Where has the time gone?! It seems like an absolute age ago that I did a ginspiration blog post. There has been loads happening recently, but there are plenty of gin blogs coming your way! Today, it’s all about Manchester Gin.
A contemporary style gin using hand-foraged Orange, Lemon and the Northern favourites Dandelion & Burdock Root. It all began one cold February evening in 2013 – the typical dark and rainy night you come to expect from Manchester – when Seb and Jen first crossed paths in a basement night spot in the centre of their beloved city.
“Manchester is a city of industrial heritage and the Mancunian work ethic has been a point of pride since the industrial revolution, when the men and women in the factories that lined the city were coined “Worker Bees”. It’s since this time that Manchester adopted the bee as it’s motif, and we couldn’t make a gin without paying homage to it. Our bee is a modern interpretation of the traditional Manchester symbol, reflecting the modern style of gin we produce. Next time you’re in the city, look out for the bee on bins, signs, buildings and even in bars and restaurants.”
Jen & Seb have created 4 different gins, under the umbrella of ‘Manchester Gin’; Signature, Raspberry Infused, Wild Spirit, and Overboard. They also created a ‘Distillers Cut’ version, exclusive to Craft Gin Clubmembers as a celebration of their progression over the past 2 years. The Distillers Cut is the gin that Euan & I tried…
Along with the gin, we were given one of the new ‘up-market’ schweppes tonic bottles to try with the gin. Sorry, schweppes, but I was not a fan. I think the tonic itself was okay but it hid all the flavours of the gin. Initially, we tried the gin with a slice of apple (as recomended by Craft Gin Club) and the schweppes tonic. I found the drink completely underwhelming with no real flavour hitting me at all. Euan felt there were a fair few flavours in the gin, but nothing was overpowering enough to pick out.
That was, however, before we tried the gin with fever tree tonic & a wedge of lime. Oh, wow! A completely different drink altogether. I absolutely loved the gin this time, like seriously loved it. The bitter taste I got from the previous drink was non-existent and it was full of exciting flavours. Finished off perfectly with a sweet aftertaste. I would 100% recommend this gin, but not with the original tonic & garnish combination…
Euan said the gin had a flavoursome kick and he could easily pick out the elderberries. He agreed about the sweet aftertaste, and an initially crisp flavour.
Conclusion & Cocktails
This tasting was a really interesting (albeit unintentional) experiment. It just goes to show what a difference the choice of tonic and/or garnish can make to a gin. And something that is super important to get right! I think the schweppes tonic does have a place in the gin industry, but absolutely not for Manchester gin. I’d be interested in giving it a second chance and trying it with a more ‘traditional’ or less flavoursome gin as I think it could definitely enhance a slightly blander gin.
Craft Gin Club’s Cocktail Suggestion – Gimlet
35ml Manchester Gin, Distillers cut
35ml lime cordial
15ml fresh lime juice
Twist of lime peel to garnish
Shake all three ingredients with ice and double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a slice of lime.
For more ginspiration, or to refresh your memory on all things ‘gin’, take a look at my previous ginspiration blog posts…
I am far from a whisky fan. In fact, I can’t even stand to smell the stuff. Luckily, though, Euan (clue is in the name) is – by genetics – a whisky fan. Being Scottish and all. Whether it’s actually in their blood, or whether it’s because they feel they have to like whisky, we’ll never know. (Except that it’s the latter…). Annnyway, because of our gin tasting sessions, the Ever After gin lounge gets a lot of attention. But, Ever After also has a whisky lounge, and there hasn’t been a whole lot on the whisky side of things. So, it’s time I gave you some whisky tasting notes!
While Euan had the task of whisky tasting last week (I say task, I mean pleasure), I did some research. He tried two Scottish whiskies; Laphroaig Lore and Glenmorangie Spios, and I filled my brain with info.
ABOUT LAPHROAIG LORE SCOTCH WHISKY
Laphroaig Lore whisky is made on Islay, the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, since 1815. There are (apparently) very unique elements that make Laphroaig the whisky it is. The Kilbride Stream, hand-cut peat, floor malted barley, cold-smoking kilns, mash tuns, copper alchemy and the subtlety of oak aging. Each and every stage crucial in producing the most richly flavored of all Scotch whiskies.
They have a fantastic website with loads of info about their process and history. Take a look!
EUAN’S LAPHROAIG LORE TASTING NOTES
On the nose: Rich and smokey with a slight sweetness that is probably vanilla. “An alcoholic bonfire of flavours” (Euan’s words, not mine…).
Taste: A very rich flavour. Initially spicy with a blast of peaty-ness, but moves towards a sweeter taste.
Finish: Quite a dry finish with a spicy yet sweet lingering aftertaste.
Colour: Rusty gold/dark honey.
ABOUT GLENMORANGIE SPIOS SINGLE MALT SCOTTISH WHISKY
Glenmorangie was created in 1843 in the Scottish highlands. The distillery is home to the tallest stills in Scotland at 8 metres high. This means that only the very lightest and purest vapours make it to the top, therefore giving a smoother, more elegant whisky (or so I am told).
