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The Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog

Today is Ruddles’ first day on the job in his new role as Barcelona Gin’s chief newshound. Our gallant Gin Dog has been busy all week, sniffing out the best gin news stories for your reading pleasure. We already know he has a great nose for a story, so we are expecting great things from him, as he delivers a regular, bite-sized digest of gin-related news.

Here’s the first Ruddles Report for your reading pleasure. Hope you enjoy it!

A loyal soldier and a royal toast

Amongst the news stories that our Gin Dog has uncovered this week, find out about the latest craft gin to be produced by the Royal Family. Following on the heels of Buckingham Palace Gin and Highgrove Gin, Her Majesty has launched yet another craft gin. This time it’s Sandringham Gin, craft distilled at her Sandringham Estate Norfolk. Perhaps one to have ready for the loyal toast on Christmas Day.

And while we’re on the subject of special gins, let’s raise a glass to Captain Sir Tom Moore. The 100 year old WW 2 soldier inspired the nation earlier this year by walking 100 laps of his garden and in the process, raising more than £39 million for the NHS workers. His amazing commitment and cheery spirit found a place deep in the hearts of people around the world. This simple act of determination inspired a nation in some of its darkest moments and it changed his life forever. He was promoted to Major, went to visit the Queen, received a knighthood and even released a hit record. Not content with that, this year a new gin has been released in his honour. Captain Sir Tom’s London Dry gin has been made by the folks at the Otterbeck Distillery and all the proceeds will be going through the Sir Tom Moore Foundation to support charities such as Mind and The Royal British Legion.

The best bars in the world, snow globes and small gin!

In the month in which Barcelona and London featured heavily in the annual list of the Top 50 bars in the world, we thought you’d like to see the whole list, just in case this quarantine ever lifts. Once again, London delivers the world’s best bar in the world as the Connaught Bar took first place. But Barcelona performs really well with 3 bars featuring in the world’s top 50 – Paradiso coming in at number 19 and Two Schmucks entering the charts at an impressive number 26. Not bad for a small city on the edge of the Mediterranean.

If you like your gin full of flavour (but less full of alcohol), you’ll love the latest offering from Haymans. Their latest Haymans Small Gin means you can mix a real G&T with only 0.2 units of alcohol and as little as 15 calories per serve. Packed with flavour, this gin might appear small, but it has a huge heart. This one might be worth checking out over the holidays when your liver is a bit tired but you still have a taste for gin!

Christmas is coming…

And finally, Christmas is coming and nobody can have gone through the last few weeks without noticing the gorgeous gin globes that are appearing around the country right now. But where do you get these things of beauty and how much do they cost? Here’s an article on the gorgeous Marks and Spencer version. It is illuminated by an LED light and rains little flakes of 23k gold leaf for a shimmering snow effect. This gorgeous Clementine and Rhubarb gin liqueur just happens to be delicious as well. They won’t last long, so don’t miss out.

That’s all for this edition of the Ruddles Report. Hope you enjoyed it.

More from the gin dog next month!


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 Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog
    Today is Ruddles’ first day on the job in his new role as Barcelona Gin’s chief newshound. Our gallant Gin Dog has been busy all week, sniffing out the best gin news stories for your reading pleasure. We already know he has a great nose for a story, so we are expecting great things from … Continued
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  • Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ
    In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years. Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona. From the outside, you might not … Continued
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Introducing our newshound, Ruddles – the ultimate gin dog!

Introducing our gorgeous newshound, Ruddles. Or Señor Ruddles if you prefer.

This shaggy, laid back bundle of love is a vital part of our team here at Barcelona Gin.  We recruited him from a local refuge a few years ago.  He had spent much of his early life living outdoors in a huge field. It was full of other abandoned dogs, overlooking the Mediterranean, not far from Barcelona.  Before that, he’d lived with an old Spanish shepherd high up in the hills of El Garraf.  He was a lovely man, but he was old and he couldn’t give Ruddles the love he needed.

So, when the Barcelona Gin team went to meet Ruddles in his dusty field, it was love at first sight. And he’s been with us ever since.  At first, we weren’t sure about his taste for gin.  But then something changed.  A few years ago, I was walking him past the doors of my favourite underground Barcelona gin bar.  It’s a little late-night dive bar right in the heart of town.  As we walked past, I could feel him gently straining on the leash.

