boozy gin popsicles

Boozy gin popsicles

After success with my Frozen negroni last summer, I’ve been wanting to make boozy gin popsicles, not just gin and tonic ones, but other flavours too.

The challenge with making popsicles is that alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature (around -114c) than a standard domestic refrigerator can reach (usually around -20c).  Recipes need to be adjusted and diluted down and should contain no more than about 20% alcohol in order for the popsicle to freeze properly.

For my boozy gin popsicles, I chose Gin and Tonic, Gin Gin Mule and a Negroni. I had varying degrees of success in terms of freezing but they all tasted FREAKING DELICIOUS.

Gin and Tonic Popsicle

boozy gin popsicles
Gin and Tonic popsicles

The easiest and most successful of all the boozy gin popsicles! I used 20ml gin to 80ml Fevertree tonic and added some lime slices to the liquid for add a little color before freezing. They have a great refreshing flavour and these are going to be a regular at GQHQ over the summer months.

Negroni Popsicle

boozy gin popsicle
Negroni gin popsicle

I pushed the limits with this one by using 10ml each of gin, vermouth and campari and then 70ml of Capi’s Sicilian Blood Orange and adding some small pieces of fresh orange. While the flavour was spot on, it was the least successful popsicle in terms of staying on the stick. I just slammed it in a glass and added a spoon. Frozen Negroni are just too good to waste.

Gin Gin Mule Popsicle

One of my favourite summer cocktails, the Gin Gin Mule combines gin, lime juice, simple syrup and refreshing ginger beer. I used 20ml gin, 10ml of lime juice and sugar syrup and 60ml ginger beer and added some fresh mint leaves for colour before freezing.

Others to try

Next on my list to try:

Sloe gin fizz ~ the lower alcohol level of sloe gin should make this one a good option

Corpse Reviver No. 2 ~ I recently had a Corpse Reviver slushy at Heartbreaker in Melbourne and it was perfect.

Cherry Pop ~ Cherry season is here so a great opportunity to make this gorgeous PDT cocktail in a popsicle.

Have you tried making boozy popsicles? Any I should try?

Jinzu Gin and tonic

Jinzu Gin

Many of the best (and my favourite) gins have been created by bartenders. Ford’s Gin (Simon Ford), Portobello Road (Jake F Burger), Aviation (Ryan Magarian) and West Winds (Jason Chan).

Jinzu gin was created by British bartender, Dee Davies for Diageo’s Show Your Spirit competition in 2013. Named after a river in Japan, Jinzu is a British gin with a Japanese flavour. Cherry blossom and yuzu are used as botanical ingredients and then Junmai sake is blended with the finished gin.

I caught up with Dee who answered a few questions about how she came up with the idea for Jinzu.

What made you choose gin as your spirit for the competition?

I am a huge gin fan but it took me a little while to understand the complexities when I first tried drinking it. It’s my third favourite spirit after Scottish whiskey and tequila/mezcal. I chose to make a gin because you can push the boundaries further than you can with any other spirit.  Also, I wanted to make a spirit which was a representation of myself, with its head in Britain and its heart in Japan.

How long did it take you to get the botanical recipe right?

Forever! We were working with very difficult and some unknown botanicals. So although we knew we were going to launch in summer 2013 it took until summer 2014 to perfect the recipe.

Why did you choose Junmai sake over other styles?

I chose Junmai as it is the premium of the two basic sake classifications. It would be such a shame to be using so fussy about all of the other ingredients in Jinzu and then just dump in a less than perfect sake. The particular sake we use I chose for its flavour profile, I wanted a sake which was strongly rice flavored.

Did you have a hand in the bottle design?

Yes I did. In fact I’ve had influence in every aspect of Jinzu. With the help of a couple of very talented designers we took the image in my head and turned it into the beautiful bottle we launched.

What’s your favourite way to drink Jinzu?

