A crafty glass bottle full of dark sloe gin with a shot glass next to it and surrounded by juniper berries

Slowly does it: why you can’t hurry a sloe gin

A short interview with our friends Hamish and Jenny Prentice, who’ve been harvesting sloe berries since they traded in the big smoke of London for the quiet beauty of the English countryside a decade or so ago. The couple now live in Wiltshire, in the gorgeous south of England and have been harvesting and bottling their homemade Sloe gin by hand ever since.

Every Christmas, Hamish and Jenny give me a gorgeous bottle of their beautiful, rich, warming, fruity, homemade liqueur as a present. I look forward to it for months. It’s so good that this year, I thought I’d ask them to share some of their sloe gin tips with the Barcelona Gin community.

This is what they told me:

How did you first discover the joy of homemade sloe gin?

Jenny and I have always been fond of food (and drink!). We delight in cooking adventurously using unusual, locally foraged ingredients. When we moved to the countryside drinks, jams and jellies were added to our repertoire. Sloe gin and Damson vodka quickly became our favourites.

What are sloe berries?

Sloe berries are actually the fruit of the Blackthorn bush. They are a deep blue/ purple colour and roughly the size of a large blueberry! When ripe for picking, they become soft on the outside and usually develop a pale bluish sheen on the outer skin. You can remove this by gently brushing your fingertip across the fruit to reveal the dark blue/black gloss below.

When is the best time to harvest your sloes?

Picking is normally late September through to late October. Traditionally the best time to pick was always “after the first frost”. That’s because the frost damages the skin & fruit pulp allowing the alcohol to get to the stone, which is where the real flavour can be found. We like to pick when they are starting to soften just a little and put the berries in the freezer, which has the same effect.

Some people also advocate pricking each berry multiple times with a pin. This allows the alcohol to reach the stone, but it is time consuming. We’ve tried both ways (freezing and picking) with the same crop and found absolutely no difference at all. We go for the freezing option.

What about foraging?

We always harvest our own fruit. That’s because the fun is in the forage. Picking is better enjoyed with friends and family before a good, long Sunday lunch. We’ve been really lucky over the last few years to find some good bushes which we “monitor” from the middle weeks of September.

What’s your favourite homemade sloe gin recipe and how do you make it?

All sloe gin is good! But somehow it tastes better if you make it yourself. The idiosyncratic flavour and unique profile that each different batch achieves is very satisfying. Over the years we’ve reduced the sugar of more traditional recipes as we prefer a slightly tarter taste

Sloe gin is not difficult to make. It can be as simple as adding some sloes and sugar to a suitably elegant bottle of gin. We only use three simple tools – a demi-john bottle with a stopper/bung (readily available), a funnel for pouring and a cloth or muslin sieve when ready for bottling!

What’s the best ratio for a good homemade sloe gin?

We use 1.5kg of sloes, add 2 ltr. of gin and 1kg of granulated sugar (avoid caster sugar, which can be too fine and cause the sugar to clog the base of the demi-john).

For our taste, the best recipe ratio is 33% sloes:45% gin: 22% sugar

However, you can increase/decrease the sugar according to your taste. We’ve tried & tested countless combinations over the years. We stir the mixture frequently at first then we just forget all about it. It’s probably drinkable after 4 to 6 months, but we choose to leave it for a year to really steep that gin with a real burst of fruit.

Method:

  • Enjoy the picking & remove as many leaves , twigs as you can when you get home (stalks are fine). Freeze and leave for at least 24 hours for when you have the time to make the sloe gin
  • Make sure your demi-john/ bung is clean. Soapy water, rinsed & dried has been fine for us – no need for ‘sterilizing’ 
  • Pop your frozen sloes into the demi-john. Add the gin then the sugar, bung and swirl 
  • Place in a dark cool place and swirl daily for the first week then weekly until all the sugar has dissolved. 
  • We tend to bottle after a year when we are foraging for the next crop but you can bottle after 6 months
  • Pour the demi-john contents through a sieve to catch the now shriveled berries  (compost them). Collect in a large bowl/pan. If you don’t sieve first the straining takes much longer
  • We use a wooden hooped cloth straining bag but you can use muslin tied onto legs of a stool. We use 2 chairs and a broom to hold the strainer – so be resourceful
  • The key thing is never be tempted to squeeze the bag or the gin will be cloudy – overnight  straining should be sufficient. You can move the cloth around a bit so that the gin finds a new area of clean cloth. It will strain through more quickly
  • The crystal dark sloe gin can now be bottled or put back into a clean dry demi-john stored somewhere cool & dark until you are ready to bottle

Bottling it

We use an attractive 200ml cork stoppered bottle. It’s ideal for enjoying with friends and family or giving as a gift! We would normally make between 30/40 bottles of sloe gin and damson vodka in any one year.

