Martin Miller’s – a classic gin you need in your collection
The first time I tried Martin Miller’s gin was when it was showcased as the ‘gin of the month’ at my favourite gin pub – The Oliver Conquest. They hosted a gin tasting for people to try the gin and some of the different serves and we also learnt more about the history of gin. This was at the start of my own gin journey and if you want to have a read of my first experience and review you can find it here: Martin Miller’s tasting @ the Oliver Conquest
The Martin Miller’s story starts with Martin Miller wanting to create a great gin for gin and tonics. He and his friends were fed up of poor quality gin and tonics, so this is where his gin creation focused: on the quality.
All of the botanicals were selected based on their quality, never mind where they were from. This even stretched to the water! The best (aka most pure) water in the world was found to be from New Zealand – but that was a stretch too far. So they used the second most pure from Iceland. Hence the English-Icelandic combination of Martin Miller’s gin was born. Does the water make that much of a difference to the gin? Well Gin Foundry have done some taste testing and found it does! (despite the science not being clear, which I imagine is a frustration to Olivier!)
Sadly Martin Miller passed away in 2013, however his legacy of great quality gin and innovation remains for us to enjoy today.
Martin wanted his gin to ‘taste of gin’ – not of ‘of some highly flavoured confection’ and so the heart of the flavour are the traditional botanicals of juniper, citrus peel (lime, lemon and bitter orange), coriander, angelica, orris root, licorice root, cassia bark and nutmeg.
The gin is made with two separate distillations made with a traditional copper pot still process, first with the citrus ingredients above. The second distills the earthier botanicals and the two are then combined together. This part is done at Langley’s distillery in a pot still named Angela. The uncut gin then travels to Iceland.
Martin Miller created innovation by adding a separate distillate of cucumber at the end, when cutting with the Icelandic water. The main reason for the cucumber distillate was to add a drying agent to the finish, not to add flavour as such. In Martin’s own words: “I remember at the time people thought it crazy and pure weird to use cucumber.”
This innovative addition of cucumber flavour was something discovered and copied with much success by the brand you may all be familiar with today: Hendricks gin….
So what does it taste like?
Martin Miller’s gin is very smooth and doesn’t have a strong alcohol burn even when neat and at 40% proof – probably a result of the pure water. The classic gin flavour comes through with juniper on the nose and the citrus notes balanced by the earthier cassia. There is a dryness on the finish (from that cucumber!) but you don’t taste cucumber. (To be fair, if I want to actually taste a gin I would never serve it with the amount of cucumber that accompanies most Hendricks g&ts). The gin is very versatile, which makes it the perfect base for a home gin collection.
For the classic gin and tonic I recommend serving with fresh lemon or lime, to capture the citrus notes, accompanied by FeverTree tonic. My ratio of gin to tonic is usually somewhere around 1:2, but of course you can change this up to suit your palate.
I’ve also tried Martin Miller’s with a more summery serve of fresh strawberries and cracked black pepper, so again this is a versatile gin that will work in multiple ways – one you need in your gin collection for sure!
For a classic cocktail that works superbly with Martin Miller’s gin I always go for a martini! ??
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Where to find Martin Miller’s gin:
You can buy Martin Miller’s original gin online from The Gin Kiosk, along with their Westbourne strength (45.2%), which has more of a punch in flavour as well as alcohol content. Other online stores also stock their cask aged gin, 9 Moons, which I got the pleasure of trying at Junipalooza Hamburg, and is worth a taste if you like aged spirits.
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