Month: June 2011

El Fulo, Cocktail

 - by Dug

El Fuolo? What, you may ask, is an El Fulo? Well, I will tell you, but first some mandatory waffle.

I read today, over on A History of Drinking, about National Pollinator Week. This seems to be mostly a US thing to promote the vital role of pollinating critters within the ecosystem, but being a great fan of bees, especially bumblebees, and agreeing with @drinkinghistory‘s comments that this was an excuse to drink, I turned to the burgeoning power of the internet in an attempt to find gin-based cocktails containing honey.

Well, it turns out that such cocktails are few and far between and all remarkably similar. Now, admittedly, I didn’t spend more than a few minutes searching – such is the affliction of the internet-generation; we have such small attention-spans – but I found what sounded like a cracking drink.

The drink I found, as you have probably guessed by now, was the EL Fulo.

El Fulo is an invention of one Pablo Moix, who is apparently a respected mixologist in LA. Heralding from the other side of the pond and not really being at the beating heart of the mixology scene, I have no idea if this is true or whether it is all hyperbole. Anyway, enough of the creator, on with the drink; I give you the El Fulo…

El Fulo Cocktail

El Fulo Cocktail

El Fulo

3/4 oz. Honey Syrup (2 parts honey and 1 part water)
3 wedges Lemon
9 Mint Leaves
2 oz. Dry Gin
1 oz. Gin

In a large glass, hand-press lemon and mint. Add the gin and syrup, add ice and shake vigorously for 6 seconds. Strain over fresh ice in an old-fashioned glass. Top with crushed ice. Garnish with a powdered sugar dusted mint sprig and lemon peel.

I garnished with several long strips of lemon peel and mint, and left the powdered sugar and crushed ice out (hey, I was cooking dinner at the same time, not creating art).

The smell is freshness incarnate; all mint and lemons with undertones of pine. This is essentially a Mojito concentrate with gin instead of rum. The honey replaces some of the rounded warm flavours of the rum and the gin just adds to the already piercing cleanliness of flavour.

It is certainly a wake-up call in a glass and the initial tasting reminded me of what I always imagined a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster to taste like. Drinking it slowly, as one should a drink with three measures of gin, the ice slowly melts, tempering the drink as time passes. It is awesome in the initial strong tasting and it is awesome as it slowly waters-down.

Sipsmith vs. Brecon Special Reserve

 - by Dug

A little over a month ago, I reviewed Brecon Special Reserve gin and came to the conclusion that it was a fantastic gin. Thinking that it may even rival the tremendous Sipsmith, I thought I would try a side-by-side comparison; here it is.

However, before that, a little tangent.

Last Saturday (June 11th) was World Gin Day but I had a child’s birthday to prepare for and a parent visiting, so all-day rampant gin consumption were not exactly the order of the day. I did however, introduce my mother to Tanqueray 10 and had a few myself, so all was not a total loss.

World Gin Day was set up by YetAnotherGin as a celebration of the lovely world of gin and a great summary of this year’s activities can be found here. I would have loved to have done a lot more for the day, but my son would have never forgiven me.

Anyway, back to the gin comparison.

Sipsmith Gin

Sipsmith Gin

Brecon Gin

Brecon Gin

Brecon Special Reserve and Sipsmith both struck me as very similar, high-quality gins with a nice balance of traditional flavours; no strange botanicals and no real gimmicks.

Unlike the Sipsmith/Juniper Green face-off, this turned out to be a really close-run fight with each round seeing the contenders neck-and-neck throughout.

Both bottles have cork stoppers and I was struck by the differences in the pop noise when pulling them out. The Brecon bottle gave a much deeper sound than the Sipsmith. This isn’t of any real significance – the musical difference just pleased me.

Smell: Sipsmith had more depth of scent and a greater juniper aroma. The Brecon was good, but was back-footed in the first round. Sipsmith wins round one.

Neat: Both gins were very smooth but the Brecon held the edge in warmth and spiciness in the mouth. It seemed to have a more complexity and filled the nose with more aroma in the after-taste. Round two goes to Brecon.

G&T – no fruit: Although, after the application of Fever Tree tonic water, both are very good, Sipsmith is slightly flat by comparison and the Brecon carries a lighter, but slightly more intense flavour. Two-one to Brecon.

