Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Martin Millers Gin

Water is the driving force of Nature- Leonardo DaVinci

     Water, it is the basis for life as we know it. When astronomers first looked to Mars wondering whether there could be life there, what captured their attention?  They looked at the polar ice caps, they imagined the canals of Mars and then postulated that life could have possibly existed there once, simply because there may have been liquid water.  Our own Earth is awash (pardon the pun) with water, about 70 percent.  It was from the oceans, the primordial stew, that cells formed, progressed to multi cellular organisms, and crawled onto land.  At least that is the theory of evolution.  Water makes up about 65 percent of human body weight on average.  But, more importantly, it makes up more than fifty percent of the gin that we all love so much and contributes to the ultimate cocktail, the Martini.

     The importance of water as an ingredient to gin seems to be greatly overlooked. Perhaps that was Martin Miller's thought when he decided that he would distill his spirit in England, but send it to Iceland for the final dilution.  It might seem like a silly idea at first glance, but nonetheless there is some logic in it.  This stands in sharp contrast to Monsieur Rick's reason for coming to Casablanca.......

     Martin Miller's Gin is distilled from neutral grain spirits, utilizing the middle third of the distillate, known as the heart, like most quality gins do.  The botanicals are not kept in a "gin basket" but are instead steeped to draw out the flavor.  One unusual step in the process is that the citrus flavorings are held separate from the other botanicals.  The belief is that the citrus notes, being added separately and at the end are not muted by the other more earthly aromed botanicals.  This is to lend a brighter, crisper citrus note.

The Botanicals

  • Juniper
  • Florentine Iris
  • Coriander
  • Angelica
  • Liquorice
  • Cassia Bark
  • Lemon, lime, orange


     What one notices on first inspection of the bottle is the 40 % ABV.  This is a little light in regards to alcohol content of most gins.  They do produce another version, Westbourne Strength, which is closer to the mark at 45.2% ABV.  I will have to save that for another day. In terms of aroma, the citrus really stands out.  The juniper and peppery coriander are also evident.  On the palette, all three continue to dominate.  There is also a little licorice that sneaks in as well.  I do not know if the process of holding back the citrus until the end is responsible, but the citrus component is clearly the most noticeable.  The finish is smooth as one would expect from the low alcohol percent, with juniper and coriander tailing away.  

After a neat tasting, I proceeded to a Martini.  The battle between citrus, juniper and peppery overtones were somewhat muted by the scant vermouth that I added.  I rubbed the glass with grapefruit rind and used it as a garnish.  How could I resist with orange, lemon, and lime already in the mix. 

     As I see it, there have been two gin markets out there in terms of London dry gins.  The classic gin is very much a juniper forward beverage, sticking to it's origins in Genever.  The juniper dominates with the other botanicals to provide a more balanced background.  The newer gins are more "balanced", utilizing a dizzying array of flavors to stand up against the piney juniper taste and aroma.  The juniper is a bit more muted, but present nonetheless. Martin Miller's Gin seems to play the middle, if you will.  The juniper is forward, but there is a play between it and the strong citrus overtones.  The sum, then, is a juniper forward gin of the traditional style, with bold balancing citrus tones to match, with an earthly aromatic background. Perhaps this is why this gin has garnered so many tasting awards.

Now if only I could get my ice cubes from Iceland.

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