Gin Review

These are opinions only. We all have different tastes, one ladies trash gin can be another ones treasure…Gin…That’s why there is two of us.

All Opinions are own, including any grammar & spelling mistakes…because…Useless!

Monterey Helford Gin

@twogindependentwomen @monterey_gin

Location: Helford, Falmouth, Cornwall UK

Distiller: Helford River Distillery

Website: https://www.montereygin.co.uk/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monterey_gin/

Price Approx: UK £40-£45

This was kindly gifted to us by Monterey to review. Batch 003. Bottle 010. 43%vol

If you look at Monterey’s Instagram or website you will see this phrase “Gin for the Discerning” meaning that a person has a good sense of judgement. Now do we think we have a good sense of judgement? Life lessons and relationships would say Noooooooooo, BUT we are talking about Gin here so as you read we will let you come to that conclusion.

Monterey Helford Gin began in 2016 after three friends were discussing their love for Gin and what is best suited in cocktails. Unable to all come to an overall agreement, as any group of friends would do they decided to create a gin.

From that, In the last few years they have worked at distilling by hand distinct variations of botanicals, experimenting and using different techniques to finally come to the bottle you see now. Although the process has taken longer then they anticipated, their personal drive and love to bring this bottle out, they have not cut corners. These bottles are not mass produced but sold as limited batch runs, this is so that they can make sure that every bottle contains the quality and exact principles of their gin.

Single Shot

Monterey uses the ‘Single Shot’ Method, which, unless you are completely savvy with distilling terminology. Below is quoted from Gin Mag https://gin-mag.com/

Singleshot – “Once the botanicals have been distilled, the resulting spirit is diluted with water, in order to reach the alcoholic strength required for bottling. And that’s it. Bottles are ready to make their way into the outside world”

Which is opposite to the equally other savvy distilling lingo…

Multi-shot method utilises a greater quantity of botanicals than single-shot, in order to produce spirit with a more concentrated flavour (which explains why it’s referred to as ‘concentrate’ in the industry). Once distilled the concentrate is diluted twice. The first dilution is with spirit, invariably the same spirit used for distillation, which adjusts the flavour profile of the concentrate, and increases the
volume of liquid. The subsequent dilution is with water, to reduce the alcoholic strength for bottling”

“Single-shot is the original method, with multi-shot established by the early 20th century (though the exact origins remain elusive). Which method is most appropriate depends on the production capacity required, in conjunction with production capability. This is in turn determined by the size of a pot still, and the number of pot
stills available”

Further reading & to learn more on distilling processes take a look at Gin Mags article:

https://gin-mag.com/2019/08/16/single-shot-vs-multi-shot/#:~:text=Single%2Dshot%20means%20that%20once,way%20into%20the%20outside%20world.

Lets Talk About The Bottle

Further to your education whilst reading this, Monterey is derived from the Endangered Monterey Pine Tree. This pine is native to the central coast of California, however, although notable other countries introduced this pine, this can also be found on the banks of Helford River in Cornwall UK…Cornwall! When Monterey Gin first purchased their Copper still Shirley they planted a tree in its honor.

The bottle is distinctive standing tall at 33cm or just over a foot. its glass silhouette resembling to me elongated diamonds (that do not exist that big haha) that fittingly go with the label including a much loved glass topper (The easiest way to open gin) Friends, your gin shelves need adjusting to accommodate this bottle.

The label design as you can see is very much 20’s 30’s Art deco Americana we all wish we could visit dressed in our Great Gatsby attire & Martini glasses. Just minus catching the Spanish Flu or Polio. Its Emerald background enhances the bottle to stand out with its eye catching gold detail reminding me of walking into The Empire State Building in New York. The design is cleverly thought out with its equilateral lines pointing straight to its name.

But What About The Gin?

On the bottle it explains this is an organic grain based spirit, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, 11 botanicals meticulously picked. Botanicals include Juniper (of course) Coriander, Cardamom, Keffir lime, Sea Buckthorn, Gentian Root & Citrus.

On opening the bottle its Juniper & cardamom is distinct. If anyone knows what Sea Buckthorn smells like, allegedly it smells like the sea, salty. However I do not come across this when first opening. Notes of citrus, however I cannot work out which Citrus family. I want to say lemon, which is why I initially paired it with this, but i could be totally mistaken.

Straight in a glass the smell changes, the juniper still there but less so. Tasting the coriander and cardamom come out more then the juniper, quickly following into a sweet aftertaste which was unexpected, maybe as I have thought about the taste of sea buckthorn that there is a slightly salty taste which pairing with the sweet makes this quite pleasant on its own.

SERVE

  • Ice
  • Lemon Peel
  • Fentimans Natural Tonic water
@twogindependentwomen @monterey_gin

Although we will update this review, when we ourselves experiment with this gin, especially in cocktails, we noticed one thing missing from their site. There is no words of advice in what to pair this with, or tried and tested cocktails. When it comes to the first time we like to be told what the makers prefer how we serve. Pairing this with the lemon we could be completely misleading its botanical flavours and we hate to feel we are not giving this gin its true justice review. That said…

The lemon peel works perfectly with this gin.

