Emily Says . . . . ‘Portobello’

Portobello Road

In her fifteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering heads for a walk down Portobello Road;

So it turns out I haven’t exactly stuck to my previous promise of leaning away from the gin; it’s just too bloody difficult! So here’s another quick little blog about another one of my favourite gins: Portobello Road.

Portobello Road has dominated the gin scene for quite some time now, and it was five years ago when it all began at no. 171 Portobello Road; the address of Portobello Star, a cocktail bar in Notting Hill. Conveniently, the bar contained a Ginstitute on the second floor that specialised in all things gin. Taking full advantage of this, bartender Jake Burger and proprietor Ged Feltham spent nine months experimenting with different botanicals and flavours until they whipped up the perfect recipe.

Nine botanicals make Portobello Road what it is, and that includes juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, orris root, lemon and orange peel, liquorice root, cassia bark and nutmeg. With the base being an English wheat neutral spirit, Portobello Road is truly a classic London dry gin, alongside its ABV of 42%.

With it being created by a bartender, one would generally have high hopes for Portobello, and I can guarantee it isn’t one that disappoints. On the nose, an elegant and floral aroma is instantly apparent with delicate notes of citrus; clearly from the orange and lemon peel added in the distillation.

As one would expect from a London dry gin, the first taste is initially very juniper heavy. Subtle spices are also present, as would be predicted from a London dry, but the citrus notes take centre stage in the overall tasting experience. The floral notes are left in the nose, which I personally think is a beautiful little addition without giving the gin too much of an overwhelming drinking experience: little is more, remember!

The perfect serve for Portobello Road London dry gin is simply over ice with an Indian tonic (or London Essence Grapefruit and Rosemary tonic if you fancy) and a twist of grapefruit zest.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Portobello Road Navy Strength gin, with a punchy ABV of 57.1%, this little addition is definitely the one for those stronger gin lovers.

Photo Credit: Portobello Road

Whisk Yourself Away To The Magic Of Speyside Apple Orchards In The Heart Of Manchester


On September 30th, Caorunn, the handcrafted Scottish gin, is transforming the Oast House, Spinningfields, into a vibrant urban apple orchard which will offer 500 passers-by a free Caorunn G&T for a truly beautiful crisp, fresh taste of the Highlands.

The urban apple orchard will be brimming with trees for one day during the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. The fragrant fruit is one of the five Scottish botanicals, along with dandelion, heather, bog myrtle and rowan berry, that are infused into the handcrafted Scottish gin. Caorunn is uniquely served with thin red apple slices to create a clean, sweet, full-bodied and aromatic taste with a long-lasting dry and crisp finish.

Caorunn has teamed up with City of Trees to create the beautiful orchard. The charity, is an innovative movement, set to re-invigorate Greater Manchester’s landscape by planting three million trees, one for every man, woman and child that lives in the City Region.

Following its time at the Oast House, Spinningfields, the trees are being donated to Snipe Clough, Oldham, where they will be planted to form part of a new community orchard.

Ibolya Bakos-Tonner, brand manager for Caorunn said: “The Oast House, Spinningfields, is the perfect backdrop to home the urban apple orchard. We hope to brighten up the day of some of the city’s workers, with not just an apple, but a taster of our handcrafted gin during the Manchester Food and Drink Festival.”

“The fact that the trees will remain in Greater Manchester following our event means a lot to us to show our support for the growth of green spaces within urban areas.”

Kevin Wigley, City of Trees, comments: “This is a really exciting project for us to work on and is a chance for gin-lovers to get close to nature in an urban environment.

“We hope this pop-up orchard will show people how trees can really make a space and inspire more urban greening to help transform our cities and towns”

The free Caorunn G&T is only available from the Oast House on the 30th September. The activity is only limited to 500 and can only be redeemed after 13:00.

Bombay Sapphire Launches The Rooftop Retreat



This spring, the world’s number one premium gin, Bombay Sapphire, launches ‘The Bombay Sapphire Rooftop Retreat at Harvey Nichols’. Celebrating the artistry of the iconic Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic, visitors to the Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor Terrace between 13th April and 11th July are invited to discover their perfect gin & tonic serve as they experience the exquisite taste of Bombay Sapphire in an oasis in the middle of London. The project also sees Bombay Sapphire host a series of bespoke masterclasses, encouraging guests to forage in the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket to find their Ultimate Gin & Tonic twist ingredient.