The dog made me do it…

He was trying to pull me in.  I was never one to put up a fight, but he was insisting.  So, we wandered on down the stairs for a late night copa of Martin Millers with tonic.  As soon as we were down there, he made it clear that he likes gin just as much as we do.  He literally lapped up my G&T, right in front of me.  And he seemed to give it a good review.

So, now we’ve recruited Ruddles full time (we may as well make him work for a living).

A nose for news…

And now he’s sniffing out great gins for us, as well as using that newshound nose to uncover great stories from the world of gin that you might not normally come across.  So, keep an eye out for regular reports from Ruddles in our regular Gin the News section.  And feel free to reach out to him directly via email at ruddles@barcelonagin.com.  He’ll usually get back to you pretty quickly.

Plus, if the lockdown ever ends and you find yourself in Barcelona, we can highly recommend popping down to Les Gens Que J’Aime.  A great little bar in a great town, with great gins at great prices.  Ruddles likes it, so it must be good!


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 Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog
    Today is Ruddles’ first day on the job in his new role as Barcelona Gin’s chief newshound. Our gallant Gin Dog has been busy all week, sniffing out the best gin news stories for your reading pleasure. We already know he has a great nose for a story, so we are expecting great things from … Continued
  • Introducing our newshound, Ruddles – the ultimate gin dog!
    Introducing our gorgeous newshound, Ruddles. Or Señor Ruddles if you prefer. This shaggy, laid back bundle of love is a vital part of our team here at Barcelona Gin.  We recruited him from a local refuge a few years ago.  He had spent much of his early life living outdoors in a huge field. It … Continued
  • Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ
    In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years. Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona. From the outside, you might not … Continued
  • Gin fit for a Queen (and a Prince!)
    You may or not be a fan of The Crown, the latest must see hit mini-series from Netflix. We already know that the Queen is a big gin fan. According to inside reports, Her Maj is partial to a little sharpener of gin and dubonnet before lunch. Her eldest son, Prince Charles on the other … Continued
A classic bartender shaking a cocktail behind the wooden bar counter in Dry Martini cocktail bar

Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ

In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years.

Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona.

From the outside, you might not notice it but this elegant and sophisticated bar will impress you once you enter the swing doors. Inside is a sophisticated space with high ceilings, impressionist artwork on the walls and banquette sofas to perch on as you order your drink. There’s a long bar to sit at if that’s your preference. Or you could pull up a chair at one of the elegant tables.

Jazzy vibe, elegant decor, classic artwork

Look around you at the walls bedecked in artwork. Survey the shelves of wine bottles protected behind their pristine glass cabinets. Take in the bartenders and wait people, all dressed up in white tunics and black bow ties, scurrying around making sure that everyone’s drinking and everyone’s happy. Soak up the warm colors of the paneled walls and listen to the chilled jazz soundtrack getting you into that mellow mood. Then, when you’re ready, order your drink. And really, there’s only one drink for you to start with in this cocktail palace. It’s the drink that gave the bar its name. Say these words, slowly: un Dry Martini, por favor.

The perfect Dry Martini

Your reward will be a classic Dry Martini, made to their exacting requirements with a strict formula that has stood the test of time. Their special combination: 1/2 London Dry gin (you can choose from their wide selection or let them decide). They then add an equal amount of French vermouth, before adding a dash of orange bitters and stirring it in an ice-filled beaker before decanting it elegantly into your Martini glass. The glass will then be garnished with either a squeezed lemon rind or a ripe, juicy olive, dependent on your taste. Then simply sit back and take a sip. Then another. And when the sipping’s done, order you’re second drink (since one of these is never enough). In fact, one of the distinguishing features of this classic cocktail bar is the incongruous digital counter that sits behind the bar.

Hitting the button, every time…

Every time a Dry Martini is ordered, the Martini button is pushed and the number goes up by one. At the last count, well over one million Dry Martinis had been ordered here since the bar was first opened. And with that sort of endorsement from your customers, it’s not surprising that this is one of only 6 bars in the world to have made it onto the world’s 50 best bar list, 7 times in a row. This is a tribute to the vision of Barcelona’s pioneering cocktail king, Javier de las Muelas who founded this legendary place back all those years ago.

And while this bar is all about the cocktails, they serve some decent tapas as well, served with panache to a well-heeled crowd of upmarket locals, cocktail fanatics and curious tourists.

