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Death's Door gin.

A Gin & Tonic Cocktail Recipe from Moonfleet Manor

Posted: 31 March 2016

The ever-increasing number of micro-distilleries producing gins testifies to a huge revival in the spirit in recent years. At Luxury Family Hotels, we always have a couple of artisanal gins to hand – such as Death’s Door, made by brothers Tom and Ken Koyen in Washington Island, Wisconsin – in addition  in addition to Hendricks. Moonfleet Manor even has its very own G&T cocktail – and we’re sharing its recipe.

The secret is in the ice. Bar staff make a G&T ice cube, after spicing the gin with cloves and peppercorns for three to four hours. Tonic is then added and ‘knocked’ or beaten to remove the bubbles. The mixture is then portioned and frozen.

When assembling the drink, the cube goes in first and is whizzed around the glass to both cool the glass and start the mixing process. A double shot of Fifty Pound Gin is added, along with half a dozen juniper berries, lime rind and a tiny pinch of dried rose petals. Heaven!

The recipe for Fifty Pounds gin goes back to 1736 and features botanicals sourced from four continents. A particularly smooth gin, it’s distilled four times and made in batches of just 100 bottles – each with its batch number and the year of distillation.

By contrast, Death’s Door is based on the hard red wheat grown in its region and is flavoured with wild juniper and coriander and fennel seeds from Washington Island. The juniper dominates the front palate, the coriander offers citrusy, spiced notes, and the fennel gives it a soft, cooling finish.

The forerunner to London Dry Gin, Genever, was first produced by the Dutch in the 17th century, by distilling botanicals, mainly juniper. Juniper berries have become the base of all gin recipes.

In the 1700s, gin drinking in England increased dramatically after the government allowed unlicenced production and at the same time imposed a heavy duty on imported spirits, creating a market for poor-quality grain unfit for brewing beer.

Thousands of gin shops sprang up throughout England during the ‘Gin Craze’. Because of its relative cheapness, it was consumed regularly by the poor and was blamed for various social problems – indeed, it may have been a factor in the higher death rates that stabilised London’s previously growing population.

The negative reputation of gin survives today in the English language, in terms such as ‘gin mills’ or the American phrase ‘gin joints’ to describe disreputable bars, or ‘gin-soaked’ to refer to drunks. And then there’s the derogatory British epithet ‘mother’s ruin”. Yet despite that, we rather like it...

Read more about food and drink at Luxury Family Hotels.