Exploring the classic gin & tonic serve in an unexpected way, The Bombay Sapphire Rooftop Retreat features an alternative selection of unusual ingredients for guests to create their ideal combination. Including a range of tempting tonic waters such as elderflower, yuzu and lemongrass, and a number of different garnishes, guests can create their own gin & tonic to suit their palate. For those looking to take their drink to the next level, artisanal tonic syrups from Jack Rudy can be fused with soda water to create the perfect accompaniment.

In addition, Renaud de Bosredon, Bombay Sapphire brand ambassador and the team at Harvey Nichols have created a tempting menu of exclusive Ultimate Gin & Tonic twists available alongside. Inspired by the artful creation of Bombay Sapphire and its vapour infused 10 exotic botanicals, the selection of avant-garde cocktails feature ingredients from around the world such as goji berry liqueur, cubeb berries and passion fruit.

On Wednesday 11th and 25th May from 6.30pm, ‘Bombay Sapphire Artistry of the Ultimate Gin & Tonic masterclasses’ will provide guests with a more in-depth and hands on experience as they create their own bespoke gin & tonic. Hosted by Renaud de Bosredon, guests will learn the art of making the Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic before being invited to curate their very own work of art by using ingredients, picked by themselves from the renowned Foodmarket at Harvey Nichols. From fresh fruits and herbs to popping bobas and bitters, guests will be encouraged to try unusual ingredients to discover a new way of enjoying Bombay Sapphire which they can then recreate at home.

The Bombay Sapphire Rooftop Retreat at Harvey Nichols is open daily from 11am until 11pm. ‘Bombay Sapphire Artistry of the Ultimate Gin & Tonic masterclasses’ are priced at £35 per head and include a Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic on arrival and a bespoke Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic twist with ingredients hand-selected by guests from the Harvey Nichols Foodmarket.

Fever Tree – The Ultimate Gin and Tonic Tour

Fever Tree

The world’s best tonic water Fever-Tree take tonic on tour for 10th Birthday in a nationwide series of Gin & Tonic pop-ups and events.

Now celebrating 10 years of top-class tonic, Fever-Tree will bring the spirit of the season to G&T lovers across the UK this Spring with a travelling tonic tour. From botanical bicycles and Gin and Tonic Trailer Bars to secret summer pop-up spaces, Fever-Tree will descend on 3 UK cities to bring the world’s largest travelling gin collection to discerning drinkers across the land.

From March, Fever-Tree will pop-up in Manchester, Bristol, and Glasgow at some of the most exciting festival and events of the season, along with guerrilla city-centre sampling from travelling Fever-Tree bars. Guests will also have the opportunity to embark on Gin & Tonic safaris in each city, hosted by the experts at Fever-Tree.

Topping the springtime billing will be Fever-Tree’s Ultimate Gin and Tonic Bar, a pop-up space entirely dedicated to the Great British G&T. Showcasing an exceptional collection of over 160 fine and rare gins sourced from far flung corners of the globe, ‘The Bar with one Drink’ will celebrate this simple but exceptional drink. To hail the spirit’s extraordinary rejuvenation and 10 years since Fever-Tree revolutionised the tonic world, the bar will travel from city to city, transforming city-centre spaces for an unrivalled gin and tonic experience.

At a time when gin has never been so popular, the specialist G&T bars will host masterclasses with gin distillers and cocktail gurus, and raise money for Malaria No More UK with unique G&Tree tasting flights.

Most importantly there will be plenty of opportunity for visitors to create their ideal G&T combination from the 160 bottle-strong gin library and Fever-Tree’s range of superb tonics. The collection combines iconic London Dry Gins with the new wave from local craft distilleries and international newcomers from Russia, Germany and Mexico, all matched with natural tonics and garnished to perfection.

Fever-Tree is dedicated to hand sourcing the finest ingredients from around the world and the tour will showcase the diversity and versatility of the all natural tonics and mixers. From the delicately floral Elderflower Tonic using handpicked Gloucestershire elderflowers, to the herbaceous Mediterranean Tonic with lemon thyme and rosemary, Fever-Tree strongly believes there is a tonic for all tastes and for all gins.

From the depths of The Congo for quinine, to the slopes of Mount Etna for Sicilian lemons, Fever-Tree has gone to the ends of the earth in its mission to create the perfect gin & tonic. Fever-Tree’s Tonic Tour will celebrate cultural identities of iconic British cities, and make effervescent additions to the UK bar scene.

Grab your tickets here!

Liverpool Distillery


The gin movement is rising, with plenty of artisan distilleries popping up around the UK. One such brand is Liverpool Distillery, producing their very own organic gin. Based in Kirkdale, the organic gin has been produced by Liverpool based Belvedere pub landlord John O’Dowd in a joint venture with Liverpool Organic Brewery.

