A Punch this Christmas, with Hendrick’s Gin

In this time of festive cheer, Hendrick’s Gin, proprietor of the exquisite and unusual, has partnered with the most esteemed of cocktail creators to offer a solution to Christmas entertaining quandaries, and in doing so bring to your attention the almostforgotten mastery of punch.

 

At a time of year when merriment with those dearest and nearest is at the forefront of our festive schemata, punch brings people together:  It is a truth self-evident that everyone sharing the same quaff has a most charming effect on the atmosphere of a room.

 

Dismissed by most, punch often reminds people of their first fumbles into the world of alcohol, and terrible concoctions of almost poisonous presence.  But this most certainly does not have to be the case, for in times past, punch was the quintessential drink for many, as expounded in hazy Victoriandescriptions of bowls of punch that “awaken in the soul all the finer emotions of sensibility and friendship.”

 

Even the great Charles Dickens took pleasure in making and serving punch at home, with the ritual worthy of Mr Micawber himself as documented in David Copperfield, “he stirred, and mixed, and tasted, and looked as if he were making, instead of punch, a fortune for his family down to the latest posterity.”

 

Over the Christmas period, why not partake in the ritual of punch, providing a shared experience of drinking that few other drinks can claim. There really is no better way to share the chronicles of life and subsequent laughter than around a bowl of enchanting punch!

 

And so with that, Hendrick’s has but a few things left to say, recipes namely:

 

Eden Special Fizz, Created by Jason Scott of the Bramble Bar, Edinburgh

 

Ingredients:

500ml Hendrick’s Gin

250ml Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth

150ml home made cherry liqueur or Cherry Heering (to taste)

1 bottle champagne

1 lemon

 

Method:

Steep sliced lemon rounds in the first 3 ingredients overnight. Pour into punch bowl filled with ice and add champagne just before service.

 

Glass: champagne saucer

Garnish: lemon rounds

 

 

Hendrick’s Hot Gin Punch
Hendrick’s Purl, Created by Tristan Stephenson of Purl, London

 

Ingredients:

150ml Hendrick’s Gin

1 litre of good quality hoppy ale 200ml cloudy apple juice 5 slices of satsuma 1 cinnamon stick 90g sugar 5g hops 2 cloves 1 dessert spoon honey 2 large splashes of Angostura Bitters 1 whole star anise

Method:

Heat ingredients in a pan.  Simmer for 20 minutes then strain the hops out and serve with satsuma slices and a stick of cinnamon to garnish.

 

Glass: Teacup

Garnish: Satsuma slices and cinnamon stick

 

Mr Micawber’s Favourite, Hot Gin Punch

Created by Hendrick’s British Ambassador Duncan McRae, a subtly tweaked recipe inspired by Dickens’ very own recipe from David Copperfield

 

Ingredients:

Three full teacups of Hendrick’s Gin

Another three of Madeira wine

Three cloves

Pinch grated nutmeg

Large teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Two teaspoons brown sugar

Six large lemon and orange twists

Small slice orange

One fresh pineapple

Four large spoons honey

Juice of two lemons

 

Method:

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan and place on the heat. Let the concoction simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Taste, adding lemon or honey depending on whether you prefer sweet or sour.  When it’s ready, pour into a teapot and serve in teacups or alternatively in a traditional punch bowl. This punch can be reheated should you wish to prepare it prior to a gathering. This punch is best simmered for half an hour or more– allowing the pineapple time to soften and caramalise. Pineapples (one of the most exotic ingredients one could get hold of) would have been a real treatduring the Victorian Era, making this punch a genuine celebration.

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Wemyss Malts

 

Wemyss

Wemyss Malts were on of the first ranges on whisky I covered when I started Drinks Enthusiast back in 2011. Since then, Wemyss Malts range of expressions have grown, culminating in some hand-crafted beauties! Before I re-visit though, lets take a look at Wemyss;

Wemyss Malts, pronounced ‘Weems’, are a boutique whisky company with connections to the Wemyss family who hailed from Fife, Scotland. Wemyss itself comes from the Gaelic word for caves which stems from the rocky outcrop on the Firth of Forth on which the family home of Wemyss Castle sits.
The Wemyss Land was used at the turn of the 19th century where a gentleman named John Haig built his first distillery on the island. It is said that John’s passion for the industry made him realise the confusion that consumers had with the ever-increasing terminology of the whisky industry. With this, he aimed to create his whiskies and not only make them more accessible, but also understandable.

Wemyss Malts use a combination of the taste and aromas of each individual whisky to identify each bottling, rather than the traditional distillery way, resulting in the consumer understanding the style being purchased more easily.

But what about the whisky?

