The Archer, Mermaid and Goddess of Gin

JUNIPER, ancient mythology and folklore are no strangers. It was a symbol of a Syrian fertility goddess and popped up in the Bible when a juniper bush was used to hide baby Jesus and his parents from King Herod’s soldiers as they journeyed to Egypt. On a less romantic note, mediaeval herbalists administered it to cure flatulence and cast out witchcraft.

The gin narrative continues with gins inspired by myths and legends – our theme for this week’s tasting events.

Locklsey, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, ABV 40.5%

A thoroughly Yorkshire gin, Sir Robin of Locksley is made in Sheffield by Locksley Distilling Co and named for one of its local legends – Robin Hood. Their small batch, 40.5% hand raised gin is a smooth and delicious affair. They lovingly blend traditional botanicals with more delicate infusions of elderflower, dandelion and pink grapefruit. Sir Robin of Locksley has some rather up-front juniper with the delicate aroma of elderflower peeping through. Deliciously smooth on the palate; the warm cassia notes are soothed by the dandelion, while pink grapefruit is responsible for an underlying sweetness with a lingering citrus finish. Balanced yet distinctively unique. Serve: basil and grapefruit tonic.

Orkney Gin Johnsmas, Orkney, North Coast of Scotland, ABV 41.3%

Inspired by the myths and legends of Orkney and its rugged coast, rich archaeology and windswept hills; there are many tales of mermaid sightings in Hebridean folklore from the 19th Century and such a siren adorns the earthenware bottle. It is a premium small batch gin made using the bath tub method from seven times distilled grain spirit and summer’s seasonal island botanicals. They include: wild rose petals, bell heather and wild spearmint. Floral and fragrant on the nose with a fresh subtle juniper sweetness on the palate. The finish is smooth with a hint of orange zest. Serve: red apple and mint with premium light tonic.

Daffy’s Red Gooseberry Ltd Edition, Edinburgh, ABV 41.4%

Made in collaboration with Red Magazine, this small batch limited edition gin (5000 bottles) is infused with whole fresh unpressed Scottish red gooseberries which give this classic London dry its distinctive colouring. Daffy is the Goddess of Gin. First written about in the 1700s, Daffy is the essence of great gin, a lover of life who has transcended the decades. The picture on the bottle was created and painted by artist Robert McGinnis in 2014 and is his own visual interpretation of the Goddess. Serve: ginger, lemon zest and premium elderflower tonic.

Colonsay – Wild Thyme Spirits, 47% ABV, London Dry, Isle of Colonsay, Scottish Hebrides.

A classic juniper led gin with an earthy root sweetness made to a recipe closely guarded by ALVA the red-haired spirit maiden which adorns the bottle. Coriander seed brings warmth with orange peel adding a subtle citrus followed by calamus and its fiery ginger-like rootiness. Handmade in small batches of 160 bottles, it truly is the Spirit of the Hebrides. Serve with premium tonic. Try an orange and rosemary tonic and garnish with sprig of rosemary and orange peel.