The City University Club’s London Dry Gin has been awarded a Bronze medal in this year’s International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) which champions the best wine and spirits from around the world.
Founded in 1969 and formally known as “Club Oenologique”, the International Wine & Spirit Competition recognises high-quality products and excellence in wines and spirits worldwide.
With a unique and extremely dedicated judging process, almost 400 industry experts from 30 different countries are carefully handpicked to sit on judging panels, ensuring a considered approach to the tasting is adhered to for each and every product.
The Competition runs a two-stage judging process which involves a “double-blind” judging method which allows the judges to focus more on the taste without being influenced by the visual appearance of any given bottle or its packaging.
Firstly, the samples are evaluated in silence by the judges, discreetly and without any comment which may affect the decisions of others before the scores are collected by the panel chair, after which an open discussion takes place. However, when judges are unable to reach a majority decision, flights are referred to another panel.
The second stage in the judging process is the detailed chemical and microbiological analysis which is undertaken by an independent third party, focussing on the quality and the aroma, again without being influenced by the packaging.
The City University Club wanted to work with a distillery that could produce a bespoke gin in a small quantity that is exclusive to the Club. They therefore approached multi-award winning Hawkridge Distillers based in Newbury, Berkshire, who are known for producing premium British made sprits using locally sourced organic botanicals. The distillery for its part was keen to work with the Club and proved to be a perfect fit for what the CUC was looking for.
Established in 1895 by Oxbridge graduates wanting to lunch in the City, it made sense for the Club to call this new spirit the ‘1895 City University Club London Dry Gin’. And today, despite a membership base that is much more open and diverse, the desire for first-class food and drink remains the same. So, producing an exclusive 1895 Gin for club members seemed like a natural extension of that core desire for good quality food and drink.
The gin itself has a warm juniper forward that gives way to a fresh citrus heart and delicate floral notes, all smoothed with honey. I found that the botanicals really come through, making 1895 the perfect gin to use when making a refreshing G&T.
It has been extremely well received by club members and is best served with a premium tonic and slice of pink grapefruit or orange and plenty of ice.
If you are making a G&T at home, my preferred ratio of gin to tonic is 1:3 or 2 ounces of gin to 5 or 6 ounces of tonic water. For example, Fever-Tree tonic tends to come in 6 oz bottles, which is just the right amount for the perfect G&T. If, however you prefer a longer drink, then go with a ratio of 1:2 to make a stronger cocktail.
Be sure to include a squeeze of fresh citrus to add some freshness and help balance out the bittersweet flavour of the tonic. Either lemon or lime will work well. And be sure to fill the glass with plenty of ice. In fact, the more ice you add, the less watered down the drink will be, and your cocktail will also be colder quicker and stay colder for longer. Then finally garnish it with a simple wedge of lime or a lemon wheel. Alternatively, a sprig of rosemary and a grapefruit twist works well in a winter G&T when using a London Dry Gin such as 1895.
1895 City University Club London Dry Gin has an ABV of 40% and is available to club members priced at £48 for a 70cl. bottle.
Simon Burrell is Editor of OMOTG Travel & Lifestyle Magazine, a former member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.
Photographs by Simon Burrell