Tag Archives: gin

Finalists Announced at Northern Restaurant & Bar Cocktail Competition with Whitley Neill Dry Gin

Whitley Neill - Gin and Tonic

Finalists announced for the Northern Restaurant & Bar’s annual cocktail competition, sponsored by Whitley Neill Dry Gin, with the chance to win a once in a lifetime VIP visit to South Africa.

Competitors have been asked to submit one unique drink, containing a minimum of 35 ml of any Whitley Neill Dry Gin expression, and adding inspiration of the gin’s South Africa influence.

Four finalists, chosen by a blind judging panel of gin experts including founder Johnny Neill, have been chosen, and they include;

Thomas Gedney-Higham, Bibi’s Italianissimo, Leeds
Bettina Kovacs, Dishoom, Edinburgh
Jenny Griffiths, Ten Mill Lane, Cardiff
Lükas Alberti, Three Six Six (Battersea), London

Each finalist will be invited to the final of the competition at Northern Restaurant & Bar in Manchester on Wednesday 22nd March 2016 at 3:15pm. The competition is hosted by Dave Marsland aka Drinks Enthusiast and Halewood Wines & Spirits, the distributors for Whitley Neill Dry Gin, and compared by spirit writer Joel Harrison.

The winner will visit South Africa in late 2017 as the guest of Whitley Neill Dry Gin, which has previously beaten off the challenge from the World’s finest gin brands by winning gold at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2014. The visit will also include a 1 day safari.

Northern Restaurant & Bar is the biggest hospitality show in the North. The show’s Spirit Room is the largest curated selection of spirit brands on show outside London. As well as the Casco Viejo cocktail competition, the Drinks Live theatre features a line-up of tutored tastings and masterclasses from some of the best names in the business. Tickets are free to anyone actively working in the hospitality industry, register now at northernrestaurantandbar.co.uk/webtickets

Beefeater 24 To Launch A Stylish New Look

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Beefeater, the world’s most awarded gin*, has unveiled a sophisticated new bottle design for Beefeater 24. The new red glass bottle reflects the product’s super-premium quality and will increase its visibility on shelf.

The super premium gin category has seen a continued period of growth and the new bottle has been developed in response to evolving consumer demand. The sleek design will make the product stand out against competitors while reinforcing the differences between Beefeater 24 and Beefeater Dry. It will also help Beefeater to attract new consumers looking to explore the super premium gin category. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement of the 20th Century, the decoration mirrors the super premium gin’s 12 botanicals, which were carefully selected by Master Distiller Desmond Payne following two years of experimentation. The filigree on the bottle is unique to the Royal Dalton factory that was located next to the original Beefeater distillery.

The bottle’s eye-catching red colour pays homage to one of the UK’s oldest crown jewels, the 170-carat Black Prince’s Ruby centrepiece in the Imperial State Crown. Similarly to Beefeater, the history of the precious stone is intertwined with the Tower of London and the Yeoman Warders who guard it. The figure of a Beefeater has been introduced alongside the authentic signature from Beefeater founder, James Burrough. The Tower of London raven, which is historically said to protect the crown, is clearly visible on both the front and reverse of the bottle.

Global Brand Director for Beefeater, Eric Sampers, comments: “Our new Beefeater 24 design will capture the consumer’s attention, with a striking red colour which makes it clearly stand out from its competitors. Beefeater 24 is a very special gin – created by the world’s most experienced Gin Master Distiller, Desmond Payne – and we want people to know just from looking at the bottle that there is a high-quality liquid inside. The updated look will appeal to consumers who are keen to explore the growing super-premium gin category as well as existing Beefeater 24 fans.”

The new bottle design for Beefeater 24 has been available in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Sweden, Netherlands and France since October, with a revised RRP at 39USD. It was then rolled out to Andorra, Portugal, Germany, Thailand and USA in November and Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, UK and South Africa in time for Christmas in December.

North East Distillery Launch First Gin of Limited Edition Range

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Poetic License Independent Small Batch Distillery kick off range of one-off spirit products ‘The Rarities’ with an Orange Blossom Gin.

As you would expect from the name, this gin offers a strong aroma of orange and is zesty, refreshing yet floral on the palate. It’s slightly sweeter than a typical gin with its hints of vanilla and a lingering citrus finish.

The Rarities are set to be a one batch distillation of whatever the creative chaps at Poetic License fancy making. There will only be a few hundred bottles of each and when they’re gone, they really are gone!

“We like to indulge in our creative side and wanted drinkers to be able to enjoy more of our experimental concoctions with us. Hence, The Rarities was born” explains Luke Smith, Poetic License’s distiller.