A hidden speakeasy, a terrace and a cocktail school

Plus, hidden behind the panelled walls at the back of the bar is a secret door, leading to the clandestine Speakeasy restaurant, serving continental and Spanish fare in an atmosphere reminiscent of a gentleman’s club. Dry Martini serves a range of cocktails alongside its classic Dry Martinis and features all the standard classic gins such as Tanqueray 10, Bombay Sapphire’s Star of Bombay, Bloomsbury and Puerto de Indias for a blast of Spanish strawberries. Plus, the icing on the cake – these guys run a pretty decent cocktail school right next door where some of the best mixologists in Spain will share their tricks and tips – at a price.


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 Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog
    Today is Ruddles’ first day on the job in his new role as Barcelona Gin’s chief newshound. Our gallant Gin Dog has been busy all week, sniffing out the best gin news stories for your reading pleasure. We already know he has a great nose for a story, so we are expecting great things from … Continued
  • Introducing our newshound, Ruddles – the ultimate gin dog!
    Introducing our gorgeous newshound, Ruddles. Or Señor Ruddles if you prefer. This shaggy, laid back bundle of love is a vital part of our team here at Barcelona Gin.  We recruited him from a local refuge a few years ago.  He had spent much of his early life living outdoors in a huge field. It … Continued
  • Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ
    In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years. Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona. From the outside, you might not … Continued
  • Gin fit for a Queen (and a Prince!)
    You may or not be a fan of The Crown, the latest must see hit mini-series from Netflix. We already know that the Queen is a big gin fan. According to inside reports, Her Maj is partial to a little sharpener of gin and dubonnet before lunch. Her eldest son, Prince Charles on the other … Continued

Gin fit for a Queen (and a Prince!)

You may or not be a fan of The Crown, the latest must see hit mini-series from Netflix. We already know that the Queen is a big gin fan. According to inside reports, Her Maj is partial to a little sharpener of gin and dubonnet before lunch. Her eldest son, Prince Charles on the other hand is more of a G&T lover. In fact, royal insiders confirm that whenever the Prince goes on a royal tour, he takes his own booze with him. According to royal security reports, it’s bottles of gin for Charles and red wine for Camilla. While this might be seen as a touching gesture of frugality from a wealthy Prince, in fact it’s a security protocol to make sure that their drinks aren’t spiked.

Either way, this year saw a royal double. Both the Queen and Prince Charles joined the boutique/craft gin revolution. Each of them separately released their own branded gins, made from ingredients mainly sourced from their gardens. The Queen’s brew is called Buckingham Palace Gin and the Prince’s brand is called Highgrove gin. All ingredients have been sourced directly from his organic kitchen garden.

So, in the battle of the royals, who has the best gin?

Buckingham Palace gin: 42% ABV

This delicious spirit comes in an absolutely gorgeous bottle that would look good on anybody’s drinks trolley. The delicately angled and beautifully decorated bottle is made out of turquoise glass and features a golden wreath on the front, intertwined with a pretty array of wildflowers. Presumably, these are some of the 250 different types that are said to grow in her 16 hectare central London back garden. Most of the time, we only get to see it during garden parties and royal celebrations, but apparently in addition to all those flowers, there are also around 250 species of birds to keep the singing going all year round. Turn the bottle around and the flower theme continues on the back side, framing a beautiful engraved perspective of the Buckingham Palace facade. Enough to make the spirits of any true royal fan soar!

Many of the botanicals in the Queen’s gin have been directly sourced from the Palace gardens including lemon, verbena, hawthorn berries and mulberry leaves. The result is a delicious gin with prominent citrus and herbal top notes to balance the strong juniper base. The good news is that it will be served at royal engagements throughout the year, so get yourself on the guest list now. When it was first launched earlier this year, it sold out online within 8 hours, but it’s back and available for around £40 per bottle (2 bottle minimum). All profits from Buckingham Palace gin will go directly to The Royal Collection Trust which helps to fund the care and conservation of the Royal Collection. We’re not sure how involved the Queen was in developing the gin, but we’re sure she’ll love it with a little dubonnet and ice.

Highgrove Organic London Dry Gin: 40% ABV

Not to be outdone, her eldest son has also created his own brand Highgrove Organic Botanic London Dry gin. It comes in a plainer, less glamorous bottle than his mother’s gin featuring a simple white label crowned with the Prince’s royal symbol, the fleurs de lys. Prince Charles has long been an advocate for sustainable living and all of the botanicals in his gin have been grown in the Prince of Wales’ own kitchen garden at Highgrove, in the beautiful Gloucestershire countryside. They include lavender, sage and thyme, delivering a distinctive taste and flavour profile.