It depends on the weather. In the summer of course a Jinzu and tonic. I use Fever-tree tonic and a slice of green apple. In the winter try it in this cocktail a mix of Jinzu, almond, amaro, orange flower water and rice milk.

Botanicals

Juniper, coriander and angelica are macerated in the pot still before cherry blossom and Yuzu are added.

Flavour

There is a mix of familiar and unfamiliar with Jinzu. On the one hand, juniper is still present (thank goodness) so we know it’s gin, but on the other, the unfamiliar (to me) earthiness of the Junmai sake gives a different finish. On the nose citrus from the yuzu together with juniper are evident. On the palate a good juniper and citrus flavour gives way to some floral notes from the cherry blossom. There is some warmth towards the end and it’s here that the sake comes through to create a smooth finish.

How to drink

As usual, I tried Jinzu neat, in a G&T, in a saketini and a negroni. Neat, it’s very smooth and easy to drink. Nothing overwhelming about the spirit at all. It makes decent G&T.

Jinzu gin saketini
Jinzu gin saketini garnished with umboshi

It was brilliant in the saketini, with the addition of more junmai sake in place of vermouth, Jinzu really shone. The only drink where it fell a little flat for me was a Negroni. I think the ratios would have to be changed a little, as the usual 30ml of each ingredient nuked the delicate flavour of the Jinzu gin.

jinzu negroni
Jinzu Negroni

If you are looking for a contemporary gin to experiment with then Jinzu is a great choice.

ABV:  41.3%

Price:  Medium

Charlotte Voisey

Meet Charlotte Voisey, Director of Brand Advocacy at William Grant & Son

The chance to meet and interview Charlotte Voisey at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail was an opportunity too good to pass up. Charlotte has long been an inspiration to me as one of the leading female figures in the liquor industry.

How did you start out in the business?

I studied hospitality at university and the course I chose had a one year in-industry work experience. During that year I joined ‘My Kinda Town Restaurant Group’ and worked for 6 months in London at the Chicago Rib Shack and then went over to Spain with as part of their restaurant management training program. You spent 6 months training and then you work as a manager with one of their units anywhere in the world. I wanted to learn Spanish so I went to Barcelona to run one of their restaurants.

When I graduated I loved the experience I had and I quickly found from my peers that the company offered me way more training than any of their jobs, so I went back to them and headed off to Argentina for 2 years and ran restaurants for them out there.  Then I got the call to say, “We want to open a cocktail bar. It’s the first one really for the group. Do you want to come back and run it?. That was how I opened Apartment 195.

Had you had much cocktail experience while you were running the restaurants?

I’d had some cocktail experience, but it was long island iced teas, pina coladas.  It was still very worthwhile, but more about speed and fun than classic cocktails.

So after 4 or 5 years at Apartment 195 you went to William Grant?

Yes, they offered me the chance to travel, move to America and be an ambassador with them.

Wow! How long did that decision take to make?

It actually took me a couple of months! I had also been offered a global position with another company. I had these two amazing opportunities,  but I came to the conclusion that as amazing as travelling the world sounded, I wanted to be a bit more grounded.  The chance to live in New York and have a new home base was more attractive to me. Plus I had already fell in love with Hendrick’s Gin by then! I’ve been in New York for 10 years now.

So what does being Director of Brand Advocacy involve?

My role has 3 components. The first, and the part that I enjoy most, is leading the Brand Ambassador Group that we have. We have 26 full-time ambassadors in the US across all of our brands. They report into their brand managers, but I’m like the mentor, the big sister, whatever you want to call it, that just supports and advises them. I also advise their managers how to get the most from them because I’ve been there and done that, and not a lot of marketing people have.

Then I oversee all of the PR for the company which is quite big part of my job. I work with a PR manager and the agencies. It’s nice to get my teeth into something a bit new.

The third part is advocacy which is a word people throw around and it means different things to different people, but it ultimately it’s about getting influential people to fall in love with your brands.