“Orange Blossom is a beautiful flavour that we knew we wanted to use. We experimented with it in vodka but actually felt the flavour sat very well in with the juniper of gin. It’s an uplifting drink that stirs up the vibes of the lighter, warmer months. It drinks really well with Mediterranean tonic and an orange peel and rosemary garnish.”

Located in the North East, Poetic License Independent Small Batch Distillery launched in 2015. They make their award-winning spirits on 500L still, Gracie, which is based in a bar of the same name. They have 3 core products (Northern Dry Gin at 43.2%, Old Tom Gin at 41.6% and Graceful Vodka at 40.4%) and well as always having a seasonal offering available; at the moment, this is their Fireside Gin with flavours of mulled winter fruits.

Future products for The Rarities are still under-wraps but Luke did say “We have lots of ideas, so keep your eyes on our social media for more information and, if you see them, make sure you grab them while you can!”

Orange Blossom Gin Rarity will be available to from the start of February with pre-orders now being taken.

Buy online now at http://www.poeticlicensedistillery.co.uk or for trade sales enquiries please contact Beth Race on 0191 5103564 or beth@poeticlicensedistillery.co.uk

Poetic License

poetic-license
One of the main brands to cause a stir over the last 12 months originates from the North East of England, Sunderland to be exact, the home of Poetic License Distillery.

Started up by Mark Hird, a figurehead of the leisure trade for 20 years, the seeds were sown back in 2012 when Mark saw the opportunity in growing a business that could reach both the local and national community, opening a microbrewery in 2012 and naming it Sonnet 43, after the famous poem of Elizabeth Barrett Browning who was born a stone’s throw from the brewery site.

Knowing the rise of micro distilling after visiting distilleries in South Africa, he looked to Luke Smith, a man who had started his career at Sonnet 43 brewery, to help him plan and operate a new distillery. After several experiments and distilling courses, on January 4th 2015 the project became official and Luke moved to begin working within the Roker Hotel (now known as Poetic License Distillery Bar and Soul Food), one of Mark’s venues, as a full time gin distiller and using a 5 litre still to produce trial recipes.

It took 7 months to create a London Dry Gin as well as a rough Old Tom Gin within Gracie, the fist copper still to be sourced from China. The 500 litre hybrid allows the use of her as both a pot still and a column still. For their gin, hand-crushed botanicals are macerated for 24 hours and then boiled to gently and gradually release their flavours, whilst the vodka, using British wheat as the spirit base, is distilled 7 times.

This feature though won’t be focusing on their Northern Dry, Old Tom or Graceful Vodka, but their new Fireside Gin, the distillery’s limited edition gin available for autumn/ winter that focuses on ‘Mulled Winter Fruit and Juniper’. It is their second seasonal and comes following the success of their first – Picnic Gin, a strawberries and cream flavoured gin which was available throughout the summer of 2016.

poetic-license-fireside-gin-and-tonic
Poetic License Fireside
– 40.1%

Subtle saffron and orris come through on the nose, followed by clove and nutmeg scents. Mulled flavours of clementine, stemmed cherry and cranberry are present on the palate, with soft cinnamon and orange peel bringing a warm finish to the table.

A great gin to serve straight over ice in front of the fire, but one of these will still work well for a refreshing mulled long drink, with the team suggesting “to be enjoyed while cosying up around glowing amber warmth of the fireplace. Pour over large chunks of ice with premium tonic and garnish with cranberries.”

Be rude not to add this to your drinks cabinet now, and these cold nights don’t seem to be easing up anytime soon!

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

Foxhole

foxhole-gin
Normally, grapes would be closely associated with wine, Champagne and brandy if used to create alcohol, but the steady need to explore ahead of the usual limits, gin and its floral complexities creates an ideal category to invoke the use of a variety of grape styles.

G’Vine and Ciroc are your two commonly seen brands that use grapes for their base ingredient, but the UK has entered the fray with their first gin to be made from English-grown grapes, created by Sam Linter and James Oag-Cooper.

The South East of England offers a climate suitable for both still and sparkling wines, with English wine producer Bolney Wine Estate a leading name. Due to their shared focus on quality and sustainability, Foxhole Spirits have partnered with the team at Bolney Wine Estate to create Foxhole Gin.

But how do we create such a product?

The end of summer see’s the grapes picked and ready to head to the winery for pressing. Not all the grape material is used for wine production though, with by-products and unused grape juice being left behind, becoming the inspiration for the gin. Once the grapes are bought to the winery, they are placed in the press and would normally go through one cycle which would extract the juice for wine production, leaving between 30-40% of the juice in the grapes. The remaining grape material would be thrown away, but now, the process has changed and it see’s a second pressing occur after the first press has been collected. This extracts more of the grape juice, which is collected in a stainless steel tank.

