Being something of a ‘Brandy Dandy’ I can be somewhat fickle with my allegiance to liquor. Flirting continually between the sexy new age tipples I pick up in Shoreditch & the ‘cougar-like’ classic staples that I always seem to go back to late at night.
It could even be said, that when it comes to the premium spirits and cocktails, I have certainly ‘been around the block a bit’. But hey! This is all in the name of Forging a very special collection of cocktails for the City of London. My quest has been long and exhausting but as my quest for Forge drinks nears its completion… I think that along the way, I may have indeed found ‘the one’.
After months of relentless ‘research’, I can conclude that I now and forever (well at least this month) am going steady with gin. I love her mum, yes… even more than whisky. But what makes gin so alluring? This is somewhat subjective of course, as there are so many to choose from and it’s such a versatile spirit in its myriad of flavour and distillation possibilities.
You’ve got to be a teetotal hermit not to have noticed the massive resurgence in popularity gin is enjoying at present. Not just in the diverse array of brands and types available, but also the return to classic cocktail making that’s very much à la mode right now, many of which have gin as their base spirit. We’re harking back to a time of the shorter, stronger, sipping cocktails, where the main flavours and notes are the very spirits they are constructed from and not what mixers and other additives are thrown in on top.
This is where gin comes into its own. With the freedom a distiller has as to which botanicals to add to the base spirit, comes the almost endless possibilities for creating a spirit full of character and complexity of taste. Hendrick’s, for example, with its cucumber notes makes such an amazing G&T when you add fresh cucumber to it. Lime or lemon would mask the subtlety of it. A smooth balanced gin like Tanqueray also makes a superb G&T (voted the best for it recently in fact) while bigger, bolder gins such as Boodles, Monkey 47 (seriously complex) and Professor Cornelius Ampleforth’s Bathtub Gin deserve to be the centre piece of a cocktail that can showcase those flavours even more.
This leads me neatly to the Gin Boffins at St Georges Distillery California. These chaps have layed down some serious gins of late and nothing less than the epically earthy ‘Terroir’. Described as a ‘forest in your glass’ this tipple is living proof of deforestation with extract of Californian Douglas fir (t’s got bloody trees in it!) and California bay laurel form Terroir’s aromatic and 10 more botanicals help complete this gin as celebration of pure Californication.
The fresh bay laurel leaves, juniper berries and other botanicals go right in the pot of their stunning 1,500-liter still (pictured).
Now that is by far the best way to hit your five a day. This elegant, perfectly balanced, and deeply layered gin is all you need for a damn fine martini and (goes without saying) BEST GIN & TONIC EVER!
Another gin that is rocking our World is the award winning Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin. Aged in bourbon barrels which add unique flavours of burnt caramel and burnt sugar with a bit of lemon meringue notes. It sips like a gin and finishes like a whiskey (OH GOD YES!). It can be used anywhere a standard London Dry gin would be used, but is best in cocktails. (You just wait until Forge No,22!)
As far as Forge is concerned St Georges Terroir and Smooth Ambler have all made the ‘Gin Cut’ at Forge. Unlocking July 2014.
So, yes dear friends I think I’ve found ‘The One’. I made about her and I’m even considering taking ‘Ginny’ to my parents for the weekend.
#forgedinlondon – unlocking July 2014. Find out more here.