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Posts Tagged ‘Gin’

Review: Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2016

Gilpins SAM_2353According to the information sheets provided to me Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin is a traditional London Dry Gin produced in London (England) from eight botanicals: juniper, lime peel, sage, bitter orange peel, borage (star flower), coriander seed, lemon peel and angelica root. The botanicals are steeped in a quadruple-distilled grain spirit, and then distilled once more upon a traditional pot still. The finished spirit is bottled at 47 % alcohol by volume.

The spirit is named for George Gilpin who is said to have traveled to Holland as an Ambassador from Queen Elizabeth I where he was apparently one of the first Englishmen to enjoy (and bring home) the new Dutch “Genever”. Interestingly, George Gilpin is said to be the descendant of Sir Richard “the Rider” de Gilpin who was famous for hunting down and killing the Great Wild Boar of Westmorland in 1207. Apparently wild boars can be particularly vicious, and this particular wild boar had been terrorizing the pilgrims in the Lake District during the time of King John. For his courageous act, Sir Richard was granted the Wild Boar as the symbol of the Gilpin Family. The history of this tale is hard to verify, but it certainly adds a wonderful back story to the Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dry Gin

“… I taste a firm push of juniper chased by zesty citrus peel and spicy coriander (perhaps peppery sage as well). This is followed by wisps of lightly bittersweet (more bitter than sweet certainly), earthy chocolate-like flavours (which would seem to be the influence of the angelica root). The overall  flavour, like the aroma, is firm. Despite the firmness of these major flavours, everything works very well together as an ever so light herbal sweetness holds the strong flavours together …”

Please enjoy my review of this very traditional offering from Gilpin’s.

Chimo!

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Cocktail Hour: The Dry Gin Martini

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 5, 2016

Spring is just around the corner, and when the weather turns warmer, I begin to think about summertime drinks, and one of those libations which I have began to enjoy more and more is a Classic Martini. Gin is the original Martini spirit and the beginnings of this cocktail form was perhaps initiated as early as 1888 when a recipe for a serving which consisted of half a wine glass of Old Tom Gin, and half a wine glass of Vermouth was published (Johnson, Harry (1888), The New and Improved Illustrated Bartenders’ Manual; Or: How to Mix Drinks of the Present Style). From that point forward this simple drink slowly underwent an evolution into the present day Gin Martini.

The popularity of this cocktail flourished under Prohibition as its main ingredient, Gin, was very easy for any illicit establishment to produce, and by the time prohibition had ended, the Gin Martini may well have been the most popular bar drink served in North America. And today, the cocktail remains extremely popular, although perhaps it has been eclipsed by its less flavourful cousin, the Vodka Martini (which arrived somewhat later on the scene).

The Gin Martini can be served at varying degrees of dryness depending upon the amount of aromatized wine (usually vermouth) used in its construction. Traditional recipes found in the cocktail guides from the 1920’s usually recommend a ratio of gin to vermouth of 2:1 whereas modern recipes are much drier and contain ratios as low as 10:1 or even served without vermouth at all (which perhaps makes the serving essentially an ice-cold gin with garnish).

Gilpin's Dry MartiniMy recommendation is to use fresh vermouth and experiment until you find the ratio which serves your palate the best. For a nice dry martini I suggest a traditional London Dry Gin such as Gilpin’s Westmorland Extra Dy Gin. For this particular gin I found a ratio of 5:1 worked well as at this ratio the vermouth and the garnish provide a lovely accent, yet they allow the gin to shine.

For this particular recipe I have chosen a Spanish Olive to garnish the cocktail. The light saltiness which accompanies the Olive works very well with almost every dry gin.

Gin Martini (with Spanish Olive)

2 1/2 oz Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin
1/2 oz Vermouth
ice
Spanish Olive

Add the gin and vermouth into a large mixing glass with ice
Stir for about two minutes until the sides of the glass are very cold
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a Spanish Olive (fresh from the jar)

Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!

