Gin Review: Gordon’s

Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.” Thusly did James Bond, in 1953, invent the Vesper. Well, sort of. More correctly Ian Fleming did when he added these lines to “Casino Royale”.

When I read this a couple of questions jumped immediately to mind. Why specify Gordon’s and Kina Lillet but not the Vodka? For that matter, why Gordon’s?

Not being a Vodka fan I pondered about Gordon’s. Presumably if James Bond called for it by name it must be a pretty damn good Gin, right? After all this is the literary James Bond. He’s partial to Bentley’s and Rolex. Sea Island cotton shirts and Savile Row suits. After Martini his favorite beverage was, arguably, Champagne. Taittinger Blanc de Blancs Brut 1943 being specifically mentioned, also in Casino Royale.

So I procured a bottle of Gordon’s recently and looked forward to enjoying the only Gin known to be endorsed by James Bond!!

The result?? Meh.

Gordon’s is definitely a London Dry Gin with dominant juniper flavor. There’s a touch of additional spices, maybe a citrus in the background, and it’s just a bit sweet. All in all a very typical, though simple, London gin. Overall not a gin I would choose for a Martini. Gin & Tonic? Maybe, though the subtle gin flavors will be overpowered leaving you with the Tonic’s quinine and Gordon’s juniper. Sort of a piney bitterness!

But Gordon’s was the 2018 World’s best selling Gin, so somebody must like it. (10th July, 2019 “The Spirit Business”) Perhaps what I called simple, others call traditional? Or even ‘classic’? Of course there is also the price point, which is, shall we say, affordable. (1.75 L of Gordon’s listed at $20 vs $36-39 for Sapphire or $34-36 for Tanqueray.)

So what went wrong? Why did Fleming, in the guise of 007, choose this Gin?

Were there not many Gin choices in 1953, particularly British choices. Well there were fewer choices to be sure. Bombay Sapphire? No, it was brought to market for the first time in 1986. Hendricks? Nope, launched in 1999. Nolet’s? Not even in the same Century – 2009
But all the following were available choices in 1953. Of these my favorite is Plymouth.
Beefeater,? Yes, a newcomer since 1862
Tanqueray? Has been around since 1830
Plymouth? Yes, as of 1793
Gordons? Yes, since 1769
Boodles? 1762 was when it was first founded.
Bombay Original Dry? First formulated in 1761

So why did Ian Fleming choose Gordon’s? It could be because in 1925 Gordon’s was awarded its first Royal Warrant by King George V. That bestows a certain level of prestige.

However, considering that James Bond’s father was Scottish, there’s a legend I like to think is more fun, if not actually the reason. According to this legend, a member of Clan Gordon saved the King of Scotland from an attacking boar while hunting. That’s why every label and bottle top of Gordon’s gin bears an illustration of a wild boar.

 

Buy in the final analysis it doesn’t really matter why.  Gordon’s is an affordable basic London style gin that is just fine as your everyday, share with your friends, gin for a sunny summer day on the verandah.  But I’ll pass when it comes to my Martini.

Random Martini Quote for the Day

I should like to elbow aside the established pieties and raise my martini glass in salute to the mortal arts of pleasure.
Bob Shacochis

Looking for more outstanding “Martini Quotes”?  I believe we have the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently, you should!
Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you’re looking for something a bit more humorous, check out a fine selections of Martin Jokes.

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Random Martini Quote of the Day

Something to help brighten up the week. Cheers.

See, in mixing the important thing is the rhythm.  Always have a rhythm in your shaking.  Now a Manhattan, you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time.  But a Martini, you always shake to waltz time.
Nick Charles, The Thin Man

Looking for more outstanding “Martini Quotes”?  I believe we have the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you’re looking for something a bit more humorous, check out a fine selections of Martin Jokes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in,
please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.  

