Stranger and Sons Gin Launches in the UK

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Stranger & Sons, one of the first gins to be made in India since the country gained independence in the 1940s, as well as one of only a handful to reach UK shores, has launched. Stranger & Sons is the debut gin from the team at Third Eye Distillery, based off the beaten track in Ponda, a district in South Goa with a rich history of spice farming.

Introducing Stranger & Sons

The creation of Mumbai-based Sakshi Saigal, alongside her husband Rahul Mehra and her cousin Vidur Gupta, Stranger & Sons celebrates the abundance and diversity of high quality botanicals and inherently Indian spices, which provide the gin with its unique flavor.

An ode to India’s agricultural and spice heritage, Stranger & Sons is distilled with a selection of seven botanicals found in the country’s household kitchens, in addition to juniper and angelica root. These include a bouquet of locally cultivated and handpicked spices such as coriander seeds, black pepper and cassia bark along with a blend of four Indian citrus peels.

The resulting gin is a light and refreshing, three-dimensional spirit with spiced overtones, followed by an earthy, sweet aftertaste.

Inspired by the wonderful strangeness found in India’s cultural diversity, colour and customs, the founders named their gin ‘Stranger’, whilst ‘& Sons’ refers to the common suffix of traditional Indian family-owned businesses that are passed down through generations within that family.

Third Eye Distillery

Utilising the best in contemporary technology, Stranger & Sons gin is distilled in small batches in a state of the art iStill which has been calibrated to highlight the individual flavours of each of the nine botanicals and spices that lend this three-dimensional spirit its characteristic complexity and aroma, and ensures a consistent batch every time.

Crucial to the Third Eye Distillery’s operation is the support of the local community. Women from a local self-help group are employed to peel the four local citrus fruits that perfume the gin, before the distillery returns the flesh of the fruit to them. The women then use this surplus fruit to create pickles and cordials for Stranger & Sons’ cocktails, thus providing them with additional income and minimising food waste.

Stranger serves

Stranger & Sons has created two signature serves that celebrate the relationship they have with the local community in Goa, and India’s history of pickling: the classic Gibson Martini, made using pickles, and the Gimlet, made with fruit cordial. Versions of these serves are currently available at the likes of Happiness Forgets, Sager + Wilde and TT Liquor.

Stranger & Sons is offering bartenders a cordial invitation to join its peculiar path of pickling, encouraging each to put their stamp on these signature cocktails and inspiring them on a journey of making pickles and cordials.

Stranger & Sons will be available later this month to the on-trade through Scotch+Limon, Third Eye Distillery’s exclusive UK distribution partner.

Speaking on the upcoming launch, Stranger & Sons co-founder Sakshi Saigal said:

“As avid gin drinkers, we always heard of India spoken about in gin circles, as the country has long been a vital supplier of botanicals for the international gin market; but surprisingly there weren’t many craft gins being created in India. So we decided to distil our own quality Indian spirits, starting with this small batch gin which uses common spices and botanicals found in every Indian household.

“We have carefully sourced the majority of our spices from the Indian spice belt, and fruits from across the country to create a gin which perfectly captures the spirit of India. We are so excited to be launching Stranger & Sons in the UK, and we can’t wait to see the creativity of UK bartenders and the serves they come up with.”

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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

Emily Says . . . . ‘Forest’

Forest

In her fourteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering heads to Cheshire and into the Forest;

The gin hype certainly isn’t over (I doubt it ever will), and I’m here this time with a local delight that is Forest Gin.

The story of this little number indeed begun in a Macclesfield forest, founded by husband and wife Karl and Lindsay Bond. The couple shared a passion for their fine alcoholic beverages, and whilst enduring the dull days of the nine to five life, they would spend their evenings away from computer screens and instead with a pint sized pot still and a radio.

With Lindsay being a coeliac, drinking beer was simply out of the question for her (sadly!), so the couple turned to the next best thing: gin! The pair assembled a rather impressive gin collection, which ignited the spark of inspiration. From buying supermarket-branded vodka and distilling it with juniper that was bought online, Karl slowly but surely began to understand the process of making gin – and I mean making gin properly.