What’s the best way to drink sloe gin?

We think that sloe gin is best enjoyed neat in a shot or sipped from a small sherry glass after a good lunch or dinner. It is equally enjoyable as a Sloe “Royale” with bubbles! We have also mixed it into homemade ice cream, dribbled it over puddings and have friends who swear by adding homemade lemonade to a generous shot. It’s also a great addition to cocktail recipes.

Enjoy.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
A hand holding a raspberry

Whitley Neill Scottish Raspberry gin: a real gin, bursting with red fruit

If any of you saw my post on our Facebook page the other day, you might know that I’m on a bit of a Whitley Neill tasting drive. I like their gins anyway, but this little bottle was courtesy of a lovely birthday gift from my sister. Well, I broke out the Whitley Neill Scottish Raspberry gin (paid link)  just the other day and I am pleased to report that it was absolutely delicious. Much better than I had expected. 

So, let me tell you all about it.

Powerful, but not overpowering

I know that Whitley Neill flavoured gins are not to everyone’s taste, but I love them. I think they’re  great value and in the past, they’ve come up with some really creative and unusual combinations.

These include rhubarb and ginger (paid link) and one of my favourites from last year, their Lemongrass and Ginger gin. So, when I opened the bottle, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. What I got was a big blast of raspberry on the nose, which I found powerful, not overwhelming – a very seductive start.  This is a full-on gin , sweet (but not too sweet!)

When I poured it (long) into my brand new Silent Pool gin tumbler (paid link), I could really smell the raspberry.

Then I loaded the glass up with giant ice cubes and filled it to the top with some standard Nordic Tonic Water. Finally, I added a slice of orange and took a long deep sip.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Big burst of “raspberry-ness”

I got a full on hit of pure Scottish raspberry – but not the kind of raspberry taste you get from a Raspberry Ripple ice cream. It was the kind you get from freshly picked raspberries from a hedgerow. It was packed full of delicious raspberry-ness. It tasted of lush, slightly over-ripe fruit, but it also had a little edge of bitterness which stopped it becoming a “bubble gum” gin.

A big blast of flavour opens the account, with a tangy fruity burst that lingers in the mouth.

The Scottish raspberries come through loud and clear and it doesn’t taste fake.

The guys at Whitley Neill have added coriander, licorice and hibiscus (amongst other botanicals) all of which give way to delicious red fruit. But it’s well balanced and not too much.

Whitley Neill first  introduced this mouth-watering gin to the Whitley Neill range in 2018 and, I’m pleased to say that it’s not as sweet as I had expected.

The perfect pour: At 43% ABV, they have not sacrificed strength or flavour. Whitley Neill seem to have the knack of producing  great gins at great prices. I highly recommend this one. Somebody has suggested that it tastes even better when paired with frozen raspberries and elderflower tonic.

I think I’ll have to give it a go.

www.whitleyneill.com

www.silentpoolgin.com


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
A picture of the front door of Bobby Gin cocktail bar in Barcelona

Bobby Gin: a true Barcelona classic

Hopefully, one of these days this darned Coronavirus will leave us alone. And when we no longer live in fear of new pandemic outbreaks or unexpected travel restrictions, where should we go?

We think Barcelona should be top of the list for your next short gin break. 

Barcelona kicked off the reinvention of the gin scene back in the 2010s. It has quietly led the way ever since with a plethora of G&T combos to taste and innovations galore.  With gorgeous roof terraces to sip your gin on and a massive selection of exotic gins, gin bars and cocktails to enjoy one thing is for sure. Gin is in. 

Barcelona’s gins are always served large and made with loads of love. So, if (post-Covid) you want to escape to a happy gin place for a few days, then Barcelona is definitely the place for you. 

80 gins, bespoke cocktails (and tonics galore!)

