Posted on Leave a comment

Hubbards Casino Blend reviewed by Undertheginfluence

Hubbards Casino Blend – Stylish Simplicity, Cocktail AND Gin

 

FEBRUARY 5, 2019 BERNADETTE PAMPLIN

I was very pleased to receive a bottle of the new Hubbards Casino Blend gin through the post last week.

First impressions? It looks stylish. It sounds stylish too, Casino Blend. The mind immediately conjures panning shots of a busy casino floor. The whirring clicks of the roulette table, the rattle of coins in the slots. In the heat of the action, a suited player on the brink of winning or losing everything. It’s the place where dreams can be made or broken.

hubbards gin review by undertheginfluence

The design is really well put together and perfectly reflective of the concept, a gin inspired by the Casino cocktail. And, a cocktail that featured in Harry Craddock’s infamous Savoy Cocktail Book, first published in 1930. The Casino cocktail is stylish simplicity, with gin, maraschino liqueur, orange bitters and lemon juice. Served the same fashion as a Martini, it demands a certain standard. I was very keen to see how Hubbards had translated this idea into their gin. So often you see a creative idea get lost in translation and suddenly, the gin is not a gin anymore.

hubbards casino blend undertheginfluence serve

The colour is beautiful. A rich, translucent cherry red. In the glass it looks classy, not faux. On the nose the juniper bursts through in a wonderful fashion. There’s a gentle mingle of citrus and woodland floor, with just the gentlest temptation of cherry fruit in the distance. The juniper persists as we move onto the palate, dancing with the rich flavour of maraschino and more subtle almond marzipan notes. It develops into the brightness of the citrus and on the finish the maraschino comes back in, along with that juniper and back into that musky sense of woodland. It is as if we’re dreaming and have been lifted off that floor, for just a moment, and up into a tree, bulging with the fruit that once hung there, before it was plucked, sweetened and preserved. Juniper through and through, this is one for people looking for a legitimate, yet inventive gin. It’s a difficult balance to strike.

hubbards casino blend undertheginfluence serve 1

The information Phil sent me is certainly true to the idea of a genuine gin. He was inspired when out for a meal with friends. On settling on an inventive gin, he noticed that “[He] could certainly smell the main fruit ingredient but someone had forgotten to add the gin!!! [He] decided there and then that [he] was going to create [his] own flavoured gin which actually tasted of gin”.

And I feel the need to address an ‘elephant in the room’ that’s been growing more and more amongst gin fanatics. I feel the need to do this as more and more people will be asking the questions and I like things to be clear. Not only is Phil straightforward about his inspiration, he is honest about it’s production, and that it is made by a third party. As a lot of us know, the gin industry has been hijacked in recently years by people looking to make a quick turnaround from a booming market. This has led to some gins lacking in being a genuine product, crafted with love by a distiller. People are waking up to this and are becoming more discerning when looking for gins. I personally think there is room for a third party, if it’s done right. Phil explained that the gin is made by Union Distillers. However, his passion for creating this drink shines through in the research, how he involved himself with the distillery and the process to develop the gin.

“So the journey began and what a journey we have been on. We experimented with so many recipes over a 6 month period but that special recipe kept eluding us. We wanted to be different so that we would stand out from the crowd. Following further internet research of the history of gin I stumbled across the 1935 Savoy Hotel cocktail list which included hundreds of classic cocktails. This was my eureka moment. Why not create a gin which was inspired by a classic cocktail. I came across the Casino cocktail which used an Old Tom Gin, Maraschino liquor and Orange bitters. I deconstructed the orange bitters to reveal the main botanicals being quassia chips, cinchona bark and gentian. I had already decided on my London Dry gin recipe using 9 botanicals. What I needed to do now was to bring in the professionals to see if this recipe had legs. I worked closely with Union Distillers who are an award winning distiller in Market Harborough. They started experimenting with my botanical list and firstly developed my London Dry Gin and then blended it with the remaining botanicals including cherry to create the Casino Blend. Once I had my samples I carried out various tasting tests with friends and family and several local pubs and wine bars. Everyone loved the Casino Blend so much that I immediately engaged Union Distillers to start production.”