What’s the best thing about your job?

The events. The William Grant party for Tales of the Cocktail is still my baby and we start planning that in January.  Putting those elements together and then watching it happen and seeing people’s reactions is so great. I guess it goes back to bartending days and that enjoyment of handing a drink over to somebody and seeing them go, “Oh my goodness. That’s really delicious.” It’s still wanting that feedback. You get this amazing, instant satisfaction which you don’t get by sitting in an office and planning.

William Grant 'Party on your Palate'
William Grant & Sons  ‘Party on your Palate’, Tales of the Cocktail 2016

What’s your proudest achievement so far?

I think the two things I’m most proud of having a hand in, would be what we do at Tales every year because William Grant is such a small company. Obviously, we are seen as a big business but William Grant has only 1% of the spirits business in the US. At Tales, through the relationship that I built early and well with Anne (Tuennerman), and the attitude that we have to this event, we’ve been able to stand up with Bacardi, and the other big groups as equal players. I’m quite proud that we’ve managed to hold our own against companies with larger budgets or bigger ideas. I think it’s down to the personal touch.

The second is our Brand Ambassador Program. I’m quite proud of the way I’ve been able to keep it non-corporate in a corporate world.

What inspires you?

I spend the year traveling and being amazed by the creativity and talent that there is all around America. When I first got here I felt like I had a bit more of an educating role because I came from London where the cocktails scene at the time was better than America.  I felt like I had a bit of duty to impart knowledge and share and show. Now I feel like I can sit back a little and be inspired by them. What people are doing in cocktail bars all over America makes me think, “Right. It’s my turn to thank them. I’ve got to up my game because they deserve to be surprise and delighted like I am when I go to their bars.” I think that’s what it is. It’s being inspired to stand up and give people what they deserve.

The Proper Pour is fantastic resource for me, I’m amazed at how you do it. What’s the most challenging part of making cocktails on camera ? Do you do it in one take?

I do! We film about 10 episodes in a day. Honestly, it’s the easiest thing I do. First of all I don’t over think it. I wanted the show just to be me doing my style. I’m not trying to be an expert. I’m not trying to be the best. It’s just me just making drinks the way I make them and talking about them in a way that I think is interesting and succinct. It’s all very natural. I don’t have a script. I have a couple of things that I want to include and we just get to the recipe, hat way there’s nothing I say wrong because there’s nothing … there’s no script. I find it very natural and easy.

What’s your favorite gin cocktail and why?

I go back and forth. It’s between the White Lady and the French 75. The White Lady is exactly the type of cocktail I like the most, shaken, delicate, so you can taste the botanicals of the gin. It works very well with Hendricks because the floral components come through. I’m more of a fan of that style of cocktail than stirred drinks like martinis, as I have a low tolerance and I find them too strong.

The French 75 is probably my other go to. It always feels right. It’s an elegant cocktail, looks beautiful and most bars can make it if you think about it. It’s really just gin, lemon and maybe a bit of sugar and some lime as well in mine. It’s one that you can probably fall back on quite a bit.

What do you see as the next cocktail trend?

As the industry quickly gets more advanced everywhere you’re seeing lots of trends pop up. I just came from Tim Hurley’s seminar and they were talking about the use of aquafaba, a vegan substitute for egg white. Really interesting.

What are your favourite bars?

Tough question! I was very impressed when I went to Australia last year. I’d previously own been to Sydney on holiday and it was my first time to Melbourne. I was just blown away by the attention to detail, the excellence and of course the service. They were so happy to have us there and not just because it was me. You saw it everywhere.

In addition, I enjoy the Tiki bars in Chicago. They’re doing really well. I love Broken Shaker here in Miami. In London, The Savoy is still such a treat. Dandelyan is awesome, they are doing some great things.  I’ve only been to Night Jar once, but when I went in there it was possibly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a bar.

What do you think makes a great bar?