Note: I have made this point with respect to the Vodka Martini, and it bears repeating with respect to the Gin Martini. Once you open any bottle of vermouth, it is important that you realize that all aromatized wines have a very short shelf life. This is because the wine will begin to oxidize immediately, and after only one short week (even if the bottle is refrigerated) its flavour will have undergone an undesirable change. I strongly suspect that it is experiences with bad vermouth that have led many people to decrease its volume in the classic martini cocktail to almost nothing at all, not understanding that the vinegary component they are tasting is not a normal flavour component of good vermouth. Please use fresh vermouth whenever you are serving cocktails. Your Martinis will be better for it.

My gin binge continues with three more gin reviews in the following week including my review of Gilpin’s Westmorland Gin which will be published tomorrow, Chimo!

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Review: Prairie Organic (Handcrafted) Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2016

Prairie Organic Gin SAM_2356Prairie Organic Gin is produced and bottled by Ed Phillips and Sons located in Princeton, Minnesota. The company’s website does not reveal a great deal about the gin. All I can glean is that it is apparently produced from organic ingredients which appear to be grown on three separate farms in Minnesota. The botanical thrust of the gin is herbal, rather than traditional (juniper forward), however the folks at Prairie Organic Spirits (owned by Ed Phillips and Sons) do not reveal the botanicals used.

Here is a link to my latest review:

Review: Prairie Organic (Handcrafted) Gin

“… the initial scents and smells from the glass are quite floral. I sense a combination of rose petal and lilac with hints of red cherry licorice coming through after a few seconds.  There is a touch of mint weaving through giving one the impression of menthol (or eucalyptus) and some nice gentle spicy notes (coriander and citrus zest perhaps) which have waited for a little but become more noticeable as the gin breathes. The juniper is subdued, but it like the coriander spice seems to gain momentum as time passes …”

Please enjoy my review of this quaffable gin.

 

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Review: Poli Marconi 46 Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 24, 2016

Poli - Gin Marconi 46 LDThe Poli Distillery is located in Schiavon (not far from Bassano del Grappa) in the heart of Veneto (Northern Italy). It was founded in 1898 by GioBatta Poli, and for over one hundred years the Poli Family has worked to establish their reputation as an outstanding producer of Grappa in the heart of Italy’s premier Grappa producing region.

In 2015, Poli Distillery’s new still (Crysopea) was put to work producing the company’s first craft gin, Marconi 46. The gin (produced in small batches by Jacopo Poli) is created from an infusion of juniper berries, muscat grape, mountain pine, cembra pine, mint, cardamom and coriander. These botanicals (all familiar to the Poli family) are reminiscent of the Asiago Plateau in the north of the Veneto region, where the Poli family comes from.

Here is a link to my full Review:

Review: Poli Marconi 46 Gin

“… Firm scents of juniper greet my nose with impressions of pine (and to a smaller extent spruce) boughs strengthening the aroma. It is as if I am in an alpine forest with clumps of juniper bushes and tall standing Mountain Pine trees. A mild floral musk-like scent has appeared along with a light indication of menthol. The longer the glass sits, the stronger the floral musk and menthol impressions become …”

Please enjoy my review of this excellent Italian Gin.

Ciao!

 

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Cocktail Hour: The Sentimental Lady

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2016

When I began to explore mixed drinks in a more serious way, my wife purchased a large cocktail book, 1001 Cocktails (Alex Barker compiler) for me to draw inspiration from. I poured over the recipes seeing which ones I might like, and more importantly, which of those that I could also make at home with my small collection of ingredients. To my dismay, most of the recipes called for strange liqueurs, and ingredients which I knew very little of, and many of these ingredients seemed to be used only a few times in the entire book. I certainly was not going to run out and purchase them for the sake of one or two cocktails which I might not even enjoy.

This experience influenced me greatly, and if you pour through my recipes (here) you will find that a common theme to almost all of them is that the home bartender does not need to purchase fancy ingredients which they will have no further use for after enjoying their bar drink.

