The Peerless Temperament Of Martin Miller’s Gin

was first introduced to Martin Miller’s Gin by the founder himself. 

The cocktail in my hand that night was known as a Jimi Cocktail.  Named for the iconoclast himself, Jimi Hendrix, who’s music pulsed and grooved around the boite- a gorgeous mid 1800’s era Federalist-style mansion on the periphery of Greenwich Village.  The well-appointed bar-room was very private, its lights held down low.  This was the genre of a clearly- only in Manhattan experience- one from another era.

Mr. Martin Miller was introducing his gin to the guests- but he was not working the room, as much as he was holding court.  There were hand-crafted cocktails being assembled on a tiny zinc bar- set just off to the side. 

Fresh lime, crisp mint, a touch of Demerara Sugar- Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin in a glass, simultaneously tempered by what seemed like plenty of ice, stirred, strained, poured, supped.  But alas after several of these tiny mind pleasers- the overproof gin (in this case the Westbourne) made staying cognizant extremely difficult.

Martin Miller’s Gin

The music was swirling, the tiny drink, highly intoxicating and Martin Miller’s ebullient laugh burnt deeply into my memory. There are occasions in life to drink in and this was one that overflowed with each belly laugh to this very day.   

Excellent gin such as Martin Miller’s Gin has a peerless temperament.  There is an absolute plethora of gin on the market, each promising much, and not accomplishing it.  Not all of these versions of gin are successful and more come out every day.  It can be very confusing to the consumer who may not ‘get it’…

The key here is to train your staff and taste as many different kinds of gin as you can, (and still stand) and remember their idiosyncrasies and their successes.  Gin is HOT.  The list can be very short, if you know what you’re selling.  Your descriptions should resonate like when you suggest Martin Miller’s Gin. Always with a smile!

Gin is jam-packed with flavor.  With it comes taste, and each taste should unlock a specific memory- or nostalgia of the first time you tasted it.  As I will always remember the gin that my father drank, it was in a green bottle.  To this day, every time I see the distinctive shape- I can taste it on my tongue.  As I know that even a tiny sip of gin of this will unlock memories. 

They say history to me. 

Martin Miller’s Gin does the same thing when I sip it.  Each distinctive expression tells a story in aromatics.  Not every gin has that honor.  Utilizing quality ingredients in distillation is the determinate for me.  Full disclosure: I’m probably too hung up on authenticity and ‘hand crafted.’ If you like to know, Martin Miller’s Gin is distilled in England and blended in Iceland- using the best water in the world. Yes, their blending water is from Iceland!  Of course I’d know about Icelandic water because over the years I’ve tasted water from many different places.  I’ve tasted Icelandic water at the Fancy Food Show, it made a lasting impression on me. 

The Icelandic water has a purity that comes from rock and fire.  Their land is in constant change; the water bubbles up from deep within the surface of the earth: dancing into the air like a pillowcase full of kittens! 

Martin Miller’s Gin tastes like the terroir of the place.  Each sip has the stuffing of classical distilling, in a copper pot still… In England.  There is serious fun in each sip, with a history to boot. 

The Copper Pot Still.  Why is this important?  For Martin Miller’s Gin, their two very distinct gin recipes are forged together in an ancient copper pot still, hand built at the turn of the 20th Century.  To give a correlation to your education, Rum, Gin and Whisky(e) are often produced in these very primitive pot stills.  This vessel is sometimes fire heated, although the combination of fire and alcohol often have frightening results, so I’m sure that their heating process is perfectly safe.  The unique flavor of the “pot still” imparts a warmer and richer tasting spirit.  The flavor is plush and opulent across the tongue.  Tinges of cucumber and freshly cut grass predominate their ‘traditional’ example that rolls in at 40% ABV. 

The Westbourne to me is Christmas in a glass with red fruits, ground pipe tobacco, lemon curd and freshly slashed hay in each elegant sip.   

I’m thrilled by a Bee’s Knees made with the Westbourne Strength Gin. This lovely Prohibition era cocktail is comprised of Raw Honey simple syrup, Martin Miller’s Gin (Westbourne) and freshly squeezed lemon juice.  The Bee’s knees should be a go/to for any cocktail enthusiast. 

For the Traditional bottling, I think of a take on the Jimi Cocktail, made with muddled cucumber, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of seltzer water the flourish of spicy, slapped mint.  Simplicity is the word of the day. The Westbourne rolls in at just over 45% ABV. 

Keep it simple.  Keep it fast.  Keep it QUALITY.

One drink in particular I’m enjoying right now is with the Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin.  This drink screams Olde England and because of the use of Orange Marmalade and Broiled Grapefruit juice- there is a funky quality that just says: Serious English Fun!

This is a take on the classic “Gin and Juice” that you see immediately upon landing in England, should you take the slow boat from New York City.   

