Emily Says . . . . ‘Elephant’

elephant

In her thirteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the Elephant in Ginuary;

With “Ginuary” in full swing, it’s natural for one to be on the hunt for a ‘one of a kind’ type of gin; something new and exciting for the New Year perhaps. The start of 2019 has already brought a range of current and intriguing gins to my attention, and I’m here to share them with you all, my fellow gin lovers!

Elephant Gin is a London Dry truly one of a kind. Whilst its story started in South Africa, it is currently distilled one hour east of Hamburg, Germany and is designed in order to capture the flavours and spirit of Africa. By doing that firstly, 15% of profits from the sale of each bottle go towards African elephant conservations, and each batch is named after an elephant supported by that charity at some time. If that doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will.

The name of this gin truly gives one what is expecting: elephant strength. With its London Dry having an ABV of 45%, and its ‘Elephant Strength’ batch with an ABV of 57%, this gin stands out magnificently on the back bar.

On the nose, the initial hit of ginger is apparent alongside hints of delicate fruity notes. The use of fourteen botanicals combined with rare African ingredients and fresh apples give this gin its unique and distinctive taste, all whilst remaining on the ‘juniper heavy’ side.

In similarity to what is received on the nose, the palate immediately delivers subtle notes of ginger; not too strong but enough there to get that fiery kick that ginger is well known for. A slight sweetness is apparent, with gentle tones of elderflower and other floral components such as lavender. To finish, the dry tones of the classic London Dry round up the drinking experience nicely with slightly spiced peppery notes.

An overall fantastic little tipple for those experienced gin drinkers, Elephant Gin delivers something that ticks all the boxes. With it being a London Dry, Elephant sticks to the traditional components that one would expect, but with some delightful floral and spicy notes that create an exciting and different gin to enjoy.

Elephant Gin is best served as a 50ml double over ice with an Indian tonic water, or for those with a taste for something spicier, Fever Tree’s premium aromatic tonic water. The go-to garnish is a handful of dried juniper berries and a delicate slice of fresh ginger. Sorted.

Photo Cred: Elephant Gin

Advertisements

Herman Ze German Presents ‘Willy’s’

herman se german

In celebration of Germany’s best-loved festival, Oktoberfest and the capital’s biggest cocktail party, London Cocktail Week, superb sausage suppliers Herman ze German have joined forces with Elephant Gin and The Candlelight Club, creating a pop-up German Cocktail bar in ze basement of their Charlotte Street Shop – ‘Willy’s’. Opening between the 5th – 14th October Willy’s will be uniquely focussing on purely German ingredients, spirits and wines, providing customers with a very different take on the cocktail sausage featuring a ‘Trans Euro Express’, the ‘Berliner’ or a ‘A Forest Black Mighty’. To find out more information head to facebook.com/hermanzegerman.


Onto ze cocktails… the cocktail menu is designed by award winning bartender, Herr Chris Lacey, formerly of Rules (The Telegraph – Top 10 Bars) and The Connaught Bar (#11, World’s 50 Best Bars). Chris – responsible for making one of the ‘Top Five Martini’s In London’ (Metro) – has used his über impressive knowledge of premium spirits and combinations to create a menu fit for the most discerning cocktail drinker. What a super mensch! Alongside there will be a selection of still and sparkling German wines provided by connoisseurs Berry Bros & Rudd, who distribute to the finest London restaurants.

Willy’s will be open from October 5th – 14th serving cocktails from 4pm ’til midnight in ze basement bar of their Charlotte Street branch. Herman ze German have also worked with their brewery in the Black Forrest to create a very special take on the strong and tasty Oktoberfest Bier with a very limited amount available across the month. Accompanying these fine refreshments will of course be Herman ze German’s mouth-watering food menu featuring the finest cuts from their home town whether the famous currywurst, the fone selection of gluten and lactose free wurst, ze brand new Schnitzel Burger menu and much more. Let’s fetz!

