Martin Miller’s Tasting Notes

Martin Miller’s is fast becoming one of those ‘must have’ premium gins to see on any back bar or drinks cabinet. But why is it becoming so popular, and even touching the heights of Tanqueray?

It all begins in the heart of England, the Black Country, and the use of batch distillation. Combining the two traditionalists (the industrial revolution and the prefered method of production for only a few gin producers), their copper pot still ‘Angela’ is the heart of Mr Martin Miller’s creation. Over 100 years old, it distills and infuses the botanicals of juniper, orange and lemon peel, coriander, liquorice, cinnamon, cassia, nutmeg, angelica and orris root. For real attention to detail though, the water to combine the infused alcohol comes from a 3,000 mile round trip via Iceland. The reason? Iceland has the softest, purest water on the planet. The glacial waters are up to 10 times purer than the standard bottled water found on sale today.

Martin Millers London Dry

So with botanicals sourced from all over the world, to a round trip of 3,000 miles – how does the finished product taste? Below i give to you my tasting notes on the two products.

Martin Miller’s London Dry – 40%

Dominated by citrus notes on the nose, but subtle floral aromas follow slowly. Rather mellow on the palate, with a slight dryness. It gives off some interesting citrus flavours with juniper overtones with a hint of peppercorn on the odd occasion. A slow-fading after-taste of floral and citrus.

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength – 45.2%

Juniper aromas swirl well with short, sharp hints of citrus on the nose, whilst the palate enjoys a rich yet smooth flavour of spice and citrus, which develops into a long finish.

Two fantastic offerings to get your hands on, but what happens if you create a cocktail?

The London Cup

Glass –

Jug – served with two rocks glasses

Ingredients –

50ml Martin Miller’s Gin Westbourne Strength
50ml Martini Rosso
30ml Campari
30ml Cointreau
50ml fresh pink grapefruit juice

Method –

Mix all ingredients. Top with Fever Tree lemonade and garnish with slices of cucumber, lemon, strawberry, pink grapefruit, blackberry. Add a sprig of mint for garnish.

A great sharing cocktail for the summer!

Take a look at the rest of the photos, taken at 24 Bar and Grill, via my Facebook page.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Cocktails at The Circle 360

I decided to swing by The Circle 360 for a drink with a friend of mine after work (this really is turning out to be my new favourite place!) and then came back later in the night with another friend who said he wanted to give it a try after my recommendations!

I’m not going to dwell on the bar itself – you can find my full review at but i thought this might give you a better idea at the range of cocktails that they sell.

Lemon Meringue – £5.45

Lemon Meringue

An interesting idea, and one you may have seen in other high-end bars, where the drink is presented with a small meringue placed on top for garnish. It didn’t give off many aromas, although I think the layer of cream may be the culprit, however once you take the first sip, the mixture of Luxardo Limoncello, Licor 43 and citrus juices gave a burst of flavour inside your mouth. Once you start to finish your drink, the initial rush of vanilla and citrus is replaced by a more gentle zest of lemon which gives at a rather smooth finish. This is a cocktail that does what it says – it’s a lemon meringue pie in a martini glass. Classic British!





Vanilla and Apple Martini – £5.45

Vanilla and Apple Martini

My friend had a cocktail from its Martini selection and she chose a rather interesting combination of 42 Below Manuka Honey, apple schnapps and cinnamon. A simple blend of these ingredients gave off a rather strong wild apple in both its smell and taste – but don’t let that put you off. It doesn’t verge you on the cider category as the cinnamon literally drags your senses back to your cocktail. As the Lemon Meringue before, you will drink this rather quickly, and you’ll order both again.







Amaretto Midori Sours

Amaretto Midori Sours

A bartender recommendation – an Amaretto Midori Sours. Initially, I thought ‘I can’t see this working’ but in reality – wow! It seems to be one of those blends that just shouldn’t, but it does so well. Made the traditional sours way and served with crushed ice, it was presented to my friend with a slight lime green colour and an orange wedge as garnish. It gave off an expected aroma of melon and almond which blended rather well, as did the taste. I found it quite hard to describe, the almond didn’t overpower the melon as much as I thought it would, it complimented it rather well, while the Demerara sugar gave it a sweeter edge as the drink makes its way through your senses. A drink that wouldn’t look out-of-place in any cocktail bar, i would recommend to give it a try!