Leading the charge since the early days is the pioneering gin bar Bobby Gin. This little bar is located on a side street in Barcelona’s bohemian Gracia barrio.  It is a true Barcelona classic. Bobby Gin’s was at the forefront of the Barcelona gin revolution. It is a tribute to the vision and skills of head bartender, Alberto Pizzaro, who is one of the best (and most respected) bartenders on the current Spanish gin scene.

This stylish and cool gin bar might be small but it features a massive gin collection. In fact, the menu lists well over 80 separate gins. Alberto has also created a further 11 gin based cocktails, especially for his customers. And of course, he stocks a bewildering collection of tonics to pour into those gins. Each of them adds a unique flavour edge to enhance and improve your gin’s character.  If in doubt, just ask – the bartender will recommend the perfect pour. 

God Save the Gin! (Fonk)

But the real star of the show here (and its most famous innovation) is Bobby Gin’s Gin Fonk – a delightfully easy to drink gin concoction that comes in 5 deliciously different varieties. 

So, what exactly is a Gin Fonk? It’s a new and refreshing way to drink your gin, invented right here in this bar – and it’s absolutely delicious! The bartending team smoke, age, infuse, macerate or flavour their chosen base gins with plants, flowers, fruits or spices. The secret is in the preparation and Bobby Gin has 5 different versions available right now.  My particular favourite is the Roku Gin Fonk with its light citrus and herbal notes.

They’ve infused a base of Roku gin with Oolong tea, Umeshu, lemon juice and topped it up with Schweppes Matcha tonic.  Sipped slowly, with loads of ice from a large copa glas, this is a gin drink to be savoured at any time of year. And don’t be deceived by its light, citrus taste. These ginfonks can be deceptively strong. And no stress. If a Gin Fonk’s not your thing, at Bobby Gin’s you have another 80 gins to choose from!

Retro vibe, modern drinks, fun people

So, what about the bar itself? Bobby Gin’s has a kind of retro, 1960s living room feel, with witty gin slogans decorating the tastefully wallpapered walls and funky coasters featuring their critical mission: “God Save the Gin”. They’re open until 2.00am (subject to the latest Covid restrictions) and they also do great bar food. They have everything from guacamole to nachos and from mini-burgers to pulled pork sandwiches. Plus a wider range of well cooked snacks and tasty and affordable street food.  

Bartenders cheerfully mix all the drinks individually with love and care (and extreme professionalism). Snacks start from as little as 4 euros. And while the Gin Fonks weigh in at between 10-12 euros each, they are made with exquisite care. The cocktails are delicious and they are deceptively strong. So, who drinks at Bobby Gin’? Well, it is a mixed crowd with just the right amount of casual style. At the front of the bar, it’s a bit younger with drinkers in their 20s and upwards. Around the back, it’s a bit quieter with a slightly older crowd mostly in their 30s to 40s. The vibe is casual and funky. The soundtrack to Bobby Gin seems to be a mix of rock, jazz and underground music. But the real star of the show is undoubtedly the gin.

Bobby Gin

Carrer de Francisco Giner, 47, 08012, Barcelona


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued

Gin glasses: why are they all shapes and sizes?

Cocktail making is part art, part science, but all style.

The best cocktails need to be served with a certain flair. For many, it’s as much about the experience as it is about the drink itself.  Gone are the days when the gin and tonic was an “also-ran” in the world of fancy cocktails, regularly served in small, dirty glasses in dingy pubs. 

Now, that’s all changed forever. Gin is theatre. Cocktail making is performance. And serving a Dry Martini in a copa glass is never going to work.

Here are some of the most popular gin glasses and when (and why) you should dig them out from that bottom shelf:

Martini glass (Martini, Cosmopolitan)

The iconic cocktail glass, this little baby just oozes class. Imagine yourself transported to the glamorous 50s.  Frank Sinatra was sipping Martinis by the dozen and Dean Martin was sipping with him. This is the perfect glass for drinks that are served “up” (i.e. without ice). The clever thing about this glass is that the stem stops the glass from warming up in your hand.  And the conical shape allows you to make the most of the aromas coming from it. Plus, it looks cool. Very cool.

Copa de balon glass (G&T, gin punches)

We love these glasses, which originated in 18th century Spain, in the Basque country.  They first became popular in Barcelona in the 2010s when the Spanish kicked off the process of reinventing the humble gin & tonic. Since then they have become widely used all over the world. We think Copa glasses are perfect for gin and tonics – bulbous and balloon like.  And since they sit on a stem, you won’t warm up the contents with your hot hands.

