Simple syrup: what is it and why do I need it?

Ever struggle to get sweetness into your cocktail?

One of bartending’s greatest secrets is simple syrup and just as it says on the tin, it’s really simple. If you’re into cocktails, always have a supply of this available in your fridge. It will be the best thing you ever did. Plus, if you want to dial up your taste sensation, you can add flavour to your syrup by simply adding extra ingredients of your choice while making it. Try flavouring it with mint leaves, citrus peel, ginger, elderflower, chili or blackcurrant. In fact, the possibilities are endless, so whatever floats your boat. If you’re into making cocktails with your gin, this is the ideal way to customise them to your tastes.

Keeping it sweet

Because it is a liquid sweetener, you can just pour it directly into your drink without the need to stir or heat the sugar – ideal to soften up the sharpness of a Tom Collins or to take the citrus edge off a French 75.  Plus, there’s one more advantage – keep your simple syrup in a bottle in the fridge (it should last a month or so). That way, it’s always handy for your impromptu cocktail making sessions. And remember, this is not just “gin juice”. You can also use it to sweeten up your favourite recipes, pour it straight into a long iced coffee or iced tea, just pour it into your morning cuppa when you run out of sugar.

Here’s an easy recipe for home made syrup.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • ½  cup of water

Steps:

  1. Add sugar and water to small saucepan on medium heat
  2. Stir until sugar is dissolved and add flavouring (if desired)
  3. Allow to cool and decant into a glass jar or bottle
  4. Seal lid and leave in fridge
  5. Kept refrigerated

One batch of simple syrup will last for around one month and is sure to sweeten even the sourest of cocktails!


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

  • Simple syrup: what is it and why do I need it?
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    In our never-ending search for the perfect gin cocktail, we will spare no effort.  The Barcelona gin team (guided by our faithful gin dog, Ruddles) are constantly searching for new gins and out of the ordinary cocktail recipes that will elevate gin into a thing of pure beauty. And the wonderful thing about gin is … Continued
  • 5 flavoured gins to try before you die
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  • Hot sloe gin toddy: an easy recipe for autumn comfort
    Summer is officially behind us and these days, the weather’s much colder, the rain’s more frequent and sometimes you can even see your breath in the air. This is the season of long nights, darker mornings, conkers, log fires, cozy walks, sturdy walking shoes and Wellington boots. But it is also sloe gin season in … Continued

5 flavoured gins to try before you die

Gone are the days when gin generally came in one flavour – juniper.  Now, with more than 600 craft gin distilleries in the UK alone (and several hundred more in Spain),  gins are infused with flavours unthinkable only a few years ago.

Ingredients as diverse as lemongrass, seaweed, tea and freshly foraged herbs now offer a tantalising challenge to your tastebuds.  I’ve even recently seen a gin infused with 6kg of fresh lobster (which might be taking it a bit far!) 

For those who prefer gloriously citrusy gins, fruits such as grapefruit, lime, orange and plum are becoming more and more popular.  So, we thought we’d talk you through some of our favourites.  We’ll come back to some of the more unusual flavours such as marshmallow, Bakewell tart (and even lobster!) another time.

Here are some interesting gins that we are delighted to recommend:

Sipsmith Chili and Lime gin (England)

Sipsmith’s Chili and Lime limited edition gin is bursting with character and is made in small batches by the folks at Sipsmith,  one of the pioneers of the craft gin movement. They take a standard gin base and infuse it with tangy lime to deliver a classic gin experience. Then they infuse it again with botanicals to give it an extra kick adding an intricate blend of 7 different fruity and complex chilis. The result is a unique gin that will usher you into winter with a little fire in your mouth.  Full of character and exploding with flavour, this one won’t be around forever, so make sure you get your order in now before it’s too late!

The perfect serve:  Pour 50 ml of Sipsmith Chili and Lime gin into a large Copa glass and fill to the top with a premium tonic water such as Fever Tree (paid link). Or you could try it with a classic ginger ale.  Garnish with a dry chili pepper, sit back and sip slowly.

ABV: 41.9%

Whitley Neill Lemongrass and Ginger gin (England)

Whitley Neill are building quite a reputation for their eclectic range of high quality, great value, flavoured gins. They’re perhaps most well known for their beautifully balanced rhubarb and ginger gin.  But if you’re hankering for a little taste of the East, this fragrant gin might just be the one for you. The guys at WN have been inspired by the flavours of South East Asia and have created a  beautiful, elegant and subtle gin.  It combines the essence of lemongrass with natural ginger. And there’s lots of juniper goodness in there as well.  Delicate, fragrant (and a little citrusy) this one comes with an extra whack of heat to warm the tastebuds.  A deliciously different G&T – equally perfect for sipping on a hot summer’s day or a chilly winter’s evening. 

The perfect serve: pour 50 ml of Whitley Neill Lemongrass and Ginger gin into a large copa glass. Fill with large ice cubes and top up with ginger ale, or a premium Indian tonic water.  Garnish with fresh ginger, a slice of lemon or some black pepper. Or, if your prefer, add a twist of lemongrass and serve with ginger ale for some extra oomph! Sip slowly.

