Beautiful In Black

Beautiful In BlackCharnwood Forest attracts Master Distiller to area & Messy Bessy is the 'new kid on the block'. Ok ok so I fully admit it. I am a gin lover and it seems so is the world and Great Britain in particular.

My other half and I love a G&T on a Friday night after a long and weary week and to be honest it can easily become 2 or 3 too if we get the chance. The zing of fresh lime, the aroma of citrus followed by the other botanicals as you take your first sip, that ‘hit’ as the spirit bites into your palate and suddenly - you are awake again! Marvellous.

I first met Jamie Baxter when he was working with William Chase and where he set up the new Still which started the distillation of the now famous Chase Vodka and William's Gin. For the last year or two Jamie has been working as a consultant and was working in London when he met up with Phil Burley and Graham Veitch, two Leicestershire ‘lads’ at The City of London distillery.

And so after only 8 months and 2 days Burleighs Gin was born. Named after and because of our own local Burleigh Wood between Loughborough and Nanpantan, the first distillation was made in the Still they have named MESSY BESSY on Mid-Summer's Day 24th June 2014. I was lucky enough to be invited on that day and was able to have a taste ‘straight from the Still’ so giving me an indication of just how smooth and floral the spirit would be once finished.

Jamie, who is regarded by many as the UK's best distiller and possibly one of the best in the world, explained to me that he has learnt that giving the spirit extended time in contact with copper is more beneficial than simply a way the heat is conducted. It lifts the botanicals and helps to produce a smoother and very integrated spirit. Here Jamie has, of course, used the classic juniper as primary botanical then added citrus, silver birch, burdock, elderberry and the well-known iris root the result is such a smooth and mellow gin it can be drunk neat, a very talented job indeed I think.

Very soon they will be launching a Distillers Cut along with Export Strength gins to give a broader and deeper range within their gins. In due time they are looking to offer other Spirit such as Urban Vodka and fruit liqueurs but, I think a little time is needed for them to get to know Bessy better. I may be wrong but getting to learn the intricacies and character of a Still is vital to get the best out of ‘her’ so a more developed flavour is acquired. DO NOTE this is a personal comment as I do not have a technical reason to write this. It is simply my experience over the 50 years I have been in The Trade!

Beautiful In Black
How to serve Burleighs Gin?

Currently Jamie's favourite cocktail of choice is a Martinez. For this he likes to use the fantastic Luxardo original maraschino cherries which are ridiculously fantastic and unctuous.

The guys at Burleighs suggest for a regular G&T that you use a wedge of pink grapefruit which does add a different twist.

This is how my partner & I make a G&T;

Take a tall, slim, ‘Hi-Ball’ glass and fill with ice cubes. Take a fresh lime and cut a medium wedge which you squeeze over the ice and drop it in to the glass. Pour in a ‘slug’' [technical terms - ha ha] of your favourite gin over the lime, at the same time ‘Wave’ some tonic of choice over the glass - seriously pour enough to your taste but we use little! Run the lime around the rim of the glass. Serve at once - Deeeelicious

All the best - Andrew

Image: Graham, Andrew, Phil & Jamie