The 86 Company

86 Company

Bartenders.

The lifeline of any country when the serving of drinks is concerned.

The connection between bottle and customer.

The guys and girls every brand needs to get on their side to really make a splash in the bar world.

Welcome then to The 86 Company.

The 86 Company was formed back in September 2012, launching four expressions that have been worked on closely by some of the worlds best distilleries and distillers available, all with feedback and inspiration from bartenders. So from here on, we’ll be taking a look at what company has come up with, and lets see if they’ll catch your eye too.

Aylesbury Duck Vodka

Aylesbury Duck is a Canadian vodka, made from soft white winter wheat sourced directly from local farmers in the Western Rockies close to Calgary. The distillers create their own mash from the winter wheat, which is then fermented for three days and results in an abv of between 9.5 and 11%. From here it will go to the beer holding tank and onto the beer still for distillation. The spirit will be continuously distilled in three separate copper plated column stills, with all three being built back in the 1940’s, and using Canadian glacial water. In the first still (The Beer Still) the spirit is distilled to 65% abv then moved to stills 2 and 3, or the rectifying stills. Here, it is distilled to a proof of 96.5% abv.

The distilled vodka is then shipped to a bottling facility in California where water from a well in Mendocino County is added by Domaine Charbay Distillers.

So how does it fare?

Aylesbury Duck – 40%

Clean on the nose with hints of the winter wheat, and a slight potato notes near the end. Slightly sweet on the palate, with the flavours of the wheat, baked caramel and a slight light citrus to experience.

A cracking spirit on its own, but how about one of these?

Duck Martini

Glass – 

Martini

Ingredients – 

5 Parts Aylesbury Duck Vodka
1/2 Part Dry Vermouth

Method – 

Stir over ice, pour into a Martini glass and garnish with a lemon peel

Caña Brava Rum

Caña Brava is named and made from sugar cane grown in the region of Herrera, Panama. The rum is produced in the Las Cabras Distillery, which was first erected in 1919 as a sugar mill until the mid-nineties when Francisco “Don Pancho” J Fernandez (a Master Distiller for 45 years) and Carlos Esquivel discovered the neglected warehouse and copper column still. It is here that they boil the harvested sugar cane juice to crystalize the sugars, which are then removed by centrifugal spinning, leaving behind the molasses. The molasses are then diluted and fermented with the aid of “Don Pancho’s” distinct natural pineapple yeast.

The fermented liquid is then distilled through five continuous stills to an abv of between 92-94%. The first 4 stills are copper plate whilst the last still is 100% copper and brass. Once distilled, it is cut to a proof of 75% abv and placed into new American oak barrels and aged for 18-24 months. After the time period, the spirit is cut to 49% abv and moved to used American whiskey barrels (a mixture of bourbon & Tennessee whiskey barrels) and aged for a further 12-24 months.

After ageing, the rums are blended with older rums for consistency, then tried and tested in Daiquiri’s and other famous mixed rum drinks to choose the final blend before being filtered three times – Carbon filtration, Millipore Cellulose filtration and cold filtration.

So how does it fare?

Caña Brava – 43%

Very light on the nose with a slight hint of vanilla, citrus and oak combining. Very smooth on the palate, with soft hints of toffee, oak and cocoa leading a lingering finish.

Of course, works well in a Daiquiri.

Daiquiri Classico (1898)

Glass – 

Coupette

Ingredients – 

60 ml Caña Brava
30 ml Fresh Lime Juice
15 ml Simple Syrup (2:1)

Method – 

Shake all the ingredients over ice and strain into a coupette. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Fords Gin

Fords Gin is distilled in London at Thames Distillers, and is the result of a partnership between 8th generation Master Distiller Charles Maxwell and Simon Ford of The 86 Co. Using a mix of 9 botanicals including juniper, coriander seed, bitter orange peel, lemon peel, grapefruit peel, jasmine flower, orris, angelica and cassia) that are steeped for 15 hours within a base spirit of neutral grain spirit made from English wheat. Two stills are used at Thames Distillers, Tom Thumb and Thumberlina in a distilling process that lasts 5 hours. The finished distilled spirit is shipped to San Francisco where it is cut with water from a well in Mendocino County.

So how does it fare?

Fords – 45%

Light on the nose with a slightly dry citrus note. Aromatic hits of the jasmine and juniper come through. A developing spice on the palate, slight oily texture with a good kick of rind from the grapefruit and orange on the lingering finish.

