A few weeks ago I was introduced to Steven Duthie of Esker Spirits, an artisan distillery based on Royal Deeside and home to Esker Gin. Scotland has seen a huge range of new gins hit the shelves over the last year, each of them hoping to create a taste that stands out from the crowd, and so far I've yet to taste a gin that I haven't enjoyed.
In addition to taking the time out to answer 5 Questions for Gerry's Kitchen, Steven kindly sent me a generous sample bottle of Esker Gin to try out at home.
The key to creating a standout gin is all about carefully balancing the botanicals used to infuse the alcohol spirit. Esker Gin is created in a traditional copper still with over a dozen responsibly sourced botanicals including heather, milk thistle, peppercorn, citrus and silver birch sap tapped from the trees of Kincardine Estate.
So armed with a chilled bottle of Fever Tree Tonic Water, a few huge wedges of pink grapefruit and my Schott Zwiesel Gin Copa glasses (courtesy to WineWare UK), I set about preparing a couple of G&T's.
Some gins are light and fresh, some floral, others citrusy but Esker Gin has a very grown up feel about it. On the nose, Esker Gin has a subtle aroma of citrus but not overpowering. The initial taste is slightly sweet but is quickly replaced by a fresh green herb taste, the silver birch adding a rich layer of flavour and a warm burn as it works it way down the throat. The silver birch is a key feature of Esker gin and coupled with the heavy juniper presence, the mouth is left with the flavours of pine whilst the peppercorns add a slight spice finish.
Myself and Nicola loved our Esker G&T - Fever Tree Tonic Water works well with the strongly flavoured gin and the pink grapefruit garnish complimented the citrusy notes of the gin. A G&T works well on a hot summer day and there are plenty of options for a long cool drink but when it comes to a classic after dinner gin and tonic, I would be reaching for the distinctive flavours of Esker Gin all night long.
Esker Gin is still relatively so you're not going to find it on the supermarket shelf, thankfully you can order your bottle from Royal Mile Whiskies and Drinkmonger.