To celebrate the launch of our barrel aged Capreolus gin, we asked one of our favourite bartenders to dream up his ultimate 'signature serve' cocktail. Rob Simpson is currently managing the bars for World's 50 Best restaurant 'The Clove Club'. Here he breaks down the beauty of this gin, and recommends the best ways to serve it at home.
Wow, what a gin! From first becoming aware of the spirits coming out of the Capreoulus distillery, I was instantly aware they were doing something very special. Having since had the opportunity to speak with distiller Barney and get down to nitty gritty of their processes, I think it comes down to something very simple. All the ingredients are treated with reverence. The time taken to pick through every single little berry to ensure they are of the highest quality, then the concentration of this in terms of flavour and effort shines through in each sniff and sip.
With the complexity and quality of this distillation, The Sourcing Table's Tokaji barrel aged 'Garden Swift' is a spirit to be savoured. Unique but very clearly a gin. A solid dose of juniper blends beautifully with the other botanicals giving away to a gentle sweetness that feels straight out of the Tokaji barrel.
Like all quality spirits this gin is able to be enjoyed straight out of the bottle. While I’ve been writing this I’ve been sipping it out of a Glencairn glass with a single ice cube. The Glencairn is one of my favourite glasses to drink spirits from at home, alongside a mini tulip glass or a small wine glass. These glasses allow the spirits to move, the curvature captures the aroma well, allowing you to take small, measured sips.
For a more refreshing, longer serve I would recommend soda. A rocks glass, a large measure and a splash of soda over some big chucks of ice. This touch of dilution adds effervescence and compliments the gin perfectly.
For drinking with tonic I would recommend a neutral tonic (either original Schweppes or Fever Tree). Some of the stronger flavoured tonics would mask the many flavours in this wonderful gin. As for the garnish, I’d be tempted to go sans (this is also what distiller Barney suggests), allowing the bubbles to push the spirits aroma upwards for you to smell. But, I think a little slice of fresh ginger also works wonders. It nods to the sweetness but there is more complexity there. If you prefer a citrus I would go lemon over lime and just use the peel.
Exploring further than drinking it neat, or as a G&T /Gin & Soda you can try this easy signature serve!
Szarvas Old Fashioned
Since this is such a nuanced and complex spirit, a cocktail which accents the spirit itself is, I think, the best way to celebrate this gin. This 'Old Fashioned' style of cocktail simply adds a little seasoning to the base product. I've chosen to stay away from heavy vermouths or juices that could mask some of the key flavours. That hint of vanilla from the Tokaji barrel is instead coaxed further out of the glass with a gentle touch of sugar. Honey is a complex natural product and when combined with this gin, helps elongate the flavour profile, drawing your palettes attention along the spectrum of flavours present. The touch of sweet wine I've incorporated also helps the spirit shout about its existing flavours, rather than try to cover it or become something new. Enjoy!
50ml Capreolus X Sourcing Table Tokaji Aged Garden Swift
1⁄2 Teaspoon local honey
5ml Tokaji 5 or 6 puttonyos - you could also use other sweet wines, or make a ‘champagne’ cordial with flat sparkling wine.
I've made this cocktail with sweet Riesling, Jurancon & ice cider - all work and all bring out different flavours.
1 dash orange bitters
Serve: a rocks glass
(Garnish, optional: a spray of Capreolus Pear eau de vie)
Place the teaspoon of honey into a rocks glass with a splash of warm water. Stir together until the honey has dissolved and become liquid.
Then add the Tokaji, bitters and gin to the glass. Stir to incorporate them all. If you have a single large cube add this to glass and stir 10 times to chill the drink. If you have just standard ice cubes this will work fine. Just add the first couple and stir a few times, and a couple more stir again, then fill with ice until the ice and liquid almost fill the glass.
If you are fortunate enough to have the Pear eau de vie from Capreolus, a little spray of this over the drink also works wonders.
A note on Honey:
Always try to use local honey from small hive production. You’ll find the honey so much more complex than clear, homogenised ‘runny’ honey. This complex honey is what I think works best in this drink, creating layer upon layer of flavour. If you'd like to find out more about local beekeepers in your area, contact the British Beekeeper Association; a very helpful organisation with some very talented members!
If you're a vegan and would like to try this recipe, you can substitute the honey for agave syrup.
To make ‘champagne’ cordial:
Gently warm flat sparkling wine in a pan.
Add the same weight worth of plain white sugar and stir until dissolved.
Allow to cool and store in a clean bottle.
This will keep for many months, and is a perfect sweet addition to many cocktails.
Rob Simpson is a multi-award winning bartender who has worked for numerous exciting spirits and cocktail products. He has been the bar manager for World's 50 best Restaurant 'The Clove Club' since its inception, and now manages the bar offering for their whole restaurant group.
We have always loved Rob's work. His attention to detail and creativity translates so well into the stunning cocktails he produces. It is that same level of detail and creativity, that Barney of Capreoulus put into producing this amazing gin for us. We felt Rob would be the perfect person to work his magic on a signature serve that does our gin justice. We hope you enjoy drinking our gin with friends and loved ones, either in this cocktail, with tonic or soda, or simply sipped neat.