Colombian Treasure Gin

Goodbye cocaine and coffee, hello Colombian Treasure gin!

We’d like to introduce you to the delights of premium Colombian Treasure gin from the folks at Dictador (43% ABV). This deliciously smooth, sugar cane-based gin is packed with local citrus and aged in oak barrels to give it a rich citric smoothness that makes it stand out from the crowd. And it’s well worth a try.

Coffee, cocaine and now gin

Colombia is famous for many things. Delicious, rich coffee, stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and mountains (as well as drug cartels and cocaine). But one thing I didn’t know is that gin is on the up in this part of the world.  So, imagine my surprise when I received a gift of a gorgeous bottle of gin from a Colombian friend of mine.  And this one’s a doozy!

In a land where rum is King, here’s something a little different

Colombia is better known for producing rum-based drinks including the notorious Aguardiente (often referred to as Colombia’s national drink).  Literally translated as “firewater”, this is generally drunk neat and it might not be for everyone. But its sugarcane base gives it a smoother taste and it clocks in at a slightly underpowered 29% ABV – a little low for a proper shot!

But it’s rum that’s ubiquitous in this region with high quality brands available everywhere at very good prices. So, when we discovered that Colombia is now starting to produce some good gins, we were excited to give this one a try.

Dictador: a lifestyle brand for the good things in life…

This exceptional aged gin is from the folks at Cartagena-based lifestyle brand, Dictador. This heritage company has been producing fine award winning aged spirits for more than 100 years. Their story all began long ago in the 18th century, when a Spanish official called Severo Arango y Ferro arrived in what was to become Colombia on a mission to improve tax collection rates for Spain.  It wasn’t long before his strong, powerful character was identified and he became known locally as “The Dictator”.

A taste for rum, coffee and good cigars…

But the Dictator was human, like everyone else, and he soon discovered a taste for the local spirit, rum.  Fast forward to 1913 and his descendants began to research his story and established the Destileria Colombiana with a mission to produce the finest rum in the Caribbean.  Since then, it has made its name with fine spirits, Colombian coffee and high quality cigars and it has a number of famous brands that sit comfortable alongside their world famous rums.

And now, they’ve taken the next step with the development of Colombian Treasure gin, delicious and rum-based, bursting with local flavour and aged in oak casks for a gentle, smooth blend.

Black, bold and beautiful: a striking bottle for your top shelf

Colombian Treasure gin

Colombian Treasure gin bottle itself is confident and striking. With its frosted black glass and bold reverse typeface, it makes an instant impression.  But it’s what’s inside that counts.  As you might expect in this region, the base spirit here is made from sugar cane. But this sugar cane is distilled up to five times to create the neutral spirit base which anchors this gin firmly in the Caribbean. The good folks at Dictador then make the magic happen.  

Exotic flavours, aged in oak

They add an exotic mix of botanicals, berries, citrus peels and local spices and then blend it all together in an ageing process that gives this gin its unique flavour. Then, they place the whole lot into huge oak barrels which have been previously used to store their classic rums for 35 weeks, imparting a unique, subtle smokiness to the final product. But what really sets this gin apart is the citrus flavours that give it a unique and special taste.  

The secret ingredient

Colombian Treasure gin

The secret to this flavour lies in the Limon Mandarina, known locally as the “Paraguayan Lime”.  This unusual fruit combines the sweet taste of the tangerine with the sharpness of lemon. It’s an unusual looking fruit. On the outside, it’s a rough green, like a normal lime. But open it up and the inside is like a tangerine. This is a fruit that is local to Colombia, but hard to find anywhere else. It’s this combination of freshness and smoothness that makes this such an easy gin to drink. In fact, it’s so good, you can enjoy it neat (or with a few ice cubes).

But what’s Colombian Treasure gin actually like?

Well the first thing you notice when you pour it is that it has a unique and distinctive colour.  The liquid is a pale gold, a hue imparted by the oak aged barrels that it ages in. And then you notice the aroma.  On the nose, there’s a distinctive citrus smell.  You can pick up notes of sweet lemon, tangerine and even a slight whiff of burnt orange. This is a citrus forward gin that shines through brightly on the nose.  But dig a bit deeper and you’ll soon spot notes of mint and some interesting herbal fragrances that add to its subtle complexity.

Tantalisingly complex

But it’s when you dive in that you first start to notice the smooth delicacy of this gin. Take a sip and you’ll spot orange and grapefruit in there, alongside an oily, lemon flavour, which becomes more prominent as you drink.  You’ll probably also pick up on the herbal notes and a little spicy pepper, just to lift it a bit further out of the ordinary. This unusual gin is just packed full of character.  And it’s not over until it’s over. On the finish, it moves in the direction of lemon again sitting comfortably alongside the gentle oak.  This is a smooth gin without any bitter edges and the rum subtly informs the flavour, but never over reaches.