And even better, your drink will stay cool longer, since the large bowl allows loads of ice into the glass for some extra chill. We also like the fact that the bowl shape stops the ice cubes from melting too quickly and diluting your drink!  And if you’re into your garnishes, there’s plenty of room to make your drink even more exotic. 

Copa glasses really bring out the flavour profile of the botanicals within the gin and help to intensify the aromas on the nose. These are gin glasses that allow you to make the most of your drink.

Highball/Collins glass – (Gin Collins, Gin Sling/Gin Mojito)

This tall glass is perfect for cold drinks that contain a large proportion of mixer to gin. Especially when they’re best served chilled over plenty of ice cubes. So, if you like your drinks long and cool, then these are probably the glasses you’re after.

Coupe glass (Gimlet, Sidecar)

A bit more stable than its cousin the Martini glass, these long stemmed and a rounded bowl glasses evoke a glamorous era where sophistication and elegance were all the rage. In a coupe glass, the liquid should reach the top of the glass so that your nose stays as close as possible to the drink inside. This glass will infuse you with glorious smells to get those taste buds active again. With its wide brim, it’s also perfect for drinking fragrant cold cocktails

Rocks glass/Old Fashioned glass (Negroni, Sazerac, Caipirinha)

With a thick, heavy base, this is a great glass for any drink that needs to hold lots of ice. If you’re one of those who likes your gin neat over ice (Icelandic gin), then this is the one for you. It’s also great for any gin-based drinks that require muddling and its wide mouth ensures that it has plenty of room for those additional garnishes.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
an overhead image a lemon tart

What a tart!

What a lovely lemon tart this is!

Are you looking for a simple recipe for a gorgeous gin and tonic tart, drizzled with G&T syrup? If so, this might be the one for you.

This little beauty is bursting with citrusy goodness and calls for a double-dose of gin for that extra kick. This easy dessert packs a real gin punch. In fact, most of the ingredients for this easy gin lemon tart recipe are probably in your fridge already, so no need to get anything exotic.

You can use any basic London Dry gin for this recipe, but you might also want to raise the game a little. Lemon flavoured gins such as Malfy Lemon or Lone Wolf Cloudy Lemon gin (from the folks at Brewdog) can be a nice alternative if you want to boost the lemoniness.

Cooking with gin is a whole new world for gin fans and a great way to impress your friends with your creative talents.

One for the chef…

And remember, for every measure of gin that ends up going into the tart, there should always be an extra one for the chef. Drizzle that G&T syrup over the sweet, tangy tart for the perfect ending.

So, let’s get this party started.

Ingredients:

Pastry:
  • 200g of plain, sifted flour
  • 1/4 cup sifted icing sugar
  • 75g of chilled, unsalted butter (chopped into a cube)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup of cold tonic water
Tart filling:
  • 2 eggs
  • 150 mls of cream
  • 80g caster sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of 2-3 lemons to 100 ml
  • 30 ml of gin
G&T syrup:
  • 75g of caster sugar
  • 125 ml tonic water
  • zest of one lemon
  • 30ml gin (again!)
  • 3 juniper berries, lightly bruised

Method:

Pastry:
  • Add flour and icing sugar to the bowl of a food processor and combine
  • Add lemon zest and butter and pulse until mixture combines
  • Remove from food processor and wrap in plastic wrap
  • Place in fridge for 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 180c and lightly grease 8×10 cm loose bottom mini tart tins
  • Roll out pastry until 5 mm thick and cut circles that are 2 cm wider than the tart tin
  • Line each tin and trim excess pastry
  • Chill for 15 minutes before lining with baking paper and filling with pastry weights
  • Bake for 10 minutes before removing weights
  • Bake for 5 minutes more or until golden brown
  • Set aside
Tart filling:
  • For the filling, which together the eggs, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice
  • Add the cream and gin and whisk until combined
  • Divide the filling between the tarts
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes
  • Set aside to cool
G&T syrup:
  • While the tarts are baking, prepare the syrup
  • Place caster sugar, tonic water and lemon juice in a saucepan over a low heat
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar
  • Add the gin and juniper berries and zest
  • Bring to boil
  • Reduce to simmer until slightly thickened
  • Serve the tarts with a dollop of cream and a drizzle of syrup

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
4 different small bottles of Tarquin's gin with a big blue copa glass

Tarquin’s Dry (England): a Cornish gin, handmade by Tarquin

As far as we know, Tarquin’s Cornish Dry Gin (paid link) was the first gin to be distilled in Cornwall for over 100 years. And we think it’s a real beauty. Tarquin himself builds his light, floral Cornish gin around the typical characteristics of a London Dry gin.  But he has added 12 carefully chosen botanicals to make this a delicious and unusual gin that really stands out from the crowd.

