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.

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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!

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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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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.

BLOG - GC - N&T_glass

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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