Within the tank, yeast is added and the juice ferments into an English Wine. Once complete, the wine is drawn from the tank and delivered to the distillery in Albury, Surrey where it is added in small batches to a 350 litre copper pot still. Then, the first of two stages occur.

To create an English grape spirit, the wine is heated using steam from a wood fired boiler, resulting in a high percentage spirit being distilled. The second stage involves the process of adding the botanicals (Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Seed, Orris Root, Liquorice Root, Bitter Orange, Fresh Lemon Zest, Fresh Grapefruit Zest) to the distilled wine spirit for 48 hours maceration. The spirit is then added back into the still for a second time and distilled with the botanicals present.

Once distilled, the gin has natural on-site spring water added to it, before being bottled and labelled. Named after the Foxhole Vineyards and Foxhole Lane, the location where Foxhole Spirits is based, lets see what the finished result is like –

Foxhole – 40%

Very light on the nose, with subtle aromas of peach, zest of grapefruit and fresh juniper coming through. Smooth as it hits the palate, becoming slightly intense as the grapefruit and lemon zest come together. Rich grape flavours follow, with the coriander bringing a warm, lingering finish.

A delicate offering that is one to be enjoyed over ice, crystal cut glass, and a healthy measure. One for the drinks cabinet as we head into Spring.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. 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.

 

 

Ditch Your Resolutions In Style At Slug And Lettuce

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With New Year’s Resolutions beginning to be a thing of the past, a leading bar chain, the Slug and Lettuce are offering guests the opportunity to ditch them in sophistication with fantastic offers this January*.

Available at Slug and Lettuces throughout the country, the chain of bars will be providing customers the opportunity for a guilt-free celebration with a selection of 10 drinks available, all below 100 calories. What’s more, they are all available at the minimal cost of £3.50. Whether it be a refreshing Gordons Gin and Tonic or a delicious Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke, there will be something for all.

For those looking for more than a drink, there are also an array of food options available, set to whet anyone’s appetite. The signature ‘Fast & Fresh’ section of the menu will be on hand for all with a complimentary 20% discount on top. The selection of dishes take inspiration from around the globe, with the likes of a Superfood Salad, BBQ Pulled Pork Burrito or Noodle Boxes set to ignite the taste buds.
Full list of Slug and Lettuce January deals*:

· £3.50: Whitley Neill Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Gordons Gin and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Havana Club 3yr and Diet Coke, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and Diet Coke, Midori and Bottle Green Light Tonic, Disaronno and Diet Coke, Tia Maria and Diet Coke, Smirnoff and Bottle Green Light Tonic and Absolut Vanilla and Diet Coke.

· £4.50: Beck’s Blue non-alcoholic beer and 125ml Prosecco

· Dishes for £5: Chicken Salad, Classic Burger, Chicken & Bacon Club, Butternut Squash Lasagne and Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Sandwich at the following sites: Reading, Brentwood, Nottingham Cornerhouse, St Albans, Fetter Lane and Epsom.

· Dishes for £5: Cottage Pie, Chilli Con Carne, Butternut Squash Lasagne, Steak Sandwich and Southern Fried Chicken Wrap at the following sites: Huddersfield, Beckenham, Derby, Chelmsford, Hove and Southampton.

Deal runs from Tuesday 3rd January to 31st January 2017.

*£20% off Fast & Fresh menu at 67 Slug & Lettuce’s throughout the country. Not including the following sites: Wilmslow, Marlow, South Woodford, Weybridge, Salisbury, Clapham, Fareham, Southend, Derby and Southampton. Not to be used in conjunction with any other promotion or offer.

North East Distillery Launch New Winter Gin

fireside-gin
Poetic License Independent Small Batch Distillery have introduced a new seasonal spirit to their range.

Fireside Gin is the distillery’s limited edition gin available for autumn/ winter. It is their second seasonal and comes following the success of their first – a Picnic Gin, a strawberries and cream flavoured gin which was available throughout the summer of 2016. Much like its summer sibling, this gin takes inspiration from the season.

It has flavours of mulled winter fruit – clementine, cranberries and the mulling spice blend of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg – which produce a warming flavour reminiscent of much-loved festive treats. It’s perfect for the darker nights and is best enjoyed while cosying up around glowing amber warmth of the fireplace, as the name suggests.