All of this love, effort and attention to detail makes it a very easy to drink gin – so you’d better watch out!

He bases his botanicals on Kosovan juniper and includes Devon violets, citrus zest and Bulgarian coriander to mellow the taste. And then for good measure, he throws in some orange, lemon and grapefruit zest to add a little citrus zing.  He rounds this all off with angelica root, almonds, orris root, licorice root and cinnamon.

The result – a really smooth and interesting drink.

Handcrafted on the wild Cornish coast

This fabulous gin is truly unique. He crafts each batch by hand, high up on the wild Cornish coast in a little distillery nestled on top of a windswept cliff and he passionately believes in the human touch.  He even picks the violets from his own garden. Tarquin then blends each batch of spirit with Cornish spring water (of course!) before bottling it at 42% in his own unique and beautiful bottles . Tarquin only makes this gin in small batches of 300 and he has built his reputation by doing things the old fashioned way.  It’s now a thriving, family run business with a proud tradition and the results clearly pay off.

Meet the ladies…

Plus, he likes nothing more than getting to know his customers. So, if you ever find yourself down Cornwall way, you might want to pay his little hilltop distillery a visit. He’ll offer you a distillery tour, before introducing you to his four beautiful ladies:Tamara, Senara, Ferrara and Tressa. These are the names he’s given his four copper stills. The tours include a Tarquin’s G&T, a talk on the history of Tarquin’s, a Botanical masterclass, a guided tour and a complimentary tasting of his 4 core gins.

Tarquin’s Gin School

So, if you’re in the beautiful Cornish town of Padstow, why not pop in to Tarquin’s Gin School and Shop? It’s only a 10 minute drive from the distillery itself and you can browse and buy the full range of Tarquin’s products. You can even enjoy a Gin Masterclass and even make your own gin.

We think this is a delightful, well balanced gin, presented in a beautiful bottle, built on a pure vision of what craft gin is all about. It’s well worth a try.

What’s not to like!

Perfect serve:  Tarquin serves his delicious gin in a beautiful blue bottle topped with a gorgeous wax seal. We suggest that you pour a large shot of Tarquin’s into a large copa glass. Pair it with a Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic, loads of ice and a slice or wedge of fresh grapefruit. Ooo,err! 


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
a whiskey glass being poured a cocktail from a shaker and garnished with orange peel

What exactly is a Pink Gin?

posted in: Cocktails, Gin and Juniper | 0

Some people think that Pink Gin is just a gimmicky brand name or just a normal gin that’s been infused with something pink.  But, you couldn’t be more wrong.  Pink gin is a thing of its own and it has been for centuries.

So, how did it get its name?

Originally, it was drunk on board Royal Navy ships, where the sailors knew it as “Pinkers”. In those days alcohol was a vital medical supply, used to clean wounds and combat infection. As such, it became a mainstay in any ship’s galley. In the old days, gin was a much stronger affair, so the sailors tended to mix it with equal quantities of water to make it drinkable.

The days when we drank gin for “medicinal purposes “ are now long behind us but for old times sake, here’s a traditional pink gin recipe to try.  But remember, it’s not for the easily intimidated. These days, with such a huge selection of gins to choose from, all with different flavour profiles and characteristics, you might want to make your own pink gin at home. It couldn’t be any simpler and apparently it’s a good cure for seasickness. It seems we have a lot more to thank the Royal Navy for than we possibly imagined!

Pink Gin


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued
old style sailor sitting on a bench looking through a window

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

Yo Ho, Ho! (and a bottle of gin)

Did you know that Royal Navy officers received a daily ration of gin until as recently as 1970? In fact, the Royal Navy’s worldwide reach is partly responsible for gin becoming a global drink.  As early as the 18th century, gin became associated with beneficial medical properties, offering cures for a variety of illnesses.  At that time, it became mandatory for Royal Navy vessels to set sail with specific quantities of medicinal gin on board.

