classic gins

5 “go to” classic gins you can rely on

In this new world of 1000 gins, sometimes too much choice can be your enemy.  We all know about the recent explosion of craft gins and often they can be quite expensive.  So, it’s good to have a handful of “old faithfuls” classic gins that you know you can rely on for a good, standard G&T.  There are times in life when it’s okay to  be a little adventurous.  And these days, there is literally a gin for everybody.  Whether you want gin with gold flakes floating around or gin made from crushed ants, you can simply log in and order one for next day delivery.  Whether you want an ordinary gin in a beautiful bottle  or a beautiful gin in an ordinary bottle, there’s one for you. 

Spoiled for choice

These days, we are spoiled for choice.  But sometimes, these gins can be a little expensive.  The Anty-Gin  for example sells for around £220.  But there are other times when you just want a simple, recognisable flavour that does the basic job well.  These are the gins that everybody should have in their bar, the “go to” gins.  They might not set the world on fire with their innovation or impress your friends with their complex infusions, but these are classic gins that won’t let you down.  And that’s good to know. 

Here are 5 of our “go to” favourite classic gins that are always worth keeping in the cupboard for when the posh stuff runs out.  In the end, it’s all a matter of personal taste, but we think these standard gins are well worth keeping in reserve.

Beefeater: 40% ABV

Beefeater ginA classic London Dry, Beefeater has been synonymous with gin since 1876. Surprisingly complex it combines the piney notes of juniper with the hoppiness of angelica flowers.  There’s a blast of coriander somewhere in there and lots of fresh citrus notes delivered by the orange peels.  You’ll also find notes of almond and liquorice to give it a rich, complexity. 

All of this results in a well balanced gin perfect for long lunches or early evening G&Ts.  This is a classic gin that doesn’t try to do too much and what bit does, it does very well.  This is a great drink for anybody who loves a classic G&T, but it also works well in cocktails such as a Negroni.

The perfect pour: Fever Tree Indian tonic Water, loads of ice and a slice of lemon

 

Bombay Sapphire: 40% ABV

The brand that kick-started the gin revolution in the UK with its lighter, more subtle recipe, Bombay Sapphire has a delicate nose with a refreshing blend of citrus, pepper and angelica along with plenty of juniper.  Most people think that this totemic gin has been around for centuries, but it actually first saw the light of day in the 1960s when New York lawyer Allan Subi saw an opportunity to create a brand new “English” gin to take on the likes of Tanqueray and Beefeater in the USA. 

He approached Greenalls to create the gin to match his brand and they built a drink based on an old Greenalls recipe from back in the 1760s.  This gin took off fast and its easy-to-drink blend of 8 botanicals includes cassia bark, liquorice and almonds.  Then in the 1980s, chef Michel Roux got involved in creating a new version of the gin that used Bombay Original Dry as a base to which he added 2 kinds of pepper, Grains of paradise and Cubeb berries resulting in a floral, peppery tasting gin with a sweet nose and a fresh clean taste. And that was how Bombay Sapphire came to be.

Fragrant and spicy, this is a great gin for a Negroni, but it really works best in a long, tall glass filled with ice and a slice.  You can’t go wrong with a bottle of this beauty. And if you’re ever in Hampshire, pop in for a fascinating gin tour in their award winning distillery on the banks of the beautiful River Test.

The perfect pour: Schweppes Premium Tonic Water, loads of ice and a slice of lime

Tanqueray: ABV: 43.1%

One of the classic gin brands, Tanqueray have been tickling our taste buds with this bone dry gin for centuries. With its notes of pine and coriander building on a strong juniper base, it all works well together. Its Christmas tree notes have made it a classic and reliable “go to” gin for all occasions. Made for a Dry Martini (with just the smallest drop of vermouth) or equally good in a long, refreshing G&T. Charles Tanqueray began distilling spirits in 1838 but it took him a few more years to come up with his classic gin recipe, which has stood the test of time and is as good now as it ever was.

In the 1950s, Tanqueray joined the Gordons family and was used to spearhead a marketing drive to secure it as a prestigious gin in the United States. It soon became the favourite tipple of evergreen stars such as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Junior.  We think it’s one of the best classic gins out there and it’s a favorite of bartenders worldwide.

The perfect pour: Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic water, loads of ice and orange zest

Gordon’s (export strength): ABV: 47.3%

While we, in the UK, get to drink standard Gordon’s gin, this one is available overseas (or in duty free) so it’s worth keeping an eye out while you’re on holiday. It is considerably stronger than its domestic cousin (which clocks in at a rather feeble 37.5%).  It is also a very different beast as far as taste is concerned. With top notes of lemon peel and bittersweet lime, warming coriander, lavender and juniper in the mix and a lovely, lemony edge, this is a great gin. 

While regular Gordon’s gin struggles to retain its place in this brave new world of artisan gin, this one is still worth seeking out.  In the UK it may still be sold as Gordon’s Yellow Label, but you’re most likely to find this in a duty free shop somewhere around the world.  It’s a great gin for taking on holiday or for drinking on your return. Try this if you’re looking for an extra strong, extra spicy Tom Collins or in a Negroni.