It’s when you walk in and it feels like you should be there and that you are welcome. That comes from the energy, mainly from service and the bartenders, how they are behaving and whether they are smiling or not. Personally, I prize beautiful décor, service, and energy as the most important things. When it’s grumpy or feels negative, I really don’t like that.

One thing that I’ve really noticed from the American bar scene is that women seem to be much more prominent and at a higher level in the industry compared to other countries. What do you think it is about the bar scene in America that fosters that?

I think it’s two things. First, you have people like Julie (Reiner) and Audrey (Saunders) who have been doing this long enough to have risen up and be mentor quality so that others can be like, “Oh, I want to be like them.” Until you have those aspirational figures, there’s nothing to look up to.

The second thing here, is Speedrack. Lynnette (Marrero) and Ivy (Mix) have done an amazing job pulling women together and giving them an amazing confidence boost and letting them shine.

Finally, do you see there being brand extensions for Hendricks, like a Navy Strength or a Barrel-Aged version?

I couldn’t say yes or no to that. I think there will always be experimentation. Hendricks, by very definition is so unique and very particular. Leslie is an amazing talent and having that level of creativity, if Hendricks were to do a line extension, how exciting would that be? I think everyone would trust that it would be pretty awesome!

WIN 2 bottles of No.3 London Dry gin, and a matching key ring and lapel pin!

12 Days of Gin-Mas Day 12

BOOOO, today is the last day of 12 Days of Gin-Mas. Never mind, today’s prize should raise a smile! You could WIN 2 bottles* of No. 3 London Dry gin (one for you, one for a friend/lover?), PLUS a cute matching key ring and lapel pin.

No. 3 is a classic juniper forward gin (it’s no secret it’s in my Top 10) created by Berry Rudd & Bros, the oldest wine merchants in London. The recipe was created with the martini in mind, but is such a quality gin that it is perfect in a G&T and any other gin cocktail for that matter.

For a chance to win this set, simply complete the form below.

*please note that while above image depicts 3 bottles, the prize is 2.

12 Days of Gin-Mas NUMBER 3

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

Remember, one entry per person please.

Terms & Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 12th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

WIN a set of Loch Distillery gins

12 Days of Gin-Mas Day 11

I hope the 12 Days of Gin-Mas has got you all in the festive spirit and given you some ideas of what to buy next time you are gin shopping. Today’s prize is another Christmas cracker, you could WIN a set of Loch Distillery gins!

Craig and Mel have won hearts with their delicious English style ales and gins and it won’t be  long before their whisky will available~ towards the end of 2017 I’m told.

This Loch gin set comprises a full bottle of the original Loch gin and 200ml each of The Weaver (their overproof Australian native gin) and Gin Liqueur, which will make you all the French 75s you need over the Christmas period!

For a chance to win this set, simply complete the form below.

Remember, one entry per person please.

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

12 Days of Gin-Mas LOCH

Terms & Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 11th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

WIN a bottle of Poor Toms gin PLUS a limited edition T-shirt

12 Days of Gin-Mas Day 10

The boys at Poor Toms gin have been busy getting festive and have created a limited edition t-shirt for Christmas. They’ve kindly offered one to giveaway with a bottle of their Sydney Dry Gin!

Since launching 12 months ago, Griff and Jesse have already launched a higher proof version, ‘Fool Strength’, and even  collected spat-out wine at Rootstock Sydney, to make a “spittoon brandy”. ‘Regineration’ at it’s finest! They are the jokers of the distillers pack (check out their Facebook page!), but are seriously talented gin-makers. Can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2017.

To WIN a bottle of Poor Toms gin PLUS a limited edition T-shirt, simply complete the form below.

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

ONE ENTRY PER PERSON ONLY

Terms & Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 10th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

WIN a bottle of McHenry Limited Edition Summer Gin

12 DAYS OF GIN-MAS DAY 9

We’ve been blessed with some incredible prizes for the 12 Days of Gin-Mas this year, and today is no exception as you could WIN a bottle of McHenry Limited Edition Summer Gin!