Gin commissioning kits

In fact, from the 18th century onwards, all newly commissioned Royal Navy ships received something called a “Gin Commissioning Kit”. This was basically a wooden box. But, open the lid and inside, you would find two bottles of “Navy Strength” gin and accompanying glasses.  This gin tradition lasted for more than 200 years and only ended around 50 years ago.

The invention of the Gimlet

Gin was also used to ward off diseases such as scurvy, which was generally caused by a lack of vitamin C on long sea voyages. To counter this disease, the Royal Navy prescribed lemons as a cure.  After a few years they moved to limes, sourced from the Caribbean. This eventually led to the creation of one of the classic gin cocktails, the Gimlet.

So, thank you Sir Thomas Desmond Gimlette, Royal Navy surgeon, for creating a medicinal drink. Gin to “fortify” and Roses Lime Cordial to “immunise” – a combination that has stood the test of time. 

four different cocktail glasses toasting

Summer gins: 5 mixes to keep you cool

There’s nothing like a long, cool, refreshing gin on a hot summer’s day. There’s something about hearing the ice cubes plop into the glass. Then watching the little bubbles of refreshment fizzing up inside. The smell, the garnishes of summer gins. And that first taste: bang!

So, here are 5 summer gins that we think are the ultimate way to cool down on a hot day. And these gins are perfect for that Indian summer that we’ve been hearing about. The gins are here. So let’s hope the good weather follows.

Choose one, put your feet up, add ice and your favourite mixer and drink. As always, serve chilled!

Citrus zest… and so easy to drink

Chase pink grapefruit and pomelo gin (England)

This has fast become one of my favourite summer gins. Refreshing and well balanced, it combines the citrus tang of pink grapefruit and the fruity zest of pomelo to create a perfectly refreshing summer drink. Not too sweet, not too citrusy, it’s just a very easy drink to drink. Made in a copper pot still by our friends at Chase (near Hereford) this will brighten up your summer. Whether you like a cheeky pre-lunch aperitif or a long evening watching the sun go down in the garden, this is the gin you want by your side.

Perfect serve: Wipe a little of the grapefruit wedge around the rim of a large glass. Fill it to the top with large ice cubes and a premium Indian tonic. Then garnish it with a large, juicy wedge of pink grapefruit. Aaaah!

www.chasedistillery.co.uk

The taste of summer

Puerto des Indias, strawberry gin (Spain)

This beautiful, fruity gin is from the south of Spain. And unlike Tanqueray Sevilla, it’s not simply inspired by the hot sultry south – it’s actually made there. This exotic gin pays homage to Spain’s great trading past and is built on a solid citrus base. Once you’re through the carefully sourced strawberries, your palate will start to pick up even more citrus flavours like lime, lemon and orange. And even a little grapefruit.  So, all in all, this is a great summer gin, perfect to take on holiday.

Perfect serve: pour  50ml of Puerto des Indias strawberry gin into a long glass. And top it up with 100ml of Mediterranean tonic water (or 150ml if you like a longer drink). Garnish with a strawberry wedge or a simple slice of lime for the ultimate poolside G&T.

A summer classic

JJ Whitley elderflower gin (England)

JJ Whitley does it again. The Whitley family has been making gin in Cheshire since 1762, but this one has definitely been inspired by the British countryside. It could be the perfect gin for a gentle summer evening. This is the gin you want to be drinking poolside as the sun goes down. Built around the classic citrus taste of English elderflower, JJ Whitley has added a little twist of cinnamon for good measure. This quintessentially English gin retains its floral roots with a little sweetness and warmth that will tickle your taste buds all through the day and on into the night. With soft scents of juniper, coriander and cinnamon to round it off, this gin combines a fresh, floral bouquet with a velvety sweetness that you will find irresistible.

Perfect serve: Fill a copa glass with large ice cubes. Pour in 50 ml of Gin Mare, top it up with Fever Tree light or Mediterranean tonic, garnish a slice of lemon and sip slowly!

www.jj-whitley.com

Where Spanish passion meets English elegance

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin (England)

Right now, orange flavored gins are everywhere. But Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla nailed it first. It is the orange gin that paved the way for the others but it’s still one of the very best out there. This beautiful summer gin with its classic Tanqueray London Dry botanicals blends effortlessly with the fresh citrus boost of Seville oranges. The result is a perfectly balanced, smooth orange gin that will instantly transport you to the hot orange groves of Southern Spain. But the best thing about Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla? It does it all without any of the unpleasant after tastes and synthetic sweetness in some other orange infused gins.