Wemyss Malts have two sub-categories – Blended Malts and Single Casks. With the blended, the Wemyss family hand select each individual cask, under the expert eye of Charlie Maclean, chair of the Wemyss Nosing Panel for both the Single Casks and Blended Malts.
Up to sixteen different single malt whiskies are blended together before introducing the “signature” malts to create the three distinct taste profiles.

Question is, does this really de-mystify the whisky labelling? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –

The Hive 8yr – 40%

The Hive range uses a signature malt is from Speyside.
A sweet nose with a mix of wood and leather aromas, becoming more vibrant upon the palate. Smooth, plenty of light honey flavours to create a lingering finish.

WemyssThe Hive 12yr – 40%

On the nose, the sweet scent of  honey is dominant which carries nicely onto the palate. A slight buttery scent is also present. The fresh flavour of the honey spread along the palate and gives a bit of a spice kick near the end. A snip of vanilla is their but the honey is the main characteristic.

Spice King 8yr – 40%

Spice King range uses a signature malt is from the Highlands.
A fresh nose of spice become a little dry as it develops, although retains its smoothness. A slight sweetness on the palate, with dry pepper and spice evident creating a lingering warm finish.

Spice King 12yr – 40%

A bold, rich nose of sherry mixing with lemon zest but a slight harsh entrance on the palate. Bitter lemon and ginger flavours linger with spice notes and leads into an oak finish which leaves the mouth a little dry.

Peat Chimney 8yr – 40%

Bottled October 2010. The Peat Chimney range uses a signature malt is from Islay.
Light peat aromas on the nose, with a balance of heather and honey developing. Light on the palate too, with honey evident, moving to a lingering peat finish with some bold whispers.

Peat Chimney 8yr – 40%

A tweaked version of the above, sampled on 18th May 2014.

Very light, honey peated notes on the nose, with a little whisp of heather and heat. Incredibly sharp peat flavours on the palate, creating a spice heat that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Hard peat flavours on the finish, with a little smokey wood and honey elements thrown in. Lingering.

Peat Chimney 12yr – 40%

Soft peat notes on the nose with an oily scent soon after with a hint of sea salt. Heavy flavours of peat do mellow out as it comes to a finish, with a ‘peat chimney’ smoke on the after-taste.

Wemyss Malts are also the producers of premium blended whisky Lord Elcho. David, Lord Elcho, eldest son of the 5th Earl of Wemyss, was one of the most celebrated supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the ill-fated Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Flirting between England and France originally, he settled in Italy and met Charles Edward Stewart, playing a significant role in the uprising, eventually being appointed colonel of the Prince’s lifeguards. After being defeated at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he was punished with the stripping of his land and titles and forced into exile.
Lord Elcho whisky is a nod to his life, created to honour the “refined masculine spirit of its namesake”.

Lord Elcho 15yr – 40%

Bottled August 2012. Crafted from a selection of malt and grain whiskies. Light, with lingering honey notes finishing with a slight sweetness on the nose. A well-rounded palate of honey and toasted wood, with the sweetness and warmth resulting in a lingering finish.

Lord Elcho NAS – 40%

Light cereal notes on the nose, with hints of honey and syrup coming through. Plenty of honey on the palate, with a light enjoyment of cocoa, fudge and creamy dry spice with cinnamon, ginger and cardoman. Long and warming.

Some absolute crackers to enjoy in your favourite whisky glass. But Wemyss Malts are versatile, with leading bartender Jason Scott of Bramble, Edinburgh creating gems such as –

Hive and Seek
Hive and Seek

Hive and Seek

Glass –

Coupette

Ingredients – 

40 ml Wemyss Hive Whisky 12yr
12.5ml Campari
20 ml fresh lemon juice
2 bar spoons (10ml) saffron honey or orange blossom honey
Dash pasteurised egg white

Method –

Pour all ingredients into shaker and dry shake (no ice). Fill with ice and shake rapidly. Double strain.

or perhaps

Peat Smash
Peat Smash

Peat Smash

Glass – 

Julep Cup

Ingredients – 

50 ml Peat Chimney Whisky 12yr
14 mint leaves
2 bar spoons Demerara sugar
Spritz of Fernet Branca

Method –

Firstly spray the inside of cup with Fernet Branca. Separately, with all ingredients and cubed ice in a mixing glass, stir till ice cold and the flavours and aromas of the mint have infused into the liquid. Single strain over cracked ice in cup.

Brilliant! A superb range across the board, with personal favourites being The Hive and Peat Chimney. Although I’m yet to experience their Single Casks, I can only imagine that I will be impressed. Wemyss are coming out with a fantastic portfolio, diving into their heritage and creating blended whiskies, premium offerings, single casks and even two expressions of gin. You may not see this everywhere when it comes to bars and restaurants, but I can guarantee, if you know a venue with a good whisky selection, expect to see some Wemyss. It would be VERY rude not too. If not, pick one up for your drinks cabinet.

© 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.