We also have a Twitter Site @Shkn_Nt_Strrd which doesn’t quite have all the same information as this blog, but is also fun. Check it out. 🙂

Gin Review: Balfour Street London Dry Gin

Some time ago I was perusing my local liquor box store in order to replenish my Gin stock.  As always I look for anything new and interesting.  I was rewarded with a display announcing a new Gin and proclaiming it a 2018 World Gin Award winner.  Now that caught my eye!  And the price was right, so I’m now the proud owner of a mostly full bottle of Balfour Street London Dry Gin.

I was a bit skeptical of the Award advertising so I checked it out when I got home and indeed this Gin is a 2018 World Gin Award winner.  For Taste (as opposed to Style), in the London Dry Gin style (there are nine style taste winners).  I also note that this Gin is part of the Melchers Group, Netherlands, is you’re interested in the parent company.

So much for the basics…. what does it taste like?   The raw Gin is citrus with a woody hint (juniper), touch of spice, slight  pepper

In a well chilled Martini there is still citrus on the nose, but on the tongue the pepper comes forward with juniper undertones that linger past the pepper.  There’s still a bit of spice but mostly subdued through out.  It’s also has a soft mouth feel which, considering I shake my Martinis, is quite welcome.  All in all a very good Gin for a Martini.

I haven’t tried it in a G&T yet but I’m not sure how the pepper would play with the quinine of the tonic.  Definitely worth a test drive though, when I find another bottle.  I finished this one on martinis.  Which, perhaps, is the best endorsement of all?

Currently about $28 for 750ml at your friendly neighborhood big box liquor store.

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5th Anniversary

Today, December 24th, marks the 5th anniversary of this Blog. I have to admit that when I started this adventure I never imagined it would live this long. Looking back, despite some ups and downs, I am very happy with how this blog has grown. It will continue and I look forward to the 10th Anniversary.

I want to thank everyone who has read my blog and/or made suggestions, comments, or even critiques.   Your comments and support have been much appreciated.  As always, I solicit your restaurant and Martini review suggestions, they are ALWAYS welcome here. Especially Martini Reviews!

Also, If any of you would like to see a specific Gin reviewed, please forward any such suggestions and I will do my very best to review it.

😉

As I did last year, and the year before, I would also like to take a moment to pat myself on the back …. The “Martini Quotes” page continues to be, I believe, the best collection Martini and general drinking quotes anywhere.  The quotes page definitely gets the most ‘views’ and seems to get the most Google referrals. If you find a better quotes page, please let me know and I’ll go steal everything I don’t have.  

I was watching my son act like James Bond in the garden earlier today.
He wasn’t going round pretending to shoot people,
he was sipping martini’s and chatting up all the ladies that walked by.
I’m so proud of him.

If you’re looking for more of a joke than a quote,
some very good Martini Jokes can be found at:  Martini Jokes

Random Martini Quote of the Day

I haven’t done one of these in while, I’ve been remiss. To, hopefully, make up for that here’s one of my favorites. Hopefully yours also.

“Happiness is a dry martini and a good woman … or a bad woman.”
George Burns

Looking for more outstanding “Martini Quotes”?  I believe we have the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you’re looking for something a bit more humorous, check out a fine selections of Martin Jokes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in,
please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.    

Happy National Martini Day!

Today, June 19th, is National Martini Day! It is also Hump Day! How do those go together? I haven’t a clue, but it doesn’t really matter, either is a great excuse to have a Martini. Actually it’s almost mandatory! Enjoy! Preferably Shaken, Not Stirred. 😉

Keep Calm

H.L. Mencken described the Martini as “perfect as a sonnet” and Herman Wouk said a great Martini “sort of tastes like it isn’t there at all, just a cold cloud.”  Outstanding endorsements!!

Always Celebrate Safely.
Remember the advice of Dean Martin:
“If you drink, don’t drive. Don’t even putt.”

Dean Martin

The quotes above, and many more,
can be found on my “Martini Quotes” page.