Great on its own, but how about one of these –

White Negroni

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Ford’s Gin
25 ml Suze or Gran Classico
30 ml Lavender infused Dolin Blacn Vermouth

Method – 

Stir ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Strain over fresh ice within a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Tequila Cabeza

Tequila Cabeza is made from 100% estate owned agave that is grown in the Los Altos region of Arandas in Mexico and produced at the El Ranchito Distillery since 1994. The agave are grown by the Vivanco family, who have been cultivating agaves on their 800-hectare mountainside land for five generations, and hand-picked by the Jimadores at seven to nine years of age when the agave has a sugar content of 23-28%. Once harvested, the piñas are cooked in brick ovens for 24 hours at 100 °C and are then left to cool for 24 hours
before being fed manually into the shredder. Here, the agave juice is extracted and the fibres are separated. Natural spring water is added during the process too.

The resulting agave juice (mosto) is fermented with the aid of a Champagne yeast in cooper tanks during the winter months (the cooler temperature allows for an extended mash period (approximately 10 days). Once the fermentation is finished,
the mash sits for two days before distillation. Distillation occurs in two separate copper pot stills, the first being the destrozador still that produces the ordinario at 20-22% ABV, which is then filtered. The second distillation, in the rectificator still, produces tequila at 55-56% abv. There is no filtration after the second distillation, but distilled natural spring
water is added to bring it down to 43% abv. The spirit is then rested in stainless steel for 60 days before bottling.

But how does it fare?

Tequila Cabeza – 43%

Very smooth agave notes on the nose, with hints of coriander spice that follows onto the palate. A citrus and earthy combination blends well, with hints of black pepper but plenty of agave kicks on the long finish.

Way back at the beginning, I spoke about how bartenders have influenced the four expressions above. 4 spirits created for some of the worlds most famous cocktails, versatile in use and a bottle to match. But did you notice, each spirit has a different bottle finish? The neck, for example, has been designed to easily hold with a full hand, whilst there is a ridge in the middle of the bottle for bartenders with smaller hands and is weighted for the perfect pour! Now that’s looking after bartenders, and ultimately giving you a better experience too.

Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying these yourself at home, and they offer a difference to your usual classic cocktails. Grab some bottles for your drinks cabinet, or head to your local bar and see the bartenders in action with their favourite, bartender in mind, bottles of spirit.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. 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.

Cremorne 1859

Cremorne

Co-founders of the UK based CASK Liquid Marketing Richard Herbert and Stuart Ekins launched their own spirits brand back in 2012. Their first release under the Cremorne 1859 banner was a London Dry gin named Colonel Fox, complete with a fox adorned label created and drawn by artist Charlotte Cory. Charlotte used the year of 1859 as inspiration, with Charles Darwin publishing the Origin of Species, leading to the shock of the Victorians learning that they were in fact animals, whilst also seeing photography becoming cheap enough for everyone to be able to afford to have their picture taken.

Its back-story is fictional yet rather divulging, tending the period of the 19th Century. * “Having fought in several wars throughout his career, he retired in 1859 and went onto run the popular pleasure gardens known as Cremorne Gardens. Based by the River Thames in Chelsea, London, Fox was visited by Queen Victoria there on a number of occasions, when she came for afternoon walks with Prince Albert and ended up having a Gin Colonel Special cocktail as well. His wild stories of his globe-trotting adventures kept the Queen and the Prince well-entertained. Recognised as a war-hero, who fought at Waterloo, and travelled through the Middle East as well as in parts of Africa, Europe and Australasia, Fox was a true 19th Century gentleman, whose tales and stories kept every one under rapture, helped along by his gin. It was whilst he was travelling that he found a recipe for gin, that is the one that CASK based theirs on. Sadly, these gardens closed in 1877, never to open their doors again and Fox’s gin soon became a hidden secret, buried in time.”

Colonel Fox’s London Dry is produced by Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillery and uses the classic London Dry recipe containing six botanicals (juniper, coriander, cassia, angelica bitter, orange peel and liquorice).

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

Colonel Fox’s London Dry – 40%

Elegant on the nose with plenty of juniper and citrus aromas. Fruity and well balanced on the palate with some sweetness followed by juniper, spice and citrus fruit. dominate.

How about their second release? The Wild Balckthorn Sloe Gin is a traditional English Liqueur made using Colonel Fox’s London Dry gin, steeped with sloe berries from the Hawthorn tree, and blended with natural sugar.

Gentleman Badger’s Wild Blackthorn Sloe Gin – 26%

Soft sloe berry on the nose. Slight strawberry aroma, with delicate garden flowers coming through. Soft on the palate, with a more bolder hit of blackcurrant and an underlining sweetness. Dry as it nears the finish, with pepper and spice notes just about to burst through. Lingering.

