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.

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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

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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

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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!

 

 

 

 

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Gin review, Naked Tasting

Gin tasting: Jam Jar Gin, Botanical No. 1

Hand’s up if you’ve heard of Yerburgh’s JAM JAR GIN? No? We hadn’t either. Jam Jar Gin is a new gin that hasn’t even made it to market yet, but this evening they made their crowd-funding target just 3 days after it went live. You can imagine how chuffed we were here at The Gin Club to get some samples of their first born to try! We tried Botanical No. 1 and can confirm it really does the Founders, Dan and Faye Thwaites, proud.

Yup, you guessed right - bottled in Jam Jars!

Yup, you guessed right – bottled in Jam Jars!

This is a delightful London Dry with a divine story – you can read it on their website. Delivered in miniature jam jars, the samples just looked the business. The real deal is of course going to be bottled in large jam jars – they’ve even invented a pourer for those wishing to be more accurate on their serves. This gin is going to really stand out on shelves. It doesn’t just look good – it tastes fantastic.

Inspired by ingredients found in their Victorian kitchen garden, Dan & Faye have created a truly British gin. Carefully selected botanicals, like raspberry leaf, give the gin a clean, citrusy & uplifting fragrance. On the palette, a rounded, peppery sweet taste with a long, creamy finish. Dan says of the botanicals, “They’re all inspired by the original experiments we did in our garden. To get the volume and quality, we select them from the best sources to make a flavour that we love.” Watch this space! They plan to build a distillery in their garden, right at the source of inspiration!

Their recommendation is to freeze the gin before serving; we tried it both frozen and room temperature – both work. (If you want some top tips for nosing & tasting gin like a pro, read this earlier post).

Quite simply, this gin is bloody marvellous. We were so inspired by the profile of Botanical No. 1 during the neat tasting that we immediately experimented with ingredients in the cupboard. And do you know what? It worked! Here’s what we came up with:

  1. ‘Jam Fine’ – blended frozen raspberries, organic bramble jam, mint, lime & Botanical No. 1 served with lime, fresh mint and a sprinkle of sherbet on the top.
  2. ‘Earl-y Marmejamjam’ – cold steeped Earl Grey tea, marmalade, candied orange peel, soda & Botanical No. 1 served with dehydrated clementine slice and ice shards. A breakfast gin if ever there was one! (Drink responsibly folks…)

We’ll post the recipes tomorrow – you’ll just have to wait!!

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Our experiments: ‘Jam Fine’ and ‘Earl-y Marmejamjam’ cocktails made with nothing more than what we found in the cupboard.

As it goes, we enjoyed this gin so much we had to go and support these determined GINdependants as soon as we tasted it and buy a bottle. They’ve already hit their target, but take a look at their crowd-funding page here and support them – that way we won’t have to wait long to get Jam Jar Gin in more G&T’s. Hoorah! *Makes room on the shelf for Jam Jar Gin*. Dan told us, “We’ve got big dreams for our lovely gin but the drinks business can be pretty tough, so we need to get as much of a head-start as we can. With some very generous backing, we’ve already hit our minimum target. We’re keen to keep going to see if we can get a jar of our lovely gin on as many shelves as possible!”

The official Gin Club Review

#1:      ON THE NOSE

If you could bottle the first day of spring in London… you know, that day when you can just SMELL it and everything feels GOOD? That’s this gin! Floral, freshly cut grass, lime zest and gooseberry.

#2:      ON THE PALETTE

 So much… just… so much! Gentle pink peppercorns come through at first which make way for a fleeting burst of bitter dark chocolate and orange peel. Surprising, to say the least.

#3       THE FINISH

Boiled sweets that remind you of younger days on Brighton beach, warming custard and blackberry crumble too.

The Perfect Serve

Here’s the best bit… there isn’t one! This is a gentle gin that can play with lots of flavours. The whole philosophy behind Jam Jar Gin is to hold a space in the world of cocktails for those of us who aren’t necessarily professional mixologists, but who enjoy experimenting.

“The perfect garnish? We’re simple souls, we like frozen fruit! We have a lot of produce from the garden, but more often than not it all comes at once. So we often end up bunging some in the freezer. One time, when I was making some drinks, we had run out of ice, so I just grabbed what was to hand – some frozen blackcurrants. Not only did they cool the drink beautifully, but they slowly infused the mixture.” – another top tip from Dan. We love this!

Rating: 9/10

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How To Guides

How to taste gin like a pro: the slimline version

Let’s face it – once you get off the nursery slopes and start feeling the fresh botanical winds of craft gins off-piste, it’s time to learn a few specialist techniques to hone your skills and improve the ride. Here are some top tips for nosing & tasting the “black run gins” in your life.

