Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A Nightingale Sang

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a master class by Joanne Moore, the UK’s only known female master distiller. Moore is a titan in the industry being responsible, through her position at leading gin producers G & J Greenall, for the development of many of the country’s best known brands. You won’t necessarily know it, but most gins you can buy in supermarkets are her creation.

G & J Greenall recently gave Moore a blank canvas to produce two new lines for their own stable. The results were Bloom, of which I wrote previously, and Berkeley Square, which I was lucky to be introduced to in the appropriate setting of Morton’s in Berkeley Square last week.

Berkeley Square Authentically Superior London Gin

At the master class, Moore talked the assembled group of Morton’s staff and others through gin in general and Berkeley Square in particular. Coming from the oldest continuous working distillery in the UK certainly gives G & J Greenall pedigree and Moore’s knowledge on the category shone through.

Whereas my piece on Bloom revealed a gin that was feminine and somewhat soft, Berkeley Square is more of a gin for men. This is a bold gin that combines the intense flavours of juniper, the essential ingredient, with kieffer lime leaves, basil, lavender, coriander, angelica root, sage and cubebs.

We were introduced to each as raw ingredients and as essence. The especially unusual botanical was basil. Moore chose this as it had never been used in a gin before and was inspired by her love for using it in cooking sourced Holy Basil from Eygpt. As the basil gave the gin a somewhat green colour, Moore, as an after thought, later chose Turkish sage to temper and soften this. The result is a superb gin that reflects the affluent connotations of the name chosen for it.

With a RRP of £35, Berkeley Square can also be sampled at the Imbibe Live! show at Earl’s Court 2 on the Fentiman’s stand. The fair, which includes over a thousand drinks brands, is open today, 5th July, and tomorrow. The gin is also available at Gerry’s in Soho, Speciality Wines and the Vintage House as well as at bars including The Dorchester and The Intercontinental.

After the tasting we accompanied Moore and Alexandra Abrahams, her delightfully enthusiastic colleague, to The Connaught to sample their Berkeley Square martinis. The maestro of a barman in The Connaght Bar created a most innovative martini for me by blending ginger and lavender with the Berkeley Square gin. 

The Connaught Bar's Berkeley Square martini

Like the lyrics of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, this is a gin that left me thinking “was that a dream? or was it true?” A Berkeley Square martini is certainly the perfect drink to start any evening of sophistication.

Morton’s, 28 Berkeley Square, London, W1J 6EN. Fore more information see http://www.mortonsclub.com

The Connaught Bar, The Connaught Hotel, Carlos Place, London, W1K 2AL. For more information see http://www.the-connaught.co.uk/connaught_bar.aspx

To register for a free ticket to Imbibe Live! visit http://reg.livebuzz.co.uk/2011/imbibe11/reg/?link=93e1eb3827eb428e4497

Buy Berkeley Square at Gerry’s at 74 Old Compton Street, Soho, W1D 4UD or online at http://www.gerrys.uk.com

For more information on Berkeley Square see http://www.gjgreenall.co.uk/greenalls/berkeley_square.html


Angela Clifton said...

Fascinating. I think I may have a gin cocktail right now. Where can i get lavender essence?

Anonymous said...

I like this gin and the bottle it is in. Good maculine look and taste. Needs a more sophisticated label though.