“We like to set a scene with our seasonal creations” Luke Smith, Distiller for Poetic License, commented. “With Picnic Gin, imagine sitting on a checkered blanket in the park with friends whilst the sun’s shining. However, with Fireside Gin, this one’s definitely for huddling around the fire with – it’s certain to warm those cockles throughout the colder months.”

Poetic License are small batch distillery based in the North East. They make their award-winning spirits on 500L still, Gracie, which is based in a bar of the same name. They have 3 core products, Northern Dry Gin at 43.2%, Old Tom Gin at 41.6% and Graceful Vodka at 40.4%. The Northern Dry Gin is a regional twist on the usual name and has a big kick of juniper as well as some more contemporary additions such as green cardamom and Persian lime for powerful floral and citrus flavours. In contrast, the Old Tom Gin is aged with oak and is sweeter instyle; this is achieved entirely with botanicals such as hibiscus and rose which also impart colour to give the spirit a rose-gold tinge. Their Graceful Vodka is distilled 7 times for purity and gained its name from its glorious smoothness.

However, not satisfied with their core and seasonal ranges, Poetic License Distillery aim to begin producing more limited edition runs which they are calling ‘The Rarities’ early next year. These will be one batch distillations, each creating around 400 bottles, and when they’re gone, they really are gone.

“We love experimenting with flavours and The Rarities provide an outlet for that creativity,” Luke explains. “I can’t say too much about them, but expect the first in early Spring 2017 and keep your eyes on our social media as you’ll find out there first.”

Fireside Gin is available to buy online now, as are the rest of Poetic License products, at http://www.poeticlicensedistillery.co.uk

Four Pillars Gin Appoints Love Drinks As Its Exclusive UK Distributor

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Four Pillars Gin, the Yarra Valley-based Australian distillery, is delighted to announce the appointment of Love Drinks as its exclusive UK-based importer and distributor.

Four Pillars has been distributed by Liberty Wines since May 2015 and co-founder Stuart Gregor thanked Liberty for its efforts in establishing a strong foothold for the brand in Great Britain and Ireland.

“We have had a terrific start to our sales life in the UK thanks to David Gleave and his team at Liberty and we want to thank them for all their efforts,” Gregor said.

“The time has come for us to work closely with a group like Love Drinks that is single-minded in its focus on great spirits, great relationships and growing high quality craft brands so we are delighted that we’ve been able to come to an agreement with Kirsty and her team.

“We love their portfolio and we’ve been keeping a close eye on the success of our Aussie mate Mr Black and we hope we can really turn up the volume on our sales over the next few years.”

Speaking about working with Four Pillars Gin and distributing throughout the UK, Kirsty Loveday, CEO and Founder of Love Drinks said;

“When starting Love Drinks almost ten years ago, I wanted to work with brands that were credible, innovative, award-winning and authentic – oh, and they had to taste good too! Four Pillars has all of these elements in spades.

As we all know, gin is an extremely crowded market, but at Love Drinks we are working with gins that have USPs that cut through the chatter of other gins; gins that have got a long-term plan and are investing in the UK market.

Four Pillars Gin complements the fantastic heritage and classic Britishness of Hayman’s Gins with their new world innovation and Modern Australian attitude.

For starters they have this uncanny knack of creating simply world class gins; their Rare Dry and Navy Strength have won more gold medals combined than the Aussies did in Rio and the distillery continues to deliver serious new gins with a twist – their Bloody Shiraz Gin, a typically Australian riff on Sloe and the new Spiced Negroni Gin both show what they can do when let loose…

Their whole ethos, from the gins they make, to their host of activities at their distillery in Yarra Valley just makes me smile; they make marmalade from the oranges that go into the botanical basket and feed their own litter of rare breed pigs on the spent botanicals for goodness sake! We know that there will be a real appetite for Four Pillars Gin and we’re looking forward to working with the team.”

Four Pillars burst onto the global gin scene in early 2014 when its Rare Dry Gin collected the first of its two Double Gold medals at the World Spirits Competition in San Francisco. The Rare Dry gin (41.8% ABV) is the cornerstone of its expanding portfolio of unique and at times idiosyncratic gins.

The Rare Dry is a modern New World style of gin – plenty of juniper supported by some indigenous Australian botanicals including lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepper berries as well as the addition of whole fresh oranges in the Carl-still botanical basket.
Sitting alongside the Rare Dry gin in the Four Pillars portfolio will be the Navy Strength – an explosive gin coming in at 58.8% ABV with native finger limes, turmeric and ginger added in the botanical basket.

The Navy Strength has finished top of the World Gin Masters Navy Strength class in both 2015 and 2016 and has won multiple accolades in the UK and around the world.

