Review: Gin Mare
One of the most overpopulated spirit categories at the moment is gin, and whilst there are many great gins out there, relatively few are successful in pushing the boundaries of flavour beyond the classical botanicals. You can imagine my intrigue therefore when I heard about a ‘Mediterranean’ styled gin that was attracting a bit of attention for it’s interesting flavour profile. With rosemary, thyme, olive, and basil all included in the mix, this is a gin that not only offers something different, but challenges the preconceptions of what gin should taste like.
Gin Mare is produced in a small fishing village on the Costa Dorada in Spain using botanicals all sourced within the Mediterranean area. Alongside ‘traditional’ botanicals juniper, bitter orange peel, seville orange peel, lemon peel, cardamon, and coriander seed there are four that are not quite so common; Arbequina olives, basil, rosemary and thyme. All the botanicals except the citrus are macerated individually for 24-36hrs in neutral grain alcohol, before being distilled in a copper pot still, again individually. The three citrus botanicals are macerated as fresh peels in neutral grain alcohol for a whopping 300 days before distillation. It’s not until all the botanicals have been distilled individually that they finally get to meet one another in the blending process.
The four ‘Mediterranean’ botanicals are evident immediately upon nosing this gin, with the rosemary in particular standing out. However, the juniper is still playing a starring role and is complemented rather than dominated by the other botanicals. There is a lightness created by the citrus and basil with a savoury olive undertone that brings back memories of hot holidays abroad. The savoury, herbal elements are immediately evident when tasting neat, with the rosemary again taking centre stage alongside the classic juniper backbone. There is no denying this is a gin, and even hardened gin purists will be happy to accept this product into the category. There is a good depth of flavour and a lingering olive and thyme finish that certainly gets the appetite going. Admittedly, there is a mild burn to this gin, but definitely not enough to put me off mixing with it.
Gin Mare and Tonic
50ml Gin Mare, 200ml Tonic Water. Build over ice and garnish with a basil leave.
A simple G+T highlights the interesting and unusual flavour profile of this gin brilliantly. It makes for a very ‘savoury’ drink as the herbal elements (notably rosemary and olive) assert themselves. There is still a nice juniper backbone however which gives a depth of flavour that holds up well against a range of tonic waters. The recommended serve is with 1724 tonic water, also made by the people behind Gin Mare and offers a light and delicate but flavourful mixer that works well with the gin. Whatever you do, don’t serve with a lemon or lime wedge, it kills the flavour!
50ml Gin Mare, 20ml lemon juice, 20ml pineapple juice, 10ml orgeat, 5ml basil syrup. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass.
A Tiki-style drink might not seem the obvious first choice for a gin using Mediterranean herbs in it’s botanical mix, but this is a very tasty libation. The herbs offset the sweetness and offer a nice level of complexity. The herbs are also not a dominant as in some drinks, making this more approachable for those who are less convinced by the idea of rosemary, thyme and olive flavours in their cocktails.
Gin Vista Flip
15ml Gin Mare, 20ml Velvet Falernum, 5ml lime juice, 1 egg yolk. Shake all ingredients first without ice, then with and strain into a chilled glass.
The Mediterranean flavours slip into the background in this drink, providing an interesting twist on a classic flip. This drink is as smooth as they come and slides down a treat. Many gins get lost when used as a secondary ingredient by volume, but the Gin Mare does a wonderful job in it’s supporting role of the falernum, definitely one to try.