ze Cocktail Menu 

Never Forget Martini 
Elephant Gin, Belsazar Dry Vermouth, Orange Bitters

Atticha 
Elephant Gin, Elderflower, Lemon, Weiss Beer

Silver Bullet
Elephant Gin, Kummel, Lemon

A Forest Mighty Black
Elephant Gin, Morello Cherry, Chocolate

Altmodische
Dunkel Beer Syrup, Rittenhouse Rye, Walnut Bitters

Trans Europe Express
Stroh 80 Rum, Espresso, Toussaint Coffee

Das Berliner 
Asbach Brandy, Belsazar Red, Vermouth Walnut Bitters

Margerite
Asbach Brandy, Chocolate, Fennel

MaiBowle 
Sekt Sparkling Wine, Strawberries, Lemon, Woodruff

Herman ze German’s dishes are made from the finest produce and ingredients, all wurst are gluten & lactose-free featuring the Bratwurst, Chilli Beef and Bockwurst from their award-winning butcher in the beautiful Black Forrest and the new ze Schnitzel Burger menu with meat sourced from Turner and George who deliver high quality rare breed meat. Not-only-this, Herman’s famous Currywurst and the new Vegetarian Wurst are also on the menu. All sausages are grilled to perfection served with toppings of choice including sauerkraut and delicious crispy onions. The food menu is paired with an extensive beer list featuring rare and exclusive brews from native Germany including Herman’s very own Market Brew, a unfiltered Kellerbier (4.8%) in Herman’s ze Basement Bar in Charlotte Street.
***
WILLY’S 
43 Charlotte Street | Fitzrovia
W1T 1RS

MON – THURS: 4PM – 11.30PM
FRI – SAT:
4PM – Midnight
SUN: 4PM – 10.30PM

T: @hermanfeeds
F: facebook.com/hermanzegerman
I: @hermanzegerman
W: www.herman-ze-german.com

Shake, Rattle and Stir on the London Gin Journey

The Curious

Being based in Manchester, I’m well versed with the bar scene of both the city centre and the surrounding area. Whether it’s promoting a specific bar to the wider world, launching a product in an established venue, or hosting a master class within a newcomer, I’m always in and around, getting to know the trends that ultimately the consumers are asking for. The nature of my work though, means that I get to hear a lot about the rest of the UK. I’ve been lucky enough to travel and tour the likes of Edinburgh, Leeds and Liverpool, checking out bars and restaurants that I hear so much about, and experiencing how the rest of the UK works. London can also count on the list, but over the years I’ve had many more meetings within, than sitting down, with a crafted drink in my hand and actually taking in the surroundings. My delight in hearing that I had an invite to do such a thing, meant I jumped on the train, and headed to my first London Gin Journey.

Why gin? Well gin is undoubtedly a category I work a lot with. Bartenders love the varieties and styles available to them, whilst consumers, both men and women, enjoy many a Gin and Tonic, Martini or Negroni. Gin also has much of its history within London itself. Becoming widely known once the Dutch born William of Orange came to the English throne during the Glorious Revolution (Holland being the birth place of gin), gin has ultimately had its fair share of ups and downs. Etchings from William Hogarth and his ‘Beer Street and Gin Lane’ piece were common to see, deriding the spirit of gin and blaming the so-called ‘gin craze’ on Britain’s social problems. The force behind this? The government. Unable to control the production, they introduced the Gin Act of 1751, forcing distillers to sell to licensed retailers. But it’s not all downhill, with the introduction of column stills to create what we know call London Dry. This process made it more practical and popular, and over the years, inventive ways to drink your favourite brand came into practice, giving rise to the cocktail renaissance that we still see today.

Such history can be found just about anywhere, but to be introduced by a man with such passion and devotion to his trade, is ultimately what the Gin Journey is all about. Leon Dalloway has adapted a method of introducing not only gin to London, but also a variety of drinking dens, and recipes to embrace. Leon himself is a former bartender, tending many a venue in Manchester before jumping at the chance at representing the relatively new gin brand of Martin Miller’s. From his travels of promoting, he moved to London in March last year and worked for the City of London Distillery, learning about the craft of gin and to hone his skills and knowledge. It is here that he thought about sharing his passion, and ultimately decided to go it alone, creating his business named Shake, Rattle and Stir. Its ideology is to bring fun, interesting booze knowledge to the people through events, with the Gin Journey concept being its first.

IMG_20140311_204444To me, this is perfect. The chance to see five of London’s best bars, try five different gin brands, and see them as the base for a crafted recipe, all whilst being hosted by someone who can rival the likes of gin maestro Alan Winchester, Jared Brown or Jamie Baxter.

Mr Fogg’s in Mayfair was to be the first port of call. Nestled within the back streets, it ultimately looks like the gin palaces of yesteryear. Taking inspiration from the hero of Jules Verne’s ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, its decor of artefacts (including entomology displays, helmets, hunting trophies, palm trees, birdcages and even a hot-air balloon) surround the bar area, itself nestled with small stools and low tables. I suppose in a way, it would be fitting to the venue that you start with a gin that has had to travel to be a part of the evening. Elephant Gin hails from Germany and uses 14 botanicals within, including African ingredients Baobab, the Buchu plant, Devil’s Claw and African Wormwood. At 45%, it gives off a light floral nose, with citrus tones following a lavender aroma. A sharp start on the palate, with the citrus flavours becoming oily, yet also quite warming. From these aromas and flavours, it would make perfect sense to enjoy the ‘The Cape of Good Hope’; a combination of Elephant gin, fresh pressed pear juice, lemon juice, rosemary and buchu syrup, lavender tincture and whites.

