If you’ve just completed Dry January than a huge congratulations to you! I opted for a slightly damper month but, when you see what I’ve been up to, I don’t think you’ll blame me for falling off the wagon!
It’s not been a good start to the New Year for Fever-Tree who have seen the price of their shares drop by 25% in response to the company’s second profit warning in three months. Following poor UK sales over Christmas, a general slowdown in consumer spending and increased competition in both the mixer and no-and-low categories, Fever-Tree announced they anticipate full-year profits to be around 5% lower in 2019 than in 2018. With the brand also expecting sales expansion to drop in the US after slashing their prices Stateside, Fever-Tree is being tipped as an attractive takeover target for global soft drinks businesses.
New Gin Alerts
I’ve long been a fan of Tappers Darkside, which made my top ten in 2018, so I was delighted to hear Darkside’s distilled sister, Brightside, willl finally be launched at the end of February. Featuring seaside botanicals – including red clover flowers and leaves, chickweed, and freshly foraged sea beet – this is believed to be the first time the same recipe has been produced in both cold compound and distilled expressions. One for the true gin geek, I can’t wait to try these side by side!
If, on the other hand, something more topical takes your fancy Bristol Dry Gin are, today, distilling a limited edition Brexit Gin. At an apt 52% ABV, and £30 for 35cl, it may strike you as a good idea at 11pm but, be warned, it could turn out to be an expensive mistake that leaves you with one very long hangover!
My Month in Gin
I began the month with the best of intentions, and managed a whole fortnight on the Dry January wagon! As you all know, I’m a big fan of Hayman’s Small Gin so a few of those kept me going when I was tempted, as did Big Drop Brewing Co.‘s terrific Pale Ale. But the real revelation was Everleaf; a non-alcoholic aperitif made using sustainably sourced botanicals including saffron, vanilla, vetiver, gentian and orange blossom. Bittersweet, well balanced and with a great mouthfeel, Everleaf really does offer a complex and tasty alternative to booze!
If you’re going to fall off the wagon though, you’ve got to do it in style and I really did when I judged the World Gin Awards 2020 at Glaziers Hall! It was, as ever, a great morning with my fellow judges before we were joined by many of the best in the business for the final round of judging and the announcement of the country results. The World’s Best Gin in each category will be revealed on February 27 but in the meantime I was delighted to host so many country winners on my table: congratulations to Saint Amans – Best French London Dry Gin; Sky Wave – Best English Contemporary Style Gin; and to Salcombe who won Best English Signature Botanical for their Voyager Series Island Queen, developed in collaboration with Monica Galetti!
I also had a blast at Ginarte’s takeover of The Stratford’s lovely Mezzanine bar with guest bartender Alessio Giovannesi of Baccano fame. In London for just one night, Alessio’s stunning signature serves included Champagne Ginarte – featuring date cordial – a beautiful Rose Martini and Mulata Ginarte – with cacao cream and Nutella and salt rice syrup! Distilled and bottled in Italy, Ginarte is inspired by the visual arts and, alongside Tuscan juniper, features native botanicals that were used by Renaissance painters to produce coloured pigments such as calamint, safflower, rubia and indigo. It’s definitely one I’m looking forward to getting to know a lot better!
Welcome to My Collection
There were lots of lovely new additions to my collection this month. Thank you very much to Langley’s No. 8 Gin, Italy’s Ginarte and Edelwhite Gin – winner of Best Swiss London Dry Gin at the World Gin Awards 2020. I was also very lucky to bring home a few leftovers from the awards including Junimperium, Himbrimi, Lumber’s Bartholomew Navy Strength, Brookie’s Slow Gin and Never Never Southern Strength.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
If you’ve not already read it, do make sure you catch up with my Top Ten Gins of 2019 which features some absolutely outstanding spirits. Talking of which, I’ll be catching up with my Dry January backlog during February, and hopefully also tasting some new Scottish spirits when I pop north of the border. See you next time!🍸🛎🛎