It’s that time of year again, when I put together a list of all the things I’d love Santa to bring me, in the hope that Mr GQ might come through with the goods (I did exceptionally well last year!).
May I present – Christmas Gifts for Gin Lovers 2015!
Something to drink
There are now over 500 (I think) gins on the market and 35 in Australia alone, so picking out something special was always going to be very hard. The four I’ve picked should appeal to most gin-lovers!
Tanqueray Bloomsbury Limited Edition (47.3% ABV)
This limited edition release from the Tanqueray range is based on a historical family recipe from a recipe book dating back to 1880 which called for double the juniper as well as cassia bark – which doesn’t feature in the classic Tanqueray London Dry Gin recipe at all!
Named Bloomsbury because Tanqueray was distilled in Bloomsbury, London back in the 1800s, this is as fantastic as you would expect, and for me double the juniper means double the deliciousness!
Available from Master of Malt (please be aware when ordering that customs charges may occur if you are ordering from outside the UK)
1897 Quinine Gin
Enjoy of nip of something a little different while supporting a worthy cause? Sounds like a great Christmas gift!
1897 Quinine Gin has, you guessed it, quinine as one of it’s botanical ingredients. Quinine is most commonly known as the main ingredient of tonic water, so it’s amazing that no-one has tried to combine gin and quinine before!
Over 50% of the producer’s profit (at least £5 ($10AUD per bottle sold) will be donated to support Malaria No More UK, enough to buy, deliver and hang a mosquito net for a family living at risk from malaria in Africa.
Price $71.29 AUD
Available Master of Malt (please be aware when ordering that customs charges may occur if you are ordering from outside the UK)
Tailored gin by Archie Rose
Archie Rose Signature Dry gin was one of the best Australian gins released in 2015 (in my opinion). Not content with launching a fabulous gin and a drop-dead gorgeous distillery, they are now offering tailored spirits – gin, vodka and whisky.
Obviously, my eyes lit up at the possibility of creating a Gin Queen gin!
Archie Rose distill every botanical individually, so you pick your favourite botanicals from the selection, set their strength (i.e. do you want it bold and juniper or fresh and citrussy) and then your creation is sent directly to you. It’ll even have your name on the bottle!
If you can’t decide on botanicals (you have a maximum of 5 to pick), Archie Rose have grouped some selections to help you – Christmas in July (angelica root, cassia bark and fresh orange), Summer afternoon (Blood lime, River mint and lemon myrtle), The Aviator (Blood lime, ginger root and orris root) and what I suspect would be my favourite ‘Ello Guv’nor (Juniper, Coriander and dorrigo pepper leaf).
Stone Pine Distillery Seasonal Orange Blossom Gin
I’m a massive fan of Ian Glen and Stone Pine Gin. Ian has been a long time supporter of The Gin Queen and has come to nearly all my events, so when I heard he was considering a seasonal release, I couldn’t have been more excited, but I knew I had to be patient!
During a foraging expedition to Narromine, Ian managed to get his hands on some fresh orange blossom and inspiration struck! Orange blossom is used extensively in perfumes, as it has a gorgeous summery aroma, which compliments the other native citrus flavours of pink finger lime and lemon myrtle in this release.
An extra special gift as only 400 individually numbered bottles are available from the 2015 vintage!
Price: $75 AUD 700ml (ABV 40%)
Something to read
Books are always a great gift at Christmas. There has been an explosion of books on gin and cocktail recipe books of late, but I’ve picked these as personal favourites.
Gin: The Manual by Dave Broom
Dave is a legend in the whisky world having written around 30 books on the subject. Dave covers 120 gins which he has tested four ways – with tonic, with lemonade, in a negroni and in a martini – and then scored. In addition, each gin is categorized according to a flavour camp system, which highlights its core properties and allows you to understand how you can best drink it!
Price $29.99 AUD
Available here (also available on Amazon UK)
Good Things To Drink with Mr Lyan and Friends
Mr Lyan, is of course Ryan Chetiyawardana, the brains behind the best cocktail bars in the world; White Lyan and Dandelyan. He was also awarded World’s Best Bartender at Tales of the Cocktail last year.
I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan during my London trip this year and he really is as down to earth and friendly as the book suggests. Beautiful photography, lovely illustrations (by Ryan) and delicious recipes for every occasion, this is how I think Jamie Oliver would do a cocktail book.
Price $33.50 AUD
Available here or via Amazon (UK).