Also becoming available in the UK for the first time will be the Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin (43.8% ABV) – a hugely spicy gin that has been augmented with the addition of African, Indonesian and Chinese peppers and spices to be a gin specifically made to stand up and be noticed in that king of drinks, the Negroni.

Four Pillars also has something of a phenomenon on its hands with an Aussie riff on a Sloe Gin; a sweet, purple elixir that they call Bloody Shiraz Gin. Steeped for eight weeks with freshly picked shiraz grapes, this near full strength gin (37.8% abv) is sweet and luscious and unlike anything on the world gin market. In Australia, the entire production sold out in two months and some small quantities are arriving in the UK this November, with most already pre-sold.

Four Pillars will be joining the Love Drinks portfolio from December 1, 2016.

Ungava

ungava
Canada is perhaps not your first choice of country when talking gin. Europe yes, even Oceania and Asia perhaps, but from the UK’s standpoint, whiskey is the tipple most associated with Canada in the likes of Canadian Club and Crown Royal. It’s to a vibrant introduction to my gin experiences then that Ungava comes along, hailing from the northeastern part of the country.

The Ungava name comes from the Ungava Peninsula, which can be found at the northern tip of Quebec within Canada. Ungava is proud to state that its six rare botanicals, native to the Arctic region, form the basis of the gin. These include Nordic Juniper, Arctic Blend, Cloudberry, Crowberry, Labrador Tea and Wild Rose Hips, each handpicked in the wild during the fleeting summer season. Due to the botanicals used, the yellow colour of the gin is completely natural, the result of the plants and berries of the tundra releasing their aromas and colours.

It’s with intrigue then that below, I give to you my tasting notes –

Ungava – 43.1%

Very light and subtle upon the nose, with honeysuckle and soft rose appearing. A developing boldness on the palate, with green berry and fresh herbal notes dominating. A fresh, striking finish.

A good gin to sip over ice, but this signature serve offers a great use for Ungava –

ungava-ungava-beach
Ungava Beach

Glass – 

Old Fashioned

Ingredients –

45 ml Ungava gin
60 ml Coconut water
45 ml Soda
15 ml Simple syrup
1 Grapefruit wedge and 1 grapefruit slice

Method –

Squeeze the grapefruit wedge into an old-fashioned glass. Add ice cubes and then the gin, simple syrup and coconut water. Finish with the soda and garnish with the grapefruit slice.

Canada sure know how to create a spirit, whether whisky or gin! An interesting brand look, but backs itself up with the flavour as Ungava should be reserved a place in your drinks cabinet for sure. Great to mix with too if you’re inviting friends and family round to impress.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. 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.

 

Half Hitch

half-hitch
Camden Lock has its part in the history of gin, seen in the mid-18oo’s as one of the significant areas in London to create, bottle and export gin. Around 20 acres were owned by the likes of W&A Gilbey Ltd, utilising the waterways and trains to ferry their cargo across the UK and beyond. Over time though, the locks were abandoned and fell into disrepair, until Mark Holdsworth stumbled upon the history, gaining his inspiration into creating a gin that would tip the hat to the forgotten era.

Half Hitch gin, born and bred in an old Victorian vault located right next to one of the biggest former gin warehouses, the Interchange Building, offers up a slice of old London, using the name of the strong rope knot that many barges used on the locks to moor up with.

To create his gin, Mark uses three different methods: copper pot distillation, vacuum distillation and hand crafted tinctures. He uses 100% British grain spirit within, and utilises botanicals such as Malawian black tea, Calabrian bergamot from Southern Italy, wood, hay and pepper.

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

Half Hitch – 40%

A sweet, floral note on the nose, followed by delicate rose and lavender. Sharp lemon rind hits the palate on first taste, with a bold, fresh lavender profile coming through. Earth notes follow alongside a striking citrus kick that leads to a long fresh finish.

A good base gin for their signature serve too –

half-hitch-twisted-martini
Twisted Martini

Half Hitch Twisted Martini

Glass – 

Tumbler

Ingredients –

50 ml Half Hitch Gin
Orange Peel

Method – 

Pour over ice in a tumbler glass and garnish with orange peel.

“Sir Winston is quoted as saying “Glance at the vermouth bottle briefly while pouring the juniper distillate freely”. Hence, no vermouth in this Martini. This version takes one step further. No shake, no stir, just on the rocks.” source, http://www.halfhitch.london

A great gin that opens up the history of Camden Lock with a respectable brand, bringing focus on its unique blend of botanicals. Something different for your drinks cabinet.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2016. 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.