Berkeley Square Gin (40% ABV) is posh. Posh namesake, posh brand-positioning, posh bottle. Heck, even the miniatures are posh.
Berkeley Square calls itself a ‘timeless’ gin; “the single malt of the gin world”, with roots in the 1700s. It’s hand-crafted at the oldest distillery in England, and is a triple distilled spirit, infused with eight botanicals including sage, basil and Kaffir lime leaves.
The result is a well-balanced, herbaceous spirit with sweet notes and a peppery kick. The Berkeley Square signature serve is a Martini, garnished with a Kaffir lime leaf. While it does make a wonderful Martini – with enough flavour coming through even when the spirit is chilled on ice – I prefer a twist of lemon as a garnish. The zesty citrus peel cuts through the sweetness of the gin. It’s personal preference, of course, but the sweetness for me is almost too heady. I like my Martinis clean, pure and strong, and this ticks all the boxes.
Gin Foundry are at it again. The home of ace infographics, hosts of Junipalooza and all round gin geniuses have come up trumps with a nifty little bit of kit called the Martini Forecaster.
Can’t decide what kind of Martini to order? Well worry no more, folks!
It’s silly, sure, but charming all the same. Download yours here.
Christmas, for me, means Champagne. The immaculate conception and birth of baby Jesus miracle thing aside, it’s the best thing about the festive season. Couple that with gin, and you’ll find me in a happy drunken haze from somewhere around mid-December until the 1st January.
These gin and fizz cocktails are sure to please fans of either.
The French 75
A true classic, which first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. Put 2 measures of gin in a champagne flute, add a measure of lemon juice, half a measure of sugar syrup (make your own, it’s easy), and top with champagne.
The Millionaire’s Martini
What can possibly improve a Martini? Champers, duh. Combine 2 measures of gin and 2 measures of Vermouth in a glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a Martini glass. Top with champagne.
A different take on the Kir Royale. Put 2 measures of sloe gin into a flute and top with champagne for a festive treat.
Langley’s No.8 (41.7%) is an English grain spirit made with a blend of eight secret botanicals.
One could be forgiven for assuming that the drink gets its name from these eight botanicals – in fact, the number refers to the batch that was deemed the best during tasting and consumer research when the product was in development.
A well-balanced flavour with sweet, aromatic notes is bold, punchy and has a rich, spicy dryness. Works wonderfully in a martini, and tastes just as good in a G&T (try it with juniper berries as a garnish).
But don’t take my word for it, pop along to Langley’s Yard above the Crown & Shuttle pub in Shoreditch, where you can try one of their signature cocktails.
The COLD Bar, situated just off Fleet Street and boasting over 200 gins, is yet another one of those speak-easy style cocktail bars which has been popping up around the capital for the past couple of years. Candles? Check. Quirky décor and antiques? Check. Impeccably dressed barmen? Check.
Don’t get me wrong, I like all of those things, but there are plenty of other places that fit the bill. But there’s a little extra something which sets the COLD bar apart; the massive fuck-off copper working still in the middle of the room.
We sat at the bar, mainly to admire the number of gin bottles on the back bar, but also to watch the barmen at work. I tried their signature Martini, complete with grapefruit peel, which was strong, warming and delicious. Highly recommended. For an exceptional choice of gins (although their own-brand is worth a try, too) in the square mile, look no further.
Does The Alchemist make the world’s best Martini? Well, no, probably not. The drink I had wasn’t even called a Martini, for a start, but it was – and I don’t say this lightly – abso-bloody-lutely delicious.
Famed for it’s clever cocktail making and fancy techniques (it’s amazing how thrilled one can be by the novelty factor of dry ice in a drink, don’tcha know?), The Alchemist is a gimmicky cocktail bar. Fun and different, sure, but it’s built a reputation on magic and glamour. I decided to shun the fancy stuff and go for something simple when we visited the London branch of The Alchemist recently.
Something fancy with dry ice and Chambord
The White Martinez is a heady blend of Hayman’s Old Tom (40%), stirred with lemon bitters, Gancia Bianco Vermouth, and garnished with lemon peel. Delicate citrus flavours lifted the sweetness of the gin and created something pretty special. Given half the chance, I’d have guzzled 12. Highly recommended for something a little lighter on the palette than a regular dry gin Martini with a twist.