spring

Friday Favourites – Indie and craft London Dry Gins

Doing a quick poll around the office, we found that the most popular summer alcoholic refreshment here is the classic ice cold and zest gin and tonic. An ideal accompaniment to sitting out on the terrace on a warm and balmy evening. This week at The Amazing Blog we would like to share with you three of our exception #amazingfinds all centred around international indie and craft London Dry Gin brands. The first thing to note is that a London Dry Gin doesn’t have to be made in England. Instead, London Dry (also known as London Gin) refers to that which is made under a series of mind-bogglingly complex EU regulations that were put in place in February 2008. (definition quoted from Ginfoundry.com  )

Something else that you might not know, is that although gin has become somewhat of a British staple, its origins are actually from 17th century Holland, where it was originally used for medicinal purposes. During this period, British soldiers fought alongside the Dutch in the Thirty Year’s War, where they would imbibe in a glass or three of gin before battle, to help them acquire ‘Dutch courage’ - a popular phrase that stills carries through today.

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We’re going to start by going ‘down under’ to the wine region of the Yara Valley, with the Australian brand Four Pillars and their collaboration with Swedish brand Hernö creating their Dry Island Gin . This all started in October 2017 when Swedish Hernö ‘s founder Jon Hilgren visited founder Cam Mackenzie at his Four Pillars distillery. Hernö came to market first in 2012, exactly one year before Four Pillars, and by 2014, they were both appearing on global lists of the ‘new gins to watch’.  The collaboration began by both of them tasting each other’s range of gins, gaining inspiration and then together creating this rather special 42.8% vol Dry Island Gin.

This Aussie x Swedish collaboration includes particular botanicals given to native Australia such as river mint, roasted wattle seed, strawberry gum, lemon myrtle, and meadowsweet. Although the base is made up European juniper (of course), coriander and fresh lemons. This international gin fusion is definitely one not to be missed.  We think best enjoyed as a dry martini with a lemon twist and a sprig of thyme to bring out all these beautiful citrus notes and a lovely floral cut-grass character.  Or as per their suggestion as a Dry (Island) Martini which consists of 60ml Dry Island Gin, 20ml Cocchi Americano (a quinine-laced aperitif wine) and a dash Angostura Orange Bitters. Stir the ingredients over plenty of ice until appropriately diluted (about 15 seconds of stirring). Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lemon peel, twisted to express the oils. Delicious! But be warned as we found that this cocktail really packed a potent punch!  You can purchase the 70cl of Dry Island Gin for £37.75 here .

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Next, we go to the emerald isle, for an Irish craft gin, Dublin City Gin.  Launched in 2016 by the couple Jim O'Connor and Sheila Cooney, two gin enthusiast who came up with the idea that Dublin needed a hometown gin, hence Dublin City Gin was born. Their efforts have certainly paid off with awards such as Gold ‘Super Premium’ at Global & World Gin Masters and a Gold medal as the overall Best European Craft Gin 2018 at ICSEA in Netherlands – great accolades for such a new contender.

What we love about this gin, is that it is Irish to the core, with their Irish milk spirit as the base, which helps to give it their smooth and silky finish, and the organic rhubarb grown along the Grand Canal in Dublin.  All loving prepared by hand in small batches of 600 with only a total of seven different botanicals. As they say this is their “Irish gin with a Dublin accent” In summary, they suggest pouring their gin over ice, with tonic “…all with a soft citrus ruby-red grapefruit, orange or slice of fresh ginger to make it sing!”  So popular is Dublin City Gin, that the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Dublin has even created three signature cocktails exclusive to them. Given the botanicals we decided to try this gin in a Negroni, 30ml Dublin City Gin, 30ml Campari and 30ml Vermouth Rosso. Add all ingredients together, shake well with cracked ice, strain into glass over cubed ice and garnish with a twist of orange peel. Very moreish, so much so we all just had to have another! To buy your 70cl bottle of 42 % volume Dublin City Gin for £37.95, see here .

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Back to the UK with Fatty’s Organic Gin , this is amongst only a handful of certified organic gins that are now available here in the UK. The brain child of former sports agent Phillipa ‘Fatty’ Gee, who self-funded her start-up: “I knew if I was struggling to find a certified organic gin that was uncompromising on taste, others would to.” Cleverly she saw a gap in the market and took her inspiration for her key ingredient from her native Dulwich, which means ‘meadow where dill grows.’  Organic Soil Association approved, they also believe in Fair Trade Produce for sourcing all their 100% organic ingredients. Even their bottles are sprayed with organic ink and screen printed at low temperatures in order to be kinder to the environment. It is also an award-winning gin, achieving a Gold at the Global Gin Masters 2018, and the only organic gin to achieve this.

 

Apart from the dill it also has the finest organic grain and botanicals all carefully selected from around the world. A combination that creates a full flavour and a crisp refreshing finish and noted for its herbaceousness with the dill and citrus. We found it to be the lightest of all three featured London Dry Gins on the palate. We also think that it lends itself perfectly to slightly more subtle flavoured cocktail. So, we tried their recommended Cucumber & Dill Gin Mojito: 50ml of Fatty’s Organic Gin, four lime wedges, two slices of cucumber, two springs of fresh dill and one teaspoons of sugar.  Add the Fatty’s Gin, sugar, dill and lime wedges in to glass and muddle. Dice one slice of cucumber, half fill the glass with crushed ice and diced cucumber. Stir well and top up with soda. It was bottoms up all round and we’re ashamed to say that it didn’t touch the sides! Get your 40% Volume 70cl bottle of Fatty’s Organic Gin for £45 here .