G&T – with lime: As noted previously in my first tasting, lime utterly completes Sipsmith; it needs it like Abbot needs Costello, or Batman needs Robin (put that smutty thought away) – they are made for each other, and they complete each other. The lime brought the Sipsmith alive and produced a sublime gin and tonic that Brecon couldn’t quite muster.

This was, at best, an inconclusive match-up. Sipsmith probably wins on points alone and this is only because it works best in my favoured drinking format, the G&T with lime. Saying that, Brecon is about £10 cheaper on the bottle, and with so little in the taste/quality, this makes it a great choice for everyday drinking.

Also, with Brecon and Sipsmith beating each other when drank in different ways, I can imagine the Brecon being the winner in all manner of gin-based drinks. Not being overly experienced in the ways of gin cocktails, this is a bit beyond my ability to comment at the moment though.

Conclusion: Brecon is awesome, but in the end, it couldn’t quite get the best of Sipsmith in a G&T. For the price though, it is a damn-fine gin and is certainly the champion of its price-bracket.




Ten random questions about gin.

 - by Dug

I love digging through analytics; apart from being interesting to see which posts are attracting the most attention, it can give a real insight into what people are looking for when they land on a site.

Here are ten questions that people typed into Google in the last 30 days. These people ended up here on Gin Journey and their query went unanswered. I doubt they will be back, and the queries are so specific, I doubt the information will really be of much use to many others, but here are some retroactive answers…


From where can I buy Rangpur gin?

Tanqueray Rangpur can be bought in a host of online shops (such as The Drinks Finder and The Whisky Exchange), but if you want a bricks-and-mortar shop, then Waitrose is your best bet.


How many units are there in a bottle of Tanqueray?

Using the Cleave Books alcohol content calculator, the unit content for a bottle (70cl) each variety of Tanqueray gin is as follows…


How to get a distiller’s license?

This is far from easy (as the guys over at Sipsmith will likely tell you). However, this page on the HM Revenue and Customs site has a pretty comprehensive guide.


How to make gin and tonic with mint?

You read my post on gin & tonic with mint. Simple.


What is in Juniper Green gin?

Juniper Green Gin has surprisingly few botanicals for a gin of its quality; they are…

  • Juniper
  • Coriander
  • Angelica
  • Savory


Where can I buy Blackwood’s gin?

As with Tanqueray Rangpur, Blackwood’s gin can be found in a host on online booze shops, but if you want to avoid postage costs, then Sainsbury’s sell it at a very reasonable price.


Where can I find Oliver Cromwell 1599 gin in New Jersey?

Unfortunately, you might not be able to. Oliver Cromwell 1599 is a gin produced exclusively for Aldi stores. Aldi are in the USA and the locations of stores in New Jersey can be found here. However, Aldi’s US website only lists beer and wine. It is probably best to pop in to a store and have a look to be sure though.


Where is Gordon’s gin produced?

In the UK, Gordon’s Gin is produced in Scotland, but this has only been the case since 1998. Here is a brief timeline of locations…

1769: Gordon’s gin starts production in the Southwark area of London.

1786: Production moves to Goswell Rd in Clerkenwell, London.

1984: Production moves to Laindon, Basildon in Essex.

1998: Production moves to  the Cameron Bridge Distillery in Windygates, Fife.

There are also a series of distilleries across the globe that produce Gordon’s Gin for international distribution. Exact figures are hard to come by, but in 1966, the 13th plant producing Gordon’s gin (the Plainfield Distillery in Illinois, US) opened; how many of these have since closed and how many more have opened, I don’t know.


Why can’t you buy litre bottles of gin?

You can my friend, you can.

A quick Google search shows a plethora of brands selling their junipery offering in 1 litre bottles. Of course, I am in the UK and the person posing this question may not be; I am unaware of specific laws in other countries banning the sale of gin in 1 litre quantities.


Why is Bombay Sapphire not a gin?

It is.

Some people don’t consider Bombay Sapphire to be a real gin. The definition of gin is a spirit which derives its dominant flavour from juniper berries; Some people hold the view that, in Bombay Sapphire, the juniper is not dominant enough and this has lead to a pseudo-category of spirit dubbed “vodka-gin” where low-juniper gins reside.

I can see the reasoning; at what point does a vodka flavoured with juniper become a gin? Flavour dominance is a very subjective thing and having clear definitions is not going to be possible.

Personally, I class “vodka-gins” as a category of gin; so, in my opinion, Bombay Sapphire is a gin.


So, there you have it; not the most interesting post in the world, but one that both entertained me and expanded my own knowledge in a few areas.