While juniper and citrus are the flavours that predominate here, the lemon verbena, thyme and rosemary come through on the top notes to create a delightfully tasting, elegant London Dry gin . The gin has been distilled for the Prince by master distiller Cory Mason who wanted to create a gin with the herbal notes of a traditional English garden. The result is a delicious, versatile gin suitable for any occasion – royal or not. All proceeds from the sales of Highgrove gin go to support the Prince of Wales’ Charitable Fund to develop meaningful projects in the areas of education, the environment, social inclusion health and wellbeing.

And the winner is…

We really couldn’t call this one (and we didn’t want to upset the royals) so to avoid a diplomatic incident, we’ve called it a draw. On looks and style, Buckingham Palace has the edge for sure, but it’s a little more expensive than the Prince’s version. But on taste, complexity, authenticity and price, Highgrove wins. However, don’t take our word for it, get a bottle of each and try them next to each other while watching The Crown. And let us know which one works best for you.

GINRAW: an avant-garde gin packed with Barcelona style

Barcelona is a city known for its avant-garde style, creativity and sophistication. Over the years it has nurtured artistic geniuses such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.

But visionary engineer Ildefons Cerdà really put it on the map at the end of the 19th century as he designed the beautiful Eixample area in all its modernist beauty. The city extension that he created was recently named the best neighbourhood to live in the world according to Time Out magazine. And the flair doesn’t end there.

We couldn’t possibly talk about Barcelona without mentioning its extraordinary cuisine and its disproportionate clutch of Michelin starred restaurants. This is the place where some of the best chefs in the world have set up shop and built their reputations. This includes some run by the world famous Ferran Adrià who championed molecular gastronomy, right here in Catalunya.

Add to that heady mix, the classic cocktail of blue Mediterranean skies, sunshine, music, beaches, countryside and culture. You even have a ready selection of stunning rooftop terraces to choose from when you decide to sip your drinks.

A stunning gin, a stunning bottle

If this all sounds inspiring, it shouldn’t surprise you to hear that when a chef, a sommelier, a mixologist and a perfumier all got together they wanted to celebrate their city in all its creativity. And they did so with a gin. Ginraw is a true triumph of both style and substance. Barcelona’s modern design heritage is apparent in the striking, semi-frosted tall, thin bottle with its distinctive wide-brimmed wooden cap and aluminium band.

El Clásico…

Its beautifully designed leather information tag tops it all off in style and the bottle is truly unique. But quality is everything here and this gin is distilled at a low temperature for a smooth, easy to drink gin, simply packed with flavour. Fresh botanicals including lemon peel, kaffir lime and laurel leaves combine with smoky black cardamom and savoury coriander seeds. The result is a true Barcelona classic. With strong notes of juniper up front, there are also hints of peppercorn, coriander and lime zest. On the palate, the early indicators are savoury, before a citrus wave wafts in to save the day. And the cardamom seeds add some welcome spice to the finish of this exquisite, smooth and beautifully designed bottle of gin.

We highly recommend this Barcelona classic, preferably sipped on one of our gorgeous Barcelona roof terraces watching the sun go down over the terracotta rooftops of the old town.

The perfect pour: served over loads of ice in a large copa glass and garnished with a lemon leaf or a slice of lime. And if you want to spice things up a bit, you could try pairing it with a slice of apple or a little bit of ginger for some added heat.

A fresh raw salmon filet being sliced

Gin-baked salmon: full of buttery, juniper goodness

Gin seems to be everywhere these days and increasingly, it’s popping up in delicious, easy to prepare recipes.

Whether you’re looking for a booze-soaked cake to cheer you up on a dark autumn afternoon or a hearty stew to keep the cold winter weather at bay, somewhere there’s a gin recipe for you. And when gin does make an appearance, its junipery bitterness and complex botanicals can elevate even the most ordinary dish into something a bit special. Gin delivers an extra layer of character that will keep your guests coming back for more. Some people have more of a sweet tooth and prefer gin-soaked trifles or gin and lemon drizzle cakes. Others are partial to more savoury treats such as casseroles and even curries.

All of these delicious dishes (and many more) are suitable candidates for gin cooking.