The Drunken Botanist by Amy Stewart
One of the first books I bought when I started the blog, The Drunken Botanist was recommended by Cameron Mackenzie, Master Distiller at Four Pillars Gin. Now, nearly every distiller I know has a copy, and for good reason.
Amy explains comprehensively the main flowers, herbs, trees, plants and fungi (!) that go into making spirits. She covers flavour profiles, the chemical make-up and how the ingredients relate with each other, which is an interesting read for gin lovers.
Available here or via Amazon (UK)
Tipsy by Clare Burder
Ok, confession time, I had a (very) little input into this book as my good friend Clare (with whom I run the Humble Tumbler Gin Masterclasses in Melbourne) asked me to check over the chapter on gin. How could I refuse?
The thing that I love about Clare (and why she is fast becoming one of the best booze educators around) is her ability to cut through the convoluted vocabulary that often comes into play when discussing drink, particularly wine. This fun, accessible book covers wine, beer, whisky, gin and even sake, so something for everyone!
Something to use
Buying something for the home bar is always a good option for the cocktail enthusiast.
The Birdy Cocktail Shaker by Erik Lorincz
Erik is Head Bartender at one of the most famous bars in the world, The American Bar at The Savoy Hotel in London and is recognised as one of the best in the industry.
The Birdy cocktail shaker is a collaboration between Erik, and Tetsuya Yokoyama, who at the time was tasked with developing a new business for his family’s auto part manufacturing company. One evening in a small bar in Osaka, the man searching the world for the ideal shaker had a drink with the man trying to make the world’s best shaker.
I could go into masses of technical detail about why it’s so good, (you can read more here) but aside from that, I just love the look and size AND the fact that I can get away without dry shaking egg whites first!
Price $119.95 AUD
Available from Bargeek
Dorset Martini Glass Williams-Sonoma
I am always lusting after stylish glassware and Williams-Sonoma is a regular receiver of Gin Queen cash. Beautiful glassware at realistic prices. I chose these Dorset Martini glasses as I adore the cut. If you have a little more money in your budget, the matching cocktail shaker is beautiful!
Price $38.00 (each)
Wintersmiths Ice Baller
I’m fascinated by the lengths bars go to create the perfect piece of ice for each drink served and appreciate the diamond-like quality of their efforts.
Good (clear) ice melts more slowly reducing the dilution of your drink, but It’s pretty tricky to get clear ice at home, although not impossible. Wintersmiths Ice Baller makes it simpler by employing directional-freezing to remove and isolate air bubbles and impurities, creating a perfectly clear ice ball for your drink.
Price $89.95 (USD)
Available from US here
Available from UK here (ships internationally)
Personalised Vintage Silver Plated Spoon Drink Stirrer
How cute is this? A unique silver plated vintage spoon drinks stirrer that has been flattened by hand and can be personalised with your choice of text (up to 50 characters) on the spoon face. Love!
Available from Not on The High Street.
Something to wear
Gin and Tonic Necklace by Gastronomista
Gastronomista AKA Emily Arden Wells is a fellow blogger who focusses on the culture of cocktails. She founded her award-winning website in October of 2009 as a way to keep track of delicious treasures, tipples, and trips around the world. I’ve
stalked followed Emily for a while now and when she launched her shop featuring such treasures as the Gin and Tonic necklace above, I loved her even more. (You should totally check out the Negroni necklace too!)
Price: From $75 USD
Gin Ring by Snash, Brooklyn, NYC
Chunky silver (also available in brass/silver metal) gin ring leaving no one in any doubt which spirit goes in your martini!
Cost $118USD ($58 for other metals)
Something to do
Enjoy a Mother’s Ruin Gin Flight at Gin Palace, Melbourne
The Mother Ruin Gin Flight is a sumptuous, chronological progression of gin. There are 10 gins in the flight, (garnishes and tonics included) from every category of gin. Perfect for two to share (after dinner!).
Price $120 AUD
Available: Gin Palace offers vouchers that can be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gin Aroma Nosing Kit
I purchased The Gin Aroma Kit a while back to use during masterclasses and can highly recommend it for the gin nerd in your life!
Each kit contains 24 aroma nosing samples carefully selected by the leading specialist Aroma Scientist, Dr George Dodd plus a booklet to lead you through the individual samples and a recommended process for gin nosing and tasting.
Available in Australia here.
Available in the UK here.
Please note I haven’t been paid to feature any of these products, these are just things I like!