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.

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.

Tasting notes

Anno Kent Dry Gin

I discovered this gem of a gin earlier this summer at Taste of London. Instantly drawn to a stunningly beautiful bottle design, I was pleased to learn that it tastes pretty darn good, too.


Made by Anno Distillers, the first micro-distillery in the county, Anno Kent Dry Gin (43% ABV) is the first gin to be made in Kent in over 200 years.

Crisp, citrusy and floral on the nose, there’s a classic Juniper flavour to start, with a long, hoppy, herbal finish.

With 16 botanicals, and many of them local, this gin is distinctive both in flavour, and in appearance. The thing that really stood out for me, though, was one botanical in particular; local samphire from Romney Marsh.

Kent Botanicals for mailing

It’s something I’d never seen before in a gin, and boy, does it work.

Pick up some and say you tried it first, because this stuff is going to be big.


Happy National Martini Day

I’ll be drinking mine at Taste of London this afternoon. Dry, with a twist. 


World Gin Day 2015

World Gin Day – a blatant excuse to drink lots and celebrate – falls this year on Saturday 13 June. Here are my top ways to celebrate in the capital.


Hosted by the chaps at Gin Foundry, Junipalooza is sure to be a fun-filled, gin-packed weekend, which sees 24 makers from across the world come together for tastings, masterclasses and Martinis. It’s a sure thing for every gin lover, and we couldn’t NOT include it in this list. See here for more info.

Update: This is a ticketed event which has now sold out. 

Merchant House Masterclass
The super knowledgeable people at Merchant House will take you through gin’s rich history, with four different gins to wash it down. Classes run at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Tickets are a snip at just £20. Book yours here.

Shake, Rattle and Stir’s Gin Voyage
Want to make your very own gin, on a boat, floating around London, sipping on cocktails? Of course you do. There are very limited spaces left for this one, which costs £70pp, and guests receive six cocktails and two samples of gin. Find out more and buy tickets here.

Go your own way
Keep it simple, and stock up on gin (Majestic Wines are doing free tastings all day on Saturday, so it’s the perfect excuse to try before you buy, FYI). Invite a few friends round, pour a few G&Ts, and sit back, relax, and revel in the majesty of gin. Cheers!

Cocktails Ginspiration

Gin-based drinks from across the pond

My lack of posts over the past few weeks can be attributed to having the time of my bloody life in America and Canada. Rather than writing about what I’m drinking, I’m just getting on with drinking it.

Having said that, following a night that, regrettably, I can barely remember at Employees Only in NYC (a bar I’d been wanting to visit for months), I thought it best to showcase a few particularly nice tipples I’ve had recently, while I can still recall them.

First up, Pink Gin Cider, discovered in a beer garden in San Francisco. Neither pink, nor made with gin, but delicious nonetheless. Chewy, flat, cloudy, sweet and dry – as all cider should be. Will certainly be seeking this out again. 

Second, Canada’s favourite; the Ceaser. A sort of Bloody Mary but made with Clemato juice (a smoother, lighter version of tomato juice which I’m pretty sure has something to do with clams. No, really). Traditionally made with vodka, but would work beautifully with a London Dry Gin.

Third, this little beauty. The Sacred Narrative, which can be found at Chill Winston, in Vancouver’s Gaslamp district, is a heady blend of gin, agave, rose water, pomegranate, cinnamon, cardamom and bitters. It’s sweet, dry, strong and complex and is my favourite cocktail of the trip to date.