Gift Ideas, Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Gift Idea: Pothecary Gin Chocolate Gift Box

Gin, chocolate, fireside. There, we’ve got your attention 😉 For those looking for the perfect gift for the gin-lover in your life, we invite you to consider this heavenly pairing from Pothecary Gin and Kerry Witt of “Chocolate by Miss Witt”.

IMG_3420.JPG

Both parties having a passion for botanicals and flavours, we could only anticipate delicious things from the pairing!

Included in the gift set is a 100ml bottle of Pothecary Gin and 4 gourmet chocolates. They come in a beautiful (and very gift-able) ribbon adorned box. The good folk at Pothecary recommended the chocolates were paired with the gin either neat or over ice and for our tasting session, we chose to try it over ice.

img_7988

Now, we first tried Pothecary back in May just before they launched, so for a review of the gin flavour profile, we kindly direct you here. So let’s get to it and talk about the chocolate in the gift set and how it compliments the gin!

We tried the the “Ana” chocolate first (gold in appearance – perfect for Christmas). Named after Anatolia, the region where the organic black mulberries grow which feature in the gin. The ganache is cleverly crafted using the gin distillates from the black mulberries and organic Sicilian lemons, so a true partnership is born. The chocolate paired really well with the Pothecary gin and in fact it enhanced all of the key flavours and tones in the gin, in particular the lavender.

img_7992

Next up was the “Provencal” chocolate, in signature Pothecary turquoise. The crisp white chocolate shell offers a hint of the wonderful signature Pothecary lavender flavour without being too overpowering and the soft creamy mousse inside leaves a salty tang which works wonders when combined with the gin itself. A lovely combination and the favourite of the two at The Gin Club.

img_7996

You can tell that real consideration and craftsmanship has gone into the creation of both the gin and the chocolates. A wonderful partnership, combined in a beautiful gift set – great job guys. I know all of us at The Gin Club would be happy with another one of these in their stocking this coming Christmas.

The gift set retails at a very palatable £25 and is now on preorder at The Gin Kiosk & from tomorrow on 31dover.com and Master of Malt.

 

Advertisements
Standard
Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Tasting: Pothecary Gin

Ladies and GINtlemen – we have a very special tasting to share with you today. The good folk at Pothecary Gin proffered us with a bottle to try in advance of their grand launch in the UK and I must say, we’ve very much enjoyed this delightfully smooth tipple.

For us, this gin took us straight back to a late spring day on the island of Jersey surrounded by lavender bushes, warmed by the sun and smelling the bright scent of the ocean. And yes, lavender is a key botanical in this fresh-off-the-stills expression.

IMG-20160506-WA0066

Now, what we really love about Pothecary Gin is that it is a British (distilled in Dorset), blended gin. They have a unique process of distilling each botanical separately – and this yields a delightful profile of flavours that are both well-balanced and refreshingly individual, including wild-foraged juniper from Bulgaria, organic lavender from Provence and Organic black mulberries from Anatolia to name a few.

Incredibly smooth and easy to drink, lovers of floral, soft gins will really get on very well with Pothecary. And before it’s even properly launched, Pothecary Gin has been awarded ‘Double Gold’ at the globally renowned ‘San Francisco World Spirits Competition’. Accolade indeed.

Concepted and carefully distilled by friends Lukasz Dwornik and Martin Jennings, the pair decided after tasting one too many bland gins that they could do something better. And they may just have.

You won’t have seen Pothecary Gin on the back bar yet in London town… but fear not! If you’re off to Junipalooza this year, a) see you there and b) look out for the Pothecary team as they will be officially introducing London to their gin!

IMG-20160506-WA0068

THE TASTING

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Lavender (BIG TIME!), palma violets, liquorice and caremelised sugar.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

That lavender doesn’t give way – it shines through on the palette, quickly followed by gentle juniper and lemon sherbet.

#3       THE FINISH

A mellow, ripe blackberry finish with earthy tones of cocoa and even a hint of basil.

If you’ve tried Pothecary Gin, tell us what you thought on Twitter @the_gin_club.

 

The Perfect Serve:

OK so a G&T is great, but gin rickey (soda) let’s this delicate profile shine. Even better, a dry martini, shaken with a twist of lemon.

