I'm in England this week, learning all about gin from the Master Distillers at Beefeater and Plymouth, and experiencing the London cocktail scene (it's a rough life, but someone has to do it...)
Today we visited the Beefeater Distillery, the last of the major London Dry gins to actually be produced in London. Master Distiller Desmond Payne took us on the tour of the distillery, where we learned about the origins and flavor profiles of the various botanicals that go into Beefeater. He also led us through a comparative nosing/tasting of some other gins on the market, before we were let loose in the Beefeater bar to sample a variety of classic and contemporary gin cocktails, including a Sangaree, Collins, White Lady and a smoky, brooding variation on the Martinez made with Lapsang Souchong-infused Beefeater 24. Delish.
One of my favorite drinks was the refreshing citrus- and blackberry-based Bramble:
Bramble 2 oz. Beefeater gin 1 oz. fresh lemon juice 1 barspoon of simple syrup (they used a thicker gomme syrup, though you could do a 2:1 sugar to water simple syrup) 1/2 oz. Creme de Mure (blackberry liqueur) Lemon slice and blackberry, for garnish.
Add gin, lemon juice and sugar to rocks glass. Stir, add crushed ice, and top with Creme de Mure. Garnish with a lemon slice and a blackberry.
Tomorrow we're taking a picturesque journey down to Plymouth for more gin-spiration.