Recently, we had an invitation from our friends Charlie and Karen to come over for dinner and a few cocktails.
While discussing what to have, the subject of Gin being the perfect summer mixer came up….and since I had a bottle of Caorunn to sample….what a perfect opportunity.
Saturday started with me loading the Picnic Basket (Yogi would have been proud) with all the fixn’s that we would need. I also packed away a Maker’s Mark flavored cigar (to be reviewed HERE) and special attention should be made to the Ocean Spray White Cranberry Juice Bottle…check the Aftermath to see why.
Dinner at C&K’s house was great…the only downside was Debi not feeling well (after a week with a stomach issue), so that curtailed the drinking somewhat, but we got a few in
The first drink was with Caorunn and was just a standard Gin and Tonic. What I found interesting when reviewing their site, was unique ingredients of rownan berry, heather, bog myrtle, dandelion and coul blush apple. This definitely was an unusual small batch SCOTTISH Gin. Given the unexpected new ingredients, I opted to pair the flavor profiles with an apple garnish…..and I have to say, IT WORKED.
The gin itself has an excellent nose that is not overpowering, and in my opinion one of the smoothest flavors on the market. This is a gin that can (and possibly SHOULD) be enjoyed straight. Flavors are hard to pin down as they blend so well…..but there is a certain crispness that I can wholey attribute to the apple.
I can see hours spent contemplating with friends the various ways this tickles the palette.
The other drink of focus was with Hendrick’s Gin and is called the Hendrick’s Breeze-
- 1 1/2 Parts Hendrick’s Gin
- 2 Parts White Cranberry Juice
- Splash of Fresca
Build over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with orange and/or lemon wheel
This was another refreshing drink (sorry, the picture didn’t turn out good) that caught several of us by surprise. I don’t often mix with Fresca, but I can definitely see the overall neutral flavors (with a hint of fruityness) being a welcome addition. I will keep this in mind for the future. The cranberry juice mixes well with the gin and on a hot summer day (like we’ve had the last few months) this is a welcome refreshment.
Later, I compared both of these fine gins on the rocks with just their listed garnish (Apple for Caorunn and Cucumber Slice for Hendrick’s). Never have I had to try and decide a winner amongst such equally matched competitors. I can honestly say…..it’s a draw. Hendrick’s has the advantage of availability (I can even get it in Ashland MO), while Caorunn has such a unique flavor that I could drink it all day long. I’ve sung the praises of Hendrick’s to all my friends (and made a few converts), but I would not be ashamed to recommend Caorunn either.
I feel like a parent with two children…both who I love, yet unable/unwilling to determine a favorite. Instead….I proclaim them BOTH great and award 5 Stars to each.
Great Job to both Distilleries. I look forward to stocking the bar with both of you.
PS….more pictures can be found at the Smokes and Booze FB Page