The chaps at Pothecary recommend a Vesper Martini or a Gin Sour.

Price:             £39

ABV:              44.8%

Our rating:     8/10

Where to Buy It in the UK:

 

Exclusively at Gin Kiosk until it launches on World Gin Day at Junipalooza, £39

Standard
Gin review, Uncategorized

Gin Tasting: Malawi Gin

Imagine you are sitting under a palm tree, skin too hot from a day in the sun, feet buried in warm sand and you are listening to a gentle fish eagle call from way back in a deep red and orange sunset over the water. That’s Malawi Gin – a soothing sunset, bottled.

20160402_181746

M.G.T. (Malawi Gin & Tonic), as it is fondly known, has become something of a cult amongst holidaymakers and travellers who have ventured over to the warm heart of Africa. You need only check the forum boards on TripAdvisor and Lonely Planet and you will find travellers desperately seeking a bottle once they returned to the UK. Well great news, travellers – Malawi Gin is finally available here in the UK (see end of post for where to buy)!

Established in 1965, Malawi Gin is a firm favourite not just with travellers, but with most gin lovers in Africa and it’s easy to see why – it’s a soft, gentle gin with a classic profile that has become all too forgotten lately with the prolific and wild botanicals that are awash through the gin industry right now. It’s polite and very easy to drink. Subtle notes pushing through a very silky gin indeed.

The packaging will have hipsters delighted – there’s a quaint 70s vibe I really like about it and it’s nice to see a gin that isn’t bamboozling with design and print finishes for a change. It’s true to its original look and hasn’t changed in 40 years or so.

This is indeed a dry gin, but it’s got some really lovely sweet and fruity notes that shine through.

Having grown up in Malawi, it would be fair to say that this gin has a special place in my heart and I am absolutely delighted it’s now available to buy here in the UK and I was very excited to share this delightful gin with our members.

THE TASTING

#1:      ON THE NOSE

Honey, juniper, citrus and fresh cut grass with a surprising undertone of coconut.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

Predominantly juniper and black pepper which make way for softer, sweeter notes of toffee, candied lemon peel and fresh mango.

#3       THE FINISH

Silky hints of chocolate and orange sherbet.

If you’ve tried Malawi Gin, tell us what you thought on Twitter @the_gin_club.

20160402_18180120160402_181908

The Perfect Serve:

We tried it in a classic G&T with a mango garnish. The gin is so gentle it disappears a bit with tonic, so we also tried it as a Gin Rickey (soda and fresh lime) and this really worked well too.

 

Price:             ±£35, depending where you buy it from.

ABV:              43%

Our rating:     7/10

 

Where to Buy It in the UK:

Africanos World, £33

The Gin Festival Shop, £38

Amazon, £41.95

Standard
Uncategorized

Tonic is the new Gin

We all know that we are living through another Gin renaissance. In recent years a mirriad of small batch and craft Gin producers have been jostling for position, trying to stand out in an increasingly Gin-soaked market by playing on the subtleties of their botanicals and ingredients. Global Gin consumption is definitely on the rise, but what of that other ingredient in the most popular of Gin imbibes, Tonic Water?

Tonic water originated in early 19th Century India and other tropical outposts, where British officials stationed in these places started mixing Quinine powder, an insanely bitter extract from the bark of the cinchona tree and used as a preventative for Malaria, with soda water and sugar to make it more palatable.

Picture courtest

Cinchona bark – Courtesy of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

For many years the standard Schweppes and Canada Dry brands of Tonic were the mainstay of G&Ts the world over, providing a fairly homogeneous, less bitter, sweet syrupy tasting tonic with far reduced amounts of quinine. In the US the FDA limits the amount of quinine used in Tonic waters to 83mg/litre, whilst any effective therapeutic dose is in the range of 500-1000mg/litre, so a partaking in a cheeky G&T in the tropics is not going to stop you getting malaria any more!

SchweppesAd1Canada DryIn recent years we have seen some premium tonics enter the marketplace, the likes of Tomr’s tonic, Fever Tree, and Q Tonic have made an emphasis on using real quinine and natural ingredients, as opposed to flavorings and corn syrup.
And most recently craft tonic syrups have started to appear from Tomr’s, Jack Rudy Cocktail Co and Johns Premium Tonic Syrup. This is coupled with the increase in cocktail bars mixing their own tonics and adding their own craft flavours.