Perfect serve: Pour generously into a large copa glass. Fill to the top with large ice cubes. and add Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water. Rub the rim of the glass with an orange wedge and drop into the glass. Pretend you’re in Spain.

www.tanqueray.com

A true taste of the Mediterranean 

Gin Mare (Spain)

If you’re looking for the authentic taste of the Mediterranean, then you’ll love this award-winning Spanish gin. Distilled in a 13th century chapel not far from Barcelona, this has quickly become a Spanish classic. Made in the sunshine of Catalunya, Gin Mare has become a go-to brand with summer written all over it.  An unusually savoury taste reflects its Spanish heritage. The gin features local Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, rosemary, thyme and basil. It’s also balanced by citrus and cardamom notes. Plus, its distinctive bottle looks great on your gin shelf, any time of year.

Perfect serve: fill a copa glass with large ice cubes. Pour in 50 ml of Gin Mare. Top it up with Fever Tree Mediterranean gin and garnish with fresh orange or lemon slices. Or if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, a sprig of burned Rosemary. Then, simply sit back and enjoy!

www.ginmare.com

a cocktail shaker pouring a cocktail in a glass with an icecube and some fruits and decoration lights in the backgroud

Negroni cocktail recipe – the Holy Grail!

posted in: Cocktails, Gin and Juniper | 0

All good drinks should have a story attached and this classic Negroni cocktail is no exception. 

Some time, way back in the 1920s,  Italian Count Camillo Negroni walked into a bar called Cafe Casoni in Florence looking for a drink that required freshness, acidity and a touch of bitterness.  He asked the bartender for an Americano (equal parts Martini Rosso and Campari, topped with soda water).  But he didn’t think it was quite doing the trick.  So, he took out the soda and put in a shot of gin. The rest is history.

In fact, the Negroni cocktail is the bartenders Holy Grail.

Get it right and it’s a sublime drink. Get it wrong and it can taste a little bitter.

But one thing is certain, it is a true cocktail classic – up there with the Old Fashioned (for Bourbon fans). That’s why it is so important for you to get the Negroni cocktail recipe right.

No more than 20 Negronis per day!

The Negroni  first became popular in the 1920s and has been an iconic, classic cocktail ever since. In fact, Frances Harper of London wrote a letter to the ailing Count in 1920 which was delivered to his hospital bed. It offered some valuable advice:

– “You say you can drink, smoke and laugh just as much as ever. I feel you are not too much to be pitied. You must take no more than 20 Negronis in one day!”

This classic Negroni cocktail is the perfect drink for before (and after) dinner, but (like the Count) you can drink it any time.

Welcome to the king of drinks. Here is our version of the classic, simple  Negroni cocktail recipe that the Count inadvertently created back in the 1920s.

Negroni Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Equal parts of gin, Campari and Italian red vermouth

Method:

  • Mix in an ice filled mixing glass
  • Stir gently and pour into an Old Fashioned glass or tumbler

Garnish with chunky orange wedge and drink.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • The Italian Job: penne pasta with gin
    What could be better on a cold winter’s day than a warming, comforting bowl of pasta to heat you up from the inside? How about a bowl of pasta that has gin as one of its main ingredients? Got your attention, didn’t we!There can be few more comforting things in the world than a hot, … Continued
  • Gin punch: a giant cocktail served in a bowl
    We all like a cocktail. But 200 years before the term was invented, we had to resort to other creative ways of getting our alcohol fix. In those days, there were no cocktail glasses, fancy recipes or bartender’s tools in those days – so they turned to punch! In its earliest days, in the 18th … Continued
  • Smoky ice cubes: are they really a thing?
    No smoke without fire? Smoky ice cubes are indeed a thing. And they’re so easy to make. You could go all out and spend a day preparing a fire, smoking the wood and delicately infusing the ice. Or, you could simply buy a small bottle of liquid smoke and add a few drops to your … Continued
  • Queen Bee cocktail: a blend of natural honey and citrus to get you buzzing!!
    Looking for a delicious new cocktail to get 2021 off to a great start? Then, look no further. Introducing the Queen Bee cocktail – a beautiful smooth and healthy gin cocktail that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Silky smooth blend of citrus and honey (with a coffee edge) Mixed from a … Continued