Bar Review: One Flew South, Atlanta Airport

As you may know from my other bar reviews, I fly through the Atlanta airport regularly.  I’ve even written about one particular restaurant, my favorite, at Atlanta; P.F. Chang’s.  As it works out most of my transits through Atlanta either arrive or depart from concourse A, where P.F. Chang’s is, which works out perfectly.

But occasionally my flights will take me into and out of Concourses D, E, or even F.  On one such transit I decided to stop by One Flew South located in the center of Concourse E.  I’m quite glad I did and have been back a couple of times when my flights go in or out of that end of the World’s biggest airport, by passengers flown.

The ambiance is clean and open, lots of wood influence including the floors, open beams, bar top, and the slatted open wall along the concourse.  Also lots of marble on the walls. One wall is decorated in a forest scene.  All in all a very comfy and casual environment.

One Flew South serves an eclectic mix of Sushi and southern food.  And very nicely so!  Their menu includes appetizers of Poke Tacos and Pork Belly Sliders and Duck Confit Croquettes.  Entrees include Thyme Roasted Pork Belly, Soy Glazed Salmon, Seoul Burger, and their Meatloaf Sandwich – the “OFS” Dirty South:

And, of course, a selection of sushi. The portions are ‘modern’, even avant-garde.  Okay, they’re a bit smallish, but everything I’ve had has all been delicious.  The menu does change regularly, so be forewarned I’m making no guarantees that anything noted here will ever be available again.

The staff was excellent, very attentive when you need something but they leave you eat and drink when you don’t.  The bartenders do seem to have a lot of fun themselves behind the bar and that makes for a pleasant, almost festive, atmosphere.

About the Martinis?  Well, not quite up to the level of the food.  First of all the glasses are not pre-chilled.  Second, the bartender’s prepared the Martini stirred, not shaken which usually means warmer than the ‘correct’ method.  However he did stir for quite some time so the Martini appeared well chilled.

The Martinis are not what you’d call ample.  And for $15 you would expect ample.  But it is an airport.

Finally, they’re not served in the appropriated stem, it was served in Champagne goblet.  Those that are regular readers of this blog know that I’m a bit of a stem snob and prefer my Martinis in a Martini stem.

Overall One Flew South gets one stem.  
As I mentioned above, their Martinis are good!   Certainly not exceptional enough for my two stem award.  However, the food certainly makes it worth a visit or two.  Or three?

For selection One Flew South gets a B.
Their list of Gins on my latest visit included: Bombay Sapphire, Fords, Hendrick’s, Botanist, and Monkey 47.  On prior visits they have had Bluecoat, Hat Trick and Empress.  Like their menu selection, this list may change in time.

If you’re not familiar with that Fantastic Monkey 47, I would refer you to the following: Gin Review: Monkey 47

For those inclined to visit their website: “http://www.oneflewsouthatl.com

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe.  If not, please post a comment telling us how and why you disagree.

If you’re curious about what one vs. two stems means,
I refer you to the following:
*****   Rating Definitions   ****

4th Anniversary!

Image result for 4th

This month, tomorrow December 24th to be exact, marks the 4th anniversary of this Blog and I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has read my blog and/or made suggestions, comments, or even critiques.   Your comments and support have been much appreciated and have helped keep me going on rare occasions when I have been a bit less motivated to write.  I couldn’t have done nearly as much without you. As always, I solicit your restaurant and Martini reviews, they are ALWAYS welcome here. Especially Martini Reviews!

 

This year I have made progress on my adventures in homemade Gin, added Gin reviews, and more bar reviews.  I had hopes of doing more but real life intervened.  None-the-less I have 10 additional posts in some stage of draft, including more Gin and restaurant reviews.  You can look forward to these appearing in the future along with new adventures in Gin making.

 

If any of you would like to see a specific Gin or Restaurant reviewed, please forward any such suggestions and I will do my very best to review them.