Using the citrus, brings it out of the gin. It becomes even sweeter with the garnish and tonic especially its aftertaste. If you leave it to the side as you think about the aftertaste it makes you want to drink more (because thats not a worry haha). its higher volume isnt obvious nor does it give you any kind of harsh spirit aftertaste. The coriander is also there which pairing with the lemon peel softens its taste, although just a slight spice. This is a well thought out Gin.

Monterey Helford Gin should be proud of themselves that they have taken their time to bring this bottle out, just from a conversation between three friends. It will be interesting what they decide to create in future and we will be following along with them.

@twogindependentwomen @monterey_gin

Let Us Know Other Combinations

If there is any combinations you think we should try with this Gin? Let us know and we will give it a go.

All photographs property of @twogindependentwomen

Virtual Tasting Delights

Sipping With Friends

Since Lockdown we have all had to make sacrifices. We have missed seeing friends and family. We have also certainly had to cancel Holidays, events or postpone outings that took time to plan and arrange. Everyone has had to accommodate to this new way of life.

What about Businesses, especially the Alcohol business world?

Normally, us Gin enthusiasts will be heading to farmers markets, food festivals, Gin festivals or distillery tours and planning our weekends so we can try new products coming out in the year. Which then includes spending all our money and having no shame about it!

Events like the above helps gin businesses thrive and get the word out there of their new gins, and all have had to change there way of thinking.

Virtual tasting events has quickly and rapidly increased since lockdown began. Although its not the same as walking into a venue & speaking on a one to one basis to listen to the pride they speak about their business & their Gin, putting themselves on a virtual platform to educate the masses of gin lovers is just as rewarding for us listening & for them to continue to showcase their gins.

Boutique Bar Brands UK with Sipping Rooms have done just that. Helping showcase notable distilleries from as far as Australia to our homes across the world, having co founders and Master Distillers talk about old & new releases. Sponsored by Gin Kiosk who sell Gin in the masses you can easily purchase the gin via them with an additional 10% off for your virtual tasting.

HOW TO join

We were fortunate enough to be asked to try one of their virtual tours when it first came together & both Laura & myself were gifted with Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly Gin. Manly had already been on our radar from the likes of their social media, being fortunate to speak to the founder at Junipalooza & also having their Citrus Coastal Gin (We have baked cupcakes with this Gin, we will post soon how to make some Gin Lemon Cupcakes!)

Before the event you have to register for a ticket. This can be done via Design my Night. Tickets are free however you can make a charitable donation, or buy a ticket with the bottle. The latter makes more sense if you do not already have the Gin & there is a discount when purchasing with the two.

My criticism here is that unless I have the link it is hard to find on Design My Night to register when just going onto the app. As these are open to everyone, it needs to be easier to find.

Once you are registered, they will send you ingredients, list of tools you need (e.g Shakers) for cocktails to make.

This is the most trickier side to it all, finding the ingredients in your house, or making the likes of syrups before the event. They give you plenty of time to collate (unless you register on the day) Dont worry though, you do not have to, just sitting there with a G&T is good enough.

For Lilly Pilly the following cocktails were shown (Also incase you want to give them a go)

@manlyspirits

Here is one we made earlier; The Lilly Pilly Sour

@twogindependentwomen @manlyspirits

As you sign in to Sipping Rooms it is relatively easy to find the virtual tour you are after. However again, you may have trouble signing in. Double check you have infact registered to Sipping Rooms, Alternatively reset your password. After that when joining other tours you wont have an issue.

The host will accept you in. So far we have had the pleasure of having Boutique Bar Brands Director Phil Harding be the facilitator between us and the Distilleries. This works. Imagine trying to listen to the Distillery whilst you have random unmuted people talking to one another about what dinner to cook the next day, whilst others trying to ask questions to the distiller. Dont worry. You can ask your questions by using the comments box to type out anything you want to know. Phil will then ask the questions to the Distiller, he is making sure you are still able to interact so for that, we tip our imaginary hats to him as it must be difficult making sure that the high number of people are engaged. We also want to mention Niamh Wallis who also helps to facilitate everyone to know about up coming virtual tours.

Once you are in, pour yourself a drink, sit back watch and listen as they take you through the history of their company, the different spirits they produce and how. For any Gin enthusiast this is interesting as you get to know the other botanicals and the process from copper still to bottle.

You will then have their Master Mixologist who will take you through the previous sent list of cocktails to try. We are all making the cocktails together, which, watching everyone shaking away will bring a smile to your face.

To us, with the many cancelled events we had planned to go to, this helps fill the void, but also seeing people we would have seen at these events, namely eachother. Having a little giggle seeing our faces on the event and tilting our glass to cheers everyone that is there uplifts you. It also helps that they run a little competition working out THE KEY WORD that is said a few times, double win for you if you manage to work out the word. Us typing Crabs a few times, even though not the key word seemed questionable what we were telling other people.

All Virtual Tours with other companies are different. Since lockdown we have done a few but this one, just seeing everyone else who is on the “call” makes it so much more fun. Other Tours we have been on, although informative & interesting, they dont show everone on. You miss the small side smiles you have with others to see that all of us are enjoying the same drink.