The perfect pour: Britvic Indian tonic Water, loads of ice and a slice of lime

Plymouth: ABV: 41.2%

As befitting its Naval connections, Plymouth Gin once supplied more than 1000 casks of its Navy Strength gin to the Royal Navy but it fell out of fashion. The brand was revived in the late 1990s by Charles Roll, who went on to found the ubiquitous Fever Tree brand.  He increased the strength and created a heathery,  juniper gin with a lovely balance of savoury sage, sweetness and smoothness.  This has become a gin classic with its piney finish and well judged injection of citrus. 

Light, balanced and smooth, this is a great gin if you’re into G&Ts.  Strong enough to have some character but not so strong it will knock you out.  And great taste is not its only claim to fame – it was the favourite gin of Winston Churchill, it was the gin used in the world’s first Martini recipe and is the official gin of the Royal Navy. Keep a bottle of this in your cupboard at all times.

The perfect pour: Fentiman’s Premium Indian tonic water and a slice of grapefruit.

So, there you have it. Five classic gins that you can rely on. Like an old friend, these gins will be with you forever, ask no questions and never let you down. 

Now, how about a G&T?

 


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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key lime pie

Gin Key Lime Pie: a taste of summer sunshine

Summer is on its way!

It’s that time of year when the weather likes to tease us.  We’re offered little glimpses of sunshine before the warmth is dampened by the clouds.  We enjoy walking on the sunny side of the street, but freeze in the shade.  We have warm spells but we know we can’t rely on them. Yet!

But our time is coming.  Beyond spring lies summer – a time of long, hot sunny days, warm evenings, outdoor cocktails and barbecues. So, we have something good to focus on while we wait for the retreat of winter and dream of the better days that lie ahead. Some of us are dreaming of freedom to travel, others are dreaming of reuniting with loved ones.  I’m dreaming of Key Lime Pie.  That’s the space that I inhabit. 

Key Lime Pie – a Florida classic

Key Lime Pie is one of the great contributions of America to world cuisine. This amazing, tangy, sweet dessert is simple to make and delicious to eat. If you have lime juice, eggs, condensed milk and digestive biscuits in your larder, you can whip one of these up, no problem.  Some of us may be more familiar with lemon meringue pie, its better known cousin.  But this younger family member is even better. Sharper, tangier and lighter, it’s a great summer treat.  

Fire up the grill, load up those plates with sausages, burgers and steaks – and save enough room for a little dessert.  After all that heavy, rich food this light, citrus tart cuts through all those heavy flavours with a little lime goodness that immediately let’s you know that summer is coming.  Key limes are a special type of lime, mostly found in Southern Florida. The juice is yellow instead of green – and so is the pie.  But the taste is pure lime and wonderfully unique. 

No history, but a great tradition

There is no clear history to this pie – and nobody quite knows when it was actually invented.  But it first gained fame in the 1950s when it began to be promoted as “Florida’s most famous treat”. Once this glorious dish had achieved its initial fame and notoriety, it has never looked back.  But one thing could make this dish even better – the addition of a well chosen gin to this Florida favourite.

So, with that in mind, here’s an easy to make Key Lime Pie recipe that won’t challenge casual cooks too much. It’s simple, delicious – and with the addition of a large measure of gin to the recipe, it is almost as good as a gin and tonic. 

We recommend using Tanqueray Rangpur for a little extra lime zestiness.  Plus, if you keep a bottle nearby while you’re cooking, it’s even simpler to cut up a few extra limes and fix a large G&T.
You’re the chef. Nobody deserves it more!

Gin Key Lime Pie Recipe

Ingredients:

key lime pie
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 4 limes
  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 oz Tanqueray Rangpur gin

Method:

  1. Crumble the digestive biscuits into a blender.
  2. Blitz into a nice, crumbly mixture.
  3. Melt the butter and pour it into the blender.
  4. Grate it into the zest from the limes and mix together.
  5. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a greased cake tin.
  6. Bake at 200c for 10 minutes.
  7. Pour the gin, condensed milk and sugar into a bowl.
  8. Grate the zest from two of the limes into the mixture and the zest from the third into a bowl.
  9. Place the bowl in the fridge.
  10. Squeeze the juice from all four limes into the mixture.
  11. Add the egg yolks.
  12. Whisk together until smooth.
  13. Place some parchment paper around the edges of the cake tin.
  14. Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth off the top.
  15. Bake for 25 minutes at 180c.
  16. Chill in the fridge until cool and serve with the remaining zest.
  17. Pour out a large Rangpur and tonic and 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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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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four different cocktail glasses toasting

Summer gins: 5 mixes 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. Then watching the little bubbles of refreshment fizzing up inside. The smell, the garnishes of summer gins. And that first taste: bang!

So, here are 5 summer 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 gins 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!

Citrus zest… and so easy to drink

Chase pink grapefruit and pomelo gin (England)

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

The taste of summer

Puerto des Indias, strawberry gin (Spain)

This beautiful, fruity gin is from the south of Spain. And unlike Tanqueray Sevilla, 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.

A summer classic

JJ Whitley elderflower gin (England)

JJ Whitley does it again. The Whitley family has 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 has 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

Where Spanish passion meets English elegance

Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin (England)

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 is 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

A true taste of the Mediterranean 

Gin Mare (Spain)

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