This very limited edition is only available to Down Gin Lane subscribers, but William kept a bottle of this batch especially for Gin Queen readers to win!

William had been toying with the idea of a summer gin for a while and told me “I wanted it fresh and fruity – summer is when we harvest most our our glorious fruits so I thought juniper, coriander a smidge of cassia bark, orris root, wattle seed and orange peel and some orange blossom would make a great summery gin.”

William steeps the orange blossom and the saffron in the gin after distillation and the result is, as he describes ” a radiant burst of yellow sunshine making the perfect summer gin.”.

To WIN a bottle of McHenry Limited Edition Summer Gin, simply complete the form below:

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

12 Days of Gin-Mas McHenry

Terms and Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 9th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

the west winds gin

WIN a unique West Winds Gin set

12 DAYS OF GIN-MAS DAY 8

You could WIN a UNIQUE West Winds Gin Set.

Since hitting the market in 2010, West Winds gin has paved the way for Australian gins that followed in their wake. Theirs were the first Australian gins to win big at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Awards in 2011, with the Cutlass winning a Double Gold medal (all the judges awarded a god) and Sabre a Gold Medal.  They continue to innovate and now have Broadside, Captain’s Cut and Maiden Voyage in their range.

The West Winds gin team have put together this AMAZING prize for one lucky person! The set includes:

The West Winds Gin “The Sabre”

The West Winds Gin “The Cutlass”

The West Winds Gin “The Broadside”

PLUS

spraybottle

3 x 50 ml spray bottles….

Olive Brine spray for a Dirty Martini

Flat Leaf Parsley spray for a Gibson Martini

Hop Spray for a Negroni

….with a personalised message from West Winds gin’s Master of flavour, Jason Chan, on how to make each cocktail at home!

This is a truly special prize. To enter simply fill in the form below. Be lucky!

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

Terms and Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 8th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

12 DAYS OF GIN-MAS 2016

WIN a bottle of Hippocampus Barrel-Aged gin

12 DAYS OF GIN-MAS DAY 7

Today you can WIN A bottle of Hippocampus Barrel-Aged gin PLUS a miniature bottle of negroni.

Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery was set up in 2014 by a group of West Australian spirit enthusiasts. Master Distiller, Alex Poulsen, studied pharmacology and biochemistry at University before heading off to Norway where he worked in a remote brewery and micro distillery. On his return to Australia he began work with Hippocampus.

The first spirit produced was a vodka (the only vodka I really like) followed a year later by their gin. Using a Carl still (like those used by Four Pillars), Alex has created a traditional style London dry with lots of juniper and a great mouthfeel. They have used this as the base for their barrel-aged gin which has been rested in old chardonnay barrels. Delicious!

To enter the competition to win a bottle of Hippocampus Barrel-aged gin and the negroni, simply fill out the form below.

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

12 Days of Gin-Mas HIPPOCAMPUS

Terms and Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 7th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours

12 Days of Gin-Mas 2016

WIN a bottle of Prohibition Liquor Company Bathtub Cut gin

12 DAYS OF GIN-MAS DAY 6

Today is your chance to win a bottle of Prohibition Liquor Company Bathtub Cut gin. This gin has a whopping 69% ABV, and proved very popular at Junipalooza Melbourne this year.

Inspired by the bootleggers of the prohibition era in America, the Prohibition Liquor Company set out to create spirits using only the finest gin botanicals. With the help of their distiller, Brendan (from Applewood Distillery in South Australia), PLC have created two distinct gins. Prohibition Gin is a regular 42% ABV and the Bathtub Cut gin at 69%, which is surprisingly sippable!

THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED

Terms and Conditions

Entrants must be over 18
Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
One entry per applicant
Closing date is midnight (AEST) on 6th December 2016
Winner will be drawn at random and notified via email within 24 hours