What makes a gin truly unique are the botanicals that go into it, and Karl and Lindsay made sure to find ingredients that were one of a kind, and would be difficult to find anywhere else. Living nearby a local Macclesfield forest, the couple put on their walking boots and embarked on a foraging adventure, discovering a whole range of fantastic botanicals to put in their gin.

With the traditional additions of juniper, angelica, cassia and coriander, Forest gin also includes botanicals such as wild grown bilberries, raspberries, blackberries, moss, ferns, pine, tree bark and wild flowers. As one can imagine, the addition of these unusual botanicals give the gin a taste that is truly unique.

On the nose, Forest gin literally smells as it is expected to smell: like a forest in the rain. The fresh and earthy smells from the foraged ingredients are very much apparent, particularly the herbaceous notes from the tree bark and wild flowers. Sweet notes follow from the berries, but are somewhat underwhelmed from the strong dewy forest-like notes.

When it comes to the taste, Forest gin delivers what the title suggests: a fresh and strongly herbaceous gin with hints of sweetness and a bold character. Fresh spring water from the Peak District is used in the distillation, giving the gin a fantastically smooth drinking experience. Subtle hints of spices are present, perhaps from the cassia and even from the addition of cinnamon…? The beauty of drinking a gin such as Forest is the guessing game of what has indeed gone into it to create its unique taste, and as cliché as this may sound, it literally tastes like a forest; the only way in which I can perfectly describe it! Forest gin is paired perfectly with ice, an Indian tonic water with a garnish of a couple of blackberries and a sprig of rosemary.

And for any of my fellow tea lovers, the Forest Earl Grey edition is not one to be missed. The earthy and fruity notes of the original recipe are still apparent, but the fragrant and dry touches of Earl Grey tea beautifully overwhelm the palate. Paired with ice and an Indian tonic water, the drinking experience reminds one strongly of a refreshing and fruity iced tea: perfect.

Photo Credit: Forest Distillery

Oxley Gin Announces First UK On-Trade Competition In Search Of The Country’s Most Inventive Gimlet

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OXLEY®, the unbelievably cold distilled gin, announces its inaugural cocktail competition open to the UK on-trade centred around one of the world’s most classic cocktails – the Gimlet. Accounts across Edinburgh, Manchester and London are being challenged to invent their unique twist on the Gimlet serve, a drink traditionally made with only two ingredients – lime cordial and gin. The use of sub-zero distillation in a quest to keep the botanicals in OXLEY gin faithful to nature, combined with using only fresh-frozen citrus, the Gimlet showcases this bright and flavourful gin – essential in controlling and balancing the essential cordial element. With the Gimlet’s current revival and dividing of opinions, almost as much as the martini, OXLEY gin will tour the three cities from February through May in search of the unexpected, inventive expression of this serve.

CORDIALLY INVITED
With many different takes on the Gimlet featuring across the UK’s top on-trade accounts – 12% of bars polled the serve in their top 10 cocktails* – from Mint Gun Club’s staple three versions, each prebatched and kept in the freezer and served in frozen liqueur glasses, to Scarfes Bar’s twist using a home-made cordial infused with zara lebu skin, lemongrass, shiso and kaffir lime leaves, OXLEY gin is inviting bartenders to experiment and create their own cordial that will complement the thirst for flavour and unmistakable taste of OXLEY gin. Each bartender will be gifted an OXLEY Cocktail Kit to support their own innovative interpretation of the Gimlet with the winner walking away with their own bespoke, co-branded fridge.

The winning recipe will be selected by Karine Tillard, Brand Ambassador for OXLEY gin, along with a special guest, who will visit the competing bars before crowning the most inventive bartender in each region.

Florent Demars, UK Brand Manager – OXLEY gin comments “Since the invention of OXLEY, we have continued to champion flavour and freezing nature in its tracks. We are excited to see how bartenders across the UK can create a truly adventurous take on the Gimlet, a cocktail that has been gaining popularity and momentum rising 26% in the last year alone as one of the world’s best-selling classic cocktails.”