French Martini – £5.45

French Martini

Another classic cocktail from there Martini range, the French Martini with its blend of 42 Below Pure, Chambord, fresh blackberries and a dash of Pineapple juice. Giving off a rich dark colour on arrival with a slight berry foam top giving off some fantastic rich aromas. Its taste of the tangy blackberries hits you initially yet a smooth and rather velvety end once it settles on your taste buds. All ingredients can be tasted yet none seems to overpower too much which makes it a rather well-balanced drink. The after-taste was a bit raw but i think that could be down to my dislike of fresh blackberries.






The Godfather – £4.95

The Godfather

This is my all-time favourite drink – a mix of Amaretto and Bourbon. Again a simple to make drink but with their use of Luxardo Amaretto and L.G. Woodford Reserve it gives it a more sophisticated edge over the usual and more commonly seen pairing of Dissaranno Amaretto and Jack Daniels. An orange peel for garnish brought out a rich aroma of sweetness mixed with almond and a slight hint of vanilla. Unfortunately being my favourite drink, it did go down rather quickly, but the taste was very smooth with a full-bodied sweetness, and not too strong as some of these alcohol only drinks can be sometimes.





Grey Goose Le Fizz – £5.45

Grey Goose Le FizzA contemporary cocktail was chosen by my friend named the Grey Goose Le Fizz. Marketed as ‘a classical new twist’, the ingredients of Grey Goose, lime juice, elderflower cordial and then topped with soda gave off a dazzling cloudy finish in what could easily be mistaken for a Smirnoff Ice (god forbid). On the nose it had an obvious mix of lime and elderflower, with the hints of vodka slowly making its way through, and that’s what i could say about the taste too. You can taste all the ingredients, but it’s like they arrive one by one, and just make the experience better and better! Now I have to admit, I’m not a fan of soda. I think it’s a pointless liquid that ruins drinks, and I personally feel that this shouldn’t be topped with it. Now granted it does taste ok with it as you can’t really tell its there, but it would be interesting to see it topped with ginger beer, bitter lemon or even champagne.

I’m slowly making my way through their cocktail menu and will be posting up reviews as and when. I’ll also be trying some of their champagnes and wines to see how they compare.

Miller Genuine Draught Tasting Notes

Miller Genuine Draft

If you’re ever with me for a drink, it’s a rarity I go for lager these days, nothing against them, I just seem to have a bigger heart towards ales. But what I do love is the time where you can just crack open a bottle at home on a hot summers day. Millers is my preferred tipple when on the hunt, so with this in mind, lets see how the brand came about.

The Miller Brewing Company was founded back in 1855 by Frederick Miller. It was at this time that he purchased the small Plank-Road Brewery in the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee and utilised the easy access to raw materials produced on nearby farms. Over a hundred years later, the family were no longer a part of the company, with W. R. Grace and Company agreeing to buy 53% of Miller from Mrs. Lorraine John Mulberger (Frederick Miller’s granddaughter, who objected to alcohol) and her family on September 19th 1966. Three years later on 12 June 1969, Philip Morris  bought Miller from W.R. Grace for $130 million, before being bought by the South African Breweries in 2002, to become a merged company named SABMiller. On October 10th 2007, SABMiller and Molson Coors agreed to combine their U.S. operations in a joint venture called MillerCoors.

Miller High Life is the companies oldest brand, having been first introduced back in 1903 and marketed as a pilsner. The more widely found brand, especially here in the UK, is the Miller Genuine Draft. First introduced in 1985, it is the original cold filtered packaged draft beer, which means that the beer is not pasteurized. The concept for the brand was developed by product consultant Calle & Company. Martin Calle evolved the concept from Miller’s New Ventures effort to launch a new dry beer at a time Miller Brewing was in danger of becoming a much-cloned light beer manufacturer. Originally introduced as ‘Miller High Life Genuine Draft’, the ‘High Life’ part of the name was soon dropped. Miller Genuine Draft is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life but with a different treatment. It was developed to give High Life drinkers the same taste in a can or bottle as they found in non-pasteurized kegs. *

So, how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Miller Genuine Draft – 4.7%

A light body with a slight grain malt aroma and a sweet yet sharp flavour. On the palate, it gives off a smooth and lightly hopped finish.

Miller Genuine Draft received the gold medal in the American-style Premium Lager category at the 1999 World Beer Cup, as well as the silver medal at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. Perfect with BBQ or flame grilled meats, or just on those days where you need something good yet chilled.