A trend in whisky making at the moment is blending the traditional scotch whiskies with other types of whisky – American for example – and, in the case of Glenfiddich, even IPA beers. Fun fact: Glenmorangie Spìos is the first Glenmorangie whisky ever to be fully matured in American ex-rye whisky casks…
You can learn more about this history and distilling process on their website.
Let’s see what Euan thought.
EUAN’S GLENMORANGIE SPIOS TASTING NOTES
On the nose: Toffee flavours with hints of vanilla and spice.
Taste: Another rich flavour with medium sweetness due to a fruity taste, picking up on hints of cherry.
Finish: The rich taste lingers to the end, with a spicy oak finish.
Colour: Light gold.
Hopefully you’ve learnt something from all this whisky stuff! Now, take a tour of Ever After’s whisky & cigar lounge… And if you’re more into the gin, check out my last gin blog post.
It’s time for gin! Last month, as it was December, we got our hands on the Christmas edition of Batch Gin and it was fabulous. It’s packed with festive flavour and definitely leaves you wanting more!
Batch gin is a premium gin made in Lancashire by Batch Brew Limited. It’s distilled using 12 botanicals including juniper, coriander and lemongrass, with the most unusual however, being frankincense and myrrh. A bold, unique gin with flavours to match.
Fill a Copa glass with ice, swirl to cool the glass and drain excess water. Add gin, top up with tonic and garnish with crumbled frozen raspberries and lime peel.
As we were trying a festive edition of batch gin, naturally we had to add some festive touches…
Not only did Euan try the gin straight, but I did too (round of applause, please). Unfortunately, I was slightly too busy complaining about my burning oesophagus to give any constructive feedback, but Euan had lots to say to make up for it. He loved the initial hit of juniper and cardamon and was adamant he could taste cinnamon in the aftertaste. He felt the gin had a ‘licorice-ness’ (the technical term) and enjoyed the blend of spices. You’ll also be pleased to hear that, although not listed on the bottle, the gin does contain cinnamon bark, so Euan’s senses didn’t fail him after all!
We then made the G&Ts (with fever tree, as recommended) and, as usual, did one with lemon and one with lime. There was a significant difference between the gin with lemon and the gin with lime. The lemon did not compliment the gin at all and somehow took a lot of the flavour away. However the lime really enhanced the flavours and made it a very enjoyable drink indeed!
We loved this gin. It is very unique, and packed with lots of different flavours. You experience an initial hit of the ‘classic’ gin taste, followed by the blend of spices which give it an edge. This has probably taken the number 1 spot on our favourite craft gin club gins so far… We even started setting the scene for a gorgeous intimate winter wedding with an open fire and a couple of bottles of batch (Christmas edition) gin being served. Euan (as always) came up with creative ways to garnish the gin, such as sprigs of holly with frozen cranberries.
The branding of this Christmas edition is super. I think the gold design is beautiful and instantly christmassy, plus the mention of Frankincense and Myrrh make this the most festive gin, like, ever! Drink a couple of bottles and pop a candle in the top and voilà, you have yourself some Christmas table centrepieces!
In case you missed it, below is the video of us trying the gin (enjoy!). And for more ginspiration checkout my post about Fifty Eight Gin.
Let’s be-gin (classic pun)… I love when it’s time to try another gin (I mean, who doesn’t?!), especially when it’s one as nice as fifty eight! It’s amazing how much gin can vary from one to another, and the rise of creative gin making is most definitely on the up.
Fifty eight, or 58, is single shot distilled in Hackney, London. * Single shot distillation; the head and tail parts are cut off leaving more of the heart. This removes any initial sharpness or unpleasant aftertaste and is replaced with a crisp taste and a soft finish. *
There are 9 botanicals used in 58 gin;
58 Gin is produced in a traditional manner using beautiful alembic copper stills. The 58 experts claim it has a distinctive smooth and clean taste, but let’s see what we thought…
As usual, Euan tried the gin neat first of all (I’m still unwilling) and experienced a soft, clean, and crisp taste (as the experts said!), with a hint of citrus.
He then made the gin & tonics, using fever tree tonic and garnishing one glass with lemon (yuck!) and one glass with lime (yum!). In the craft gin club magazine, which comes with each monthly gin, they suggested using a grapefruit and rosemary tonic with this particular gin. Euan disagrees with this (has to be different), and thinks this particular gin doesn’t need flavoured tonic, but I’m always up for trying something new (and proving Euan wrong…)!
I really enjoyed this gin. It was pleasant, smooth, and very drinkable. Out of all the gins I have tried so far through the craft gin club, it is probably coming out top (but very closely followed by the Kyro Napue gin). Interestingly, one of the first things I said was it reminded me of Plymouth gin, which is also a single shot distilled gin (I am officially an expert, just saying).
Euan said much the same; very pleasant, smooth, and enjoyable. We both tend to go for gins with a bit more of a ‘kick’, however sometimes something smooth and easy drinking is all you need.