Back in the day, most cities produced their own gin, and Liverpool was no exception. Fast forward a few hundred years and you come across tastier products than the ‘home-made’ gins of yesteryear. Liverpool Distillery proves that times do change, and consumers attitudes do too, as organic produce is becoming more and more popular.

The botanicals within include liquorice, juniper, orange, lemon, cassia, angelica and cardoman, but how does it fare overall? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Liverpool Organic – 42%

Dry herbal notes on the nose, with a slight liquorice and fennel mix creating a fresh hit. Citrus orange follows. Light and dry on the palate, dominant citrus base with a smooth, mouthwatering finish that controls a lingering sharpness.

A cracking gin to sip, but they have partnered with a well-known tonic to create a cracking summer serve –

Liverpool GinLiverpool Summer

Glass – 


Ingredients –

50 ml Liverpool Gin
Top with Fever-Tree tonic water

Method – 

Pour the Liverpool gin within an ice filled wine glass and slowly top with Fever-Tree tonic water. Garnish with a slice of watermelon.

If you’re a gin fan, this is one to experience. Although not readily available as of yet, once it starts to hit the shops and bars, I see the Merseysiders putting up a gin war. The north is catching up with the south when it comes to some crackers in the gin category!

© 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.


Bombay Sapphire And Urban Junkies Launch The Ultimate Gin & Tonic Project

Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic[1]

This Christmas, Bombay Sapphire, the iconic gin brand infused with imagination, and Urban Junkies, have collaborated with ten of the UK’s finest thought leaders from the worlds of food & drink, fashion, design and the Arts to create their own personalised twists on the Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic, using the best ingredients and an infusion of imagination.

Hand-picked by Bombay Sapphire and Urban Junkies, each of the ten ‘Imagineers’ has been carefully chosen for their work as trail-blazers at the forefront of the UK’s cultural scene. They include fashion & design emporium House of Hackney, interior designer David Carter, DJ Kaz James, fashion designer Holly Fulton, neon artist Chris Bracey, DJ/producer Andrew Armstrong, punk chef Carl Clarke, lighting designer Alex Randall, catering & gastronomy duo Pret A Diner and event specialist Fiona Leahy.

Each ‘Imagineer’ has been invited to work with the Bombay Sapphire lead mixologist to create their own individual imaginative twist on the time-honoured Bombay Sapphire Ultimate Gin & Tonic, using a wide range of ingredients suited to their own taste; from spicy and fragrant to fresh, bright and clean.

Using Bombay Sapphire balloon glassware, cleverly designed to provide the best possible tasting experience, each of the ten recipes boast a flavour experience like no other, capturing the aroma of the ten exotic vapour infused botanicals within Bombay Sapphire.

Celebrating Bombay Sapphire’s ongoing partnership with Urban Junkies, an authority on London’s cultural scene, cocktail lovers are invited to explore, engage and discover more about each of the Ultimate Gin & Tonic recipe twists and their creators.

The ten recipes are also available to download and share on the dedicated site, offering gin lovers all they need to create their own imaginative cocktails at home during the festive season.


Six O’clock Tasting Notes

6 oclock

A perfect balance between tonic and gin can sometimes make or break an experience. How many times can you remember thinking that you’d wish you had gone for a different style of gin or that recommended brand of tonic? Well answers are now here in the form of Six O’clock gin.

From the Bramley and Gage producers, 6 o’clock gin is the brain-child of Michael Kain, Director of Bramley and Gage and inspired by his Great Grandfather, Edward Kain, a Victorian engineer, inventor and gentleman. Legend has it that after retiring from the Merchant Navy, every day, Edward would retire at 6 o’clock to his old armchair with a gin and tonic.

The gin itself is created using seven botanicals including elderflower, citrus peel, orange peel, coriander and juniper amongst others. But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Six O’clock – 43%

Subtle juniper and elderflower on the nose, with a soft scent of coriander coming through slightly. Beginning smooth but developing a little spice on the palate as it grows. A warming finish, dry, with plenty of citrus notes which creates a long drawn-out flavour.

And their perfect accompaniment?

Six O’clock Tonic

Fresh. soft citrus on the nose that follows onto the palate. Incredibly smooth with very low carbonation. A slight dryness near the finish.

Of course, Six O’clock mention the perfect way to create their gin and tonic –

Six O’clock and Tonic

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

25 ml Six O’clock gin
75 ml Six O’clock Tonic

Method – 

Take a tall tumbler and fill with ice. Add one slice of freshly cut lemon and pour Six O’clock Gin over the ice and lemon. Finally pour fresh tonic.  A fresh slice of lemon will help pull out the juniper and coriander flavours from the gin.