Mr. Dew-Smith’s Conundrum (for two)

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin
  • ½ oz. Orange Marmalade (homemade is best!)
  • 6 oz. Broiled Grapefruit Juice (recipe below)
  • ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Bitters
  • Gary Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • Prep:
  1. To a Cocktail Mixing Glass with one large cube of ice
  2. Add the Orange Marmalade
  3. Add the Gin
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Add the lemon juice
  6. Stir
  7. Add the 2-3 shakes of each:  Pimento and the Orange
    Bitters
  8. Stir
  9. Add the Broiled juice
  10. Stir, strain and serve into a coupe glass garnished with flamed orange zest

Broiled Grapefruit Juice:

  1. Split Grapefruits, sprinkle with Demerara Sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
  2. Let sit overnight in fridge
    covered
  3. The next day, preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  4. Sprinkle more Demerara Sugar over the top
  5. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour
  6. Let cool
  7. Juice
  8. Use in your Martin Miller’s Gin cocktails.

Drink up NY

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Martin Miller and his Gin

By Warren Bobrow, Cocktail Whisperer

Martin Miller recently passed away after a battle with cancer.  He was far too young to be claimed by such a deadly disease.

Martin for all you who don’t know was the founder of the highly individualistic gin company by the same name.  His gin set the stage for many of the micro distilled brands of gin that we see on the market today.

Martin Miller’s gin was: “born of love, obsession and some degree of madness,” according to the website and I tend to agree.  You have to be obsessed to make gin in England.  Most of the London Dry styled gin is flavorless at best, mere whispers against the more assertive “botanical” styles.   I prefer botanical gins like Martin Miller’s because the juniper takes a back seat to the citrus flavors inherent in the final mix.  They also use Icelandic glacial water to do the blending.  According to the website again, “Sparkling bright, pure and unpolluted we draw water from our own spring. This is water like no other, icy cold and alive. It emerges into daylight for the first time in maybe 800 years, rising from the depths of the Basalt Mountains that frame the skyline of this sleepy village.
So, spirit into spirit, for Icelander’s truly believe their water to be a living entity, Martin Miller’s is delicately blended with pure Icelandic spring water creating a marriage of rare softness, clarity of taste and appearance.
It is simply bottled magic.”
The distillate is produced using juniper, coriander, angelica, and Florentine Iris- coupled with the more unusual cassia, cinnamon bark, and anise, are blended with Seville orange peel and lime.  It also uses cucumber as an ingredient, like Hendrick’s and a couple of other brands on the market.   This is a very sophisticated slurp rolling in at just over 90 proof.  I’m a HUGE fan of Martin Miller’s gin in a somewhat twisted Gin and Tonic.  For the tonic component I’m very fond of the tonic syrup from Tom.  Tom Richter is the owner of this company that makes just about the best tonic syrup I’ve ever tasted.  I also add some Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters to the usual tonic syrup and fizzy water.  I’m rather partial to Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water in Pink Grapefruit.  I think it works beautifully against the spicy elements of the tonic syrup and the haunting aromatics of Martin Miller’s Gin.

The Martin Miller’s Gin & Twisted Tonic 

Ingredients:
2 oz. martin miller’s gin
1 oz. Tomr Tonic Syrup
Grapefruit peel
4 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (pink grapefruit)
2-3 dashes Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters
Hand cut ice (freeze Tupperware 1 gallon trays with triple boiled distilled water overnight, cut to size for each drink)

Preparation:
Rub the grapefruit peel on the inside of each Collins glass, first burning it slightly against a match to bring out the natural oils

Add the hand cut ice to the glass
Add the tonic syrup and the gin over the top of the syrup
Add the Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Top with the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters and serve immediately after stirring with a long colorful straw!

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Article by Warren Bobrow, a nationally published food and spirits columnist who writes for Williams-Sonoma, Foodista and the Beekman Boys

Cardinal Gin and.. trouble= a Friday Cocktail for Modenus

 

Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour: The Cardinal Gin Mind Liberator

Gin has percolated deeply into my dreams as of late. I’ve been dreaming about a perfect Gin and Tonic that I enjoyed down in Charleston, SC during the recent Wine/Food Festival. There wasn’t very much of it, Gin can be very dangerous in hot weather.

There is something about being in the humidity and saline tinged air that drives a thirst for aromatic, crisp, thirst quenching and pleasing cocktails. In the ninety- degree weather, a refreshing Gin and Tonic became more than just a sum of the parts. This Gin and Tonic was exactly what I thirsted for. The cocktail had tonic water, nothing fancy, Schweppes served in little bottles (nice touch) and the size of the cocktail, was one of those little tasting glasses, just enough to whet my whistle. I was sated quickly, enough to find out more about this very delicious Gin.

Cardinal Gin is a new brand to the market. I like to try to discover passion in my spirits writing. It’s important for me to help the craft distiller with the brainpower and passion about what it takes to launch a distillery. I can visualize their dream and though the application of the myriad of Social Media, get their name out there in ways they never thought possible.

Flavor is the major determinate. You don’t go into the spirits business to make something that tastes like someone else’s product. It’s all about individuality and American ingenuity!