Of the Sipping Rooms Virtual Tours we have done, we have been thankfully gifted the bottles, which we will review separately on our Blog as there is alot to talk about on each one.

Who else can we watch?

We have managed to only miss one so far & the next is soon on July 1st. So if you want to join click on the links below. With the Social distancing easing as I write this, maybe the end of Virtual tasting will soon be over?

As we finally venture (& safely) out our homes, it could be these will end, but if this happens again we know the beverage industry can keep showcasing their Gins to us in the comfort of everyone’s homes.

LINKS TO JOIN/BUY

https://www.ginkiosk.com/

https://sippingrooms.com/

https://www.designmynight.com/uk

FOLLOW THEM ON INSTAGRAM

https://www.instagram.com/ginkiosk/

https://www.instagram.com/sippingrooms/

https://www.instagram.com/boutiquebarbrands/

All photographs taken by @two_gindependent_women

N x

Garnish Game

Trying to (In Chandler from Friends voice) BE better in the Shaped Garnish Game

Garnishes. GARNISHES. Oh how a Garnish makes a Gin better, the difference of a good glass, ice and correct garnish makes a drink oh so much more delicious!

We have all seen pictures floating around and peoples garnishes are outstanding! So since the lockdown I have tried to up my game and cut fingers in the process!

The Beginning – PRE LOCKDOWN

When our instagram account first started up I tried to make fancy garnishes I saw made by professional mixologists. Being what I consider slighly arty In my head I told myself “SURE YOU CAN DO THAT” and so when making a drink I THEN SPEND AN HOUR trying to create a pretty garnish, which I am pretty sure it shouldnt take that long!

Behold. The first real attempt. A Heart.

@two_gindependent_women @brokenheartspirit

This was the first time I really tried to make a shape out of a Garnish, and be good enough to post. That doesnt include using a peeler to make spiral cucumbers, delicately trying to put into a glass (now that is another technique I am still unable to achieve) – Looking at the heart now I can see its flaws but also realising a knife may not be the best way to make my garnish game better (I’ll explain later)

Behold. Managing to hide it better. A Crown.

@two_gindependent_women @edenmill

Oranges. Their thick inner skin, Just made this task even more difficult. trying to carve some form of head piece and still not achieving the look that was in my head. Hidden behind that crown is toothpicks to keep it in place…again with carved with a knife. Hang on, I eventually said to myself. Cookie Cutters…that could work? Right? RIGHT? – Scouring through internet shopping sites and not seeing cookie cutters unless for Halloween and Christmas a few were eventually bought.

Behold. Cookie Cutter Flowers

@two_gindependent_women @ginmare

Cookie Cutters worked ALOT Better, still with some of the thick skins making sure you are able to see the shape took some time, but certainly not the hour I was spending using a knife. Finally more garnishes taking a bit more shape. Que downloading a how to guide on Garnishes.

Behold. Flower Cucumber

@two_gindependent_women @hendricksgin

Using the instructions given I slowly put together a Cucumber Rose, which SPOILERS, is just, if not more difficult and LONGER to create. Although having a new found appreciation as to how some garnishes were put together, it still took craft and time. I tried to re-think of ways to up my garnish game, from the pieces I had cut out, what can I form?

Behold. Playing with Fruit, then going back to the Knife.

@two_gindependent_women @bluethorngin

Cutting a piece of fruit skin then trying to make it into something pretty, was easier, getting it to sit into the glass was not. Oh yes you can see its a heart, you cant see me trying to make sure it stays like that. Alas the Garnish game still quite not there. Resorting to the knife, instead I thought of ways to use the garnish to go with its backdrop

@two_gindependent_women @stgilesgin

Using backdrops I again remembered I am remotely Arty & started to draw something that would go with the Gin I am presenting, then using the Garnish to help with it. Using a knife I quickly carved out something fitting to the picture. I was feeling more confident I could get better.

AFTER LOCKDOWN

Behold. A Duck

@two_gindependent_women @bathtubginuk

FINALLY. I worked out how to do the GARNISH GAME….Via Scissors. YEP! SPOILERS this was created out of using scissors. Initially using a knife to cut a piece of skin off the fruit, I then cut a duck out of the skin. HAZAAR!!!! Then I used something that completely changed it all…

Behold. Crafting.

@two_gindependent_women @malfygin @distillersofsurrey @oldamershamgin @jarroldsgin @silentpool

Craft Knife. The tool I had in my “Tool” box for many years and it was just sitting there waiting for the lightbulb in my head to go off and remember that (Lightbulb is actually Laura, after telling her I used scissors she said “I need to get you a craft knife”)

@two_gindependent_women @gunpowder.gin

FINALLY. I had cracked the Garnish Game. Now that I have, I dont feel I need to anymore…swings and roundabouts. I am sure the fruity garnish inspiration will come back and no doubt create more, for now though I can sit back and know I had cracked that game and won (*WELL THE GAME THAT WAS IN MY HEAD*)

N xx