Hawkes Cocktails Lauriston-89

Lately I’ve been commissioned by a new mixer brand based in London to create a range of cocktails ready for their official launch. Duly obliging, I came up with a variety, all with different base spirits to capture a variety of moods the drink could capture. The chance to create cocktails for a brand is always an honour, but what made Hawkes stand out to me was the vision and reasoning behind Simon Wright’s creation.

Back in Victorian London, ginger beer was sold in the street by the now aptly named vendors the Hawkers. Not only were they opening the palates of Londoners everywhere, but they strived to create a ‘new and better way for themselves and those around them’. Simon wished to re-create this bold reasoning from over 100 years ago, and it all started with the life of a green bottle on his own kitchen table. Creating a ginger beer using natural ginger, kiwi and mandarin that was to be enjoyed initially by friends and family quickly escalated into something to be shared with Londoner’s, just like the Hawkers before him.

Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer
Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer

It’s not just himself he’s helping to command a presence within the traditionally small market of ginger beer, but Simon is committed to give back to local communities and not for profit organisations, again tipping the hat to the original peddlers of ginger goodness.

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

Hawkes Alcoholic Ginger Beer – 4%

Light, fresh ginger on the nose with followings of kiwi juice. Incredibly light carbonation, with subtle ginger on the palate. Well-rounded with the ginger and citrus tones of the fruit. A lack of sugar expected raises hopes of an all natural recipe. A little dry to finish, with stemmed ginger lingering.

Very different to other’s within the alcoholic ginger beer category, and one that you would find hard pressed to feel the effects from after a couple. It just seems natural enough to enjoy all day!
Of course, Hawkes is seen as a versatile mixer, so here are two of my creations for you all to enjoy –

A Port In The Shrub
A Port In The Shrub

A Port in the Shrub, created by Dave Marsland, Drinks Enthusiast

Glass –


Ingredients –

60 ml Bacardi Superior
30 ml Ruby port
90 ml Rigg’s Shrub
Hawkes Ginger Beer

Method –

Combine within an ice filled highball glass. Garnish with stemmed raspberries.

or perhaps

Ginger Apple
Ginger Apple

Ginger Apple, created by Dave Marsland, Drinks Enthusiast

Glass –


Ingredients –

75 ml Apple Cider
50 ml Hawkes Ginger Beer
25 ml Grey Goose Vodka

Method –

Combine within an ice filled rocks glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Hopefully they capture Hawkes perfectly, and don’t lose that all important natural flavour profile. The brand is slowly making its way around the UK, and can be purchased for your own collection, and could very well be surpassing other well-known beers of the ginger variety in the coming months.

A simple yet great story, inspiration and a believer in a cause. There’s a lot more to Hawkes and Simon than meets this very scrutinised world we live in.

For more photos and recipes for my cocktail creations, please visit my Facebook page. Thanks to Joe & Charlotte Photography for the photos.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. 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.

Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer


1801. A year that doesn’t ring a bell in too many history books, yet their was a stir in the Edinburgh port of Leith, with the clan Crabbie bursting onto the scene with a secret recipe containing only 4 ingredients. Having fresh ginger shipped from as far as the Far East to be combined into these secret ingredients still to this day, shows how much the traditionalists prevail over modern solutions. And because of there nod to the Scottish Merchant Adventurers of days gone by, the Elephant Trademark you see on all bottles commemorates this arduous process to create a rather spiffing brand!

Launched in February 2009, I’ve been lucky enough to try three of the flavours that Crabbie’s offer, so below I offer you my tasting notes on each.

Crabbie’s Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer – 4%

Matured for 8 weeks, fresh ginger aromas are an instant hit on the senses with a dash of citrus and biscuit malt to almost balance the nose out. The palate enjoys a crispness from the fresh ginger used, with citrus hops flowing around nicely to compliment. Theres not much carbonation so it’s surprisingly easy to swallow, and gives a refreshing aftertaste with spiced ginger lingering for a while.
Crabbie’s recommend to enjoy their Original over ice with a slice of lemon or lime, which emphasizes the citrus hops, but not too much to over-power the overall flavour and enjoyment.

Crabbie’s Black Reserve – 6%

Targeted for the older drinker, Crabbie’s Black is oak matured with extra spices, citrus and ginger steeped for a longer period. Again, the fresh ginger aromas are an instant hit on the nose, yet scents of heavy oak and malt combine well with only a dash of citrus following soon after. A deeper malt flavour is present on the palate, with the citrus tones making themselves known compared to the nose. Theres a slow burst of malt that takes its time to leave on after-taste.

Crabbie’s Spiced Orange – 4%

Launched in the summer of 2011, it combines the Original Alcoholic Ginger Beer with infusions of orange and spices. The nose has a slow mix of fresh orange and spiced ginger, whilst the palate has flavours of chocolate orange and spice with the ginger fire following quickly after. An after-taste of fresh orange is a welcoming taste to enjoy. It feels less carbonated than the original, with it going down noticeably better.  

The Range of Crabbie's Available

Overall, I personally can’t choose a favourite. The Original is one of the best alcoholic ginger beers on the market today, however I think there variant of Spiced Orange, albeit not straying off the path of ginger beer, offers something a little different to the customer and for me, maybe even a little better. The Black offering is also a good choice, especially for the older clientele who might be after a darker, deeper route of flavours.

Crabbie’s themselves seem to be doing rather well despite only being launched nearly two years ago. Extensive marketing, including catchy TV adverts with the characters George and Camilla, and their use of upper class language (which reminds me of the winning formula Hendrick’s Gin has) seems to have put them onto a winning path. Take a look at some of the video regarding their ‘Tickety Boo’ campaign here – Crabbie’s Ginger Beer Advert

If you ever see any of the Crabbie’s range in your local bar, supermarket or off-licence, give them a try, especially with a fresh slice of lemon, lime or orange to really give your taste buds something to talk about!

You can purchase the Crabbie’s range here.