Emily Says . . . . ‘Martin Millers’

Martin Millers

In her thirteenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at what’s next in her journey now Dry Ginuary is over;

So Ginuary may be officially over on the calendar, but that doesn’t mean my obsession with the good stuff is over. At all. Forever being on the look-out for the perfect gin, I have come across this fantastic little number and it is certainly one not to be missed.

Launched in 1999, Martin Miller’s gin was founded by the man himself, Martin Miller. Mr Miller and two friends were regular drinkers in and around the London bar scene, and were generally appalled by the poor quality of gin available in pubs and bars. Wanting to bring something new to the back bar and to encourage a younger group of consumers to gin, Miller and his two friends set out to try and create the best gin possible; and, in my opinion, they did rather well.

Pot distilled in the Langley’s distillery, Martin Millers is distilled here in the UK; but the story doesn’t start in England. It indeed starts in Iceland in which the distillate is diluted with fresh Icelandic water. A pollution free country, and one of the world’s most active volcanic hot spots, Iceland is the perfect geographical location in terms of sourcing only the best fresh produce.

Taking on a ten day journey for Martin Millers from Immingham on the East Coast of England, Borganes is located at the head of Iceland’s remote west coast. From the depths of the beautiful basalt mountains that frame the Icelandic skyline, the water is drawn from Martin Millers very own spring in this remote and exclusive little location.

The botanicals that go into Martin Millers consist of the relatively straight-forward ingredients, such as juniper, coriander, angelica root, cinnamon, cassia, liquorice, nutmeg and Seville orange; straight-forward, perhaps, but timelessly perfect.

In terms of tasting notes, fresh juniper and bitter orange flavours are instantly apparent. Notes of Seville orange gently dominate the overall taste, with the distillation of Icelandic water delivering a beautifully smooth texture. These notes last throughout the entire drink, leaving a fresh and slightly peppery taste on the palate to finish.

In a personal opinion, this is the gin to go to when wanting a simply fresh and smooth drinking experience; Martin Millers have created the most fantastic gin. To be drank alongside an Indian tonic over ice, garnished with a fresh strawberry and a sprinkle of black pepper.

Photo Credit: Martin Millers

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

Emily Says . . . . ‘Flor De Sevilla’

tanquerayIn her twelfth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at Ginuary over Dry January;

The New Year is well and truly upon us, and a new year usually means one thing: Dry January. But I’m not here to talk about that nonsense! I’m here to talk about “Ginuary”, and what gins have appeared under my radar so far this month.

With Tanqueray being one of the most popular London Dry Gins known, the arrival of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla has caught not only my attention, but the attention of the bartending community. But firstly, what exactly is Tanqueray all about?

Founded by Charles Tanqueray in 1830 in Bloomsbury, London, Tanqueray still holds the original recipe that has stood the test of almost one hundred and eighty years. The distillery, however, was severely damaged during World War Two in 1941. The only surviving piece of equipment was one of the stills that was nicknamed “Old Tom”, and made the move with them to the new and current distillery in Cameron Bridge, Scotland.

The story of Tanqueray Flor De Sevilla begins in Spain’s sun-drenched Seville, a place brimming with fresh and beautiful flavours; including its vastly growing gin market. Traditionally, the recipe follows the original that is used for Tanqueray London Dry, but involves a beautiful blend of sevilla orange essences and other fine botanicals, including classics such as juniper and angelica root, all of which are distilled four times over.

On the nose, the zesty aromas of the sevilla oranges dominate the first initial smell. A sweet and fragrant aroma that connotes a warm summers evening; something that we all need in this frosty month!

With an ABV of 41.3%, Flor De Sevilla delivers the perfect zesty balance of classic Tanqueray on the palate, with the delightfully predictable notes of sevilla orange. Whilst this gin remains citrus heavy, fresh and floral notes are present, creating a long and fruity finish.

This citrusy little number is perfect served as a 50ml double over ice with an Indian tonic water. In terms of garnish, there’s no need to go over-board for this one. A simple wedge of orange will do just nicely… not forgetting to squeeze over the finishing product! A personal favourite at the moment, Tanq’s Flor De Sevilla is a ‘must try’ in 2019.