ABV: 43%

Haysmith, Rhubarb and Ginger (England)

Rhubarb and ginger are two flavours that have built a real following this summer, but they don’t always come cheap.  So, if you’re looking for a great value gin for under £20, then pop down to Aldi to pick up a bottle of this before they run out.  At £14.99 a bottle, this gin has the perfect balance of rhubarb and ginger dominating the taste, but there are strong notes of juniper throughout. This is a lovely combination of sweet and sour and at 37.5% you can have a few of these without falling over. There are more expensive and heavily marketed rhubarb and ginger brands out there, but if you’re looking for value for money, this might be a good choice.

The perfect serve: pour 50ml of Haysmith’s Rhubarb and Ginger gin into a large copa glass and fill with ice. Top up with a premium tonic water of your choice and serve with a grapefruit slice. And if you want to turn up the taste, you could even add some elderflower cordial to give it an extra flavour kick.

ABV 37.5%

Twisted Nose gin (England)

So, here’s an unusual one for you – gin made from watercress. In the gentle, rolling landscape of Hampshire, the trout sunbathe under crystal clear waters waiting to catch flies hovering in the blue skies above them. It just so happens that these crystal clear chalk streams are also the perfect place to grow watercress. The Winchester Distillery has created Twisted Nose gin. It’s a delicious, peppery dry gin based on everybody’s favorite salad fixing.  And it is delicious.

With 10 botanicals complementing the obligatory juniper and the peppery freshness of the watercress cutting through clearly, this gin is refreshingly unique. It’s a bright, subtle gin made by hand in a copper still using local spring water and locally sourced botanicals. Why Twisted Nose? Apparently, the Romans knew watercress as Nasturtium – which is Latin for twisted nose.

The perfect serve: This dry, spicy gin deserves a good tonic water. We suggest pouring 50ml of Twisted Nose into a copa glass, fill it with large ice cubes and top it up with some delicious elderflower tonic water. Or for a purer taste, stay simple with Fever Tree Indian tonic water.

ABV: 40%

Entropia Ginseng and Guarana gin (Spain)

This little baby is hard to find but it’s delicious. Made in small batches it includes 14 natural botanicals including juniper, coriander, orange and lemon peel.  Add some angelica root and orange blossom and infuse it with nutmeg and ginger. Then add the vital ingredients of Guarana and Ginseng for a healthy natural energy boost.  What you end up with is a distinctive golden gin with a fresh citrus taste and a uniquely delicious smell.  Handmade in Galicia, Spain, this one also comes in a cool bottle that will stand out on your shelf.

The perfect serve: This is a Spanish gin, so start by pouring at least 50 ml of Entropia Ginseng and Guarana gin into a copa glass to get things rolling. Then drop in some large ice cubes before topping up with a classic Indian tonic water to bring out the complex flavours. Then drink, and wait for that Ginseng to do its stuff!

ABV: 40%

Conclusion

Infused gins are not for everyone – some people find them too sweet and there are certainly many gimmicky flavours out there that do not really merit the word gin. But there are also some great ones – and they don’t have to cost a fortune. It really is a matter of personal preference. So, get out there and explore the wonderful world of flavoured gin. And don’t forget to leave a comment and share what you discover on the Barcelona Gin Facebook page.


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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Hot sloe gin toddy: an easy recipe for autumn comfort

Summer is officially behind us and these days, the weather’s much colder, the rain’s more frequent and sometimes you can even see your breath in the air. This is the season of long nights, darker mornings, conkers, log fires, cozy walks, sturdy walking shoes and Wellington boots. But it is also sloe gin season in the UK.

You might have seen our interview with our friends Jenny and Hamish Prentice about how and when to harvest sloe berries. They’ve been making sloe gin in the Wiltshire countryside for years and they offered some handy tips on exactly how and when to harvest these elusive little berries and turn them into sloe gin. It’s well worth a read if you missed it. But once you’ve got your sloe gin, what exactly do you with it on a cold autumn evening?

Spice up those autumn nights

Well one thing you could do is warm yourself up with a delicious hot sloe gin toddy. So, we thought we’d make it nice and easy for you by giving you a simple recipe that will add a little spice to those cold, dark nights. When you’re trapped indoors (maybe enjoying the warmth of a log fire or wondering what gin based drink you should have) you could get your evening going with a burst of delicious, spicy alcoholic warmth.

Welcome to our hot sloe gin toddy – we think you’ll FALL in love with it (see what I did there?)

Ingredients: Continued

Ingredients: Continued

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.


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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

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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

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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.


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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.


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What exactly is a Pink Gin?

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

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5 late summer gins 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. Watching the little bubbles of refreshment fizzing up inside. The smell, the garnishes – and that first taste! Bang!

So, here are 5 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 gin’s 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!

Chase pink grapefruit and pomelo gin (England); citrus zest – and so easy to drink!

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

Puerto des Indias, strawberry gin (Spain): the taste of summer

This beautiful, fruity gin is from the south of Spain and (unlike Tanqueray Sevilla), so 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.

www.ginpuertodesindias.com


JJ Whitley elderflower gin (England): a summer classic

JJ Whitley does it again. The Whitley family have 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 have 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

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin (England): where Spanish passion meets English elegance

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 – 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

Gin Mare (Spain): a true taste of the Mediterranean 

If you’re looking for the authentic taste of the Mediterranean, then you” 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