10 minutes to prep, 60 minutes to sip

That’s why we wanted to share a quick and easy salmon recipe that is healthy and can be knocked up with as little as 10 minutes prep time.

This is important, because it leaves you with a full 60 minutes in which to select a decent gin, find an appropriate garnish and top up your favourite glass with a freshly poured tonic water. Then sit back and watch while the salmon slowly roasts in the oven. This is the perfect way to enjoy cooking with gin and this recipe is so easy to make.

Bertha’s revenge?

First of all (and most importantly) choose a decent gin – the more aromatic the better. This easy gin recipe will infuse your salmon with a gin flavour that perfectly complements the creamy richness of the salmon. We recommend using a bottle of Bertha’s Revenge (paid link). This is a complex, charismatic gin from Ireland made from milk provided by the offspring of Bertha, Ireland’s most famous cow (check out our recent review of Bertha’s Revenge to get the full details).

But for now, all you need to know is that it will infuse your salmon with a buttery, juniper-rich flavour, balanced by the soft citrus notes from the gin. Bertha’s revenge says on the label that their final ingredient is “plenty of laughter” – a sentiment that we heartily endorse every time you put your chef’s apron on.

So, here’s the simple recipe – and don’t forget to pour that chef’s drink as soon as the oven door has closed!

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup coarse sea salt
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon of coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon gin (Bertha’s Revenge highly recommended)
  • 2 x 8oz salmon fillets
  • 1-3 tablespoons of cooking oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 225F.
  2. To prepare the fish, rinse the fillets and pat dry with paper towel. Rub lightly with cooking oil
  3. Mix together the salt, sugar, lemon zest, thyme and pepper. Add gin. The mixture should resemble wet sand. Remember, this rub can be stored for one week (in an airtight container).
  4. Rub the salmon fillets with the mixture using around 1 tablespoon per fillet.
  5. Wrap fillets tight in plastic wrap and refrigerate for between one and two hours.
  6. Cook fish right away (or store in fridge for one day). Bake at 225F for 25-30 minutes. Begin to check fish after 20 minutes.

Pour yourself another well deserved G&T and eat while still piping hot!

The Monkey Gland: 1920s Viagra in a classic cocktail

We seem to have developed a bit of a monkey theme this week.  So in that spirit, here’s the bizarre story behind one of the world’s most famous gin cocktails – the Monkey Gland. 

This classic cocktail was first mixed up at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.   Let’s take a step back in time to the 1920s, when legendary bartender Harry MacElhone was starting to build a reputation for himself in the heart of Paris.  He was well known for mixing up fabulous American style cocktails for his glamorous roster of international clients.  In 1922, in a clever marketing move, he thought he’d collect his best recipes and publish them in a book of cocktails which he called “Harry’s ABC of mixing cocktails”.  The book contained one particular drink with a strange name and a bizarre story. 

Building the legend

The art of cocktail making isn’t simply about mixing the right ingredients, there is also the little matter of building a reputation.  Harry knew that and concocted a wickedly strong cocktail by mixing classic London Dry gin with a little orange juice and a few dashes of Grenadine. To top it off, he added the final detail – 3 dashes of high strength Absinthe to guarantee an out of this world experience.  He mixed it all up, shook it with ice and poured it into a Martini glass. It was delicious, but he knew he had to have a name for it if he was to create a classic cocktail.  He called it the Monkey Gland – and he took inspiration from a bizarre source. 

Monkey glands, Viagra and a Russian scientist

In those pre-Viagra days, a Russian scientist called Serge Voronoff was experimenting with ways of maintaining men’s “staying power” and he hit on a very strange technique.  He grafted monkey glands onto men in a bid to boost their virility.  While this was a bit extreme (and there is no evidence that this technique actually worked) Harry was inspired.  He knew that sex sells, so in honour of Prof. Voronoff, he decided to name his new drink “The Monkey Gland” with all the promises and hope that a stimulating drink like this brings to men of a certain age. 

It has been a bartender’s classic ever since.  While we can’t vouch for the medical benefits of this drink, we can highly recommend it for its flavour and strength. For the prefect pour, we recommend making it with a good, classic London Dry such as Sipsmith [paid link].

Handle with care

Beware of the Absinthe – it’s not to everyone’s taste, but it packs a real alcoholic punch, so handle with care.

Bottoms up!