Photo Cred: Tanqueray

Oxley Gin Unveils New Bottle Inspired By Sub Zero Distillation

Oxley_750ml_HiRes6417x8411Oxley Gin, the very first gin to be cold distilled, has launched its new bottle design inspired by the inventive production process behind its unmistakably bright and intense spirit. Available from selected retailers, the new bottle brings to life the story of this inventive spirit, from eight years of experimentation to its unbelievably cold distillation. The incredible meld of science and nature in every bottle of OXLEY gin guarantees a fresh take on traditional botanicals for a sip-worthy smoothness.

UNMISTAKABLY OXLEY
From the bespoke ice bucket mould resembling a vacuum as a nod to the scientific methods used by OXLEY, to the soft white, botanical green and pale matt silver colour palate, the new bottle is intended as a visual representation of the obsession of OXLEY gin to keeping its botanicals true to nature to give a crisp and distinct freshness.

A new neck label notes the invention date of the super-premium gin while the individual bottle number demonstrates the genuine small-batch production methods of the brand, which ensures that not even a single drop is wasted.

AN INVENTIVE SPIRIT
Florent Demars, UK Brand Manager – OXLEY gin comments “Since the invention of OXLEY, the very first cold distilled gin, we have strived to be completely faithful to nature by using the pioneering scientific techniques of sub-zero temperatures. On a quest for flavour, we have succeeded in what we set out to do and we’re proud to now have a bottle that tells this inspiring story.”

 

Emily Says . . . . ‘MFDF18’

The Gin Lounge

In her tenth feature under ‘Emily Says . . .’, the voice to the Manchester bar scene in Emily Puckering looks at the MFDF’s Gin Lounge;

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2018 is currently underway, and as always, it has a fantastic range of new foods and drinks to offer. Created back in 1998 by Phil Jones, the original concept was to demonstrate that Manchester has much more to offer than just, I quote, ‘meat pies and gravy’! Over the last twenty years, MFDF has achieved a national status whilst watching the drinking and dining scene of Manchester be transformed into the incredible industry it is today.

Naturally, my attention was immediately stolen by the drinking side to MFDF this year, in particular the Gin Festival put together by the Gin Lounge. For two days only, The Gin Lounge held an exclusive event showcasing some of the UK’s favourite gins. With the number of gin distilleries soaring across the UK, the choice of what gin to drink is becoming endless, so The Gin Lounge put on display some new faces to the world of gin.
For any gin enthusiast, The Gin Lounge put on a spectacular event. Sponsored by Fentimans, a range of flavoured tonics were on hand at all times to mix and match with the different gins tasted, ranging from a standard Indian tonic to a Valencian Orange tonic. An ice and garnish station provided an array of herbs and fruits that were designed to complement perfectly each unique gin available. Gin cocktail stands and a gourmet food van finished off the event beautifully, offering something for every gin lover.

As a representative of the North and in particular, Manchester, I found myself leaning towards the Manchester-based distilleries that made an appearance at this year’s gin festival. Three major Manchester distilleries really caught my eye during my time here at the gin festival, so here are the ones that I would truly recommend in indulging in:

The Gin Lounge 2

Didsbury Gin
https://www.didsburygin.com/

Created in the heart of Manchester’s Didsbury, Liam Manton and Mark Smallwood went out to create a citrusy twist on the classic London dry gin under just two years ago. Inspiration was taken from the botanical gardens of Parsonage and Fletcher Moss that date all the way back to 1919 since been gifted to the people of Didsbury by a quintessential English village.
Using traditional artisan methods and infusing modern botanicals such as hand-peeled fresh citrus and juniper, Didsbury gin offers a zesty and fresh drinking experience, with strong notes of citrus fruits such as lemon and grapefruit. These citrus notes allow the gin to be easily drank neat, and is mixed beautifully with Fentimans Indian tonic water.
The Raspberry and Elderflower edition of Didsbury gin is something truly outstanding. Rather than a standard raspberry gin (or more commonly known as ‘pink gin’), the elderflower balances out the usual sweetness that is associated with raspberry flavours, delivering a fruity yet crisp gin.

