

Lavender syrup*To make a small batch of lavender syrup combine 50g of sugar with 50mL of boiling water and a handful of dried lavender flowers. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and leave for about five minutes then strain out the lavender flower. Chill before using. The syrup will last for about 2 weeks in the fridge. And I recommend putting it in the fridge straight away for helpful gentleman gin drinkers clean up the kitchen and throw it out.

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Gin Quotes | Dorothy Parker

gin martini

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November 13, 2013 · 10:15 am

Tasting Gin | Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength

miller 008If money was no object and you just wanted to make the most wonderful gin possible, what would you do? This was the starting point for Martin Miller’s Gin. And it’s not a bad starting point, if money is no object.

Martin Miller the man came to prominence publishing an etiquette guide called Success with the Fairer Sex. I can only imagine what that was about. He established the Miller Academy, a Victorian style salon, but he got bored with burlesque at about the time in became a major plot point in Gossip Girl. I have sympathy for that. Somewhere along the line his attention turned to gin.

The Process

The neutral spirit is flavoured in a single pot still called Angela. No source is mentioned for the spirit so it is probably a grain spirit. The earthy botanicals are infused overnight in spirit and hot water, while the citrus peels are distilled separately. Now, this is where it gets interesting. The heart cut from the distillation is sent to Iceland at full strength where it is mixed with fjord water. We did say money was no object! The Westbourne strength is mixed to 45.2% ABV.

Botanicals

This is not an exact list, it is put together from various hints across the website.

Juniper
Cassia
Coriander
Orange peel
Lemon peel

Tasting notes

This is not a fragrant or perfumed gin. It is very light on the nose with ethanol and juniper detectible, but otherwise it is indistinct. On the palate it is clean and bright and surprisingly soft for 45.2% ABV. It’s well rounded with juniper, citrus and spice in a very pleasing balance. The most remarkable thing about this gin is how clean fresh it tastes. I can’t help but picture shiny, fresh snowfields and adds for toothpaste when I’m drinking it, and I mean that in a very good way.

Drinks

In a gin and tonic you need to use a high quality  tonic water (Fever Tree or Capi) as the flavours are so subtle that a cheap and sugary tonic water will completely overpower the gin. It’s a very soft and clean drink, very enjoyable with a cucumber garnish as the creaminess of the cucumber offsets the softness of the gin beautifully. A sliver of lemon peel also works nicely.

In a martini you want to keep it dry and clean, this is not a gin to dirty up with olive brine. A few drops of vermouth if you must, but I’d suggest Churchill style (look at the vermouth as you pour the gin) with a twist.

What others say

The Gin is In
Gin Time
The Gin Blog
The Whisky Exchange
The Drink Shop

Where to buy

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength is available in Australia, I have bought it from Vintage Cellars but a quick scout of their website doesn’t prove fruitful. Your better independent bottle shop should stock it, or you can buy online from Nicks, free delivery for orders over $200.

Disclaimer after I had prepared this review I was offered a bottle of Martin Miller’s Gin (not Westbourne Strength) to review. While I appreciate the generosity of Martin Miller’s distributors in sending this sample, my appreciation has not effected this review. 

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Tasting Gin | City of London Distillery

City of London Gin bottleFirstly, a confession. Somewhere between my aunt’s house in London and my house in Sydney, my notebook with all my gin notes from my trip to Europe went missing. Hence it’s been months and I still haven’t written up my gin tastings. I’ve finally accepted that the notes are gone for good and I’m going to attempt to recreate them, please forgive me if anything is a bit hazy.

On one of our days in London, the Gentleman Caller and I indulged both our geek out interests. First we headed out to Bletchley Park, where the Engima Code was broken and the first computers were built. This place is like a pilgrimage for the Gentleman Caller, but I really enjoyed it too.