Fever Tree, setup in 2004 by Charles Rolls, the former owner of Plymouth Gin, was driven by “…the fact that with the tonics available on the market at that time, it was difficult to tell the difference between different premium gins.” says Rolls, something that this Gin Club has found consistently with blind taste tests. We even find that with some Gins, even Fevertree itself has a tendency to drown out some subtle flavours.

This is less so with the Tonic Syrups and hand crafted tonics, where moderating the ratio of tonic syrup to soda, to bring out or emphasise the subtle flavours in the gin, can dramatically change the overall flavour of the drink.

So far this Gin Club has only been able to smuggle in Jack Rudy’s Tonic syrup for review, but will be bringing in samples of Tomr’s and Johns Premium for a side by side taste test in laboratory conditions in the near future, but initial tastings of these stateside have proved to be promising and we are excited to bring these into regular club circulation.  If you can’t wait for that, then you should take a look at these excellent tonic reviews from The Gin Is In Blog.

As Tomr’s says “Life’s too short to drink a crappy tonic”

Standard
How To Guides, Uncategorized

How to: Making cocktails with Jam Jar Gin

We need to tell you more about a bloody marvellous gin –Yerburgh’s JAM JAR GIN. It hasn’t even come on the market yet, but we were lucky enough to try Botanical No. 1 last weekend. Read our earlier post from the naked gin tasting here.

IMG_8267

The whole philosophy behind Jam Jar Gin is one of experimentation. Borne out of experiments made in their home using ingredients found in their Victorian kitchen garden like raspberry leaves, Founders Dan & Faye Thwaites positively encourage you to try something different whether you are a mixologist or not – it makes for a welcomed attitude in the world of craft gins.

So what does Botanical No. 1 taste like? Well, call us crazy… but you know that first day of Spring in London? The one where you step outside and it just SMELLS different? If you could bottle that, it would taste like this gin! All Magnolia breeze, fresh fruits and cut grass… delicious! So we thought we’d try something full of fresh flavour, but the rules were to only use ingredients we had in the fridge and cupboard. We made two cocktails and we served them, appropriately, in jam jars!

Jam Fine

IMG_8246

You’ll need…

  • 5cl serve of Jam Jar Gin Botanical No. 1
  • 2-3 handfuls of frozen raspberries
  • Teaspoon of seedless bramble jam
  • 50ml Sugar water
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime
  • A few drops of rosewater
  • Sprinkle of sherbet

How to make it….

  1. Boil the kettle and pour 50ml over some fresh mint leaves. Leave to steep for 3 minutes & then strain.
  2. Add 3 heaped spoons of sugar to the mint water and stir until dissolved. Place in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
  3. Place the frozen raspberries, a few drops of rose water, juice of half a lime and the cold mint sugar water in a blender. Or wait a few minutes (the berries will soon thaw) and crush them in a shaker. Muddle well.
  4. Place the teaspoon of bramble jam on the bottom of the jar and roughly spread. Pour your serve of gin over the jam and stir well.
  5. Spoon the frozen berry mixture into the jam jar right to the brim, lightly stir.
  6. Add a few blueberries to decorate, a fresh slice of lime and fresh mint. Sprinkle a few pinches of sherbet on the top.

Earl-y MarmeJamJam

IMG_8258

You’ll need…

The cocktail

  • 5cl serve of Jam Jar Gin Botanical No. 1
  • 1 tablespoon of marmalade
  • 100ml of cold steeped Earl Grey tea
  • 50ml Sugar water
  • 1 clementine

Garnish

  • 1 dehydrated clementine slice
  • Ice shards
  • Candied orange peel (shop bought is fine and is what we had in the cupboard)

How to make it….