 

As I did last year, and the year before, I would also like to take a moment to pat myself on the back …. the “Martini Quotes” page is, I believe, currently the best collection Martini and general drinking quotes anywhere.  Looking over stats for this blog, the quotes page definitely gets the most ‘views’ and seems to get the most Google referrals. If you find a better quotes page, please let me know and I’ll go steal everything I don’t have.   😉

 

 

I was watching my son act like James Bond in the garden earlier today.
He wasn’t going round pretending to shoot people,
he was sipping martini’s and chatting up all the ladies that walked by.
I’m so proud of him.

 

More Martini Jokes can be found at:  Martini Jokes

 

 

twitter

If you use twitter,  you can find more Martini mayhem, along with a myriad of other “finer things in life”, at

Homemade Gin; Round 4.5, a check on the Juniper

 

Looking back at my past Gin making efforts I can honestly say I’ve learned a lot.  But I can also say that I’ve got a long way to go before I’ll be competing against Bombay, Tanqueray, and Hendrick’s.  Of course the big boys are (mostly) making their gin using a distillation process and I’m using the compound method.  So there’s no reason to expect one process to be the equal of the other.

 

But one can try.  And since it’s illegal for me to distill anything in my state I’ll stick to the, allegedly, inferior compounding.

 

When I first started out (I Made Gin!!) I simply used a recipe I found on line.  It was fun and educational but produced a rather harsh Gin.  I wanted to understand why.  My second round of Gin (Homemade Gin, Round #2) was slightly better, though hardly good.  By the third round I’d make progress by doing less (Homemade Gin, Round #3).  And round four (Homemade Gin; Round 4) was even better, to the point that it made an acceptable Martini.  Though probably better in a G&T.

 

In celebration I took a break to ponder my next move.  I’m still pondering, but also decided to do a little experiment.  Probably one of the biggest problems I’ve had is that there are just so many variables to manage!  So many botanicals to choose from.  Citrus or Herbal?  Floral?  Cardamon, Cloves, Cilantro, Celery?  How much of each?  Ground up or whole or chopped?  When to add to the Vodka?  At the start?  after 24 hours?  How long to let it all steep?  48 hours?

 

One of the many variables to manage is the starting Vodka.  I’ve been using New Amsterdam 100 proof Vodka or Absolut’s 100 proof.  There are a few others but those two seem to be the most available at the local liquor box store.  Which of course means I’m starting with different flavors, even if they are very subtly different.  Ideally of course I’d start with 190 proof food grade ethanol.  But I’m not there …. yet.  (5 gallons costs about $250, so it’s not out of the question by any means.)

 

Comparing the taste of these two it’s pretty clear that Absolut is the winner.  It’s cleaner with a very neutral taste and very smooth.  New Amsterdam is just not quite as clean with a mostly neutral taste but a very slight cocoa flavor!!??  So the choice has been made, I’m going with New Amsterdam from now on.  Why?  Because its roughly $25 for 1.75l and Absolut is approx $30 for 1l.  And it’s more readily available.

 

My next experiment is another case of back tracking and doing less with even less.  This time the goal is to establish a fundamental taste profile: Juniper.   So back to the kitchen laboratory for a small batch of Gin.

 

Here’s the ingredients and weights and times for this batch:
Day 0:
Juniper, 10gm (about 5 teaspoons) in 350 ml of New Amsterdam 100pf Vodka.

And nothing else.  Yup, simple pure Juniper with nothing to hide or hinder or enhance it’s taste.

 

Then 24 hours of infusing, straining, and finally tasting.   The results?  Well the first thing, thankfully, is that there is plenty of juniper flavor in the Gin.  On the nose, forward, and the finish.  The second thing, also thankfully, is that the juniper isn’t overpowering.  Yes, it’s a little like chewing on pine needles, but not at all like chewing on the whole branch.  Third, there wasn’t any other new flavors.

 

Most importantly from my point of view was comparing the Juniper only Gin with the source Vodka.  Yes I could still taste the underlying New Amsterdam subtle faint cocoa, but just barely and only because I knew it was there and could ‘look’ for  it.  I will have to account for that in the future.  At least I know where it’s coming from.

 

Now on to Homemade Gin, Round 5!   I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

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