The Gin Lounge 3

Thomas Dakin Gin
http://www.thomasdakin.com/

A Manchester gin that dates back centuries, Thomas Dakin is surely the household name for gins in the North West. All the way back in 1761, Thomas Dakin began distilling gin in Warrington at the age of twenty five. With Dakin’s inventive and modern outlook upon the distillation process, he created a high quality English gin, despite the negative attitudes towards the distillation of one’s own gin at the time.
Styled around the classic London dry gin, Thomas Dakin is a juniper-led gin created with the use of eleven botanicals. Those botanicals include juniper, orange zest, angelica, grapefruit and English coriander seeds. Whilst the recipe itself remains a well-hidden secret, the knowledge of the botanicals used backs up perfectly the drinking experience that Thomas Dakin provides.
Sweet and citrusy notes dominate the overall flavour, which are beautifully backed up by the spicy and earthy notes provided by botanicals such as angelica and coriander. Mixed with Fentimans pink grapefruit tonic water.

The Gin Lounge 4

Manchester Three Rivers Gin
http://www.manchesterthreerivers.com/

Manchester Three Rivers gin is exactly what the name says. It is named after the three rivers that ran through the city before Manchester’s famous canals took over: Irwell, Irk and Medlock. It was these rivers that pumped life into the city and allowed for its many industries to develop and thrive.
The distillery was located close to the banks of Irk, which is what inspired the name for this Manchester gin. The area has a rich history of creativity and production, and Three Rivers has certainly paid homage to the area with their fantastic creation.
Produced by hand in small batches only by master distiller Dave Rigby, Three Rivers is a well-balanced gin using eleven botanicals, including vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and almond. Overall, the gin delivers a smooth drinking experience with a slight sweetness on the tongue. It is finished with a spicy black pepper kick, all thanks to the use of cardamom. Three Rivers was mixed perfectly with Fentimans Connoisseurs tonic water.
Manchester Three Rivers also offers an exclusive Gin Experience, allowing one to distil and bottle their very own unique gin in the Three Rivers distillery.

The King of Soho Is In The Pink With New Gin launch

The King of Soho Variorium and OriginalThe King of Soho is adding a new addition to its colourful line-up with the introduction of the King of Soho Variorum Gin, a berry edition of the original London Dry.

The King of Soho Variorum Gin adds a hint of pink and notes of strawberry to complement the essential juniper and citrus flavours of the classic recipe, making it ideal to be enjoyed over ice, in cocktails and mixed drinks; served with a strawberry garnish. The creativity and literary works of Soho are the inspiration behind the name – in literature, a variorum edition is an original work with notes.

With the original King of Soho London Dry celebrating its fifth anniversary in October 2018, the King of Soho Variorum is a new twist on the classic, with a lower ABV of 37.5%. It has been created to appeal to a broader audience and reflects the brand’s modernity. In its vivid red bottle, Variorum Gin is a vivacious and fun companion to the King of Soho London Dry; the perfect pair to stand out on the shelf or bar – day and night

Like the original, Variorum is distributed in the UK & Ireland on-trade and off-trade by Hi-Spirits. The King of Soho brand is the creation of West End Drinks, owned by entrepreneurs Alex Robson and Howard Raymond, and styled after Howard’s father, the legendary Soho theatre impresario and businessman Paul Raymond.

Alex Robson, managing director of West End Drinks, said: “The King of Soho Variorum Gin is a celebration of the colour and style of Soho; a pink berry spirit inspired by the creativity and literature of London’s iconic district, to join our smooth and premium drinks line-up.

“We launched the original King of Soho classic London Dry almost five years ago, and the King of Soho Variorum Gin builds on that success with an appeal to a gin consumer who is looking for a slightly lower ABV and berry notes in their drinks and cocktails. Crafted in London , it reflects the modernity and innovation of our brand and the ever-changing spirit that is Soho.”

The signature serve for The King of Soho Variorum is the Variorum Cooler:

50ml King of Soho Variorum Gin
120ml Cranberry Juice
120ml Pink Grapefruit Juice
Build in a tall glass filled with cubed ice, and garnish with a grapefruit twist and a strawberry.

The King of Soho Variorum launches in late July, with a RSP of £33.50.