P.S. This is the slimline guide for busy people. You can find the full fat version with more detail here.

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#1: PREPARATION

Glassware
Get your hands on a tulip shaped copita glass, or a Glencairn nosing & tasting glass. The shape of these glasses ensures that the aroma of the gin you are tasting is concentrated. You can buy them from WineWare.

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Room temperature
To get the most out of your gin, you want to serve the gin room temperature (21-23 degrees C).

Bare, naked gin
No ice, no tonic, no garnish – not for nosing and tasting. Do however, have a little bit of water nearby.

#2: NOSING

The first nosing – in the glass
Get your nose right into the tulip of the glass. Take a slow, very gentle sniff. What are your initial impressions here? Sharp? Fresh? Spicey? Sweet? Make a note.

The second nosing – on your hands
Here’s a top tip I learned from Matthew Ferguson for nosing spirits to remove some of the alcohol:

#3 TASTING

The first tasting – neat

  • Hold the gin on your tongue for a moment – take note of what you get.
  • Move it around your mouth – what changes, what else do you get?
  • Swallow – what’s in the finish? Do new flavours arise on the pallet?

The second tasting – with water
Adding water will takes the sharp edge off the alcohol and saucily unbuttons layers of botanicals and flavours in your gin. Easy does it mind, drop by drop.

#4: ASSESMENT & GRADUATION

If you’ve enjoyed it and the gin has passed, graduate to a full serve G&T with complimentary garnish or serve as your favourite gin cocktail. I really like this handy guide from the Craft Gin Club – they asked Distillers directly what the best garnish was for their gin.

And there you have it. Now you know how to nose & taste gin like a pro!

What now?

Want more detail? Try the full fat version of this blog post, here.

Tell us what you think in the comments below or tweet us. If you’re doing a tasting, share a pic on instagram and tag us (@theginclub).

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How To Guides

How to taste gin like a pro – the full fat version

Let’s face it – once you get off the nursery slopes and start feeling the fresh botanical winds of craft gins off-piste, it’s time to learn a few specialist techniques to hone your skills and improve the ride. Here are some top tips for nosing & tasting the “black run gins” in your life.

P.S. This is the full fat guide. You can find the slimline version here.

BLOG - GC - N&T_notes

#1: PREPARATION

Cleansed palette
Simple: don’t nose and taste directly after eating strong flavoured foods (garlic, onions, spices etc) and avoid having chewing gum in your mouth.

Cold, weak coffee and a sniff of coffee beans can help to cleanse the palette, for the really pernickety amongst you.

Glassware
You’re going to want to put your highball and tumbler glasses to one side and get your hands on a tulip shaped copita glass, or a Glencairn nosing & tasting glass. The shape of these glasses ensures that the aroma of the gin you are tasting is concentrated up into the thinnest curve of the glass, allowing you to really explore the aroma of the gin.

Personally, I like the stemmed copita glass only because the stem allows you to swirl the gin a little more easily than a Glencairn (more traditionally used for whisky tasting). They are elegant to look at too. You can buy them from WineWare.

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Room temperature
Temperature affects the aromas and flavours you will experience when nosing and tasting your gin. To get the most out of your gin, you want to serve the gin room temperature (21-23 degrees C). If the gin has been in a cold corner of the kitchen, consider placing it on the radiator for a bit. If the gin has been on a warm back bar or some such, perhaps leave it to cool down to room temperature first.

Bare, naked gin
No ice, no tonic, no garnish. Not to start with anyway. Tonic and garnishes are designed to enhance the flavours in the gin – you want to see, smell and taste this gin in it’s birthday suit to start.

Do however, have a little bit of water near by – best to have it in a mini jug. You’ll need it in a minute.

#2: NOSING

The first nosing – in the glass
Get that coppita up, stare that gin right in the chops and get your nose right into the tulip of the glass. Take a slow, very gentle sniff. You’re nosing the gin undiluted, so it’s going to pack a powerful alcohol punch (good for clearing the airways) which for most, reveals little more than overwhelming ethol alcohol. That’s OK, your nose and palette will acclimatise.

What are your initial impressions here? Sharp? Fresh? Spicey? Sweet? Make a note.

The second nosing – on your hands
Yup, that’s right. Your hands! We want to try and nose a second time, but to remove some of the punchy alcohol from the experience. Here’s a top tip I learned from Matthew Ferguson for nosing spirits:

  • Place your hand on top of the nosing glass, turn the glass upside down and allow the gin to wet your palm.
  • Turn the glass back up the right way and remove your hand.
  • Wipe your palms (don’t rub) together to remove the strong alcohol and bring them, cupped, to your nose.
  • Take a deep whiff.