The Gin and Tonic test

As with all our gins, we think the true test is in a standard gin and tonic.  We tried Colombian Treasure gin with a 1:2 ratio, poured over ice and topped with Fever Tree premium tonic water. We garnished it with a thinly sliced wedge of lime to highlight that refreshing sharpness. It was delicious. Just as we expected. All those citrus notes are agitated by the pouring of the tonic to bring to life all the playful flavours that lurk within. Smooth, citrus and herby, this gin is a worthy contender. And it’s really nice to see gin of this quality coming from South America.

Is Colombian Treasure gin a gin for cocktails?

Unhesitatingly, yes! That combination of sweet and citrus, mellowed by the oak barrel ageing and the unique citrus fruitiness of the “Paraguayan Lime” make it a perfect ingredient for citrus cocktails. We’ve done a little research and we think we’ve come up with something a little special to help you to turn this unusually smooth, citrus gin into a deliciously refreshing drink. So, we’ve done a little searching on your behalf and we’ve found a doozy of a cocktail that works really well with the smoky, citrus, smooth notes of Dictador’s Colombian Treasure aged gin.  Plus, like all great cocktails, it’s really easy to make – and even easier to drink

Triple Citrus Gin Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 oz Dictador Colombian Treasure gin (or your preference)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 2 oz fresh, unsweetened grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime
  • 2 oz Club soda or sparkling water
  • 1-2 tbsp simple syrup (to taste)
  • Ice
  • A shaker (or a jam jar with a lid)
  • A shot glass
  • Glasses

Method:

  1. Fill your shaker halfway with ice
  2. Add Dictador Colombian Treasure gin
  3. Pour in Contreau and grapefruit juice
  4. Add the simple syrup (to taste) and fresh lime juice
  5. Top up with 2 oz fresh soda water
  6. Shake until it’s all blended nicely
  7. Strain into a rounded Coupe glass (or Martini glass)
  8. Garnish with a grapefruit wheel
  9. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy (preferably with a good cigar!)

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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Corpen

Corpen’s Brian Burgess: my favourite cocktail

Corpen Week is coming to a close and we’ve loved learning more about this brave new Barcelona gin brand. We’ve heard about how tough it is to open a gin brand in the middle of a pandemic. We’ve reviewed the deliciously complex Corpen Llevant to reveal its complex flavours. We’ve heard why integrity is so important to the Corpen process.

Now, in a final flourish, we’ve invited Corpen’s co-founder Brian Burgess to be Barcelona Gin’s guest bartender for March. 
The team at Corpen have created an extraordinarily delicious gin. It’s bursting with citrus notes, brimming with earthy tones and jam-packed with gentle spice. When you have a gin as good as this, the last thing you want to do is to ruin its unique flavour by drowning it in a sea of sugary cocktail mixes. This is a good gin and it demands respect.

We asked Brian to suggest his favourite cocktail. Something that would make the most of the gorgeous flavour combinations in Corpen Llevant. 

This is what he came up with…

“For me, it’s the Martini – a cocktail classic that stands the test of time and showcases the flavour of the gin. For me, the perfect mix is a 50/50 Martini. “
“The classic version can sometimes be a bit intimidating. There’s a hard core of drinkers whose use of vermouth is, shall we say, minimal. I think we all know these people. We may even be these people. The common view is that drier is better. Just wave a bottle of vermouth in the general direction of the glass and you’re done. Some martini lovers think that you should simply rinse the glass with vermouth and then pour out the contents before adding the gin. Others pass a bottle of vermouth over the mixing glass without even taking the cap off the bottle. Winston Churchill used to just wave his glass of gin in the general direction of France!”

“Don’t get me wrong, this is fine and each to their own. We love our gin and serving it cold on ice is still delicious, but it’s not for everyone. We think the vermouth can add some delicious flavours and we don’t want to miss out on them. We use Dolin Dry as our vermouth and a squeeze of lemon, which we think makes this a much more accessible drink than the ultra dry version. We don’t add any bitters. It’s a less boozy version of the classic and we think it’s a great entry level Martini. We hope you enjoy it!”

Corpen’s 50:50 Martini

Ingredients:

Method:

  1. Add the gin and dry vermouth to a mixing glass
  2. Fill with ice and stir until well chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled Martini glass
  4. Squeeze some lemon into the glass
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist

Cheers!

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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Larios Citrus

Larios Citrus: orange gin, big flavour, great value

We often get asked about our “go to” gins. The kind of gins that are well made, great value and perfect for every day drinking. We find ourselves going back time after time to a few favourites. Larios is one of those. Many of us will be familiar with Larios as a popular pour when we visit Spain on our holidays (remember those?).