Then we trained back to London and indulged my obsession with a visit to the City of London Distillery. COLD, as it is known, is the first distillery within the City of London in over 200 years. (Sipsmith opened earlier, but they are in Greater London, but not within the square mile of the City of London. It’s complicated.) Just off Fleet St, COLD is home to both the distillery and a lovely contemporary bar serving more than 180 gins.

COLD run daily distillery tours every hour between 12 noon and 3pm for £8. We spent too long at Bletchley Park and arrived too late for a tour, but I got chatting with some of the delightful staff, and Jamie Baxter, the Master Distiller, was still around and gave us a bit of an impromptu tour, which was extremely generous.

The Process

The gleaming copper still is behind glass for everyone to see and enjoy when they visit the bar. She’s a gorgeous creature (I forgot to ask her name!). The woody botanicals go in the belly of the still, but they add the fresh citrus in a basket further up in the pipes.

The base is a grain spirit which is pushed through the still a few times before the botanicals are added, the copper ‘pores’ open up and absorb all the nasty impurities out of the spirit leaving a very clean ethanol.

Botanicals

Juniper
Coriander seed
Angelica root
Licorice root
Fresh orange
Fresh lemon
Pink grapefruit

Tasting notes

Given the botanicals list it will be no surprise that this is a very citrus forward gin. As we were tasting in a bar I didn’t taste in an exacting way, but it was delicious and dry and flavoursome.

Drinks

We started off with a gin and tonic, served with a veritable slab of pink grapefruit, I’m not usually a big fan huge citrus wedges in a gin and tonic, but wedges of pink grapefruit seems to be the done thing in London’s finer gin drinking establishments. We followed up with a love dry martini with a twist, here the citrus really shines with lovely background of earthy base notes. Ended the evening with a French 75, again the citrus played beautifully with lemon and champagne.

What others say

The Gin Blog
Master of Malt
Summer Fruit Cup

Where to buy

City of London Distillery Gin is not widely available in Australia. You can import it from Master of Malt or The Whisky Exchange, but as always be aware of the delivery fees.

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Tasting Gin | Willliam Chase Gin

// gin, William ChaseWilliam Chase Gin is a gin I desperately wanted to love. William Chase is the only gin in England made from a neutral spirit made by the distillery; all other distilleries buy in their neutral spirit. Most gins are made with a grain based neutral spirit, William Chase make their spirits from cider apples. So you can see why I was excited to try it.

The process

Chase Distillery have a field to bottle approach, they grow apples and potatoes for their vodka on their property in Herefordshire. They make their base spirit, essentially vodka, by fermenting then distilling the apples and potatoes. The base spirit comes out at about 96% ABV.

To make their gin they put the botanicals into a pillowcase (yep, a pillowcase!) and toss that into the carter of their still, Ginny. As the vapours pass through the pillowcase they are flavoured with the botanicals.

Once flavoured, the spirit is mixed with water drawn from a source on their property, down to 48% ABV.

There’s no reason not to describe this gin as London Dry, although they do not market it as such.

Botanicals

Juniper
Coriander
Angelica
Liquorice
Orris
Orange
Lemon
Hops
Elderflower
Bramley apple

Tasting notes

With an ABV of 48%, ethanol overpowers the botanicals on the nose. There is a sense of juniper, but it’s very subtle. On the palate, again the neutral spirit is the star with the botanicals very difficult to detect. Given the provenance of the spirit I expected it to be more remarkable, to have a more distinct flavour, maybe the deficiency is in my palate, but it really didn’t taste the difference in the neutral spirit and found the botanicals almost undetectable.

When I was in London I tasted the William Chase Vodka, which I thought was delicious and wonderfully smooth. Look, I’m a bit confused about this too.

Drinks

I only had a 50mL sample bottle, so after tasting it neat I only had enough left for a gin and tonic, with Fevertree tonic and lemon peel. I was hoping the mixing the William Chase with tonic water would open up the flavours of the botanicals, but I found the flavour of the lemon peel overwhelmed any subtle botanical flavours.