Cardinal Gin for example is all about flavor. The Company is named SAS- Southern Artisanal Spirits. I like that, the name of their company is catchy and memorable. They are located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains on King’s Mountain in North Carolina.

Their ingredients are all organic- a major plus in my mind. I’ve always made an extra effort to seek out producers who use organic methods.

Sure they’ve won some awards- big ones. But a Gin shouldn’t just taste good to the judges; it should also taste good to me. And in that tent, down in Charleston, in the ninety- degree heat, a Gin and Tonic made with Cardinal Gin was as satisfying as the first time I ever tasted Gin as a boy. My sip said FLAVOR!

I suggest trying to find some. You can buy it down South and I think they will be in the Northeast before long. The packaging is really fantastic with the bright red cardinal bird etched into the glass, visible from the front- but you don’t drink the bottle. The flavor is reminiscent of cream, freshly cut flowers and toasted citrus.

I’ve tasted many Gins, but none like this one.

Gin is becoming my go/to for real flavor- I suggest trying some soon on the rocks with a chunk of blood orange or… try this cocktail (below)

 

A Quite Twisted Cardinal Gin Mind Liberator Cocktail (serves two)

Ingredients:

Botanical Gin (Cardinal, Bulldog, Hendrick’s, Martin Miller)

Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

Lucid Absinthe

Charred Lemonade- griddle lemons then juice into lemonade sweeten to taste with Royal Rose Syrups (your choice)

Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

Angostura Bitters

Preparation:

Griddle Lemon rounds until charred, juice them and strain you’ll need about 8 oz total so get to work!

Add Simple Syrup like the one from Royal Rose (use your choice of flavors)

2 Shots of Botanical Gin

1 Shot Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur

1 Shot Lucid Absinthe

Fill cocktail shaker 1/3 with ice

Add liqueurs and three shakes of Angostura Bitters

Shake and double strain into low champagne glasses (coupe’)

Finish with a splash of the Perrier Sparkling Water and a home cured cherry!

Martin Miller’s Gin. (you could say that I’m a BIG FAN)

 

Warren Bobrow’s Cocktail Hour – The Gin Twist

3
Feb

 

Martin Miller - hotelier and maker of Martin Miller's London Dry GinMartin Miller – Bon viveur and maker of Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin via www.luxist.com

 

I’m sitting in front of the fireplace right now. Also in front of me are over 15 bottles of Artisanal Gin. My new favorite is the London Dry Gin from Martin Miller’s Gin. This is truly exotic stuff. The London Dry is in a low, squat bottle. Upon opening the handsome bottle I detect immediately the scent of cucumbers. Not just any cucumber but an especially aromatic variety. This Gin doesn’t need to be mixed- it’s got all the stuff right inside. I’m absolutely blown away by the softness of the nose- coupled with that unmistakable aroma of the cucumber. I got to thinking- when was the first time that I smelled this quality of Gin? Hendrick’s does a cucumber scented Gin that I like, very much. This Gin from Martin Miller is a very sophisticated and dare I say sensual slurp of liquid pleasure. The cucumber is right there in the foreground. You cannot miss it. I’m almost shocked by the depth of the vegetable aroma and flavor. White flowers follow up immediately- those little tobacco flowers. Then the attack of herbs and spices come quickly into view. The initial distillation happens in England. The blending occurs in Iceland with pristine glacial water as the adjunct. I’m just blown away by the finish- it goes on and on and… on .

I thought I introduce a new cocktail to Modenus this week. Gin and Citrus come to mind. Charred grapefruit juice, Maraschino Cherry liquor and a chiffonade of Thai Basil. What? Fresh herbs in a drink? Why not?

To make this cocktail you must be ready to take your palate to another place. In this case, the drink is Martini-like but not a Martini. Sure it has Vermouth, but Carpano Antica is the Sweet Vermouth (instead of dry) and there is the slightly charred grapefruit bringing up the rear.

I love working with great ingredients and you should too!

The Gin Twist

Makes two invigorating cocktails for whatever you desire at the end of the day.

Ingredients:

Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin

Carpano Antica

Cucumber chunks

Bitter End Thai Bitters

Lime hunks

Grapefruit chunks

Fresh mint

Seltzer water like Perrier Pink Grapefruit

Chiffonade of Thai Basil

Preparation:

To a cocktail shaker filled ¼ with ice add some charred grapefruit. (sear grapefruit segments in a sauté pan until nice and colored on all sides, then muddle with fresh mint and the cucumber, lime and grapefruit chunks until they release their essence about 3 minutes or so. Add to the shaker the Carpano Antica Vermouth (about a shot) Roll the Thai Basil into a cigar shape, and then slice on the bias to release the aromatic oils. Add to the shaker.

Add the Martin Miller’s Dry London Gin and the Maraschino Liqueur. ( 1 shot)

Shake and strain into a coupe’ glass and garnish with a flamed peel of orange peel. Top with a home cured cherry. Add a splash of seltzer water to finish.

Slurp away to a freezing cold and wet spring in old England.