I remember there being a time that I was only really aware of there being one ‘6 O’clock’ in the day…
And let me assure you that it was very much the ‘6 O’clock’ that arrives later in the day, strategically placed within the window of ‘Happy Hour’! A ‘Happy Hour’ that was ironically partly the blame for me being blissfully unaware of the hour in the day that masquerades with the same name, yet at a much less socially acceptable position of the 24hour window!
That was until I became a first time dad a few years back, to a little boy (who doubles as a ‘faulty alarm clock’). This was a life changing event that very quickly introduced me to the full array of times of day available to the average human who is sat awake through the night monitoring a screaming child until the sun appears to mark (what you can only assumes means) it’s the start of a new day that would have usually been punctuated by some kind of sleep!
Whilst I wouldn’t change things for the world, it is fair to say that ‘6 O’clock’ had taken on a very different meaning! Gone were there cocktail glasses and garnishes, replaced by milk bottles and nappies. Gone was tonic water and ice cubes, replaced by bath water and bubble bath. Gone was ‘Happy Hour’, replaced by ‘the Witching Hour’ (if you know, you know!).
Thankfully, the evenings of insomnia are fewer and further between these days (I was half tempted to write that in a smaller font, just in case my son was to see it and get any ideas. Though, luckily, he can’t read!). That said, ‘Happy Hour’ isn’t quite as ‘Rock n’ Roll’ as it may have once been. That was up until last week, when a very timely reminder arrived on my door step…
Bristol based ‘6 O’clock Gin’ had decided that the time was right to launch a brand new expression to their range, bringing a taste of the exotic to proceedings to really kick off the summer season in style. Say hello to the latest member of the 6 O’clock Gin family; ‘Mango, Ginger & Lime – Romy’s Edition’, created in association with chef Romy Gill, MBE!
It’s 6 O’clock somewhere…
Having established a firm following for their 6 O’clock London Dry Gin, a stunning classic demanding a worthy place in anyone’s gin collection, the Bristol based 6 O’clock team have built a core range that consists of their Brunel Edition, Sloe Gin, Damson Gin and a small range of tonic waters.
Then, in 2018, the team branched out in to a critically acclaimed collaboration, adding a herbaceous heavy hitter to their juniper armoury with Jekka’s Edition (joining forces with fellow Bristolian and celebrity gardener extraordinaire Jekka McVicar).
You can read all about ‘Jekka’s Edition’ in my fuller write up at the time of the 2018 launch here:
For this latest limited edition release, ‘Romy’s Edition’, 6 O’clock, from the family-run artisan spirit company ‘Bramley & Gage’, have collaborated with celebrated chef Romy Gill (an MBE to boot dontchya know!). And when they say limited edition, they’re not mucking about! Having officially launched on Monday 1st of June, punters will only have until November this year to get their mitts on a bottle.
Gill, an Indian born British chef has brought her own unique style and influences to the Still for this mango, ginger and lime flavoured gin. In specifically selecting herbs and spices that are traditionally found in Indian cuisine, the aim was to deliver a gin that could portray the flavours of India. And through infusing the spirit with fresh Indian mango juice post distillation, the aspiration was to strike the perfect balance between indulgent fruit sweetness and delicate spice.
In the press release Gill goes on to enthusiastically explain her involvement in the project;
“Gin-lovers will appreciate the expression of flavours that instantly transport you to summers in India. I’ve been a fan of 6 O’clock Gin since I first served it at my restaurant, and together we’ve created a gin that will go down a treat this summer.”
And ‘Summers in India’ seems very fitting from the moment you cast eyes on the bottle!
Gone is the classic crisp royal blue of the flagship London Dry and the trademark cogs of the ‘6’ logo. Instead they are replaced by an array of vibrant colour and shape, with a mandala collage bringing a kaleidoscope effect that draws the eye and captures the imagination.
Built on the base of the gins saffron and turmeric golden hue, emanating from the bottle, it has an almost magical feel to it. It’s an impressive sight to behold.