We both agreed that there is an initial citrus taste to this gin, followed by after-tones that we couldn’t quite put our fingers on, but suspect it could be the vanilla.
Euan also said that this gin was (obviously) stronger neat, but the actual flavour was much the same. What he found with a couple of the previous gins were that they were very different neat than with tonic, hence being more in favour of flavoured tonics for those gins rather than this particular one.
We tried the gin with the lemon and the lime and both concluded there wasn’t a lot of difference between the two. Euan said this was positive as a garnish isn’t designed to flavour a gin. I very rarely enjoy gin & tonics with lemon, and will always have lime (unless an alternative garnish is suggested), but with this gin I found the lemon to be equally as tasty as the lime (honestly, it’s a miracle!). I would most definitely choose this gin in a restaurant, and even to have in the house (Christmas present ideas…).
We loved the shape of the bottle, the blue wax seal, and the lettering, however we weren’t so keen on the image in the middle. I assumed it had some relevance (I love to assume), but I couldn’t find much about the branding online. I don’t think the bottle/label stands out quite like some of the previous gins have done, but I do think it’s in-keeping with the smooth and almost calm feel to the gin.
Euan was very much adamant that he would make a simple Gin Martini with an olive to garnish. He thought the gin had a great flavour and doesn’t think there’s any need to cover it up with complicated cocktail ingredients (but colourful cocktails are fun!).
Euan’s Gin Martini
50ml of fifty eight gin
15ml of dry vermouth
One olive to garnish
Pour the gin and vermouth into a shaker with lots of ice and stir (much to the dismay of James Bond). Strain into a martini glass and garnish.
The craft gin club magazine created a cocktail called the ‘Marmont Fizz’ which I very much like the sound of!
6 mint leaves, plus one to garnish
20ml of lemon juice
15ml of elderflower cordial
35ml of fifty eight gin
15ml of apple juice
Champagne, chilled, to top
Add all the ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake and strain. Top with champagne and a mint leaf to garnish.
If reading is too much of a hassle, why not watch us try the gin instead?!
Ginspiration; is there any better type of inspo? An integral part of any wedding planning is research… Which is where the gin-tasting you may have seen on social media comes in. A venue who I work closely with, Ever After on Dartmoor, have just launched their brand new pop-up lounges (to read more about them, click here). I’m super excited! The furniture and decor are all fabulous and I can’t wait to see the lounges in full swing (hopefully at every summer wedding next year… 2018 couples…?). But it’s not just about the aesthetics (although they are great), it’s also about the drink.
To ensure the best gins, champagnes, and whiskeys get selected for the lounges one (obviously) needs to try them first… So venue owner Nicola assigned me and Mr Lila Bailey the task (how taxing a task it was…).
For this ginspiration blog post we’re focusing on the rye gin ‘Napue’ from the Kyrö distillery in Finland.
Napue gin was voted as “The World’s Best Gin for Gin & Tonic” by the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in 2015 and in 2016 Napue won the gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirit Competition premium gin-series.
(You can find out more about the distillery and the gin itself of the distillery website.)
So those are a few facts, and you can find out loads more on their website. But the important stuff is what we thought when we tried the gin. It can have more awards than La La Land had Oscar nominations, but if the consumer doesn’t like it then what’s the point?
Luckily for Napue gin, we loved it. My right-hand-man, Mr Lila Bailey, and gin lover; Euan, and I had a tasting session and we came up with some feedback about the gin.
Euan firstly tried the gin straight and he could taste a good blend of pine needles and juniper berries with and warm & spicy edge which was sharp and punchy. Strong but enjoyable.
We then made the gin with tonic, one glass with lime and one with cucumber to see what a difference the garnishes made.
With the tonic, Euan felt it was a very clean and smooth gin, and I came to the same conclusion. We both tried the gin with lime and then with cucumber and it was definitely better with the cucumber. The aftertaste was complimented by the cucumber, and the fresh/clean taste of the gin didn’t work so well with the lime. Euan, however, concluded that his preference of garnish for this particular gin would be a sprig of rosemary.
We asked ourselves the question ‘would we order it in a restaurant?’. Euan figured the napue gin ranked higher than a lot of standard gins in his opinion, and he would definitely consider choosing it at a restaurant. I would absolutely choose it in a restaurant, however I would specifically request it to be served with cucumber as I didn’t enjoy it with the lime.
Discussion of what we pictured whilst drinking the gin was an important part of the tasting notes too. Napue gin had me picturing a mountain-top scene amongst the snow and pine trees. Whilst Euan thought of a wet/dewey winter’s morning looking over a woodland valley.
Another comment I had (although not relevant to the taste, but still part of the ginspiration) was the look of the bottle and the label. I thought it was bold, simplistic, and eye-catching, and (somehow) reflected the taste of the gin through it’s appearance. I suppose it’s not something I can quite put my finger on, by nevertheless it’d certainly stand out on a shelf which (let’s face it) is half the battle!
So there you have our take on this up-and-coming rye gin… I bet you want to try it for yourself now, am I right?