Monday, 29 July 2013

A Gin for Every Occasion

For a change a thought I'd write about something other than wine and write about one of my other favourite drinks, Gin. Over the last couple of years Gin has seen a massive resurgence and become very popular either in the classic G&T, or in cocktails. Whichever way you choose to drink it, for me it has to be one of the greatest spirits. Today there are hundreds of different Gin brands, and several different styles such as the classic London Dry, Plymouth and the sweeter Old Tom version.
Fifty Pounds

This I have to say is probably my favourite London Dry Gin. It gets it's name from the levy the government put on Gin producers with the 1736 Gin Act. It is uses a very old recipe which dates back to the time of the Gin Act itself; and unlike a lot of gin is made in a batch process distillation: before they start the next, they finish this one off.

With this Gin you get a well crafted drink with all the botanicals integrating perfectly. Flavours of citrus, spice and a good hit of juniper (which however doesn't overpower) are balanced by a warming, not burning sensation from the alcohol. It's the combination of all of these which makes for me Fifty Pounds the best London Dry gin.

 Portabello Road
Picture Courtesy of
 Portabello Road Gin

Originally produced at the award winning Portabello Star by Jake Burger, it is also the home of the Ginstitute, where you can actually go and learn about and create your own Gin, for all Gin lovers definitely worth booking a session.

On the palate this Gin gives you plenty of Juniper and a fresh citrus characteristic with a gentle warming peppery spice coming through in the background which combines with all the other botanicals beautifully and makes a great drink, even just on it's own with some ice.

The Botanist

Made up in Scotland on the island of Islay by the Bruichladdich distillery, and is completely unique in its flavours. To make this very unique Gin they use the nine classic botanicals you find in Gin and they then use another 22 that are wild and native to Islay. They are then slowly distilled in their aptly named "ugly betty" lomond pot still for 17 hours, giving you this amazing and wonderfully aromatic and complex Gin.This Gin gives Juniper, spice, citrus, menthol and bouquets of summer flowers, there is a lot going on in this Gin, as with the Fifty Pounds you get a warming sensation on the back palate which works beautifully with the spice and botanicals in the Gin, helping to make this quite a unique and wonderful Gin.

Ransom Old Tom

Unfortunately this one is not available in the UK at present, but a friend of
mine bought a bottle over from the US and I just had to mention it. This Gin is made over in Sheridan, Oregon, founded in 1997 by Tad Seestedt, it started life producing Grappa, eau d'vie and Brandy, in 1998 they starting making wine, then in 2007 they added a whiskey and the gin to their repertoire. 
The real interesting thing about this gin, apart from it being a sweeter old tom style, is that it's also aged in old Pinot Noir casks for three to six months, this gives it an amber hue. You get the traditional botanicals in this gin, juniper, coriander, with hints of citrus peel combining with the sweeter edge of the gin perfectly, but then very delicately in the background you can find a touch of red berry fruit. This gin is great just over ice or with a really good tonic water.

Tonic Water

Tonic Water, I cannot say how important it is to make sure you get a decent one, the best that I've found is the one from Fentimans, this as far a I can tell is the only one that is also naturally brewed. 

The aromatics in the tonic help to bring out the botanicals in the gin, making it even more than enjoyable, the rose lemonade also works really well!

1 comment:

  1. My god. Just seen Ugly Betty. It's like a fifty-year disgraced watering can perforated by various needles.
    How can something so fine come from something so horrible?