How it all began

The Larios brand has a rich pedigree that goes all the way back to 1866, when French businessman Charles Lamothe and his Spanish friend Pedro Jimenez founded a small distillery in Malaga. Meanwhile, the third Marquis of Larios and his family had been involved in the business of sugar cane processing for generations before branching out into distillation in 1863. In 1934, the Marquis acquired the Larios business and it is the number one gin brand in Spain and one of the top 10 best selling gins globally. They must have been doing something right.

The Larios collection

The standard Larios Dry is a great gin for those who want a decent taste and character without breaking the bank. But recently, under their new owners (France’s Pernod-Ricard Group), they’ve launched a number of premium gins. These new gins deliver pots of flavour at a great price. The standard Larios Dry gin is a 37.5% ABV gin made with Mediterranean orange and lemon botanicals. Then there’s Larios 12 (a 40% ABV gin made with 12 botanicals including the essence of orange blossom). The third in their trilogy is Larios Rose (37.5% ABV and infused with strawberries).

Double-distilled and bursting with citrus flavour

And now, they’ve done it again with Larios Citrus a delicious premium Mediterranean Gin, bursting with flavour. This little beauty has been distilled (not once but twice) with Mediterranean oranges, wild juniper and citrus fruits. In a world of orange gins, Larios is following a well highlighted trail blazed by the outstanding Tanqueray Sevilla. But somehow, Larios manages to deliver a powerful blast of complex flavour at a fraction of the price of other premium orange gins. It has an intense orange colour and comes in an attractive retro bottle.

Easy on the eye, easy on the tastebuds, easy on the wallet!

It’s not only easy on the tastebuds but it’s easy on the eye as well. And even better, it’s easy on the wallet. Larios Citrus has fast become one of my standby drinks and works superbly on its own, in a Spanish style gin and tonic. But it’s equally at home in any cocktail recipe that could do with a little extra orangy zestiness. This gin will make you happy. It will make you think of Mediterranean beaches, sunshine and joy. And at around £12 a bottle, it’s a small price to pay for happiness.

Keep it simple

This gorgeous gin is so tasty that it works well as an aperitif. It also adds a little extra character to some of those citrus cocktails you’ve been thinking of making. But for us, the best way to drink this is in a Spanish style gin and tonic. Our recommendation is to keep it simple. A premium Indian Tonic water is the best option to make the most of the complex layers of flavour that lie within.

Larios Citrus perfect serve:

  • Find a tall glass, fill it with the biggest ice cubes you can find
  • pour your Larios Citrus
  • Squeeze in a little orange and wipe the rim with the squeezed fruit
  • Pour in your mixer (Fever Tree Mediterranean also works well for a more refreshing mix)
  • Garnish with a twist of orange and serve.

As those Mediterranean flavours dance on your tongue, imagine yourself on a sunny Spanish terrace watching the world go by.


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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gin cake

Christmas gin treat: boozy ginger and orange drizzle cake

Who doesn’t like cake? I suspect most of us do – especially if that cake is baked with all the boozy goodness of gin!
This delicious, moist fruity spiced cake is made with Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin (for an extra hit of orange). Its buttery flavour is boosted by a rich mixture of gin-soaked fruit and raisins, and then warmed up with a blast of ginger. It’s then topped with a deliciously sweet and citrus gin, sugar and Clementine icing that you can slowly drizzle over this delicious treat while it’s still warm and just out of the oven. It’s making my mouth water just writing about it.

So, if you’re still looking for some extra home-made treats to serve to your loved ones this Christmas, give this recipe a try. And if you’ve still got room in that strange space between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, it’s the perfect time to dig put the old chef’s apron and get your hands dirty in the kitchen (accompanied by a large gin-based beverage, of course!)

In fact, this is a great recipe all year round, especially when paired with a glass of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla as you lovingly stir all those gorgeous ingredients. We’ll drink to that!

Ingredients

  • 250g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 100g of mixed fried fruit or raisins
  • 50ml of Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin
  • 30g of fresh ginger

For the icing

Method

  1. Pour the orange gin over the dried fruit and leave to soak for 30 minutes
  2. Mix together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add the eggs in one at a time until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the flour and fold it in with a metal spoon carefully ensuring not to over mix.
  5. Finally add in the soaked fruit and mix together.
  6. Pour the cake mix into a loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven 180c
  7. While the cake is baking, mix together the gin, icing sugar and the juice from the clementine.
  8. When the cake is baked remove from the oven and leave to cool for 20 minutes before drizzling the icing over the top of the cake.

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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