Having said that, Alex Barker’s compilation of recipes was not without merit for the home bartender. Here and there, (in almost every drink category) were a few recipes I could actually make with my meager bar selection. When I was studying the gin recipes Alex provided I noticed he had several recipes for ‘Lady’ cocktails:  The Lady, The Green Lady, The Fair Lady … you get the idea. His recipe for The White Lady caught my eye. It was a simple recipe mixing Gin with Lemon Juice and Triple Sec. I mixed one, decided it was too tart, so I added enough sugar syrup to suit my taste, and named my tweaked creation Lady of the Empire. It was my first ‘Lady’ Cocktail.

Sentimental Lady SAM_2352Recently when I was playing with Poli Marconi 46 Gin, I fell into the idea of constructing a Margarita Style cocktail using gin rather than tequila as the cocktail’s base. I realized suddenly, that I had made another ‘Lady’ cocktail. All that remained was to give my latest construction a name. It just so happened that a particular song by Bob Welch was playing in the background …

The Sentimental Lady

2 oz Poli Marconi 46 Gin
1/2 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
3/8 oz Lemon Juice
3/8 oz Lime Juice
3/8 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Lemon Slice

Place the five ingredients in a metal cocktail shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Add a Lime Slice for Garnish

Enjoy Responsibly!

If  you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: Tomorrow I will be publishing my review for the excellent Poli Marconi 46 Gin.

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Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 21, 2016

Ferdinand'sFerdinand’s Saar Dry Gin is produced at the Avadis Distillery in Wincheringen in the tri-border region of Germany, near the border of Luxembourg and France. This is wine growing country, especially famous for the semi-sweet Riesling dinner wines which, when I was a youngster, seemed to be present at every wedding I attended and almost all major occasions. It is not surprising then, that Master Distiller, Andreas Vallendar has chosen to infuse his dry gin with Slate Reisling Wine.

The gin draws its name from Royal Prussian District Forester, Ferdinand Geltz who was the historical co-founder of the VDP Mosel-Saar-Ruwer growers’ group. Within its recipe are 30 botanicals, all of which have apparently been hand-picked either by the distillery staff or by the producer from which the botanicals have been acquired. (Directly behind the distillery are quince trees; lavender grows in the fallow vineyards; and lemon-scented thyme is grown in the Distillery’s own garden.) And, as mentioned earlier, topping everything off is the wine infusion which uses hand selected harvest wines from the large Saarburger Rausch vineyard site.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin

“… The predominant juniper flavour is subdued slightly in the delivery as the floral flavours reminiscent of iris, rose petal and lavender take the lead. Bits of lemongrass and menthol cool the palate slightly, and then citrus flavours of lemon and lime (with a touch of orange) come along in behind. The juniper although subdued is not devoured (it is just dampened slightly allowing the other elements to shine) …”

Please enjoy this review which is the first of about a dozen new gin reviews which will be published over the next few months as I embark on an early season Gin Binge.

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Valentine Cocktail: The Red Lion

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 13, 2016

This cocktail traces its roots all the way back to 1933 when Arthur Tarling of the London’s Café Royal created a simple gin recipe which won a cocktail competition in jolly old England. The recipe he created, the Red Lion, mixed equal parts gin, orange liqueur, and a combination of lemon and orange juice. In most constructions I have seen online, a dollop of grenadine is used as the sweetener which gives the cocktail a pale red hue which is perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Red Lion SAM_2425Tarling’s recipe has stood the test of time, and can usually be found in the gin section of most good cocktail books.

The Red Lion

1 1/2 oz Gin
1 1/2 oz Orange Liqueur (Grand Marnier)
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Grenadine
ice
Lemon twist

Add the first five Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon zest twist

And of course enjoy responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

Note: Tomorrow I tackle the Presbyterian Cocktail made with Catto’s Rare Old Scottish Blended Scotch.

Enjoy the Valentine’s Weekend everyone!

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The Year In Gin – (The 2015 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 28, 2015

RH-winner2015Gin appears to be on the upswing, at least that is the impression I receive when I walk into the local liquor stores. I see dozens of new brands alongside the traditional favourites. One reason for all of these new brands of Gin is closely associated with the upswing another spirit entirely, and that spirit is whisky. Whisky has been increasing in popularity for many years now, and to meet the rising demand for whisky, new distilling capacity is being introduced in the form of new distilleries and micro-distilleries throughout North America (and elsewhere). Whisky (in most countries) must be aged for two to three years before it can be sold which means that start-up distilleries in need of cashflow produce and sell their own brands of gin and vodka (which do not need to age) so that they have at least something to generate income while the whisky ages in the oak barrels.

