What better way to celebrate a New Year than to have another gin tasting with me at The Spirits Embassy on 21st January? I’ll be joined by the Persie Gin Brand Ambassador and we’ll be talking gin, cocktails and dogs, three of my favourite things. In the interests of equal opportunity, I should add that Persie also produce a charity Pusscat Vodka with £1 from each bottle for Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home to help support their work rescuing and rehoming cats.

As well as their 3 gins which we’ll be enjoying on the tasting, Persie Gin produce 4 dog charity gins (Spaniel, Labrador, Dachshund gin liqueur and Dog Days) and £1 from each bottle is donated to Perthshire Abandoned Dogs Society (PADS) to help support their work rescuing and rehoming dogs. I love this idea and would recommend adopting dogs (and cats!), my 3 greyhounds are my 8th-10th rescue dogs and they reward me with so much affection, it’s wonderful seeing them develop and gain confidence – and, in the case of all 4 of the greyhounds I’ve adopted, discover the sheer joy of toys. And sofas.

Persie Gin have a range of 7 gins/gin liqueurs and we’ll be tasting 5 of those gins in 30ml sample bottles and 5 different tonics in the following order:

  1. Zesty Citrus Gin – Walter Gregor Tonic Water
  2. Herby & Aromatic Gin – Walter Gregor Mint and Cucumber Tonic Water
  3. Labrador Gin – Walter Gregor Spiced Tonic Water
  4. Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Gin – Walter Gregor Scottish Raspberry Tonic Water
  5. Spaniel Gin – Walter Gregor Apple and Cinnamon Tonic Water

As ever, please chill the tonics beforehand and only pour half of each 30ml measure of gin into a glass – and no tonic yet. I treat gin tastings like whisky ones, so you get the best out of each gin. We’ll start by nosing it and discussing what we detect, not just the botanicals but other flavours and we’ll talk on Zoom and/or in the chat. I’ve had a sneak sip or two and you’re in for a treat! 

Next, we’ll sip the gin and talk about it – expect lots of memories of childhood sweets and favourite meals, as well as a tasting trip around the spice rack, greengrocer’s, garden and hedgerows. Then, pour half of the tonic into another glass and we get to nose and taste the tonic on its own before mixing them both and talking through the combination and the extra flavours that produces. 

At the end of the tasting, you can mix the remaining gins with the other tonics or hold them back to make the suggested cocktails – and don’t forget that there will be a special offer with The Spirits Embassy for the Persie Gins we’ve enjoyed on the night, exclusively for those who’ve bought the tasting pack.

Special mention to Walter Gregor Tonics for their quality mixers. This is a boxed set of 5 tonics, their original tonic water and 4 flavoured ones, each carefully matched to the gins. You can buy extra from The Spirits Embassy, as well as boxed sets of 4 of their classic tonic waters.

We’ll be joined on the night by Persie Gin’s Brand Ambassador who will talk us through the history of the company, their support for animal rescue and the gins themselves. I’m there for the tasting notes, cocktails, tonics and general gin talk.

Prices are for 50cl bottles, pre-discount.

Zesty Citrus, 42% ABV, £29.99 – Walter Gregor Tonic Water

Main botanicals: Juniper, orange zest and lime zest.

Gimlet! Sorry, as soon as I saw the botanicals, my mind went straight into Gimlet mode which is the obvious mix for this fresh and fruity gin. The traditional mix is equal parts but, when a citrus gin like this one is involved, I stick to 4 parts gin to 3 parts lime cordial. Fresh lime can be too harsh which is why I stick to the cordial – or mix lime juice and sugar syrup. The classic lime cordial is so much easier and I love the fact that this cocktail was created by a surgeon to keep sailors healthy. Disclaimer, do not drink Gimlets and sail ships!

40ml Persie Zesty Citrus Gin
30ml Rose’s Lime Cordial
Lime wheel, to garnish

Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker full of ice, strain into an Old-fashioned glass and garnish with a lime wheel. I use Nim’s Fruit Infusions dehydrated fruits, such as lime wheels, for a more intense flavour and the sheer convenience of having them in the house. Store the packet in a tin or jar once opened.

We’ve had a Gimlet cocktail on these tastings before but I wanted to include it for this one because it’s such a great combination. In the interests of fairness and extra value for money, I’m adding a second cocktail

Vesper Martini

There could only be one vodka for this classic cocktail so beloved of James Bond but with updated ingredients which I’m sure he’d approve (disclaimer, he’s a fictional character drinking what was then a fictional cocktail named after a fictional spy – Vesper Lynd) – Persie Pusscat Vodka which has herb and black pepper notes and raises money for Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home. If you don’t have Lillet Blanc, you can use a dry Vermouth such as In the Loop Dry White Vermouth which uses lemon verbena, a perfect match for Persie Zesty Citrus Gin.