Six O’clock has taken the tradition and created something that you can enjoy time and time again. Surely what we, and Edward Kain, need when we order? Consistency? Stock up your drinks cabinet, and don’t forget the tonic!

© 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.

Fentimans & Bloom Gin & Tonic Tasting Notes

bloom and fentimans g&t


Award-winning BLOOM London Dry Gin has joined forces with the acclaimed Fentimans, combining their expertise in the blending and sourcing of the finest botanicals from around the world to create a perfect Gin & Tonic cocktail. Launching in Sainsbury’ across the UK at £3.99, Fentimans and BLOOM have crafted a perfectly balanced, perfectly blended premium cocktail to enjoy at home or on the go. Presented in the classic Fentimans curved glass bottle, savour the taste of the delicate and floral BLOOM London Dry Gin with the distinctive herbal and plant root notes of Fentimans Botanically Brewed Tonic Water.


Recognised for their respective brewing and distilling expertise and craftsmanship, Fentimans Master Brewer and BLOOM’s Master Distiller came together to create a Gin & Tonic of superior distinction. Using over 250 years of distilling expertise, BLOOM Master Distiller Joanne Moore created a delicate London Dry Gin using a selection of unique, natural botanicals inspired by England’s renowned country gardens, including honeysuckle, pomelo and chamomile. The honeysuckle gives a candied fruit sweetness balanced by the citrus aroma of pomelo, the chamomile imparts a feather-like softness of floral notes to create a lighter gin-drinking experience. Established in 1905, Fentimans continue to champion their century old brewing methods to create their renowned Fentimans Tonic Water. Rich in juniper, the woody aromas and distinctive quinine notes of Fentimans Tonic Water perfectly complement the floral notes of BLOOM London Dry Gin. BLOOM Master Distiller Joanne Moore says “Thisis an exciting launch for us and a wonderful way to showcase how BLOOM can be enjoyed with ease without compromising on quality.”


For a very British twist on this classic serve, quarter 3 strawberries and add to an ice filled glass before serving. The subtle sweetness of the strawberries is perfectly complemented by the honeysuckle notes of BLOOM whilst being balanced by the light citrus notes of pomelo and quinine flavours of the tonic.

So how does this new expression fare? Well below I give to you my tasting notes –

Fentimans & Bloom Gin & Tonic – 6.5%

A traditional aroma of lemons creates a dry nose, and become slightly bitter on the palate. Although it mellows rather quickly and burst a little with a freshness of a honey flavour that sticks around with the dry texture. Short however.

-ish and -ish Limed Tasting Notes


Do you like breaking the rules? Becoming a little naughty? Perhaps so much it’s a fetish? Whatever your answer, your sure to enjoy this rather attractive and alluring gin named -ish. This London Dry gin returns to the traditional style but comes with a twist of an extra shot of juniper. It comes without any added infusions or flavours which gives it the perfect brit-ish gin for the classics gin and tonic or martini.

So how does something so devilishly good-looking come about?

-ish is five times distilled in a traditional pot still in the heart of London town where high quality English grain spirit is used along with twelve botanicals. Juniper, coriander seed and angelica root are blended with almond, orris root, nutmeg, cinnamon, cassia, liquorice, lemon peel and orange peel. The botanicals are macerated for 24 hours before the distillation begins. After a two-week resting period which allows the botanicals to become fully integrated, the –ish concentrate is then blended. The ratio of –ish concentrate to alcohol and water is relatively high, which provides a more complex mouth-feel and body.

So with this in mind, below I give to you my tasting notes, as well as the new variation to join the portfolio –

Irresistible Scandalous
Irresistible Scandalous

-ish – 41%

Rather smooth and refined on the nose with juniper dominating as expected. Very smooth on the palate with a slight sharpness nearing the end. A little sweet but balances well with citrus and orange noticeable.

-ish Limed – 40%

Juniper, coriander seed and angelica root, orris root, liquorice, lemon peel, orange peel and lime powder are macerated for 24 hours before distillation. Smooth and gentle on the nose with the lime coming through slowly. Smooth on the palate too, with a hint of sharpness coming through gradually. The lime dominates with noticeable hits of orange near the long finish.

With the balance of flavours rounding off the gin, here’s something that could really work –

Engl -ish Breakfast

Glass –


Ingredients –

50 ml -ish
20 ml Triple Sec
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
1 spoonful of orange marmalade

Method –

Pour all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake. Strain into a martini glass. Add orange shavings to garnish.

A little naughty recipe, perfect to have for breakfast too. Lets start a new fetish trend!

Check out the rest of the photos, taken at The Circle 360, via my Facebook page.

© 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.