Gin is my go to spirit. Even more so when I learnt it’s the best if you’re wanting to keep your calorie intake on the low. A gin and slimline tonic is around 60 calories, compared to a pint of beer which is around 200. I have yet to decide which my favourite gin brand is, there are too many fighting for the top position, but I know a good brand when I see it. Ever heard of Portobello Road Gin? Of course you have but perhaps you’ve not been acquainted with some of the classic cocktails you can make with it.
I was invited to a gin masterclass with Portobello Road Gin*, learning more about the brand and how to make gin cocktails that perhaps have fallen under the radar with so many new and fancy ones on every drinks menu.
On arrival, we were greeted with a French 75 cocktail each. One I sometimes order myself as it has my favourite ingredients: gin, lemon and bubbles. A refreshing and easy drink to start off the night with. Despite so simple, there are plenty of variations. On this occasion, Pippa Guy’s version. She’s a senior bartender at The Savoy, previously worked in bars in Leeds.
1tbsp Lemon Juice
1tbsp Simple Syrup
Fill shaker with ice cubes and shake
Top flute glass with Brut Champagne
Portobello Road Gin
Whilst enjoying our French 75 cocktails we got an introduction to Portobello Road Gin. You probably already know it got its name from the street in Notting Hill in London. By the looks of photos, it’s a gorgeous bar. The gin is a traditional London dry gin with nine different ingredients. It is 42% strong and works equally well in a G&T as to make a negroni or a martini.
The nine ingredients to make up Portobello Road Gin are: juniper (6-7 seeds/bottle), coriander seed, Angelica root, oris, liquorice, lemon, orange peel, cassia bark and nutmeg. The oris helps binding flavours and make the smell last longer whilst the nutmeg gives the gin its warmth. I’m a big fan of coriander, liquorice and lemon so very happy to learn these are all incorporated in the recipe.
After the introduction it was time for us to get stuck in and make cocktails. Three classic gin cocktails which are all made slightly different depending on who you ask. As you know, cocktails develop over time but we went back to the roots and made ours using old school recipes. Singapore Sling is the only one I’ve heard of and also tried before, however Army & Navy and Tuxedo are completely new to me.
10ml cherry liquor
2 drops of agusturra bitter
25ml lemon juice
Give it a good shake with ice
A fruity and summer looking cocktail which goes down very easily. I like a colourful cocktail that’s as easy on the eye as in taste.
Army & Navy
50ml Navy gin
20ml lemon juice
10ml orgeat syrup
Shake with ice
My favourite on the night, I love almond flavour. This cocktail more or less tastes like liquid marzipan. Thanks to my mixing and Charlotte’s extra drops of orgeat syrup (almond juice) we managed to bag ourselves a bottle of Portobello Road Gin each as a prize for one of the best tasting cocktails on the evening. Thanks very much!!
5ml sugar syrup
10ml French vermouth
2 dash cherry liqour
1 dash absinthe
A couple drops orange bitter
Add ice and stir. Do not shake!
The last cocktail of the evening, and also my least favourite. It’s far too boozy for me and taste wise it’s too bitter. I believe it’s the absinthe, and probably the vermouth as well. It just doesn’t sit well with me.
However, I did enjoy learning that the name of the cocktail comes from the bar (Tuxedo) where it was first developed. This is also the bar where the Tuxedo jacket got its name from. Apparently a regular at the bar wore this type of jacket and when the trend caught on, the jacket was known as a Tuxedo. How cool that one bar has given the name to two popular and well known things.
Once our glasses were empty, the evening had come to a close. I thoroughly enjoyed this gin master class, learning more about Portobello Road Gin, but also mixing cocktails I’ve never tried or heard of before.
Have you tried Portobello Road Gin before? Which of these cocktails suits your palette the best? For more Portobello Road Gin recipes, check out their website.
*I was kindly invited by Portobello Road Gin to take part in this master class, in return for this post. Photos, words and opinions are as always my own.