* For a more detailed explanation, please see this short video.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Jack Daniels & Coke / Ginger Pre-mix

I found myself purchasing another pre-mixed drink in the form of Jack Daniels and they’ve released two versions – Coke and Ginger, both £2.12 from Sainsburys.

Jack Daniels & Coke

Jack Daniels & Coke

Now the nearest competitor around is Jim Beam & Coke and having already tried the latter I was expecting high hopes, however, I was disappointed at not smelling a stronger smell of the Jack Daniels (at 6% you expect to sense something). It was there don’t get me wrong, but compared to the Jim Beam, you had to hunt for it. Now that aside, the drink itself isn’t too bad. A low-carbonated cola is used so you can drink it quickly, but it won’t make you too bloated, and you do get that refreshing taste afterwards. The down side? You feel like your not drinking a JD & Coke. It’s not got that freshness about it like the Jim Beam did, and it sometimes put me off finishing the can. But finish it i did, which can I only be a plus as im sure, like most of you, you wouldn’t finish something if you didn’t like it.



Jack Daniels & Ginger

Jack Daniels & Ginger

I followed the Jack Daniels & Coke with its other variety – ginger. After looking over the can, it doesn’t mention if it’s ginger beer or ginger ale (not being a lover of ginger ale, I was hoping for the former) but then I thought that Jack Daniels could have used ‘actual’ ginger, and I was right. I’ve personally rarely come across a drink as simple as Jack Daniels and mixer to have the sole ingredient as ginger, yet could see it working rather well.

Upon opening, there’s an immediate aroma of ginger, and hardly a scent of Jack Daniels. Give it a few seconds though and you do slowly get that unmistakable JD wafting through your nostrils. The taste is rather the same as the smell, with the whiskey taking a back-seat to the raw ginger, yet creating a pleasant slow mix of the two flavours in your mouth. It leaves a slight sweet taste in the back of your mouth as it makes its way through which resulted in me drinking this can quicker than the JD & Coke (the sweet tooth in me took over!). Again at 6%, you do expect to see more of the Jack Daniels coming through as you drink but it just doesn’t seem to happen.

Out of the two I would recommend the Jack Daniels & Ginger for 2 reasons –

1. It’s unique. When was the last time you had a whiskey with just ginger? And I can guarantee it would taste even better fresh.

2. On a summer’s day, a Jack Daniels & Ginger sounds like a hell of a drink to have, a chilled one at that.

A Jack Daniels & Coke? You can have that any day of the week at any place that sells alcohol. JD & Ginger? Your high-end expensive bars would charge you 4x as much as the £2.12 you could get it for.

Kraken Spiced Rum Tasting Notes

I’ve been looking forward to trying this again! I think i first sampled Kraken at The Boutique Bar Show 2011 in Manchester, but i had a taste at Imbibe 2011 a few weeks ago. I will always remember the way they sold it to me – a man dressed in a old-fashioned diving suit handing out leaflets, and a ‘sailor’ explaining the myth behind the Kraken Rum in a tale you expect to see in Pirates of the Caribbean!

However you look at it, it works and it’s stuck in my mind ever since. I have to admit, i wasn’t expecting to purchase a bottle so quickly, but on the shopping trip last week (where i also bought a bottle of Chase Vodka), the eye-catching bottle was begging to be bought. And at £21.99 its not a bad price, especially to the likes of Sailor Jerry and Morgans Spiced.

Kraken Spiced Rum

Upon tasting this spiced rum from the USA, the expectation of wild spices doesn’t hit you. Instead, it gently arrives with its vanilla and toffee trails and its lack of a fire edge like Sailor Jerry gives you makes this even more enjoyable. It gives your mouth a slight tingle sensation and gives a rather vivid after-taste that still lingers long after you finish. It’s almost as if this should be categorised under ‘dark’, but personally, it should be at the top of the spiced column.

This is better than Morgans Spiced and better than Sailor Jerry. To me, you must have Morgans with a mixer, it’s just too raw sometimes, and Sailor Jerry is still considered better with a companion in its glass. Kraken? Kraken you can sip on its own, you could have it as the top layer of a Mai Tai, possibly mixed with a Mojito or a Kraken Old Fashioned, which just sounds like heaven in a glass. You need to try this!

