- Food & Drink
Hello gin in my garden
It’s the festive party season. A time of sequins, paper hats and nibbly things on sticks. A time to gather your friends together to make merry in the lambent glow of the Christmas tree. A time to risk your soft palate by playing microwaved mince pie roulette. And a time to rinse out the expensive looking empty bottles of gin and decant something much more cost-effective into them. Because, given the rate at which British people drink, who can afford to dole out the fancy stuff?
This year I have been blessed by the gin fairies at Aldi, the Teutonic purveyor of lookey-likey bargain groceries. They sent me a bottle of their Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin to try. It has won awards and costs less than a tenner – a promising prospect in the Christmas party plonk dash. So I put on my Christmas jumper, cranked the Bing Crosby all the way up to 11 and gave it a try.
Day or night gin? This is 37.5% abv, so it’s a daytime gin. Perfect for serving after an Advent service with a Mr Kipling Christmas Cake Slice, or maybe at the school carol concert.
What does it smell of? Cool and crisp, like a winter’s morning. If you put on a snood that’s lightly misted with hairspray and then went for a walk by the duckpond on a blue sky day, you’d catch the same whiff.
What does it taste of? It’s like someone machine-gunned Narnia with lemons. It opens with a soft, sweet sluice of citrus and ends with a peppery bite of juniper and bark. It’s not a shy gin and it mixes happily with tonic, but it’s too sweet to make a good martini. I wouldn’t use it for cocktails unless I was just looking for alcoholic ballast.
Buy it? At £9.70 for 70cl, this is a bargain. By comparison, at Asda, Gordon’s is £14 for 70cl, Beefeater is £15 for 70cl and Asda London Dry Gin is £11 for 70cl. When it comes to stocking up the drinks cabinet for December’s liver-ruining round of parties, it’s a no-brainer. I’d buy this.