6 O’clock Gin ‘Romy’s Edition’ to taste
I once read the science behind how and why mango makes the best garnish for a G&T, based on its ability to harmonise and accentuate the other botanicals used in gins. And whilst far be it from me to argue with the boffins, I was yet to try a gin that had opted to make the mango such a core element of the liquid itself. As the label states, ‘all in good time’. And the time was now…
On the nose, thick sticky mango sits at the forefront of the gin, like falling face first in to a vat of tangy Indian chutney. The team describe how the flavours of Indian cuisine have been incorporated in to the gins botanical make up, and so it’s quite easy to start picturing the pickle trays and a line up of Indian delicacies. It’s hard to describe, but the vapours almost feel thick enough to spoon out of the glass and spread!
The use of the fresh mango juice, post distillation, is inspired. It brings an unmistakable scent of the exotic, to match the golden glow of the neat spirit. Whilst the fruit brings with it an indulgent and tooth rottingly delicious sweetness, that rises from the glass, it is expertly balanced out by the addition of a zesty lime sharpness that cuts through any potential concerns of an overwhelming sugar rush. Very clever indeed.
There’s a light and earthy ginger spicing that ebbs and flows through the nosing, complemented by the gentle dusting of aromatic spices leaping from the glass. It’s a little like opening your spice cupboard at home and getting that initial exciting waft of worldly flavours. It’s an amalgamation that provides a backbone of reassuring and confident boozey warmth.
As is often the case amongst such an intense like up of core botanical flavours, the juniper can’t really help but appear quite masked and subdued on the nose. I can at times still detect subtle pine notes, though they are more of a background and supporting act.
To taste, and whoosh – good luck in not picking out that mango! It’s an absolute powerhouse, almost like biting in to the flesh of the fruit. The gin carries with it a vibrancy of the fresh fruit, which gives a bright and lively vibe that just feels perfect for the summer weather! The mouth feel only serves to emphasise the sense of luxury and indulgence – ok, so its perhaps not spreadable…but your mind would tell you it’s not far off!
The exotic flavours are in full force. But this isn’t sweetness for sweetness sake! This gin has been well considered, thought through and executed. The lime continues to reign in the sugar levels to just the right point, whilst also helping to trick the mind in to thoughts of pineapple and rhubarb.
Let’s not forget that we’re not talking about a syrupy liqueur here. This is a proper gin, with a proper ABV. And it’s a welcome reminder, provided by the liquid itself, which is more than capable of doing the talking! The spicing, particularly the ginger, provide an upfront warmth on the tip of the tongue, with a light sting that sits on the lips for a while. You also still get the classic feel of fiery coriander within the wash. Upon further sipping, there’s a delightful longevity on the back of the throat, perhaps akin to taking a bite of a mildly spiced snack that hooks you in for a second (and third…etc) taste! There’s also deep and earthy rootiness to the gin, that provides a delicate aniseed-esq affect across the palate.
As with the nosing, I have to admit that the juniper is more fleeting to taste than you would perhaps find on classic London Dry. But then again, this isn’t a London Dry. And it doesn’t pretend to be a London Dry. The juniper is certainly there, most notably at the back on the tongue and on the aftertaste, and there is definitely enough here to keep the classic purists interested. But the use of fresh fruit juices, and perfectly balanced spices, provide a gear shift in to flavoured gin territory with a difference!
As for a serving suggestion? For me, this demands quite a classic accompaniment. A light tonic, with a fistful of ice. The team have already done the hard work for you in marrying together a flavour profile & character that delivers by the spadeful! That removes any of the thinking needed, as complicated mixes will only mask the intended delivery or cause an incomprehensible overload. I’d look to garnish this with either fresh mango or a slice of lime to bring additional citrus sharpness to the long drink. Better yet, go for broke and dual garnish with both!
Time at the bar please!
Romy’s Edition can be purchased NOW (having officially launched on 1st June 2020) and is available for £38 from the official 6 O’clock Gin website http://www.6oclockgin.com .
Make sure you follow both 6 O’clock Gin and Romy Gill across their social media channels for all the latest and greatest goings on! You can even see Romy at work on ‘Ready Steady Cook’!
And don’t forget to stop by @theginshelf across all social media platforms for more blogs & event updates. Stop by, say ‘Hi’ & chat gin!