What others say

The Gin Blog
Drinks Enthusiast

Where can you buy it

I can’t find an Australian supplier for William Chase Gin, but you can order it from Master of Malt in the UK, just watch out for the shipping!

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Tasting Gin | Stone Pine dry gin

Stone Pine Dry GinA dear friend of mine has been touring the country in various plays for quite some years now, and in doing so discovered the Stone Pine Distillery in Bathurst. He’d been telling me about this wonderful gin for a year or so before he was back in the region and had the chance to pick up a bottle for me. It was worth the wait.

Originally from Scotland, Bev and Ian Glen founded their mircodistillery in 2006. Bev’s background is in hospitality, while Ian is a biochemist and is an Associate Member of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, so they make a great team.

I’m excited about the emergence of some terrific Australian gins using native botanicals. (I have quite a few on my reviews to do list.) Overall they are punchy and flavoursome.

The process

Stone Pine Dry gin is pot distilled, the website says they gently infuse their botanicals, but it does not specify if it is vapour distilled or macerated then distilled. Based on the wording I would guess vapour distilled.

There is no indication of what is used in the spirit base, but the describes Ian Glen’s background is brewing whisky so I’d guess that he is using a grain spirit base.

They call the style ‘new world’ which I guess is another way of saying New Western, though it owes a lot to the London Dry style too.

Botanicals

They are a bit secretive about the botanical ingredients, describing a proprietary of native and traditional botanicals. There is definitely juniper and some earthy herb tones, and also some quite hot spicy notes. They use a lot of finger lime in their other products so it’s quite possible the citrusy top notes come courtesy of the delicious native finger lime.

Tasting notes

Unsurprisingly Stone Pine has a strong pine aroma with clean ethanol and juniper. On the palate it is full-flavoured with juniper and hot spice dominating. There is a subtle hint of a citrus top note.

Drinks

Mixed with Fever Tree tonic it’s a full and loud drink with a lot of complexity. The tonic dampens the hot spice and opens up the slightly sweet citrus top notes. While it doesn’t of the clean softness of a classic London Dry, it is an interesting and vibrant gin and tonic. They offer gift packs of the dry gin with Capi tonic water, which is an excellent Australian product. It’s so good to see a distillery committing to good tonic water.

What others say

I haven’t been able to find any other reviews of Stone Pine dry gin, if you stumble upon any, do let me know. Or if you have the chance to try it, I’d love to know what you think.

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Tasting Gin | Beefeater 24

gin, london dry, reviewAfter tasting the Crown Jewel we wanted to try the replacement, Beefeater 24. Of course our gracious host had a bottle on hand.

The Process

Beefeater 24 is infused for, wait for it, 24 hours, then distilled for seven hours. The website describes that the cut for Beefeater 24 is taken in the middle of the distillation an ‘Artisan Cut’ which makes for a ‘more citrusy, softer, contemporary style of gin.’

Tasting Notes

The first thing that struck me about the Beefeater 24, as compared to the Crown Jewel, is that it’s much softer. That’s partly because it’s 45%ABV rather than 50%ABV, but possibly also because of the Artisan Cut process. It’s also much more complex. A heavy juniper base, but the grapefruit is much more distinct. I could also taste notes of black pepper. I’m not sure where the pepper flavour comes from and the only difference in botanicals is the addition of Japanese Sencha tea and Chinese green tea.

The thing I found really interesting in tasting these two Beefeater premiums, as well as the regular Beefeater, is the distinct flavour palate across the three gins. They certainly have a very consistent house flavour which is very identifiable in each version.

Botanicals

Almond
Angelica Root
Angelica Seed
Chinese green tea
Coriander Seed
Japanese Sencha tea
Juniper
Lemon Peel
Liquorice
Orange Peel
Grapefruit Peel
Orris Root

What others say

The Gin Blog
Gin Journey
Drink Hacker

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