Ginuary 2021 … ah, one of my favourite themes.
There’s nothing scientific in this, my review of my 2021 columns and drinks’ related life.
In January I’m always on a roll with Ginuary, Dry January, Veganuary and not forgetting low alcohol.
January 2021 was no different (and I’m already headlong into those exact themes in 2022!)
I’m tweaking this reflection on Ginuary 2021 by including some other gin thoughts published in 2021.
From Ginuary 2021:
Whitley Neill Quince Gin
(RRP £26, [January 2021]widely available, including Amazon, Waitrose, Ocado, The Bottle Club, and The Drop Store).
Botanicals include the necessary juniper, and then coriander seed, cassia bark, orris root, angelica root, liquorice, orange.
It is of course finished off with quince, and a glance at the Whitley Neill website tells me the quince has a strong Persian influence.
I hugely enjoyed this tipple, which is ripe with a creamy mouthfeel of quince and pears.
It is simply lovely on its own, with a chink chink of ice and no tonic water.
Co-op’s Irresistible London Dry Gin
The gin’s blend was chosen by Co-op members and includes Telicherry black pepper, lemon verbena, cardamom, cumin and rowanberry.
It is also crafted by the UK’s only female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore.
I’ve not heard of Tellicherry before and apparently its a pepper that originates in southern India.
I can tell you that the lemon verbena really shines through, with its peppery partner adding a perfect speck of spice.
135° East Gin
(RRP £35, Ocado, Master of Malt, The Whiskey Exchange, Amazon)
This gin is so-called because of the 135 degrees meridian line which runs past the Kaikyo Distillery in the city of Akashi, where it is crafted.
The gin is created by master distiller Kimeo Yonezawa who has used traditional London Dry gin ingredients, with a sprinkle of Japanese botanicals.
There’s even a touch of Kimeo’s sake, Japanese wine rice.
The result of this Japanese artisanal approach is a gin which delivers a spicy kick, with citrus notes.
It’s a Ginuary 2021 sip with a vibrant wake-up call in these cold, miserable days.
One Sage & Apple Gin
(RRP £36, [January 2021] including Tesco, Amazon and online at its creators’ website thespiritofone.com).
The sales of One Gin help to provide clean water to some of the world’s poorest communities, with 10% of the profit from each bottle sold going to The One Foundation.
Sage is one of my favourite herbs, apple a favourite fruit.
Here they create an aromatic combination which is crisp with orchard fruits together with the savoury fresh addition of sage.
In fact, its also quite femininely perfume-y – a touch of difference to the gin world.
It won gold at the International Wines and Spirit Competition.
For Mother’s Day:
MOM Love Gin
(£22.99 [March 2021] online at drinksupermarket.com and £28, Ocado, Amazon).
The gin is so, so ripe with strawberries.
It’s a gin for mums who love their gins with a sweeter edge.
I was told the gin was distilled four times before being infused with strawberries.
It reminded me of one of those marshmallow gins, with sticky sweet aromas.
If mum likes that flavour vibe then you’re onto a Mother’s Day winner.
A Hollywood influence:
Aviation American Gin
(RRP £32 [March 2021] is widely available, including Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury, Amazon, Morrisons, Master of Malt)
The gin brand is owned by the American actor and producer Ryan Reynolds.
He has said: “I’ve tried every gin on the planet and Aviation is, hands down, the best.”
Well of course he would say that, if he owns it, but you know it is rather tasty.
The gin hails from Oregon where the distillers use the botanicals cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper, and two kinds of orange peel.
The botanicals are suspended in a neutral spirit. They remain there for 18 hours, gently sharing their signature notes.
I gave a swirling nudge to the aromas, to do their duty and rise from the glass.
The lavender and sarsaparilla were keen to make the introductions with the juniper lingering a bit more shyly in the background.
April gins from Aldi:
Greyson’s Sicilian Lemon Gin
(£12.99, [April 2021])
The Sicilian Lemon Gin is a vibrant lemon colour.
I’ve been sipping it on both warm days (in the garden) and on cool days (looking out at the garden) together with a good splash of tonic.
The gin is vibrant with lemon aromas which remind me of lemon cheesecake.
It tastes as you would expect, a good flash of bright lemon citrus.
It has a new sister gin too, Greyson’s Mediterranean Orange Gin (£12.99).
Masons in May:
Masons Pink Grapefruit & Cucumber
(RRP £34, masonsofyorkshire.com, masterofmalt.com).
The retail world is full of gins of different hues and sickly sweet flavour combinations.
This gin is sincere in its delivery of bright, clean, fresh, vibrant, flavours, led from the front with traditional juniper.
I loved it, and even more so with the simplest of ingredients: A slice of grapefruit and a surface playground of black peppercorns.
Over at Masons’ website there’s some cocktail inspiration such as Islands In The Stream which includes absinthe and triple sec.
A Christmas gin:
Cotswolds Cloudy Christmas Gin
(RRP: £34.95 70cl from cotswoldsdistillery.com).
There’s lots of Christmas-themed gins around, with mix and match flavours and flecks of glinting gold to shake; but I like this one.
It’s a take on the Cotswolds’ classic cloudy gin, with some extra festive twists – bursts of clementine, warm spice and the must-have juniper taste.
The gin turns cloudy as you add ice and tonic. Find out more over at their website.
These reviews were published in 2021 across Jane Clare’s regional drinks’ columns