If you’ve ever been to one of my gin masterclasses, you’ll know that I’m a big believer in giving you an experience, and that the garnish can make or break even your most favourite drink. Something as simple as say this –

Colonel’s Tonic

Glass

Rocks

Ingredients – 

50 ml Colonel Fox’s London Dry
Fentimans Tonic

Method – 

Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice. Pour in Colonel Fox’s London Dry and slowly pour over the Fentimans Tonic. Add an English orchard cherry for garnish.

Simple, easy and my my is it refreshing. Worth a pop into your drinks cabinet, and if you can, pick up the Gentleman Badger’s Wild Blackthorn Sloe Gin, also under the Cremorne 1859 banner.

* Back-history credited to Gin Foundry

© 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.

The London No. 1 Tasting Notes

London No .1

Coloured gin could be seen as a marketing gimmick. But have you ever just dismissed it, not really giving it a second glance and presuming it’s going to be cheap and tacky? What ever your answer, let me introduce you to The London No. 1.

12 different botanicals are within The London No. 1, including juniper from Croatia, almonds from Greece, cinnamon from Ceylon, bergamot from Italy, savory from France, coriander from Morocco, angelica root from France, lemon and orange peel from Italy, cassia from China, liquorice from Turkey and lily root from Italy. The combination of these give The London No. 1 its turquoise blue colour. It’s one of only a handful of gins actually produced within London, and is created by Master Distiller Charles Maxwell. He uses grain from both Suffolk and Norfolk to create his small batch gin, for which it is then four times distilled within a traditional copper pot still.

Using botanicals such as bergamot (an ingredient that you would usually find within Earl Grey tea) and the maceration with the gardenia flowers offer The London No. 1 as a unique offering to your gin experience. Far from it being the first blue gin on the market, but it does hit the mark for its purpose – created to echo the complex and full-bodied gins of yesteryear, albeit with a modern twist.

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

The London No. 1 – 47%

Fragrant on the nose with aromas of cinnamon and orange coming through slowly. Hints of spice on the palate, with cuts of acidity striking and juicy orange and lemons flowing through. Long, warming and carries on its aromatic adventure.

Not a bad sipping gin at all, but could equally go well within one of these –

New London – Bronx

Glass – 

Rocks

Ingredients –

35 ml The London No. 1
15 ml Noilly Prat
15 ml Martini Rosso
15 ml Orange Juice
10 ml Red Grapefruit Juice

Method – 

Shake all ingredients together and serve over an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

For a gin that you may have never seen before, it’s definitely worth a try. Even if it is to show off that you have a blue drink, but at least once you try it, you won’t be remembering those horrible ones you had in your teenager years.

© 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.

 

Pinkster Tasting Notes

Pinkster

There’s a new gin on the market, showcasing itself with its creator Colonel Pinkster aka Stephen Marsh in North Hertfordshire. A big gin drinker himself, and seeing the resurgence that gin has been having these past few years, he decided to create his own, using the rather lesser know botanical of raspberries.

For two years, experimenting with different spirit strengths and recipes using raspberries has culminated in Pinkster. Initially just something for his friends and family, the realisation that he could be onto a winner meant a meeting with Charles Maxwell (famed distiller of Thames Distillers, and who’s family have been distilling since the 17th Century) to see if Pinkster could me small-batched for the market. Charles used both his stills (named Tom Thumb and Thumbelina) to create the premium gin and used the five botanicals in the original recipe of Stephens. Although juniper is the dominant botanical, the fresh use of the raspberries steeped within the three times distilled spirit gives off the faint pinkish colour of the gin, as well as its qualities within the final product.

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

Pinkster – 37.5%

Lots of raspberry aromas on the nose, with hints of freshness and scents of juniper coming through. A sharp beginning on the palate, with a bold yet warm offering of raspberry that slowly mellows. A slight spice finish develops and lingers.

Not bad on its own, but worth a crack within one of these –

The Colonel’s Tipple

Glass – 

Balloon

Ingredients –

50 ml Pinkster
Fever Tree tonic
Raspberry
Sprig of fresh mint

Method – 

Combine the Pinkster and tonic within an ice filled balloon glass. Add the mint and raspberry for garnish.

Simple, but effective for this gin that dares to be a little different. Worthy on an inclusion within your drinks cabinet, and has been popping up on many a back-bar since being launched in July this year. A new trend is about to be enjoyed.

© 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.

SW4 Tasting Notes

SW4

The name behind a gin can sometimes define the brand. There’s brands that name themselves after a specific process, others after their originator, some to a loose connection, and in the case of this one – after the postcode that it originates from.