Gosling’s Tasting Notes


On a recent rum master class I hosted here in Manchester, I showcased Gosling’s Black Seal as an example of Bermuda. It was only then that I realised that despite knowing of the brand since my early days as a bartender, I have never covered it here on my site. So without further hesitation, lets take a look at why I don’t seem to be the only man giving such high praise to Bermuda.

The year is 1806 and James Gosling set out on a voyage to America from England, carrying £10,000 worth of merchandise. After 91 days at sea, his ship’s charter had expired, forcing him to set into the nearest port – St George’s in the north of Bermuda. Instead of finding alternative travel routes to America, he decided to stay in Bermuda, establishing a shop in December on King’s Parade in St George’s. 18 years later in 1824, James Gosling returned to England whilst his brother Ambrose rented a shop on Front Street in the new Capitol of Hamilton for £25 a year, a location for the next 127 years.
In 1857, the firm was renamed Gosling Brothers by Ambrose’s sons, and three years later the first oak barrels of rum distillate arrived in Bermuda. 1863 saw the now distinctive Bermuda black rum formulated and offered for sale from the barrel by customers bringing their own bottles to ‘fill up’. This carried on until the First World War where the name Black Seal came into practice. The black rum was sold in champagne bottles, reclaimed from the British Officer’s Mess, and the corks sealed with black sealing wax. The icon is born.

The name ‘Black Seal’ became the rum of choice between many, with the popularity probably explaining the idea of the little barrel juggling ‘Black Seal’ which adorns every bottle.

The production of Gosling’s is a family recipe (made after many trials and errors) from over two centuries ago, consisting of independently aged distillates aged for at least three years in once-used, charred, American oak bourbon casks, resulting in a blend of aged pot and continuous still distillates.

But how do they fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Gosling’s Black Seal – 40%

Sweet on the nose with hints of herbal aromas and spice coming through very slowly. Rather well-balanced on the palate, with sweet notes of molasses combined with dry liquorice and cinnamon. Stewed apple and dry wood flavours makes a presence near the long, lingering and slightly dry finish.

Gosling’s Family Reserve – 40%

Dried fruit and oak notes on the nose with a rich flavour of prunes and dark fruits on the palate with a hint of smokiness that creates a mellow finish.

Both great tot’s on their own, but it did contribute to two signature cocktails, with the Dark ‘n Stormy® name owned by Gosling’s –

Dark ‘n Stormy
Dark ‘n Stormy

Dark ‘n Stormy®

Glass –


Ingredients –

50 ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
75 ml Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer

Method – 

Build in the glass over cubed ice and serve with a lime wedge.


Bermuda Rum Swizzle

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

(Makes 6)
120 ml Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
120 ml Gosling’s Gold Rum
150 ml Pineapple Juice
150 ml Orange Juice
25 ml Grenadine or 60 ml Bermuda Falernum
6 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Method – 

Into a pitcher, fill ⅓ of crushed ice and add Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, Gosling’s Gold Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, Grenadine or Bermuda Falernum and Angostura bitters. Churn vigorously until a frothing appears or mix in a cocktail shaker. Strain into a Martini glass.

Two incredible classics that everyone should have at least once in their lives. Gosling’s also goes well with food, from appetisers to desserts including Bermuda fish chowder and Bermuda onion soup.

Today, Gosling’s is the only company that blends and bottles in Bermuda, and is the largest exporter of a Bermuda made product. In the UK, their range include the two above and also the 151 proof Black Seal Rum, the Gold Bermuda Rum, Stormy Ginger Beer and the ready-to-drink Dark ‘n Stormy®. A collection worthy of any rum lover, and indeed even to novices.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Las Corazes Tempranillo Tasting Notes

I thought i’d finish off a bottle of red tonight as i cooked myself a rump steak – the Spanish Las Corazas Tempranillo. A 3yr old red from the Castilla-La Mancha region

Las Corazas Tempranillo

A dark ruby colour awaits you and on the nose it gave off a significant blackcurrant and a slight hint of vanilla, followed with a taste that emphasised both flavours just right. It gives a soft, smooth and an almost velvety texture which gently brushes open your taste buds to leave you wanting to finish the bottle! It gave a slight dry after-taste and an almost non-existent harshness to the overall experience.

The rump steak fitted well with the wine, not a lot of change in taste, and i would recommend something similar if you dine out and after something fairly inexpensive.


