cherry julep

Cherry Julep – Wow! Just wow…

posted in: Cocktails, Gin and Juniper | 0

Tailgating… Southern style

In my 20s I lived in America. Richmond, Virginia, in fact.
Every year, my family would gather with friends for a great Virginia tradition, The Strawberry Hill Races. This was a traditional American steeplechase, but I knew nothing about horses.
What I did know was that this was a great party. Every year, we’d roll up in our American station wagon, packed to the gills with English treats such as Coronation chicken, fresh strawberries and cream and a big silver punch bowl full of Pimm’s.

Three measures of gin (and no Bourbon)

We would lay out all our treasures on a big folding table and, understandably, we quickly became the centre of a big tailgating party. But everyone else was drinking Mint Juleps, made with Bourbon, sugar and mint.
As the years passed, I became less and less enamoured with the taste of Bourbon and more and more enamoured with the taste of gin. So, imagine my delight when I discovered a recipe for a Cherry Julep made with not one but three measures of gin (and not a drop of Bourbon to be seen!)
It almost sounds like my perfect drink, so this week, I thought I’d give it a go. And I’m delighted to report that it is truly lovely.

A Julep – but not as we know it!

Forget everything you imagine a mint julep to be. This is different for sure. Fruity, instead of minty. Sweet cherries, sugar and gin. Plus an extra measure of Sloe Gin for depth and natural flavouring. All served up ice cold in a highball glass, this promised to be a real treat. And it didn’t disappoint. Fruity, rich, cooling, this drink ticks all the boxes for a delicious spring cocktail. Plus, almost all the ingredients are likely to be somewhere at the back of your bar (or easy to find in your local grocery store).

So, what exactly is a Julep?

Traditionally, a Julep is an American cocktail. It’s generally made from Kentucky Bourbon and it’s often drunk at major social events in the southern states of the USA. From the Kentucky Derby to the Master’s in Augusta, Mint Juleps can be found in the hands of Southern gentlemen and Southern belles from Richmond, Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky. But it’s also a cocktail staple in bars across the globe. Normally served in silver or pewter cups, these drinks should be held by the bottom and top edges only to guarantee a chilled drink every time. However, these days you are just as likely to be served yours in a highball glass.

The Spanish connection

Interestingly, this classic American drink has a Spanish connection. A Julep is generally defined as a sweet cocktail. But the word itself is derived from the Spanish word “julepe”, taken form Spanish Arabic and derived in turn from the Persian word Golab, which means rosewater. Who knew?

Introducing the Cherry Julep

Juelps continued to be popular throughout the 19th and early 20th century and, as I mentioned, they are generally associated with Bourbon. But these days, as gin takes centre stage and cocktails are increasingly “de rigeur”, my eyes lit up at the discovery of the Cherry Julep. This little beauty is a perfect combination of gin, sloe gin, cherry brandy, grenadine and sugar syrup. No need for a silver chalice here – just a glass that doesn’t leak!

The finishing line…

I mixed one of these up the other day and I think this works particularly well with an Old Tom gin such as Haymans. That slightly sweeter edge seems to marry well with the soft, fruity ingredients of the drink. Honestly, this drink was a revelation. I may not be able to swig a Mint Julep at the Kentucky Derby this year, but there’s every chance that I’ll be sipping on one for the Grand National, while waiting for my annual betting spree to end in its customary disappointment. No stress. As long as I have a Cherry Julep in my hand, I’m already a winner. Cheers, dears.

The Cherry Julep recipe

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ice cubes (plus crushed ice to serve)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of simple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of grenadine
  • 2 measures of Old Tom gin
  • 1 measure of cherry brandy
  • 1 measure of sloe gin
  • Lemon rind strips to garnish

Method

  1. Place the ice into a cocktail shaker.
  2. Pour the lemon juice, simple syrup, grenadine, cherry brandy, sloe gin and gin over the ice.
  3. Shake until a light frost appears on the outside of the shaker.
  4. Strain into a highball glass filled with crushed ice.
  5. Garnish with strips of lemon rind.

Top tip: if you really want to dial up the cherry, add a maraschino cherry straight form the jar and drizzle a little of that gorgeous cherry juice (straight from the jar) directly into your mixture.
You won’t regret it!