Leon’s previous place of work came next on the gin journey, taking place at the City of London Distillery in the City of London. Boasting 270 different gin brands on its bar, and the working distillery that produces our next gin in full view, it’s an experience that can rarely be summed up in such an evening. Modern, sleek and very cool are some that spring to mind though, and with a City of London gin and Fever Tree tonic in hand, the grapefruit garnish really brings out the notes of the gin. The brand on its own gives off lots of flavours on the nose, with citrus, dry herbs and liquorice most noticeable. The palate enjoys a spicy start, with a sharp, bold, rich flavour of liquorice and grapefruit zest. Develops a long, warm finish, that’s slightly dry.

Riding within a gin carriage to our next venue, coming to a halt as we overlook the Thames on the historic Tower Wharf at the Tower of London. The Perkin Reveller welcomed us with a table ready for a feat, as the most appropriate brand for the restaurant came in the form of Beefeater. Sparse glass and white walls are evident, although the name not so much (apparently named after the cook’s apprentice in ‘Canterbury Tales’), but with a glass of Beefeater 24, and Leon diving into one of the world’s best known gin brands, you take it all in with open arms. The gin itself is soft on the nose with plenty of grapefruit coming through. Incredibly soft on the palate, with small bursts of liquorice, grapefruit, orange and the heat from coriander. Creates a long, lingering finish with a little tingle to remind you. Once again, matched with a rather delectable recipe named ‘Spring Revival’; Pineapple, Black Pepper and Sage infused Beefeater, freshly pressed pineapple juice, house grenadine, accent of house anise tincture garnished with house a pineapple chutney and Lancashire Bomber cheese topped cracker.
Being invited to a restaurant ultimately means the food portion of the gin journey, tucking in to a menu that included smoked mackerel, blue cheese soufflé, pork belly or roast chicken breast amongst other British and European dishes.

IMG_20140311_220534Shoreditch would be the area of London for our last two venues, the first being Worship Street Whistling Shop. This cellar bar mixes the Victorian era with the American speakeasy, complete with bath tub for gin and shelves with botanicals, herbs and spices. Dodd’s gin, from the London Distillery Company that first came out last year, was to be showcased, alongside what the bar call the ‘Ultimate Gin and Tonic’; Dodd’s Gin and house tonic flavoured with black cardamom, bay leaf, lavender, raspberry, cassia and chinchona served in a medicinal style bottle, complete with a bespoke label. The gin itself has subtle juniper on the nose with fresh raspberry lingering around near the end. Warm on the start of the palate, developing a slight spice with honey thick texture. The juniper is more dominant alongside dashes of lime zest. Short, sharp bursts on the long finish. Perfect for the home-made tonic. Sitting in the back room of the bar, it’s hard not to walk around and check out the nooks and crannies that the guys from Fluid Movement have inserted. Its idea and concept really do transport you back to Victorian era, and a shame to most to leave. But leave me must, and ventured to our last outing of the gin journey.

Callooh Callay, with its extensive back bar, complete with cubby-hole’s of bottles nestled into the walls, is a venue that I’ve always wanted to visit, and didn’t disappoint. When you are served one of Leon’s signature brands, Martin Miller’s, and hear of the thought and legacy that the now unfortunately, recently passed away Martin Miller had, it makes you truly appreciate the effort that producers put in to impress both sides of the bar. For example, once Martin Miller’s has been distilled with the likes of Tuscan juniper, cassia bark, angelica, Florentine orris, coriander, Seville citrus peel, nutmeg, cinnamon and liquorice root, it is then shipped to Iceland, where it is mixed with Icelandic spring water. The gin, the London Dry variety, has a dominating 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. To cap the evening off, and a first for me, we were presented with a Converse shoe, which within had crushed ice holding our final drink, ‘The Curious Gincident about the Grog and the High-Top’; Martin Miller’s Gin, rosehip cordial, fresh grapefruit juice, topped with prosecco.

Elephant GinIt only took a few hours, but I had experienced five bars, two of which I had never heard of before, five gins, one of which I’d never had the chance to sample, and five unique cocktails which I still talk about to Mancunians to this day. The settings were superb, and from a Northern point of view, we have nothing that rivals this. No distilleries within bars, no Victorian themed venues that house bath tubs of gin, no hidden drinking dens featuring artefacts from around the world. I suppose that what makes London stand a part from the rest of the UK, but to be fair, I would tip my hat any day towards them. Each venue was relatively busy, on a Tuesday of all days, yet the service was spot on, and our host in Leon made sure than nothing was too much trouble. And  you know he’s having as much fun as you are when he’s handing out prizes in his pop-quiz in between venues.

Shake Rattle and Stir’s Gin Journey is a fascinating evening, whether you work in the trade or not. And at £50 per person, you know you will be getting a lot more for your money than if you decided to venture out unguided.

Hats off to you Leon.

© 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.