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Finally, we’d like to round off by introducing you to The Gin Dictionary. This 256 page A-Z compendium of gins is an indispensable guide for all gin drinkers. With more than 200 of entries covering everything from history, ingredients and distilling techniques to flavour notes, cocktails and the many popular varieties of gin from all around the world. All researched and penned by the award-wining gin expert David T Smith. Covering the explanation of ABV to the history and instruction of making a Zanzibar cocktail; we found it comprehensive without being overdone or pedantic. Published by Octopus books and available for £15 here .

With the current ‘gin revolution’ sweeping the world, there has never been a better time to explore craft gins and their new botanicals. We hope that these featured three London Dry Gins will give inspiration be a great starting point for you. Bottoms up!

Indoor Allotment Windowsill

blog Finding it hard to find the perfect summer gift for a relative or friend? Here at The Amazing Blog we have found the perfect urban“garden lovers” gift. The Indoor Allotment offers a stylish miniature garden that invites people into their homes and makes a big impact on the interior of their flat.

Many of us in London live in built-up flats making it rather hard to enjoy the  outside surroundings in our neighbourhoods.  The Indoor Allotment Windowsill is ideal for anyone who wants to start growing their own herb or flowers in the convenience of their own home.  What I love the most about this stylish small garden container was the whitewash wooden picket fence – it gave me a sense of living in the suburbs with my own garden. Included in this set are three mini pots and a couple of different seeds. It has every day herbs like basil, oregano and coriander. It is also easy to keep all your small tools in the shed that was attached to the container.

This chic and innovative design is perfect for the city apartments around London and serves as a perfect small gift to a friend. With the Indoor Allotment Windowsill priced at only £29.99, it brings the outdoors into your home.

Nordic House - Botanique Oil Lamps

blog1 Gazing out the window to see sunshine and beautiful blue skies makes me crave being outside more than ever. My colleagues and I at The Amazing Blog cannot help but brainstorm all the spring activities we want to do. One of my personal favourites is coming home and having dinner or a drink on my roof terrace amidst the fresh spring air (which I’m definitely doing tonight!). Setting the mood with some candles and basking under the starry sky can always help take the edge off after a long day’s work. Thankfully, we have found the lovely Nordic House Botanique Oil Lamps to help us do just that.

The Nordic House Botanique Oil Lamps emit a soft candle light glow that is just bright enough to see your drink without blocking out the shining stars. I find the small flame and gentle coloured base really help set the mood for relaxation. Made of a distressed ceramic, these oil lamps come in grey-blue, old white and taupe. These chic lamps are quite economical too, just a small amount of kerosene oil can last weeks. And if you are in a place where bugs become a bit pesty during spring, use citronella oil instead and keep the bugs at bay. At a modest £12.95 they have become an essential to my outdoor entertainment.

The ceramic compliments my rugged terrace beautifully, but if the distressed look doesn’t quite match your style don’t be turned away. The Nordic House offers a wide variety of oil lamps on their website. From modern glass and contemporary copper to oxidised metal and aged stone, they are sure to have a style to suit your home. With weather like this, being outside is a necessity. I cannot wait to get off work and unwind with a calm candle light dinner under the spring night sky.

Pairfum - Perfumed Honeycomb Sachet

blog There is nothing worse than walking into a musty room or opening up a stuffy wardrobe. The smell of stale air practically drives me mad. Thankfully, we at The Amazing Blog have found a solution to this obnoxious problem - The Pairfum Perfumed Honeycomb Sachet.

 

Unlike standard sachets, The Pairfum Perfumed Honeycomb is subtle and not too overwhelming. And to be honest, when it comes to sachets, being subtle is key. There is nothing worse than replacing the scent of stale air with an overly powerful synthetic aroma. We hung this sachet up in our office and then in our basement wardrobe and it simply eliminated any odours with a pleasant lavender essence. After 2 months it still continues to fill the air with a refreshing scent.

 

As our readers know we love natural and organic products, and the Pairfum Perfume Honeycomb Sachet is everything but synthetic. Made from 100% natural beeswax, each sheet is coated with a pure perfumed infused nectar. The oils are nontoxic and biodegradable so this sachet can be placed throughout the house without causing danger to food or pets.

 

We found that Pairfum Sachets provide the perfect subtle aromatic scents to replace the stale air of your wardrobes and rooms. For only £8.99 you can bring a lovely spring scent inside your house and wardrobe. Go to the  Pairfum website to choose from a gallery of fabulous smells.

Model Kitchen by Cesar Casier

blog Spring is in the air and we all know what that means, summer is right around the corner. Around this time of year we all start thinking about eating healthier in order to look our best while strutting around in our bathing suits. However, eating healthy can be hard. But we have something here at The Amazing Blog that can help you get ready for summer and bathing suit weather in an easy and fun way. Model Kitchen by the model Cesar Casier is full of different meals and snacks that can help show you that eating healthy can be both fun and delicious. With quick and easy to follow recipes, luscious pictures, lists of some of the best hot spots from all over the world and recipes written by some other very famous models this cookbook is sure to excite your taste buds and get you ready for the warmer weather that is sure to come.

 

Cesar gives you so many tasty recipes that I found it difficult to choose just one for a family dinner party. After a few minutes of browsing through the book and debating which would taste best, I eventually decided upon his recipe for Oven Roasted Lemon Chicken. The recipe was very easy to follow and the ingredients were so simple I had no problems trying to find them in my local Sainsburys. The recipe took no time at all and I was able to present my family with a gorgeous meal that impressed them all. It may not have looked at delicious as the photo next to the recipe, but I definitely tasted just as good.

 

Through this cookbook, Cesar shows us how important and easy healthy eating can be, although we like to think that once in awhile a guilty pleasure can’t hurt. You can purchase your own Model Kitchen cookbook online for £26.22 and get ready to create some incredible meals.