60ml Persie Zesty Citrus Gin
20ml Persie Pusscat Vodka
10ml Lillet Blanc
Lemon peel, to garnish

Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake – not stir – and strain into a Martini glass, garnishing with a large twist of lemon peel.

 

Herby & Aromatic, 40% ABV, £29.99 – Walter Gregor Mint and Cucumber Tonic Water

Main botanicals: Juniper, rosemary, basil, bay leaves and olives.

 

The botanicals conjure up Mediterranean scenes and you can mix this with Fever-tree Mediterranean Tonic Water. This would work perfectly in a classic Red Snapper, one of my favourite weekend brunch drinks.

Red Snapper
30ml Perisie Herby & Aromatic Gin
200ml Tomato juice
10ml Lustau PX sherry
10ml lemon juice
3 dashes of Tabasco
5 dashes of Worcestershire Sauce
3 basil leaves, ripped
2 olives, to garnish

Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shaker and strain over ice into a Collins glass, add the ripped basil leaves, stir and garnish with 2 olives.

Gin Rickey

Another classic cocktail for this herbal gin. You can replace the classic soda water with London Essence Co. Rosemary and Grapefruit Tonic Water or, if you want a kick, Double Dutch Cucumber Margarita with Chilli Soda.

30ml Persie Herby & Aromatic Gin
10ml Fresh lime juice
10ml Monin’s sugar syrup
Soda water, to top
2 lime quarters
Rosemary stick, to garnish

Pour the gin, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker full of ice, strain into a Highball glass, top with the soda water, add the lime quarters, stir and garnish with the rosemary stick.

Labrador Gin, 40% ABV, £31.99 – Walter Gregor Spiced Tonic Water

Main botanicals: Juniper, cardamom and coriander.

 

The first of the Persie Dog Gins we’re sampling. I love spiced gins and, suitably, they’re great in a Dog’s Nose Cocktail – 30ml Labrador Gin to 300ml/1 can of Guinness. It’s a simple but great long cocktail which I tend to make when I’m feeling rundown and need a boost – basically, during winter! You can use any big and butch stout, porter or brown ale, I use Guinness for its thick creaminess. You could also choose Kernel flavoured stouts, something like their Damson Export Stout would almost have a spiced fruit pie feel when you add Labrador or even Spaniel Gin.

Labradoodle Cocktail

I wanted to make a sherry cocktail and was going to use a nutty Oloroso but then saw a bottle a Palo Cortado on my shelf and realised that would be perfect. In terms of flavour, it’s between an Oloroso and Amontillado and makes for a great whisky cask. 

Santa brought me some maple syrup and, combined with the spiced gin and Palo Cortado, I knew that would make for a more sumptuous mix than a simple sugar syrup BUT if maple syrup is too sweet for you or you don’t have any, just substitute the sugar syrup. You can make your own but I use pre-made Monin’s Sugar Syrup, so much easier, especially if just mixing one or two cocktails.

30ml Persie Labrador Gin
45ml Palo Cortado
15ml maple syrup
15ml lemon juice
Orange wheel or peel, to garnish

 

Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake and strain into a Martini glass, garnishing with the orange wheel or peel.

Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Gin, 43% ABV, £31.99 – Walter Gregor Scottish Raspberry Tonic Water

Main botanicals: Fresh vanilla pods, almonds and root ginger.

 

Add the tonic and you’ve an upmarket (and alcoholic) Cranachan with a slight kick from the ginger, plus sweetness from the Old Tom style of gin, that historic slightly sweeter, old-style gin which used to be sold under the sign of a black cat through a hole in the wall. I’d dread to think what was actually served back then but this is a very stylish Old Tom Gin and deserves a very special cocktail.

Negroni
Let’s talk classics first, this would work very well in a Negroni. I use Old Tom gins in Negronis so they’re not as bitter as mixing the Campari with a London Dry Gin. I added In the Loop Semi-Sweet Red Vermouth which uses vanilla pods so is the perfect match for this stylish cocktail 

30ml Persie Sweet and Nutty Old Tom Gin
30ml Campari 
30ml In the Loop Semi-Sweet Red Vermouth
Orange wheel, to garnish

Pour the liquids into a cocktail shaker full of ice, shake and strain into an Old-fashioned glass, garnishing with the orange wheel.