Here’s our classic recipe for a traditional Monkey Gland:

Ingredients:

  • 3 dashes of absinthe
  • 3 dashes of Grenadine
  • ⅓ orange juice
  • ⅔ London Dry gin

Method:

Shake well (over ice) and stir into cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange slice or a twist of burnt orange peel for a little extra flavour. 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 Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog
    Today is Ruddles’ first day on the job in his new role as Barcelona Gin’s chief newshound. Our gallant Gin Dog has been busy all week, sniffing out the best gin news stories for your reading pleasure. We already know he has a great nose for a story, so we are expecting great things from … Continued
  • Introducing our newshound, Ruddles – the ultimate gin dog!
    Introducing our gorgeous newshound, Ruddles. Or Señor Ruddles if you prefer. This shaggy, laid back bundle of love is a vital part of our team here at Barcelona Gin.  We recruited him from a local refuge a few years ago.  He had spent much of his early life living outdoors in a huge field. It … Continued
  • Dry Martini: Barcelona’s cocktail HQ
    In a year when we said goodbye to Sean Connery (arguably the greatest Bond ever to grace our screens) we thought we’d pay tribute to a Barcelona bar that has been honouring his favourite drink for more than 30 years. Welcome to the legendary Dry Martini bar in Barcelona. From the outside, you might not … Continued
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A hand introducing coins in a piggy bank

5 of the most expensive gins in the world

Gin comes in all shapes and sizes and these days, there’s something for everyone, whatever your budget. Most of us think that £40 for a bottle of gin is an extravagance. But, as the demand for gin grows and the craft gin revolution uncovers new markets, new techniques and new flavours, there is a new breed of gin appearing, aimed squarely at the super high end of the market. These gins are a bit more “bling” than our normal tipples.

So, here’s a brief look at some of these new, high-end gin brands. Do you reckon any of these might make it into your Christmas stocking this year?

5. Anty Gin

The folks at Anty Gin make this with the essence of “approximately” 62 red wood ants. It also features a selection of hand-picked botanicals including juniper and nettles. The  result: a citrusy, surprising and very expensive gin which will amaze your friends. 42% ABV, RRP: 225 euros. 

4. Grand Cru Gin

If you like fine wine, then Grand Cru gin is for you. Made with 50% Grand Cru Burgundy wine, blended with 50% gin, this little baby has been infused with raspberry, strawberry, black truffle rose and violet for an extraordinary complex and rich flavour. It comes in a fancy presentation box and it’s a perfect gift for you if you want to impress someone you like a lot. Or, alternatively, just drink it yourself. Up to you! ABV 47%; RRP: £495.

Two different Grand Cru Gin bottles next to a box

3. Nolet’s Reserve Dry Gin

This Dutch distillery has been in the same family for 10 generations, so by now they’ve probably got the secret of gin-making down to a fine art. Let’s hope so, since this prestigious gin carries a hefty price tag. And here’s why: it features two of the most expensive ingredients on earth – spicy saffron and elegant verbena – giving it a unique and distinctive flavour with a savoury dryness and a long finish. Nolet’s Reserve Dry Gin bottle can also be hand engraved 52.3% ABV, RRP : 650 euros.

2. Watenshi “Japanese Angel” Gin

Another gin from the Cambridge Distillery, who make this in batches of only 6 bottles. Watenshi Gin features an intensive distilling process that only yields 15ml of spirit per distillation. The result – an intensely exotic gin with notes of sweet citrus and spice. There’s also plenty of juniper leading to a long, complex and intensely satisfying finish. This beautiful concoction is then poured into a hand blown decanter bottle and finished off with silver pieces by jeweller Antoine Sandoz. 45% ABV, RRP: 2250 euros

. Watenshi Gin Beautiful round white bottle

1. Morus LXIV

From UK’s Jamjar Gin team, Morus LXIV  takes more than two years to produce and is made from the leaves of a single, ancient Mulberry tree. Once harvested, the guys at Jamjar dry the leaves before adding them to a selection of generations old botanicals grown in soil nourished by an ancient underground stream. The team then decant the distilled gin into hand made porcelain jars, encased in a beautifully finished leather hide. 64% ABV, RRP: 4495 euros.


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 Ruddles Report: notes from a gin dog
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a little monkey sitting in the forest looking at the camera

The Monkey’s Tale: the legend behind the gin

You might have seen our recent post about one of our favourite gins, the deliciously complex Monkey 47, made deep in the heart of the Black Forest.

