Sometimes dear reader, TheAmazingBlog office turns into the toughest gig in town … and today’s Friday Favourite post, is a case in point. For we are entering into the world of ‘flavoured gins’ - yes that is correct THE WORLD of flavoured gins. The taste buds are being flexed just for you, and let us tell you with the plethora of options to tempt those thirsty buds, it is just as well we have got a few months (well years if truth be told) of dedicated precision training under our belt!
But before we even get the stopper out of the bottle, it is worth noting that no longer is a G&T simply a tipple to enjoy as the sun goes down - far from it. As an example, take The Gincredible Dipper, which was sent to us from the lovely team at Smith & Sinclair - you don’t even need a glass for this one, or tonic for that matter … it is literally a cocktail in a rather handy pouch with its own lollipop for mixing. Now, of course we aren’t talking heavy strong liquor here - at 10% the measure is a mild one, but delicious nonetheless, and like all good cocktails - very satisfying especially at the affordable price of £15 per pouch. As we go to press S&S have had a run on these gems (unsurprisingly), but you can also try here where the price is just £9.99 .
For those of us who enjoy our gin in a more traditional format, then a galaxy of celestial flavours await us, from all sorts of wonderful independent distilleries who have succumbed to the charms of this fine beverage, mixing and matching different flavour combinations to tempt us with. One such company are a dynamic duo who went on a glamping holiday only to fall under the spell that North Yorkshire effortlessly weaves, and ended up moving lock, stock and the proverbial barrel to begin their new and very exciting venture of Harrogate Tipple! Now the proud home to Harrogate Gin and Harrogate Rum, we also find all sorts of other goodies surrounding their favourite subject, from miniatures to glassware and even their own flavoured candles. All with the attractive emblem of their otter Donnie, proudly emblazoned on each product.
Founders Steve, Sally, plus three children and not forgetting Rex the dog are clearly revelling in their new life in Yorkshire on the Ripley Castle Estate where the new distillery is situated, and a Gin School will be opened using botanicals from the estate’s gardens and Victorian hot houses. As a starter, we recommend trying their Blueberry Harrogate Gin (£30 for 50cl) which they very kindly sent to us. It has a refreshingly clean taste and a very gentle sweetness.What we love about this particular gin is it’s full of local hand-picked blueberries which are distilled with delicate botanicals including lavender and cornflower petals this gives the Blueberry Harrogate Gin its gorgeous blue hue. Unlike most distilleries, when their sprits have been distilled, they’re diluted with 100% Harrogate Spring Water and nothing else. This dilution process is called the reduction stage and it’s where the final perfect ABV is created. their gins being 43%.
From the delights of Yorkshire, we head south to the Garden of England, to a line of hills which surrounds the Weald of Kent and Sussex to be exact, where the orchards, hedgerows and nutteries offer up their produce in abundance to enjoy. Here we find a micro-distillery Greensand Ridge named after after the hills that surround the Weald. With Greensand Ridge founder and distiller, Will Edge at the helm, he came up with the idea to utilise the surplus produce or byproducts from local farmers to mitigate their waste. Thus by making this into fruit spirits with their Apple Brandy containing sweet juicy Gala and Golden Delicious apples, fermented in aged in bourbon casks to help develop complex vanilla and caramel flavours; and the Raspberry Ghost which is a delicious Eau de Vie that captures the aroma of late summer Kentish raspberries. They have a Spirit Miniatures Box for £39.95 here where you can sample six different spirits (or mix and match) perfect for testing out a few of these delicious tipples or perhaps sending to someone as a gift.
They’re also proud to be the UK’s first carbon-neutral distillery and therefore passionate about producing fine and distinctive spirits. They pay huge attention to detail, and great patience to allow the fermenting process to create its own magic at its very own individual pace. Here, we find a truly unique range, and reaching highly on our wish list is the sublime PX Cask Gin (£39.90 for 50cl). The first thing to notice is obviously the rich amber colour from those long months left to mature in the larger Pedro-Ximenez Sherry casks, but of course it is the rhapsody which is played out on the tongue which commands due respect. Honey sweetness and warm woody spice is accentuated with flashes of orange citrus, all the while continuously smooth and fulfilling. Clearly a versatile addition to many a cocktail, but we do suggest allowing this one to take centre stage on its own merits, unadulterated over some ice and a twist of orange zest. Utter bliss!
The Fynoderee Distillery is another gem of a discovery awaiting your attention, and this time we get to pop over to the Isle of Man, where some seriously detailed research has been thoroughly undertaken, resulting in another fantastic opportunity to sample the local Manx botanicals. Here, we meet founders Paul and Tiffany Kerruish, who along with Master Distiller Gerard Macluskey pooled their expertise and talents to form Fynoderee, and bring us ‘The Fyn Story’. They tell us “The name Fynoderee is from an ancient folklore tale, based in the north of the Island in a region where the last Manx juniper tree was reputed to grow and where juniper is now being introduced, and an area where we all live, work and play.”
With a nod to their desire to use locally sourced ingredients, you can now choose a gin according to the season, and if deciding whether to opt for Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter; sounds a tough call to make, rest assured they have that covered too in the handy Four Seasons Gift Set priced at £40.
However, if there is one flavour that simply has to be tried, it is the Kerala Chai Edition Gin at (£36 for 70cl) and 43% ABV, this is very special indeed. Created to pair particularly with Indian and Asian cuisine, the recipe features Indian botanicals which are wild foraged with Himalaya junipers and single estate Assam tea blended, and Keralan chai masala spices. It was conceived in collaborations with 3rd generation Keralan spice merchant and Isle of Man chef, Kumar Menon of Leela’s Kitchen. This spicy concoction gives a warm glowing finale, having taken you on a majestic mystery workout of those taste buds … and now after such a strenuous training session, who is up for a gin?