  1. Pour 100ml cold water over some loose Earl Grey and allow to steep for an hour (cold steeping stops the liquid turning cloudy and produces a less bitter flavour – the truth is, it will go cloudy when you add the marmalade and the clementine juice, but the flavour is better)
  2. Hand squeeze and strain one clementine – this won’t produce a lot of juice, that’s ok. You just want the flavour. Mix with sugar water and the marmalade and stir till the marmalade dissolves. If you’re using a rough cut marmalade, strain once more. Place this mixture in the fridge or freezer so it get’s really cold!
  3. Once your tea is steeped, mix with the liquid you have had chilling in the freezer and your Jam Jar Botanical No. 1 gin – stir thoroughly.
  4. Pour into jam jar and garnish with a candied orange peel or dehydrated clementine slice and an ice shard.

And there you have it! Two delicious cocktails! We really encourage you to pop over and support the good folks at Jam Jar Gin on their crowd-finding page – help us get them on our shelves as soon as possible!

Tweet us if you give the cocktails a go too!

 

 

 

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Oh so sloe-ly: how to make sloe gin.

There is little more satisfying than sitting fireside in December and pouring a rich, fruity, sweet, sloe gin made by your own fair hands. Sloe gin is easy and enjoyable to make, makes great gifts for friends and family and quintessentially English.

You need to start making sloe gin at least 2 months before Christmas, so now is the perfect time to get started. The heavy rains and drop in temperature this year means that there is a healthy slug of sloes about in Surrey and I enjoy nothing more than foraging the hedgerows near my home to find these glorious berries. This weekend I went out with official Gin Club mascot, Charlie Noodle dog, to hunt out some sloes and we came home very happy with a solid crop.

unnamed

unnamed (3)

What if you can’t find any sloe’s near you? Easy. Pop onto ebay and a lovely kind farmer will send them to you! If you live near London, try using The Fruit Map (although bear in mind most foragers don’t like sharing where the top spots are!).

It’s so simple… Rinse your sloes well, score or freeze the sloes to break the skin and add them to a glass bottle or jar. They should be added until almost half full. Top up with gin. Taste before bottling and add a simple sugar syrup to taste.

unnamed (7)     unnamed (8)

unnamed (6)     unnamed (4)

The recipe

  • Ripe sloe berries (enough to fill 1/3 – 1/2 of the bottle you are making the sloe gin in)
  • A good quality gin
  • Sugar (I use muscovado sugar as I prefer the flavour – the above shows my two types of sloe gin – the one on the left has sugar, the one on the right has none as I will sweeten that one to taste)

Added extra: A vanilla pod or a crushed, raw almond.

Method:

  • Score sloes and add to bottle or Kilner lock top jar – fill 1/3 the way up (warning: sometimes using tapered neck bottles can be a pain as getting the sloes out can be painful, but it’s up to you)
  • Add vanilla pod & almond
  • Add sugar (now, two schools of thought here – some add sugar upfront, some prefer to add it at the end, to taste. If it’s your first time, try both methods and see which you prefer).
  • Pour gin in to the top – fill as high as you can
  • Leave for at least 2 months out of direct sunlight, turning the jar every couple of days
  • Bottle just before Xmas (Read our guide to filtering and bottling your sloe gin here)

Here are 3 top tips to really make a good sloe gin:

1. Ripe Sloe’s

If when you press the sloe between your finger and thumb, it gives and feels like it might burst, it’s ripe. If you use unripened sloes, you will have a very bitter sloe gin on your hands.

2. Freeze or score the sloe’s

The sloes need to have their skin scored slightly to let the gin in and the flavour out. There are a few ways of doing this, but by far the best is to freeze the sloes overnight so the skin bursts. This replicates the first autumn freeze if it hasn’t been yet.

Some prefer to prick the skin with a clean pin or, as legend would have you believe, it should be done with a thorn from the same bush you collected the sloes from. Some score the skin gently with a knife – but be careful – fingers are vulnerable!

3. Use a good gin

It doesn’t have to be a craft, boutique, top shelf gin, but it really shouldn’t be a supermarket own name brand. Sloe’s are wonderful things, but they can’t disguise poor quality gin. The better the gin you start with, the better your sloe gin, of course. We used Bombay London dry here, which was just fine, but do try a bottle of two of top shelf gin once you get more experienced!

And that’s it. Enjoy making your sloe gin! For those who don’t feel like making their own, my favourite is Sipsmith Sloe Gin.

Standard