Coinciding with this phenomena is the ongoing cocktail revolution which shows no sign of abating. While Vodka was the spirit of choice at the beginning of the Cocktail Revolution, things are changing and more and more bartenders and home enthusiasts are discovering Gin. The juniper spirit, with its sharp piny aromatics is perhaps the perfect cocktail spirit to turn to when broadening the horizons of cocktail flavour.

Those who read my blog regularly know that I have joined the revolution and embraced gin as one of my go to cocktail spirits. I have embraced the Gin and Tonic, and recently discovered James Bond’s Vesper Martini.

And so with all that ado, it is time for me to pay tribute to the best Gin spirits I encountered in 2015.

Here is a link to my Gin Awards Page:

The 2015 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Gin

 

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#16 Citadelle Reserve Gin 2011 Edition (Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on December 9, 2015

Citadelle Gin has a history which stretches back to 1775 when King Louis XVI authorized two Frenchmen, Carpeau and Stival, to open a genievre distillery at the Citadelle in Dunkirk, which would serve as the Royal Distillery with an exclusive 20 year privilege.  The Citadelle Distillery produced about 1000 litres of genievre per day which was predominantly shipped in small casks for sale in England, where gin was very popular.

Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition) SAM_1879About 200 years later in 1989,  Alexandre Gabriel of Cognac Ferrand, recognized that in France, gin had become more of an industrial spirit with much of the heritage and refinement lessened by time. He decided to create a handcrafted gin using small copper pots in the style and tradition of the Citadelle Distillery of old. Fortunately records existed of the old gin making techniques at the Citadelle Distillery, and after several years of research Alexandre Gabriel was successful in distilling an old style handcrafted gin under the Citadelle name. The Gin is produced at the Cognac Ferrand facilities in Cognac, France, and according to the Citadelle Gin website, it is produced under naked flame in small copper pot stills using a complex array of 19 botanicals.

Here is a link to the review of the best gin I have ever tasted, and the #16 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#16 – Citadelle Reserve Gin (2011 Edition)

“… The aroma which drifts upwards is light and elegant, and very appealing. Mild piny notes of juniper seem to lead into the breezes with scents of lemon and balsam arriving almost as quickly. The oak manifests itself as sandalwood with light rye spices which build up as the glass sits. There is also a soothing floral characteristic to the nose which reminds me of  lilacs in the springtime …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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#59 The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 27, 2015

The Botanist is the creation of Bruichladdich Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. The spirit is produced upon an old Lomond Still in a distillation process which lasts 17 hours. During the final distillation, the core botanicals are placed into the pot of the still in a particular order after the distillate has been raised to a hand hot temperature. These core botanicals (I believe there are 9 in all) are steeped in the hot distillate for 12 hours before distillation begins.

Bot and Tonic SAM_1260Interestingly, in addition to the core botanicals, the gin also uses 22 unique Islay botanicals which have been gathered by hand from the hills and valleys which surround the distillery. These Island botanicals are placed in loosely woven muslin sacks and then into a casket within the lyne arm of the Lomond still where the vapours of the distillation will run through them near the end of the distillation process bringing a unique Islay character to the Botanist Gin.

Here is a link to the review of the #59 spirit on my Rum Howler Top 100 Spirits Countdown.

#59 – The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

“… Although the juniper is firm, as the glass rests, the breezes above the glass fill with the subtle nuances of the other botanicals. Ginger-like spices tickle the nose along with hints of spicy cinnamon and cardamom. A light impression of mojito mint weaves its way into the breezes along with lightly bitter undertones of the broken tops of Russian Blue Thistle and the lightly sweet herbaceous tones of sweet clover blossoms …”

________________________________________________________________

You may follow my Countdown list of the 100 Best Spirits here: The Rum Howler 2015 – Top 100 Spirits

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