We've decided to mix up our habits rather than restrict or increase so that we are both enjoying, moderating and exploring. All this in the form of a high-low month of delectable Portobello Road Gin serves. From our low alcohol spirit, Temperance to our classic London Dry and on to our punchy Navy Strength gin.
First Up: Temperance & Tonic
When deciding to create a low alcohol spirit, it was always with the idea that it would work in our favourite alcoholic drinks so we could moderate alcohol intake not the fun and flavour of classic serves. In our development of Temperance, we looked at our favorite cocktail recipes to establish the key components of flavour our low alcohol spirit would require to still give that all important botanical structure to drinks.
The G&T is arguably the most famous mixed drink and when you can drink one as easily on a sunny afternoon as you can as a nightcap or a dinner accompaniment, its not hard to understand why. Refreshing and uplifting, the quinine of tonic is so distinct, yet which tonic you choose to accompany it with is critical to the quality and enjoyment of your drink. The recipe of Temperance enjoys a strong botanical structure so a Temperance & Tonic using Fever-Tree's Indian Tonic Water enjoys that refreshing character we all love from a classic G&T.
Mix 50ml Temperance with 200ml Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water and garnish with a slice of lemon.
Just 0.2 units.
Next Up: London Dry Gin & Tonic
Much like driving a sports car, you can’t put poor quality wheels on it and expect it to perform to its fullest ability, so as with your spirit and mixer, make sure you use the best. In comes, Fever Tree-tonic water, with a range designed to suit and compliment an extensive variety of spirits. Our inaugural gin, Portobello Road London Dry Gin, was designed with mixabiliy in mind. Developed by 4 bartenders and tested extensively over 9 months. It sits at home as much in a martini as it does a negroni or indeed, a G&T. With a big hit of Juniper followed by a burst of citrus from the lemon and bitter orange and then a sweet note from the liquorice and the cassia bark which slowly builds to a long peppery finish from the nutmeg, our London Dry's flavour profile matches perfectly with Fever-Tree's Mediterranean Tonic Water.
For your classic G&T, mix 50ml London Dry with 200ml Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and garnish with a twist of pink grapefruit.
Last up for the G&Ts: Navy Strength
Now last but by no means least, our punchy, maritime gin is distilled with English-grown wheat and Portobello Road Gin’s signature recipe of nine time honoured botanicals. A delicious hint of salt is added to tempered violet tones and strong earthiness to give a subtle yet distinct flavour. The salinity of the spirit cuts through very pleasantly to reveal a bold and exciting flavour that matches wonderfully with Fever-Tree's Aromatic Tonic Water that is made using South American angostura bark, perfectly balanced with sweet, spicy notes of cardamom, ginger, vanilla and pimento berry.
As G&Ts go, this is as flavourful as it is powerful and a really great way to mix up your usual G&T serve, yet still super simple to mix up and enjoy.
Negroni 3 ways
Now, we are mixing up the Negroni in 3 different iterations, enjoying those high-low abv strengths. One of the pleasures of this drink is its simple build of just 3 ingredients. The classic is arguably unbeatable but join us in our experimentation and have a taste of what higher and lower strength versions have to offer.
Navy Strength Contessa
A relatively close iteration of the Negroni, The Contessa cocktail still packs a delightful punch and never more so than when using our Portobello Road Navy Strength Gin. Also substituting the classic red Campari for the wonderful orangey Aperol and a dry vermouth instead of sweet, it is full of flavour, not compromise.
25ml Dry Vermouth
1 orange peel
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled (roughly 20 seconds.) Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a twist of orange.
Funnily enough, even though our Navy Strength Gin is much stronger in abv, when it is in a Contessa, the cocktail's alcohol units are actually lower than that of a classic Negroni, thanks to the substitution of Campari (25% abv) for Aperol (11% abv).
London Dry Negroni
Perhaps one of the most iconic cocktails of all time, let alone gin cocktails specifically, the Negroni is a classic cocktail we return to again and again, whether its as a Summer cooler or an after dinner digestif. In 2019 it enjoyed its 100th birthday since it's invention in Florence, Italy by an Italian Count who demanded that the bartender replace the club soda in his Americano with gin.
A bitter but delicious and refreshing drink, it is wonderfully simple to mix.
Add all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir until well-chilled (roughly 20 seconds.) Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with a wedge of orange.
Temperance White Logroni
Build over ice & stir in a rocks glass, garnish with a wedge of orange.