Here’s a quick video on how:

How lovely is THAT? Now what do you get? Different to the first nose? Do you get more? Take note.

#3 TASTING

The first tasting – neat
Finally! The GOOD stuff! We are going to take a small sip of the gin, neat. It’s room temperature; we’ve prepared our palette and nose…. We’re cooking with gas now.

  • Hold the gin on your tongue for a moment – take note of what you get.
  • Move it around your mouth – what changes, what else do you get?
  • Swallow – what’s in the finish? Do new flavours arise on the pallet?

IMPORTANT NOTE: Proceed with caution on the first tasting… if you’re used to only tasting gin with the influence of tonic or mixers, you will likely find neat gin an unpleasant experience. The more refined your palette becomes, the more you’ll be able to decipher profiles neat, but if it’s your first time, perhaps skip straight to the second tasting below and add water.

The second tasting – with water
Distiller’s often take a spirit down to 30% ABV with a bit of water. Most gins are bottled at around 40% ABV (unless your drinking a navy strength gin which will be around 50% ABV), but benefit from being taken down to sometimes even 20%. Adding water will takes the sharp edge off the alcohol and saucily unbuttons layers of botanicals and flavours in your gin. Easy does it mind, drop by drop. Try the gin with tiny sips a few times, adding a drop or two more as you go. Notice if that changes anything.

#4: ASSESMENT & GRADUATION
Hopefully you’ve been jotting down a few tasting notes on a piece of paper for your gin as you’ve been going, but now is the time to asses and form your opinion on the gin.

If you’ve enjoyed it and the gin has passed, graduate to a full serve G&T with complimentary garnish or serve as your favourite gin cocktail. I really like this handy guide from the Craft Gin Club – they asked Distillers directly what the best garnish was for their gin.

And there you have it. Now you know how to nose & taste gin like a pro. May the junipers be ever in your favour.

Tell us what you think in the comments below or tweet us. If you’re doing a tasting, share a pic on instagram and tag us (@theginclub).

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Gin Joints

Drink here: The Viaduct Tavern, EC1

As the last Victorian Gin Palace standing in London,we couldn’t resist investigating and imbibing the gins on offer at The Viaduct Tavern. Located near St. Paul’s, in the heart of the City, this glorious pub is perfectly placed for an after-work or lunchtime gin.
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Image copyright to The Viaduct Tavern (kindly borrowed from their website)

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Image copyright to The Viaduct Tavern (kindly borrowed from their website)

With a range of craft gins available at the bar, served in delicate coppa glasses with exquisitely chosen garnishes and hand chipped ice that disappears in your drink, Fever Tree tonic… Well, there is little more a gin-lover can ask for of a gin joint.
The venue itself is steeped in history – formerly a jail, the historic pub still has five cells in the basement (so no fighting over the gin, then!). With original features throughout including scalloped chandeliers, ruby red relief ceilings and rich, copper tables – it lives up to its “gin palace” status without a sniff of pretentiousness.
The ambiance is laid back and intimate – the absence of pop music and bright lights making it a refined choice for a meet-up with old friends, colleagues or a relaxed date.
A handy booklet/ menu takes you through a gin flavour wheel, signature serves and the tasting menus – comprehensively compiled, but far less engaging than the wonderful bar staff who are ready with well informed, polite suggestions, when asked.
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Monkey47 and lemon twist. Image copyright The Gin Club.

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Hoxton gin with red grapefruit. Image copyright The Gin Club.

Alongside the house GinFusion, which was No. 3 infused with apple and pear, we also enjoyed several fantastic gins,
including:
  • Martin Miller’s
  • Chase Williams
  • Hoxton
  • Bath Tub Navy Strength
  • Monkey47
  • Hayman’s Old Tom
  • Gin Mare
  • Bloom
  • No. 3
  • Distillery 209
…as well as all the usual gin suspects and other spirits and alcohol for any in the party not drinking Gods good nectar.
The favourite of the night was difficult to choose (so many of our favourites were on the menu!) however the Martin Miller‘s garnished with coriander and cherry tomato made for a refreshing serve, whilst the Hoxton served with red grapefruit was suprising – our first try of the coconut and perfumed aromas and flavours in this unusual gin.
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Left to right: Bloom & Strawberry, Old Tom & pear, Gin Mare with basil & tomato, Chase Williams with pear.

The only crying shame of it all was last orders around were at 11pm when the bar became noticeably empty – the giant ice block had disappeared, the homemade ginfusion drunk and a fresh batch prepared for the next day.
All in all, we loved The Viaduct Tavern and look forward to our next visit. Highly recommended, 4 junipers out of 5!
If you’ve been, we’d love to hear what you thought – tweet us.
Follow The Viaduct Tavern on Twitter.
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