For a true gin-lover, Sipsmith require no introduction, and it won’t be long before their new Orange & Cacao Gin needs none either; it’s that good! After 10 years in the business, and with plenty of competition in the craft spirit category, Sipsmith are still undoubtedly leading from the front. I’ll be amazed if anything pushes this latest member of the family out of my Top Ten this year!
Citrus gins are nothing new, but Sipsmith’s latest offering is inspired by the ever popular combination of orange and chocolate (which also happens to be one of my favourites!). Based on their London Dry recipe, Orange & Cacao is distilled with even more juniper alongside other botanicals including orange blossom and cacao nibs, and traditionally sweetened using liquorice root, before being rested on fresh orange zest.
On the nose, there’s lots of fragranced orange blossom and deeper chocolate notes but, thanks to its strong juniper backbone, it remains reassuringly traditional. To taste, there is an abundance of zesty orange upfront, opening into dry juniper and finishing with rich chocolatey notes and a touch of vanilla. The gin is certainly sweet but not to the extent of the now ubiquitous “gin liqueur”. This is a robust 40% ABV, balanced, rounded and immensely sippable. So much so, I was reluctant to mix it with anything!
To be honest, I was also hesitant as I just wasn’t confident Orange & Cacao Gin would work in a G&T (my go-to cocktail when trying out a new gin). But I was wrong. Sweet and dry, citrussy and chocolately, this is complex and downright delicious! Serve with plenty of ice, premium Indian tonic water and garnish with a slice of orange (and cacao nibs if you happen to have any knocking about!)
Don’t stop there though! Sipsmith suggest serving this gin in a Sidecar or White Lady but I decided to put my own spin on things (mostly ‘cos I didn’t have all the ingredients to make theirs!). I can highly recommend both of the concoctions below, though the negroni wins it for me!
Blood Orange Breakfast Martini
50ml Sipsmith Orange & Cacao Gin
15ml Cointreau or other orange liqueur
15ml fresh blood orange juice
1tsp of orange marmalade
Pour all the ingredients into a shaker and stir to dissolve the marmalade. Fill with ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange peel.
25ml Sipsmith Orange & Cacao Gin
25ml Martini Rosso (or other sweet vermouth)
A few drops of Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bitters
Simple sugar syrup
Dark chocolate flakes
Orange peel to garnish
Rim your rocks glass by first dipping it in sugar syrup and then dark chocolate flakes or cocoa powder. Or, for a neater look, dip the glass in melted chocolate then pop it in the fridge to set. Mix the gin, Campari & vermouth over very cold ice until blended. Strain into your rocks glass over a large ice cube, add a few drops of cocoa bitters and garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy!
Purchase Sipsmith Orange & Cacao Gin here at £25 for 50cl (40% ABV) or in Sainsbury’s stores from 28th April 2019.
With thanks to Sipsmith for the complimentary bottle of Orange & Cacao Gin.