At just 1.28 units (14.4% abv) of alcohol it is about half that found in a classic Negroni (24% abv.) Beautifully simple and sophisticated like the full strength original, we’ve substituted sweet red vermouth with Lillet blanc - a fortified wine, much like vermouth but with a little extra flavour and in a Logroni, we get our bitter edge from Luxardo Bitter Bianco aperitif instead of the famous red Campari. The Luxardo Bitter offers a lighter, herbaceous edge, sitting wonderfully with Temperance’s subtle botanical structure.
Gin Sour 3 Ways
The sour is a classic family of cocktails that also includes the Margarita and the Daiquiri. As a general rule, sours contain a base liquor, lemon or lime juice, and a sweetener. Occasionally they can contain egg white, as the Gin Sour does. You can also add a few dashes of bitters to enhance the flavours of the cocktail. It is this relatively simple but cohesive combination that lends itself so well to any spirit category as well as the variations of our very own gins.
Celebrated Butter Gin: Paddington Bear's Marmalade Sandwich
In place of our classic London Dry Gin, we're using our Celebrated Butter Gin, which is in fact our London Dry redistilled with blocks of unsalted butter.
This original recipe is inspired by one of Portobello Road's most famous literary figures, a one Mr Paddington Bear, using his favourite ingredient which happens to seamlessly mix with our Celebrated Butter Gin.
10ml Fresh lemon juice
12.5ml egg white
2 teaspoons of quality Marmalade
Toast dust to garnish
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well and strain in to a coupette. Garnish with a sprinkling of toast dust (make a piece of toast and scrape off some crumbs then lightly grind them down to a fine dust.)
Temperance: A Call for Temperance
As proud purveyors of London spirit, our gin and the brand as a whole was founded to embody gin in its traditional form and inspired by Victorian London so the London’s Calling cocktail is the symbiotic meeting of a contemporary cocktail with a historic spirit. Our Temperance alternative is just 3.7% abv so to quote The Clash song of the same, “London calling at the top of the dial”, you can dial it down with A Call for Temperance.
15ml Fino Sherry
20ml Lemon juice
10ml Sugar syrup
Whites of 1 egg
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, shake with ice, remove ice, dry shake and then fine strain straight up in a coup glass.
For a zesty finish, grate some lemon zest on to the top of your finished cocktail.
Navy Strength: Perfect Lady
Inspired by Edward VIII's abdication to marry his perfect lady, Wallis Simpson, the Perfect Lady cocktail was created by Sidney Cox in 1936, winning The British Empire Cocktail Competition with it.
Largely inspired by the classic White Lady, The Perfect Lady is a little lighter and fruitier, replacing the triple sec with peach liqueur, which is why using our punchier Navy Strength isn't overpowering in the cocktail.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupette glass.
Spritz 3 Ways
We obviously can't talk about the spritz serve without mentioning Aperol. Thanks to the iconic orange aperitif, demand for spritz style serves has increased tenfold in the last decade. The style of drink however is also a great example of moderated drinking, usually consisting of a spirit and soda, amongst other ingredients, it makes for a longer drink and can be pleasant for leisurely Summer time drinking.
However, we will testify that a great thing about the spritz is that it is not just for Summer and so long as you're using some form of sparkling element, it needn't be soda. So make what you will of moderating your spritz, as we show below!
Sloeberry & Blackcurrant Gin: Sloe Gin Spritz
No drink in the last ten years has enjoyed such a meteoric rise as the Spritz, here we use our Sloeberry & Blackcurrant Gin to great effect, using it instead of the familiar Italian red aperitif bitters that we tend to find in the modern Spritz. The sharpness of the Sloe’s, the acidity of the Prosecco, and the sweetness of the blackcurrant and cherry that we use, make for a deliciously balance combination. The new Fever-Tree Blood Orange Soda adds a little bit of the bitterness that we like in a Spritz and of course, the bubbles. Long refreshing and delicious.
Our Sloeberry & Blackcurrant is in fact 28% abv (compared to our London Dry's 42% abv) so for this week's mid-level abv serve, this leans to the lower side.
50mls Portobello Road Sloeberry & Blackcurrant
100mls Fever-Tree Blood Orange Soda
Fill a wine glass with ice cubes, add all of the ingredients and stir. Garnish with an orange slice.
Navy Strength: French 57.1
Now we may have switched the number to reflect navy's abv of 57.1% but make no mistake, the abv is higher than that of the original French 75. A fantastically delicious sparkling cocktail that classically uses London dry gin, our navy strength works here beautifully thanks to the added sea salt post-distillation. The marriage of the citrus and the slight salinity of the gin makes this decadent drink very quaffable and right up their in the abv stakes! A great cocktail for a special occasion and fairly simple to make.
