Cocktails with... Knockeen Hills Heather Gin.
Today is the first day of Spring and, to celebrate, I thought that today's Gin Review (of Knockeen Hills Heather Gin) should feature some suitably seasonal drinks.
Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is from the same folks that make Knockeen Hills Poteen; I'm sure a fair amount of that was enjoyed last Saturday (St. Patrick's Day). They also make a superb Elderflower Gin, with an identical outstanding soft delivery of the spirit on the palate.
The Heather Gin was first released in 2009 and is bottled at 47.3% ABV. The Elderflower Gin (and the one I reviewed) was originally bottled at the same strength, but this has recently been reduced to 43% in order to bring out more of the elderflower flavour and result in a tastier product overall.
Bottled at 47.3% ABV Knockeen Hills uses a base Irish Whey Spirit that is distilled five times and the botanicals it uses are steeped for 24 hours. It is described as "London Cut" which means in addition to being a London Dry Gin, it is, distilled and the botanicals are cut in London.
Knockeen Hills Heather Gin contains five botanicals:
From the botanical mix, you can see that the gin is not simply flavoured with heather, but rather that heather is a prominent botanical (after juniper, of course).
Although this initially has a strong juniper flavour, this gin is actually much smoother and more mellow than many, certainly in a G&T. Some fruitiness then develops towards the end, accompanied by a hint of floral notes. Although it is quite light, it is also rather dry.
This a Spanish style of G&T; a nod to Knockeen Hills' popularity in Spain. The Gin & Tonic was served in a large balloon glass filled with cracked ice and garnished with some crushed juniper berries; one berry had also been run around the rim.
After a little while, the outside of the glass becomes heavily frosted, which I quite like.
As for the drink, it is delicious: the garnish brings out the juniper of the gin, producing something of a super-charged G&T. Despite this, it had the same light dryness as the normal G&T
(From Dr. No)
[Juice of one lime + shells, 50ml Gin, will with ice, top up with tonic]
A nice combination, complex and full of flavour. This a crisp and cooling drink, the lime comes through more an also the very faintest hint of vanilla. This drink is a great way to relax and cool down.
[50ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 150ml Pink Lemonade*]
Add ingredients to a tall glass with plenty of ice and garnish with citrus fruit slices.
The tart lemonade goes well with the strong juniper and slightly floral aspect of the gin, creating a drink that is clean, crisp and oh-so refreshing. Definitely a taste of the summer drinks to come.
[25ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, 25ml Grapefruit Juice, 25ml Sugar Syrup, 100ml Soda Water]
Very refreshing; less zing and tart than a normal Gin Collins, but still full of citrus, with a hint of bitterness from the grapefruit. Grapefruit and gin are usually good partners and this drink is no exception.
[30ml Knockeen Hills Heather Gin, Half a Kiwi, 1/2tsp Sugar]
Muddle half a peeled kiwi in the bottom of a shaker, add gin and sugar, shake and fine-strain.
Initially, you get the gin, which is followed by the sweet, succulent kiwi. The dry juniper reappears on the finish. Some floral elements pop up throughout, but I thought this was quite a tart drink, overall.
Pretty classic to start: juniper, coriander, and citrus, all followed by herbal heather notes.
Rather tasty; a little smoother, sweeter and more floral than most Negronis, but rather tasty nonetheless.
- 50ml Sugar
- 100ml Lemon Juice
- 500ml Water
- A Handful of Red Berries
Combine ingredients in a jug and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Make sure that you muddle or crush the strawberries/raspberries/cranberries whilst straining.
Before drinking/bottling, strain out the berries.
Knockeen Hills Heather Gin is avaliable to purchase from a number of different outlets, please click here to view.
From; BBC 2 Food and Drink 'Something for the Weekend' programme, 13th June 2010
'A fruity summer cocktail made with delicately flavoured heather gin'.
Preparation time: less than 5 mins
Cooking time: no cooking required
Note: to assist in their acquisition, Heather 'London Cut' dry gin has used brand names where appropriate.
- Place the chopped cucumber, mint leaves, pear juice, sour apple liqueur, heather gin and a handful of ice into a cocktail shaker and shake well.
- Strain the cocktail into a coupette glass and garnish with the cucumber slice and mint sprig.