Place a bet on your favourite horse and wait…



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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5 pink gins

Love is in the air: 5 pink gins to set your heart a-flutter

5 pink gins to get you in the mood for romance.

This Sunday is Valentine’s Day. And for many of us, it won’t be quite the same as usual. No romantic restaurant dinners gazing into each other’s eyes, whispering sweet nothings. No flickering candle-lit dinners, romantic balloon rides or weekend breaks in Paris. This year, it’s more likely to be a domestic dinner, with the kids in tow . But we all know that a little gin can help to get that sparkle back.
So, here are 5 pink gins to help get you “gin the mood” this Sunday.

1. Eden Mill’s Love Gin, ABV 42%

The name says it all. This romantic gin from the team at Eden Mill is guaranteed to make your heart beat faster this Valentine’s Day.
This innovative Scottish distillery knows that love is in the air this weekend.
Eden Mill’s Love Gin is a delicious gin infused with juniper, coriander seed and angelica. Then things get a bit frisky.
It has flavours including rhubarb root, rose petal, goji berries, marshmallow root and raspberry leaf.  And for a whiff of floral notes, Eden Mill has infused this mix with hibiscus flowers. 
The result is a delicious gin with notes of juniper, lime and strawberries on the nose.  Love Gin’s taste is unique. Red berries and rose shines through on the palate, then fade into a refreshingly dry finish. And it comes in a classic white ceramic bottle.
This is exactly the kind of gin you should be sharing with someone you love this Valentine’s Day.

2. Pinkster, ABV 37.5%

This gorgeously fruity gin is made with real raspberries. It was launched eight years ago as an “agreeably British gin.” 
Pinkster‘s distinctive raspberry flavour arises from fresh fruit steeped in the gin. The fruit lends it a beautiful pink hue.  On the nose, keep an eye out for notes of orange peel and angelica, backed up by sharp raspberries.
Take a sip: you’re also likely to detect a bit of pepper alongside the vanilla, resulting in a well-rounded taste. Pinkster finishes with a blast of raspberries that lingers long after the final sip. Its squared-off bottle and modern label make this a great way to melt your partner’s heart this weekend.

Try serving it with a garnish of well-spanked fresh mint and a raspberry for that extra touch of romance. Let’s raise a glass to love!

3. Edinburgh Gin (Valentine’s edition), ABV 43%

5 pink gins

Edinburgh Gin has released a deliciously subtle gin that we think you’ll just fall in love with. First bottled six years ago, this is a limited edition gin that is made romance.
There’s a nice fresh crispness to this gin. It’s courtesy of a well-considered blend of lemon balm, lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf. Add to that a delicate infusion of rose and hibiscus which introduces a pink hue to the spirit. And a light, perfumed taste which will keep you feeling in the mood for love.

This is a great gin on its own (with tonic and ice) or served up in a romantic cocktail. It’s definitely too good to drink alone. Share it with someone you love.

4. Larios Rose gin, ABV 37.5%

5 pink gins

Spain’s love affair with gin has been going on for centuries and Larios Rose is a pink gin you can rely on. Part of the growing Larios range, this is a great-value gin.
It has a beautiful pink colour to match the roses that are bound to arrive on this most romantic of days. The Larios team has combined delicious strawberry sweetness with classic Mediterranean citrus notes.
It results in a smooth, refreshing easy-to-drink gin that we think you’ll love.

Serve it with some Fever Tree elderflower tonic and a strawberry garnish.

5. Mermaid Pink gin: ABV 38%

Mermaid pink gin

Our final romantic gin is Mermaid Pink gin. This is from the folks at the Isle of Wight distillery. It’s another beautiful gin infused with island strawberries. It uses 10 ethically sourced botanicals including lemon zest and grains of paradise.
Rock samphire balances out its sweetness with a little salty taste of the sea. The result: a beautifully balanced pink gin. And without some of the overpowering sweetness of some of its rivals.
Plus, it is the colour of romance, making it the perfect drink to share with the one you love this Sunday (or any other day of the year!). Serve this with a premium tonic water and garnish it with lime, mint or strawberry.

This gorgeous gin come in one of the most stunning bottles around. And it is dedicated to reducing the impact of plastic on the oceans. Mermaids have rights too!



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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