Just a brief round-up –

Got back from Corks Out in Timperley today on the hunt for my flat-mates payday spirit buying – bottle of Goslings Black Seal rum. As always we had to sample some of the other dark rums on offer including Chairman’s Reserve and Ron Barcelo Gran Anejo! I also sampled an Amaretto, slightly more expensive than Disaranno, named Saliza. I myself bought 3 bottles of ale from Robinsons Brewery, Old Tom – original strength, chocolate and ginger. Personally, some of the best ales around.

Also recently tried the new Eristoff Gold, toffee and vanilla flavoured. I’ll be posting a full review of it A.S.A.P.

I also hope to be tasting in more detail the Goslings Black Seal, Chairman’s Reserve, the Polish beer Leche, the 3 Old Tom Ale’s, and the pre-mixed Jack Daniel & Coke and Jack Daniel & Ginger Ale.

Keep up-to-date with my escapades on Twitter at

The Circle 360 – again!

This bar is growing and growing on me! I’ve been twice today and both times have been excellent. Excellent service, excellent atmosphere and most importantly excellent drinks!

Pornstar Martini

1st time around was to try there Pornstar Martini. I asked for mine to be in a hi-ball glass which was duly served with the classic shot of champagne to its side. Their version included 42 Below passion fruit, Licor 43 and pineapple juice. Now i have 1 word to sum this up – exquisite. A smooth almost velvety tropical fruit taste with the taste of vanilla lingering in the back of your throat, made the drink disappear as quick as it was made! The best Pornstar Martini i previously had been in Amba Lounge in Hale but this beat it by a mile. Now understandably i didn’t have it in a Martini glass because i wished for an ice cold drink and you should never have a Martini drink with ice, but a drink is the same no matter what you serve it in, and that was served well!

Licor 43 Sours

2nd time around my friend joined me and i purchased a Licor 43 sours while a Signature 360 was also ordered. As mentioned in my tasting notes on Licor 43, this is one of my favourites. I had Licor 43 sours on the cocktail menu (or 43 Sours as i called it) so i was intrigued to see if it could be made as good as mine. The bartender on duty made my Licor 43 whilst the Bar Manager Dalia made The Circle Bar’s Signature 360 (previously recommended by The Circle Bar on their Twitter feed last week). It’s good to see that Bar Managers actually get themselves involved, especially when it comes to creating cocktails, and not just sat crunching numbers and barking orders.

Signature 360

Once the cocktails were created, they were gone within minutes. The Licor 43 sours was truly irresistably (almost on par with mine!) whilst the Signature 360 was given a huge thumbs up as the Hendricks Gin cocktail was slowly disappearing.

After now being properly introduced to the Bar Manager, and herself starting to recognise me and my friend, i’m going to have to start making this my new place to drink!

A few mentions

Pint of Adnams Gunhill

I thought i’d mention to you all that i swung by my local JD Wetherspoons The JP Joules today and purchased myself a pint of Adnams Gunhill (4%) by Adnams Brewery, one of their many guest ales. for £1.60! If any of you are member of CAMRA – Campaign for Real Ale, then you too will know that you receive vouchers for 50p off any of the ales that your nearest JD Wetherspoons offers. 50p may not sound a lot but i can say that my last 4 or 5 visits have resulted in me buying more pints of ale than any other drink! The one i tried today was as mentioned the Adnams Gunhill. A dark ruby malt brown colour with a smooth n slightly fruity flavour with a sweet after-taste meant this pint went down very well! At the weekend i had myself a Morland Old Speckled Hen and in the past i remember having a pint of Cotswold Spring Codrington Codger and a fruity Arundel Summer Daze.

I’ve started getting myself into ales again – there’s a lot more variety than lager and goes well with food more if you’re having a meal. I sold the award-winning Old Tom by the Robinsons brewery in my last place of work and have been hooked on it ever since! They do an original (8.5%), chocolate (6%) and ginger (6%), with all three a popular seller with the Knutsford people! This year i have also supported CAMRA by attending the Real Ale Festival at Manchester Museum of Science and Industry as well as the Sale Ale Festival and Le Trappiste Royal Ale Festival. These festivals are great to try a variety of local and micro breweries that you wouldn’t necessarily see in your local pub. I’ve a fond memory of ale stew at Le Trappiste too which was very tasty!

If you fancy supporting CAMRA in their effort to introduce ale to a wider audience – join them on there website –

Le Trappiste Belgian Cafe Bar – also have there 3rd annual Altrincham Beer & Cask Beer Festival in August bank holiday which i will hopefully be attending and reviewing!

Fancy a Beer Mate –