Every great gin should have a great story behind it, but even by most normal standards, this one stands out. Bizarrely, it involves an RAF pilot, a wild monkey, a watchmaking business and a German distiller.

So what could possibly connect these things and what brought them together in the depths of the Black Forest to create this legendary gin?

The RAF pilot and a monkey called Max

After WW2 had ended, a certain RAF pilot with the very British name of Wing Commander Montgomery Collins moved from the UK to the Black Forest to set up a small watchmaking business.

But when his patience ran out with the intricacies of mechanical timepieces, he switched his attention to running a small guest house, which he named “The Wild Monkey”. According to local legend, it was named after a monkey called Max that he had adopted from Berlin Zoo.

Montgomery kept himself busy running the guest house, but he filled his spare time by making distilled fruit spirits. Inevitably, soon he graduated to gin.

Nobody knows exactly what happened to Wing Commander Collins, but his legacy lives on. Wherever he may have ended up, he left behind a case of gin labelled “Max the Monkey – Black Forest Dry Gin”.

In 2007 a local German distiller called Alexander Stein stumbled across the gin. Stein was intrigued. He tasted it and he recognised a good recipe when he saw one. He spent much of the next couple of years foraging for the ingredients and trying out and testing the ratios. Monkey 47 (paid link) was eventually launched in its distinctive squat, dark bottle with its stunning postage stamp label and an initial run of 2000 bottles.

47: the magic number

Within a year, this intriguing gin had won “Best In Class” at the International Wine and Spirits Championships in San Francisco. The rest, as they say, is history.

Monkey 47 is now one of the most respected gin brands in the world and a prominent feature of any decent bartender’s gin collection.

This complex, beautifully blended and packaged gin has carved out a big space for itself, partly because of the 47 unique botanicals (many locally sourced from the Black Forest) that make it so intriguing. It is also a hefty 47% ABV, so it packs a true punch. For a full review of this delicious gin, check out our recent article, Monkey 47: complex and packed with flavour

Each distinctive brown bottle recreates the old chemist bottles that gin was served from in its earliest days. It also features a postage stamp of Max the Monkey on its unique label, in tribute to the creature from the forest that inspired a gin.

Top tip: always keep a bottle of this in reserve for your special guests. They will love it.

Prost!


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.


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Monkey47 bottle on a wooden counter next to a lemon, orange a lavander flowers

Monkey 47: strong, complex and packed with flavour

This is the one.

Universally liked for its complex botanicals, Monkey 47’s name [paid link] celebrates its 47 ABV strength. It also draws attention to the 47 rare and distinct botanicals that pack it with all that flavour. Quite simply, it’s hard to resist. It’s also a bartender’s favourite across the world and for good reason.

Infused with all those botanicals, Monkey 47 inevitably contains some unusual ones that are indigenous to its Black Forest location.

Botanicals foraged from Black Forest

These include spruce tips, verbena, cranberries and sage amongst a whole load more. Its full flavour is reminiscent of older style Dutch gins. And it’s complexity means it goes just as well with a basic standard tonic water as it does with vermouth or bitters. As with all great gins, not only does this one taste great but it has an equally exotic back story. This one involves an RAF pilot, a monkey named Max and lots of foraging in the Black Forest.  But more of that in another post.

A thing of beauty

This is a beautiful gin in a beautiful bottle. You’ll pick up mint and eucalyptus on the nose, followed by a blast of Black Forest fruits alongside citrus notes, angelica or a hint of Oak moss. Once you get tasting it you’ll pick up all of its complexity including a blast of smoky incense and a savoury shot of sage.  All in all, this is one of the best gins out there. It works well on its own or with  a simple light tonic water, poured over ice cubes and garnished with a slice of orange, this one’s for drinking not for sharing!

Bartenders’ favourite

Almost every mixologist who knows his onions will have a bottle of “Monkey” on the shelf behind them. It regularly features on the list of best gins in the world and it’s reputation is well deserved. We think this is one of the most complex, flavour-filled, well balanced gins out there – and we can’t recommend it highly enough!

Prost!

The perfect pour:

  1. Pour 50 ml of Monkey 47 into a large copa glass.
  2. Fill the glass with large ice cubes and top up the glass with Schweppes dry tonic water.
  3. Wipe the rim with a grapefruit slice and garnish with grapefruit zest.

Yum!


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.


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