Gin & Fig Jam

I love Christmas,  Santa is very, very generous and I wanted to turn another one of my gifts into a cocktail, Gin & Jam cocktail, which isn’t made nearly enough and is traditionally made using raspberry or strawberry jam but look at the botanicals – vanilla and ginger are crying out for a fig jam, although I admit I was tempted to make it with Damson & Ginger Chutney!

30ml Persie Sweet & Nutty Old Tom Gin
5ml lemon juice
5ml sugar syrup
1.5 tsp fig jam
Half a fig, to garnish

Pour the first 4 ingredients into a cocktail shaker full of ice, strain into a Martini glass and garnish with half a fig, fresh or dried. Depending on how sweet your tooth is, you can always increase the sugar syrup to 10ml and, if texture is an issue, strain through a muslin cloth.

Spaniel Gin, 41% ABV, £31.99 – Walter Gregor Apple and Cinnamon Tonic Water

 

 

Main botanicals: Juniper, mace, cinnamon and bay leaves.

 

The second of the dog charity gins, this immediately made me think of apple pie. It works beautifully with the Walter Gregor Apple and Cinnamon Tonic but you can also mix it with Gusto Organic Fiery Ginger with Chipotle or a ginger ale. Like its fellow dog charity gin, Labrador Gin, you can mix it in a Dog’s Nose cocktail but I’ve taken it a stage further because spaniels are adventurous dogs!

Black Velvety Nose Cocktail

 

 

All dog owners know that dogs’ noses get everywhere and I love a Dog’s Nose Cocktail but I also love the rather dangerous Black Velvet cocktail (equal parts Champagne and Guinness) which I first saw in a black and white film as a cure for seasickness and I remember Morris Dancing after enjoying one of two many years ago – and, no, I can’t actually Morris Dance so, beware, this is not a cocktail for drinking if you have plans but it is wonderful! Taittinger Nocturne is a sweeter (sec) Champagne but you can use whatever you have at home/is in the shops

30ml Persie Spaniel Gin
100ml Taittinger Nocturne Champagne, chilled
100ml Guinness, chilled

This is a layered drink for those with a steady hand or layerer/back of a spoon. Pour the gin into a large, chilled fluted glass, using a layerer or the back of a spoon, top the gin with Champagne and then layer the Guinness on top of that. It will all mix when you drink it so don’t worry if you can’t or simply don’t want to layer it.

That’s 5 great gins and mixers, plus tempting cocktails but it’s even more fun if you take part in the tasting and join in as much (or as little) as you want. G&T in great company with your fellow tasters, Persie Gin’s Brand Ambassador and myself, Fi Shoop. See you then!

To take part in the virtual Persie Gin Tasting for just £20, including the boxed set of 5 Walter Gregor Tonic Waters, with The Spirits Embassy on Zoom (the link will be sent with the tasting set) at 7pm on 21st January, see https://thespiritsembassy.com/products/persie-gin-tasting-night

Postage for the tasting set is just £2.95 but, if you spend over £75, it’s free

Persie Gins are available on The Spirits Embassy website https://thespiritsembassy.com/search?q=persie*

 To buy more flavoured sets of Walter Gregor Tonics for £8.99, go to https://thespiritsembassy.com/products/walter-gregors-mixers-selection-gift-pack-5-x-200ml?_pos=2&_sid=9ea801435&_ss=r or, for 4 of their original water for £4, https://thespiritsembassy.com/products/walter-gregors-tonic-water-gift-pack-4-x-200ml?_pos=1&_sid=9ea801435&_ss=r

The 12 Days of Christmas are over but Whiskies of Scotland The 12 Days of Christmas Gins sets are still available and include 12 x 30ml gins, 9 x Walter Gregor Tonics and an Orkney Gin Company glass. I love the whisky set and blogged about them on my Quaffed blog and will be doing the same for the gins. For more details about the set of great quality gins and mixers, see https://thespiritsembassy.com/products/12-days-of-christmas-gin-selection-box-2021?_pos=2&_sid=2ffc50c09&_ss=r

 

 

To find out more about PADS and to adopt a dog or donate, go to https://padsdogrescue.com

 

To discover more about Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home and to adopt a cat or dog or to donate, go to https://edch.org.uk

And keep an eye on The Spirits Embassy website for future gin tastings https://thespiritsembassy.com/collections/tasting