This wasn’t my first time tasting the Sacred gin range – but being a fan girl and with the tasting at my local promising more than just a G&T, how I could I resist?!
Our welcome G&T from Hillary and Rachel from Sacred – their London Dry Gin served with FeverTree tonic and garnished with pink grapefruit and rosemary. A refreshing start to the evening at the Colonel Fawcett.
So what’s the deal with Sacred? Well Hillary and Ian set up in their living room in Highgate using a cold vacuum distillation method (which means that its not as hot or dangerous as using a pot still in your front room!). Having decided that they could do better than the gin down the local pub, they involved their locals in taste testing the gin recipes until they settled on something they (and the pub) liked – batch 23 a classic London Dry.
The rest they say is history. Since then they have expanded their gin range to include an Organic one, with more juniper and a higher ABV; 6 botanical gins, each taking one of their key botanicals from the main recipe and ramping them up; 2 vodkas; 3 vermouths, a spiced vermouth from mulled wine using distillates, an amber and an extra dry; a Rosehip cup and finally their Christmas Pudding gin – distilled using whole Christmas Puddings!
We got to taste our way through the botanical gins. Whilst there are 12 botanicals in total in Sacred London Dry, the one that makes it stand out is the Frankincense – truly unusual, I’ve never heard of another gin using this!
The botanical gins are not single distillates, but rather the gin with a higher concentration of each of the named botanicals – they still contain all the same base ingredients – which makes them not able to be called ‘London Dry’ style as they don’t have the required 50% minimum juniper.
We started with the Juniper gin – one for gin lovers as it is heavy on the juniper, which is the classic gin taste. The juniper itself is picked in Tuscany and has a piney flavour. The ABV at 43% is designed to cope with a little dilution from ice, for example if it wasn’t kept in the fridge before making cocktails. Of course we (a reduced Gin Club with a Reading Problem of Anne and I) liked this one. However I was keen to move on to the more unusual flavours and see what Anne though of those.
Second was the Pink Grapefruit gin – Sacred use whole grapefruits when they distill this – zest, skin, juice and fruit and you can really tell this in the taste. The gin smells generally sweeter than the Juniper and the flavour really opens up with the addition of tonic, the citrus benefiting from the cooler distillation method. This is a perfect long summer drink – refreshing and zesty!
Orris gin was next = this was an unsual flavour. Orris is the root of the Iris flower and is used a lot in perfumes and in gin as a fixative i.e. holding the flavours together, because of this bartenders love to use it in cocktails. I thought it tasted like parma violets with a hint of lavender – definitely a heavy floral aroma, Ian describes it like tasting the colour purple! Hillary recommends trying the Orris gin in an Aviation and I reckon I could drink it easily in a Martini, however it got a little lost with the normal tonic water – a lighter one may have suited it better for a G&T.
Coriander gin is memorable for me as being one with citrus notes and yet no citrus! Apparently if you like Gordon’s that is heavy on the coriander, but don’t be put off if you don’t – coriander is used as a botanical in lots of gins. I thought this coriander heavy gin was delicious!
Next up was my favourite – Cardamom gin. This is very distinct, Sacred use organic green cardamom from Guatemala and you can taste the freshness! It smells fresh and green and is lovely with tonic, in fact as the flavour is strong you don’t need as much gin in your mix as some of the other flavours (i.e. good for a longer drink).
Our final taste was Licorice gin. This is very similar to an Old Tom style gin where it adds sweetness without having to use sugar. Anne was dubious about this until she tried it as she does not like licorice, however it doesn’t have a stand alone licorice taste, its much more subtle than that and you do taste the sweetness coming through. This is one to use for any old style cocktails, where the balance of flavours needs a particular style.
The line up – almost all empty!
After Rachel’s talk and the tasting there was a quiz (that I wasn’t allowed to compete in as I’ve heard most of it before!) and the lucky winner took home a bottle of Sacred London Dry.
However as it was Negroni week I didn’t want to stop there, whilst the Colonel Fawcett didn’t have the complete Sacred Negroni set I had one at home – so back it was for the Sacred Highgate Negroni:
This uses the Sacred London Dry, the Rosehip cup (made with English ingredients, but basically a bitter to replace Campari) and their English Vermouth, a tasty end to a great evening!
The best place to buy Sacred is from their website and if anyone wants to get me a bottle of the Cardamom, please do!
Keep an eye on the Colonel Fawcett’s social media for the next tasting, always advisable to book, but always free.