I am not a gin connoisseur. Everybody thinks I am, because as it happens, I drink an awful lot of it. It is the gift of choice at Christmas and Birthdays, to the point where our ‘bar’ (I say ‘bar’, but we haven’t actually built one yet – it’s essentially an overcrowded coffee table…) is straining under the weight of all the bottles. This year, in fact, was the first time my Secret Santa gift at work was not gin themed! I’ve had gin truffles, gin sweeties, gin books, gin candles, gin bubble bath, even a gin lip balm once! Any time something gin related is posted on Facebook I’m tagged by at least three people, and yet I know absolutely nothing about it really – I’ve certainly drunk my way through quite a few varieties but in terms of any actual knowledge? I have zero. I only found out recently that genever isn’t actually just Dutch gin as I’d always thought it was, for example, which made it a little awkward when everyone started at me expectantly during a pub quiz and I got the answer wrong…! So despite my complete lack of any useful knowledge, my friends do seem to see me as a bit of a trusted source when it comes to trying something new, so I thought maybe I’d try to put that to use and start a bit of a blog series! I certainly can’t promise you any serious information – serious ginners will most likely scoff at my complete ignorance when it comes to the ‘right’ way to drink mother’s ruin. However, I do have a lot of experience in drinking it, so whether you’re new to this gin obsession that seems to have taken the country by storm of late or are just a like-minded fan who’s looking for their next favourite tipple, I thought my ill-informed but honest findings could be of use to you too? Afterall, sometimes the opinion of a layman is actually a bit more helpful and easier to decipher than that of a true expert, right?
So without further ado (because that was actually quite a lot of ado wasn’t it?? Talk about a rambling introduction…), I thought I’d introduce my current favourite gin, Brockmans!
I was first introduced to Brockmans at the 2016 Birmingham Gin Festival, where I was lucky enough to attend a masterclass run by them. Here, during a hilarious and extremely fun talk by one of their reps, we learnt that as well as wanting to create a gin that was smooth enough that people would want to drink it neat, they also wanted to reinvent the traditional image of gin, which let’s face it, is normally either of drunk, crying Victorians passed out in Gin Lane, or maybe these days taking your Nan out for a nice bit of afternoon tea. What they came up with as the image for the Brand was more of a saucy, underground burlesque kind of feel, characterised by the heavy, black glass bottle and the tagline, ‘A Gin Like No Other’. With a strong social media presence and pop up events being a regular feature, it’s clear that this is a gin for the modern age!
The Expert’s Description…
According to their website, “Brockmans unique recipe of naturally grown aromatic botanicals are steeped in pure grain spirit for many hours to release their natural oils and aromas. The more traditional notes of gin are combined with a refreshing influence of citrus and aromatic wild berries. Bulgarian coriander plays its part, providing an aromatic, gingery orange top note. This blends perfectly with the soft and rounded harmonies of blueberries and blackberries, all of which is supported by the bottom note of Tuscan juniper berries. Dry, bittersweet Valencian orange peel elongates the deeper tones and gives an intensely smooth finish. Thereafter, Brockmans is slowly distilled in a 100 year old traditional copper still, where we capture the heart of the gin distillation. The distinctive gin notes derived from Brockmans unique recipe deliver an exquisite intensely smooth gin, with a uniquely defining sensual taste experience.”
The Layman’s Description…
Basically, it tastes like blackberries! Having a bit of a sweet tooth, I’ve always been a fan of fruity spirits, but unlike most fruit gins – which tend to be heavy and syrupy in their consistency – this is a strong, clear spirit with all the characteristic of a gin, but just…. different! Going by some of the online reviews I’ve seen, some traditionalists are horrified by the idea that you might want to make your gin taste of fruit, so are not enamoured by this rather unusual flavour. For me – someone who in equal parts adores the classic juniper taste of gin, but is also a fickle being that likes to change it up here and there – I LOVE IT. The dark berry aromas hit you immediately, but while sweet, it’s still deliciously crisp. I could drink this all day long, though since I work in the licensed retail industry, please don’t tell anyone that I condone that kind of behaviour…
How to drink it…
While I can completely see that this could be sipped neat, I prefer a long, refreshing drink (read: I’m just not that hardcore…) so I tend to go for the classic G&T, and was pretty smug with myself when I found that my preferred way of drinking it – with lots of ice, a good quality tonic and a handful of blueberries – is pretty darn close to their suggested perfect serve. Brockmans also recommend a slice of pink grapefruit peel to bring out the citrus flavours, which I’ll admit sounds mouthwatering and I definitely would have added if I’d had one to hand – oh the trials of living in the countryside! I now have a memo to buy a couple of pink grapefruits on the next Aldi trip!
I also wanted to try out one of their recommended cocktails just to reeeeally make sure I’d given a thorough review – it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. I selected the Brockmans 75 because I really like the idea of trying classic recipe with such an unusual gin (also, because of the aforementioned living in the countryside and limited access to ingredients…) plus, I never say no to a little added splash of fizz! I’m partial to things on the sour end of the scale already, but the sweetness of the berries really was a nice combination, so given that this is probably one of the easier ones to try out I’d definitely give it a thumbs up:
- 50ml Brockmans Gin
- 25ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 15ml Sugar syrup (created by mixing equal parts sugar and water until completely dissolved)
- Champagne, Prosecco or good quality English sparkling wine
- Shake the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup with cubed ice.
- Strain into a champagne flute and top with the sparkling wine.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.
There is a veritable feast of other delicious sounding cocktail recipes to try out over at Brockmansgin.com but even if your tastes are more classic I urge you to give this gorgeous gin a try. Oh, and if someone could point me in the direction of a good dark chocolate liqueur I’m definitely up for giving their Black Forest Gateau a go!