I love GinCity.
Every so often, you come across a gin that takes you by surprise. So, when I received a bottle of GinCity London this Christmas, I was initially seduced by the beautiful bottle. Elegant and tall, the glass is intricately etched with a map of my home city in exquisite detail. Every London street seems to exist and I had some fun finding all the different places I had lived over the years. And then, I discovered the disco button.
Under an adhesive strip on the bottom of the bottle is a little bump. Push it once and this beautiful bottle lights up with a gentle, blinking, pulsing red glow. Push it twice for a slower, gentler vibe. Or push it three times for a steady glow of red. Whichever you choose, with a simple push, this bottle is turned into a talking point. GinCity, will be the undoubted star of your bar.
The real deal…
But here’s the thing. My experience with gimmicks and promotions isn’t good. Generally, the hype gets you in the door and the taste often makes you want to lock the door from the outside. That’s why I didn’t rush to open this bottle. I knew that its time would come. And so, this weekend, I turned the lights down low, switched the bottle to disco mode and poured. I was pre-conditioned to be disappointed. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is this a stunning addition to my collection, but it tasted delicious. And that’s what really matters.
So, what is this new gin, where does it come from and what does GinCity taste like?
A tale of two cities
GinCity London is one of two GinCity branded gins from their collection. The one I tried is red and is etched with a detailed map of London. The other one is yellow and is etched with a beautiful street map of Valencia. GinCity gins have been made by the team at Bodegas Vegamar, who have made their reputation from wine, but have recently turned their attention to gin. Their GinCity brand currently features the two gins we have mentioned. Each of them have been meticulously produced and each has a completely different character.
The Valencia version is the sweeter of the two and is made from a Muscat base that has been infused with the sweet aromas of orange blossom. Mediterranean flavours are then added, including chamomile, thyme and marcona almonds to give it a real warmth and softness. Or at least that’s what it says on the website. We haven’t tried it yet, but we will.
GinCity London – it’s all in the detail!
On the other hand, we’ve dived straight into the London version and we were deliciously (and pleasantly) surprised. This is no average gin in a novelty bottle. This is actually a delicious gin in a beautiful bottle. So, let’s take a look beyond the flashing lights and find out what it’s all about.
This is a modern London Dry gin. It’s elegant and contemporary, with a beautifully blended selection of botanicals that include ginger, cardamom, cilantro, angelica, orange and lemon peel and mint. There’s also plenty of juniper, which helps retain its London Dry characteristics. This is a good thing. The result is a delightful gin, that despite being named after London, is actually packed full of Mediterranean flavour, as befits its birthplace, sunny Valencia. But it’s not just that Spanish sunshine that makes this gin special.
These guys do it properly. They divide the base spirit into three separate tanks, each of which macerates a different selection of botanicals. In the first batch, they mix up juniper, cardamom, cilantro and angelica root. In the second tank, they macerate a mixture of ginger and peppermint. And in the third tank, they macerate the citrus fruits including the lemon and orange peel.
After 24 hours, each tank is redistilled with its own botanicals and with each distillation, the “heads and tails” of the gin mixture are discarded, leaving only the best of the gin in three new, high quality distillates. Then, in a final flourish, all three mixtures are distilled for a fifth and final time, resulting in a fresh, powerful and flavour-packed gin that is easy to drink and deceptively intricate.
The verdict: oranges and lemons (and a hint of Yuzu)
Well, I was pleasantly surprised. I absolutely loved this gin. It is a complex mixture but its five distillations ensure a smooth, rounded and sophisticated drink that will suit most tastes. On the nose, there are the distinct floral notes of orange blossom. The lemon and orange peel lends it a citrus aroma that is a lovely signpost to the treat that awaits you. You can certainly smell the juniper bitterness, which is softened with hints of verbena and almond. These delicate notes linger on long after you’ve put the glass down.
And then when you taste it, you’ll probably pick up the silky smoothness of the blend that releases big, fruity citrus notes and a rich flavour that is rounded off by the sweet warmth of the Marcasa almonds. Long after I took my last sip, I was tasting the citrus notes, which almost tasted like Yuzu. The result is a gin to remember.
GinCity London: the perfect pour
This worked well as a Spanish style Gin and Tonic. I served a double shot in a copa glass filled with large, round ice cubes. Ice in first, then a gentle stir. Pour in your preferred amount of gin. Then cut a wedge of lime, squeeze the juice into the glass, wipe the rim with the wedge and drop it in. Top up with a freshly opened bottle of Franklin and Sons Premium Indian tonic water, sit back and enjoy. This is a gin to sip and respect.
The Gin Apple cocktail recipe
But, while this works really well as a G&T, it’s also a great gin for cocktail making with its lemony/ginger roots and yuzu like taste, it lends itself to your imagination. The folks at Gin City have recommended a few cocktails and we’ve chosen one to share with you if you fancy pushing the boat out one of these days. Introducing the Gin Apple, from the good people at Gin City.
- 30ml of GinCity London gin
- 30ml of apple liqueur
- 120ml of premium Indian tonic water
- Plenty of ice
- 4 apple slices
- Pour the ice, the gin and the apple liqueur into the glass
- Stir gently and add tonic
- Garnish with 4 apple slices