Originator Martin Price mentions on his website his inspiration and influence behind his making of SW4 –

Quinine.

A white crystalline alkaloid which is derived from the bark of a Cinchona tree. It is referred to by many different names such as Quina, Quinquina, Quinine Bark, Peruvian Bark and Jesuit’s Bark to just name a few of them.

First isolated in 1820 by French chemists P. J. Pelletier and J. B. Caventou, quinine bark has been used for many hundreds of years before that to treat symptoms of malaria.

Quinine is almost insoluble in water, but it dissolves readily in alcohol. Hence the fashion among colonial British officers and officials in India of mixing quinine, their bitter anti-malarial medicine which was part of everyday life in tropical climes, with sugary water – and Gin.

And so, out of life or death necessity, one of life’s great pleasures was invented.

The search for great Gin and Tonic has occupied me for many years. On my journey I have encountered many wonderful people, who have shared their knowledge of liquids, cocktails, recipes, and bars where the elements are most expertly combined and served.

But in the end, to get to the particular style and flavour of Gin that I had always imagined in my mind, I had to make my own.

Welcome to SW4 London Dry Gin. I hope that you enjoy the journey as much as I have.

So what is this journey?

SW4 is made in small batches approx. 500 Litres at a time in the ‘Tom Thumb’ named pot still at Thames Distillers in Clapham. After the twelve dried botanicals (juniper, lemon peel, savory, orange peel, orris root, coriander seed, liquorice root, cinnamon, cassia. almonds, nutmeg and angelica) have been macerated within a grain spirit (primarily wheat but also barley) and standard London water blend for 12 hours, it’s then distilled five times.

Created by Master Distiller Charles Maxwell since its inception in 2009, the process of both distillation and bottling is all done one one site – a rarity to find these days. In the end, SW4 is created for primarily the gin and tonic drinkers in the world and not necessarily for cocktails, but before we come onto that, lets see how they fare, both the original as well as it’s stronger brother –

SW4 – 40%

A London Dry gin. Light with subtle aromas on the nose of lemon peel and cassia, moving to a soft and subtle lingering effect on the palate that creates a slight warmth.

SW4 – 47%

Light with a dry nose of lemon peel and cassia. Slight sharpness on the palate but mellows quickly, then back into a roaring freshness of citrus and coriander. Quickly warms for a long, lingering finish.

Fantastic on their own, but as mentioned, this is more a gin and tonic gin. However, maybe give this a go straight after –

Summer Lovin'
Summer Lovin’

Summer Lovin’

Glass – 

Highball

Ingredients –

37.5 ml SW4 gin
20 ml crème de cassis
25 ml cranberry juice
12.5 ml elderflower cordial
20 ml lemon juice
12.5 ml gomme syrup
dash of egg white
3 rasberries

Method – 

Shaken, and strained over cubed ice. Garnished with raspberries and a slice of orange

Martin has come up with a gem here, and i’d say has realised his dream and journey to create a gin that not only goes well with tonic, but also within other creations too. Worthy of inclusion within your drinks cabinet.

© 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.

Portobello Road 171 Tasting Notes

Portobello Road

There’s many a new gin that made an appearance last year, but one I’m yet to feature is Portobello Road 171.

Created by the gin bar Portobello Star in London, namely Jake F Burger, Gerard Feltham and Paul Andrew Lane, and distilled by 8th generation London Distiller Charles Maxwell, Portobello Road 171 is a traditionally styled London Dry Gin. Formulated using 9 botanicals (juniper berries, lemon peel, bitter orange peel, coriander seeds, orris root, angelica root, cassia bark, liquorice and nutmeg) and with reference to antique gins from The Ginstitute’s own collection then overseen by a tasting panel of industry experts. Handmade, Portobello Road 171 is a small batch product, paying reference to the long-standing traditions of London Dry Gin. Each bottle comes individually numbered and signed by the proprietors.

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

Portobello Road 171 – 42%

Fresh citrus and lime on the nose, a little sharp in places with added spice. A clean palate with an instant freshness. Juniper dominates with a slow developing spice that lingers.

A great sipping gin, and could possibly be used within classic cocktails such as the Martini or Gimlet, or possibly one of these –

Etheral Knockout
Etheral Knockout

Ethereal Knockout

Glass – 

Coupette

Ingredients – 

50 ml Portobello Road Gin
30 ml Mozart Dry
5 Dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
1 Rosemary sprig

Method – 

Shake all ingredients except the rosemary in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a coupette glass and garnish with the rosemary sprig.

A great drink, worthy of a spot in your drinks cabinet too.

© 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.