Five essential Gins every home bar needs

Ginspiration, Perfect serve

I wrote something a little while ago for Flaviar.com about the five Gins that every Gin fan should have at home (spoiler: yes you need an Old Tom). Obviously, it’s virtually impossible to pick just five Gin brands, so instead I picked out styles.

I’m thinking about following it up with something on the kit essentials for every home bar (glassware, jiggers, shakers, etc)., as well as all the other bits you need to make the best classic Gin cocktails. Watch this space…

Read the full thing here.

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Manchester Three Rivers Gin Review

Tasting notes

Manchester Three Rivers Gin is solid. It’s juniper heavy on the nose, has a smooth sweetness mid palette, and then a big, peppery kick to finish.

I first got my hands on a bottle of this stuff late last year, but the City of Manchester Distillery, where it’s made, has been open a little longer. As a Northern girl, I’m instantly drawn to anything from my home land, but being London-based makes it tricky. So I’d been looking out for this brand since I first heard of it.

Named after the three rivers which played an important role in turning the city from rural countryside to thriving metropolis, Manchester Three Rivers Gin took three years to make. The distillery was built, the copper still commissioned, licenses granted (as the first distillery in the city centre), and the recipe created.

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Master Distiller Dave Rigby, as a former bar owner and aficionado of wine, had a clear idea of what he wanted to create; something which was light on citrus and had a creamy mouth-feel. Oats certainly give that quality, and along with almond and vanilla, make up a sweetness. Other botanicals include cardamom, cinnamon, juniper, orris, coriander, orange peel and black pepper.

I tried it with Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water, which is a solid pairing. My first inclination was to garnish with lemon, but actually I think embracing the sweetness with a cinnamon stick or even star anise would lift the flavour.

I’m a big fan of citrus-heavy gins, and was a little disappointed when I first tried this. I really want to love this gin. The bottle would look great in any home bar (or back bar, come to that), and the brand’s got a cool story. My Northern heart wants it to be the best gin in the world, but it ain’t. I was disappointed that I didn’t instantly love it, but as my other half pointed out, I didn’t hate it either. In fact, I didn’t even dislike it. I *like* this gin. It’s a solid, versatile gin which will work well in G&Ts and cocktails alike.

It’s not setting my world on fire, but that’s no bad thing. Sometimes you just need a gin which will do the job and taste good. An every day, dependable gin, which doesn’t need to be a show-off.

One Gin Review – A Gin to make a Difference

Tasting notes

One Drinks, the UK’s leading ethical drinks company, has so far raised over £15 million for clean water projects in developing countries, through sales of its bottled water and soft drinks. This year, they branched into the alcohol market and launched One Gin.

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Made at the Blackdown Distillery in Sussex, One Gin is created through a two shot distillation method; the first is a London Dry style with 9 core botanicals (juniper, nutmeg, cassia bark, angelica, coriander seed, lemon, liquorice, orris root and orange), and the second stage sees the addition of a quintessentially British signature botanical – in this case sage, which is locally foraged from the grounds surrounding the distillery.

The plan is to create a new iteration every year, with the signature botanical changing. A clever idea to ensure brand longevity, no doubt.

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This year’s One Gin is delicious; with heavy sage on the nose, it heroes the signature botanical straight from the start. It’s sweet to taste – almost almond-like, with a citrusy dry finish you’d expect from a London Dry Gin. I tried it with Peter Spanton Cardamom Tonic (as suggested), but it works equally well with Fever-Tree Premium Indian Tonic. Garnish with a slice of apple and a sage leaf to really bring it to life.

One Gin is exclusively available in World Duty Free (for now) so keep your eyes peeled when going on your summer jollies this year. Alternatively, you can pre-order a first-batch 70cl bottle, hand-signed, numbered and delivered to your door, by supporting the One Gin Crowdfunder until 9th May.

A gin to make a difference around the world.

Williams Chase Pink Grapefruit Gin

Tasting notes

As part of an article I recently wrote for Flaviar.com on the rising trend for flavoured gins, I spoke to several ginsmiths about why they thought the new styles were so popular (side note: you can read the whole thing here). One such maker was James Chase, Marketing Director at the Chase Distillery, whose Pink Grapefruit Gin (40% ABV) was the best-selling at Selfridge’s over the summer. Obviously I had to try it.

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The first thing to note about this delightful gin is its scent. If I could bottle it, I’d wear it like a perfume. No, better yet I’d bathe in it, I love it so much. From the moment the cork stopper came out of the bottle with that satisfying rounded pop sound, I was hooked. It’s citrus heavy (obviously), and almost floral. You’d be forgiven for assuming it was fresh grapefruits bottled inside; there’s a distinct lack of alcohol in the smell.

Tried neat, it’s so smooth on the palate, and warming in a way I wasn’t expecting for such a fresh scent. I had it with Fever Tree Indian Tonic Water, which only helped to heighten the grapefruit flavour. There’s a sweetness to the after taste which lingers, and no hint of bitterness like you get with the actual fruit.

So what to pair with this super thirst-quenching gin? Well part of me thinks adding grapefruit might be overkill (unless you want to add bitterness with the peel). If anything, I’d add a couple of juniper berries to heighten the scent and flavour (the juniper, the one thing that makes it a gin, is subtle, but then I’m a huge fan of punchy, juniper-heavy gins).

Williams Pink Grapefruit Gin is available to buy online for £38.

Eight things you never knew about Juniper

Ginspiration

Here’s an article I recently wrote for Flaviar.com about Juniper:

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Small, but perfectly formed, juniper berries are a necessity when making one of the world’s best-loved spirits, so why do we know so little about them? Here are eight things you probably never knew about juniper, no matter how many bottles of Gin you went through…

You can read the whole thing here.

Pickering’s Gin Review

Tasting notes

The lovely chaps at Pickering’s Gin recently offered to send me a special treat. Having never tried their stuff before, I was delighted, and soon enough arrived a very cute package featuring their original bottling, as well as Pickering’s Original 1947 release.

The hand-crafted, hand-bottled and hand-waxed miniatures beautifully reflect their larger originals. I tried the original (red top) first; a delightfully smooth gin with a refreshing aroma which gives way to a warming spiciness. Good nose, good flavour. Not too punchy, but with plenty of bite.

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Then came the Original 1947 Gin. It’s made to an exact recipe which was first written down in Bombay in 1947. It has the same clean aroma of the red top, but – boy oh boy – it’s something else. Stronger (in flavour, not ABV – both are 42%), spicier and sweeter than it’s brother, this is one for people who like intense gins with flavours of cardamom, coriander, clove and cinnamon. Despite its smooth sweetness, it manages to avoid that lingering saccharin flavour which can be so common in sweeter gins, and instead is very refreshing.

Made at the Summerhall Distillery (the first gin-only distillery to open in Edinburgh in over 150 years), the gin’s botanicals are simmered in a bain marie (as opposed to vapour infused) to coax out the flavours. Heck, if you’re in Edinburgh, you can go and see the magic happening for yourself.

On the very same day I first tried this, I went to Mr Fogg’s, a fabulous gin bar in Covent Garden, and sought out Pickering’s Gin again that very same night. More-ish it definitely is.