Tasting notes

Pickering’s Gin Review

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.


ICYMI: World Gin Day – the best Gins from around the globe

Here’s a little something I wrote for on travelling the world in gin for World Gin Day:

London Dry Gin is having somewhat of a renaissance in its namesake country. The g-industry is worth £1.76bn to the UK economy, and the Brits are the biggest exporters of Gin in the world, selling enough to make 1.6bn G&Ts a year 

Read the whole thing here.


Double Dutch drinks at Aubaine

Double Dutch Drinks, founded by Dutch twins Joyce & Raissa, create spirit mixers using all-natural ingredients with unusual flavour combinations. The brand, which is very much in its infancy, currently has two drinks to its name: Pomegranate + Basil, and Cucumber + Watermelon.

Franco Dutch

Despite being on the scene for less than a year, Double Dutch drinks are currently stocked in Harvey Nichols, Fortnum and Mason, and a whole host of other retailers and bars.

I was lucky enough to meet the twins recently, who disclosed that they’re working on a Christmas drink with chilli and cardamom, which I can’t wait to try!

But for now, you can try their existing range in cocktails at Aubaine restaurants, including the super refreshing Franco Dutch (or make it yourself with the recipe below).

50ml Diplome Gin
150ml Double Dutch pomegranate and basil tonic
2 Basil Leaves
5ml Grenadine
10ml Vanilla syrup
10ml Lime juice
1/8th fresh pomegranate

Basil top
Pomegranate wedge

In a high ball glass muddle the Grenadine and basil lightly. Fill the glass with cubed ice, then add the Diplome, lime juice, and seeds from the pomegranate.

Top up with Double Dutch pomegranate and basil tonic and garnish with a sprig of basil and wedge of pomegranate.

Follow Double Dutch on Instagram or Twitter.

Cocktails Events

London Cocktail Week roundup: top picks

London Cocktail Week, run by DrinkUp.London, takes place from 5 – 11 October 2015.

Here are my top picks for the things you mustn’t miss.


The Tanqueray Art Deco Bar

If this is anything like last year’s pop-up, it’ll be a cracking place to sit back, enjoy a brilliant G&T or fancy LCW cocktail, and soak up the atmosphere. This year, it’s situated in the World Class London Cocktail Week Hub in the heart of Soho.

Gin Mare and Oysters

Gin Mare team up with the Wright Brothers of Spitalfields for an evening masterclass of gin and oyster pairings. True decadence, and you’re right next to the Spitalfields LCW hub, so check out the goings on there afterwards. Tickets include 4 cocktails and 6 oysters.


East Meets West

Expert Bartender Jackie Lo, from Shanghai, explores an oriental take on Dodd’s Gin, which is lovingly crafted in Battersea. Ticket price includes cocktails, distillery open house, and a copy of Ian Buxton’s book 101 Gins to Try Before You Die. Tickets available here.

Literature & Liquor

Head to Mussel Men on Kingsland Road on Saturday for the second Oyster & Gin thing we’re loving this week. Be entertained with the literature of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Ian Fleming, Dickens and more, coupled with 4 Edinburgh Gin cocktails, and an Edinburgh Gin Oyster Garden. Fancy.

New London Craft Gins

A session with author of 101 Gins To Try Before You Buy, Ian Buxton, and the lovely team from Merchant House. Ticket includes a cocktail and a copy of Ian’s book. The only way to spend your Tuesday lunchtime.

Cocktails Ginspiration

Gin Hot Toddy Recipe

Cold and flu season has struck. If you’re anything like me – wincing while gulping down a Lemsip and subsisting on now flavourless soup – you’ll be super grateful for this juniper-based take on the traditional Hot Toddy.

Photo: Johanna Kollman CCL
Photo: Johanna Kollman CCL

Juice half an orange into a mug. Add a teaspoon of honey, and a good slug of gin (Sipsmith works well, but anything with heavy juniper will work, too). Top with boiling water, bruise a couple of cardamom pods and add to the mix. Stir until the honey has dissolved, remove the cardamom pods, and enjoy.

If a couple of these don’t help your cold, you’ll at least be half cut and won’t care about your snotty nose anymore. Yay!


Avoid the tube strike with a pub crawl (duh)

We all know the tube strike is the pits. Avoid the hellish gridlock, taxi queues and aggro fellow commuters on the bus by pub crawling your way home, instead. It’s Thirsty Thursday after all, right?

Kudos to The Evening Standard for this nifty interactive map, which plots the best* pubs on all the tube routes (other than the Waterloo & City, obvs)

*according to them. Actually, some of these are pretty spot on. Although ‘The Bow Bells’ is in Bow, not Stratford. Perhaps they couldn’t bring themselves to direct anyone to Westfield.