Champagne being the french element of the French 75, prosecco actually works equally well and with prosecco proving incredibly popular in the UK (Britain was the biggest consumer of prosecco globally in 2017) and sales of UK based sparkling wines on the rise, this drink is the perfect spritz serve.
45ml Portobello Road Navy Strength Gin
15ml Lemon juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
Add all ingredients except the prosecco in to an ice filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Fine strain into a chilled flute glass and top up with the prosecco. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Temperance: Petite 75
Only petite in name and abv, the Temperance version of the delightfully decadent French 75 cocktail makes for a wonderfully elegant and citrus-y treat and at 1.3% abv (0.21 units) its luxury without the abv. In its early form, the cocktail was created in 1915 at Harry's New York Bar in Paris by barman Harry MacElhone. Perfect for celebrations and to get that bubbly joy even when you’re not drinking full strength, our Temperance made 75 uses non-alcoholic sparkling wine to make it even more moderated. C’est magnifique!
25ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
15ml Sugar syrup
Lemon or a Maraschino cherry
Shake Temperance, lemon juice and sugar syrup with ice in a cocktail shaker, fine strain into a flute, top with non-alcoholic sparkling and garnish with a twist of lemon peel or a maraschino cherry.
Crushed Ice 3 Ways...
We know, crushed ice isn't a drink group but bear with us! Our final week of high-low mix ups is made up of drinks that share very similar characteristics, but are not technically of the same style, for reasons which will be explained. The main attribute these cocktails all share is crushed ice. Many cocktails use crushed ice but we've selected these three drinks due to their not identical but very similar builds and the fantastic way in which they highlight our hero spirits.
We hope you've enjoyed mixing up abvs with our exploration of high-low strength spirits and cocktails. As always, we have a vast range of cocktail recipes on our website to help you enjoy your favourite products and experiment with new ones so you'll always know where to head to discover new drinks and pick up everything you need to make them at home.
Navy Strength: Cobbler
The Sherry Cobbler (delicious, do try it) is undoubtedly the most famous cobbler and is mentioned in literature as far back as 1838. The cobbler style drink has enjoyed a long history with mentions in Jerry Thomas' 1872 book, How to Mix Drinks: Or the Bon-vivant’s Companion. To quote Thomas: “Like the julep, this delicious potation is an American invention, although it is now a favourite in all warm climates. The “cobbler” does not require much skill in compounding, but to make it acceptable to the eye, as well as to the palate, it is necessary to display some taste in ornamenting the glass after the beverage is made.”
If Jerry Thomas likens it to the julep then thats all the evidence we need to draw a similarity. Here, we use our Navy Strength as it's bold maritime flavours mix exotically with the variety of fruits.
Add the gin and sugar to a goblet glass. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then add the lemon, lime, orange and strawberries and muddle the fruit. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top up with soda. Gently stir and then garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of pineapple.
Temperance's strong botanical structure means it stands up really well in drinks such as the bramble, complimenting the mix of the few ingredients. As it was designed to seamlessly take the place of gin in our favourite drinks, this is the perfect example of a classic cocktail made low abv.
20ml Fresh lemon juice
Measure and pour your fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and Temperance into your glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice, garnish with a bramble and mint sprig and then dust with icing sugar. Finish by pouring a measure of Braemble Gin Liqueur over the ice. Drink with a straw to enjoy.
Old Tom: Mint Julep
Now for our 'mid-level' abv drink, though this one is more about the abv of the spirit rather than the drink as there are so few ingredients, with our Old Tom (47.4% abv) being the main one, so the abv of this drink is relatively high...(what can we say, January is nearly over!)
As we mentioned earlier, Jerry Thomas drew comparisons between the cobbler and the julep as well as other commentaries on the drink and its many versions, but the main thing? The Julep is predominantly liquor and sugar poured over crushed ice. The Mint Julep using bourbon is undoubtedly the most popular but thanks to our Old Tom's malt-like flavour profile, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by a gin-take on the refreshing classic
12.5ml Sugar syrup
10 fresh mint leaves
In a Julep cup or rocks glass, muddle the mint leaves and sugar syrup. Add the Old Tom and pack the glass tightly with crushed ice. Stir until the cup is frosted on the outside. Top with more crushed ice to form an ice dome, and garnish with a mint sprig. Lightly sprinkle with some powdered sugar.