Phil talks about the process with such warmth, and with pride. I think he has a right to be proud of this gin. It’s a wonderful ode to a classic cocktail, but it doesn’t at all step away from what it really is, gin. Learning the story of Hubbards Casino Blend has given me some more hope for the industry. Phil has proved, to me at least, that even if you don’t distill it yourself, you can be passionate about your idea. And, you can involve yourself with the process. I think, personally, if someone is having it made, rather than setting up their own distillery, this is the only legitimate way to do it. Bravo Phil.

Now I’ve said my piece, lets get back to the gin. I confessed a short while ago that with the amount of tasting I do, I’ve grown rather fond of drinking gin neat. For a neat gin, this is a real doozy. There’s a sweetness there that will appeal to a lot of people, but it’s offset nicely with the juniper and earthy notes. If that sweetness does prove a little too much for you, a twist of lemon will cut through that. Yes, it works great with tonic, if that’s your bag. And, it would be great in a number of cocktails simply because it’s got so much character and would be able to hold it’s own with other spirits and allow you to make some really creative drinks, although I would probably suggest that it’s character could limit the cocktails it’s put in. On the whole though, for me it’s simply about ice and citrus. I’ve gone with lemon in this instance but will certainly be trying it with orange next.

Phil’s clearly ambitious and wants get things moving, including Hubbards growing on social media. Do give him a follow, it would mean a lot to him, I’m sure.

Hubbards Gin Twitter Page

Hubbards Gin Facebook Page

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Hubbards Casino Blend entered in the 2019 London Spirits Competition

 

 

 

 

We are pleased to announce that Hubbards Casino Blend has been entered into the prestigious 2019 London Spirits Competition which takes place on the 21st & 22nd March at The Worx, London.

The London Spirits Competition looks to recognise, reward and help promote spirits brands that have successfully been created to identify with and target a specific spirits drinker. For any spirits brand to earn its place on a retailer’s shelf or a restaurant’s spirits list –  and then vitally stay there – they need to be marketable and consumer driven and not just produced in the general hope it can find enough people willing to sell and buy it.

That is why the London Spirits Competition is different. It will single out and shine the spotlight on those spirits brands that consumers really want to buy and have a clear market value for trade buyers.

A competition that will judge spirits in three key areas:

  1. Their Quality.
  2. Their value for money.
  3. What they look like.

To be an award winner you will need to have top quality spirits, that offers both the trade and the consumer great value for money, and you will need to look good and truly stand out on the shelf and on the back bar.

Quality

The London Spirits Competition is not about recognising spirits that achieve the best quality scores, but you would struggle to drink more than a glass of. We want to celebrate spirits that are both enjoyable and easy to drink. spirits that are well balanced, where their acidity, tannins and alcohol levels all work seamlessly together. That’s the Quality factor.

Value for money

You don’t need to be the cheapest Spirits on the shelf to offer the best value for money. Far from it. spirits may have a high price tag, but can still offer great value providing it delivers the right quality and taste for a spirits at that price point. The London Spirits Competition will assess each spirits for how much value it is offering its customers.

Package and Design

This is arguably the most important part of a Spirits brand to get right. For, after all, what a spirits brand looks like is how every consumer chooses the spirits they want to drink. With their eyes first. Up to 65% of consumers will try a new spirits just because it looks good and if you can match that with a price and quality of spirits that offers great value for money, then you are more than half way home. The London Spirits Competition will reward those brands that show they understand their customers, and the price category they are operating in, and have produced a design and package with the right personality to attract and keep their attention. 

Commercially relevant

Crucially all the winners in the London Spirits Competition will give future trade spirits buyers, be they for a supermarket, specialist spirits retailer, casual dining or upmarket restaurant, the re-assurance that these are spirits that their customers want to buy.

Cross industry recognition

The London Spirits Competition also recognises the huge talent and skills that now exist right through the Spirits supply chain. From the Distillers and Producers that are making the spirits; through to the specialist importers and wholesalers that help bring them to market; along with the designers, packaging experts and brand development teams that ensure there is a market and customer base to sell to.

Consumer awareness

Winners in the London Spirits Competition will receive either a Gold, Silver or Bronze award and be supported by a strong consumer awareness campaign, particularly through social media channels and spirits comparison apps, to promote this new global competition.

Competition organisers

The London Spirits Competition has been created exclusively by the Beverage Trade Network, the US drinks events, services, business and publishing group dedicated to helping drinks producers and brand owners get closer to the buyers, distributors and retailers that can bring their products to market.

It is part of a new wider London drinks awards initiative that also includes The London Wine Competition that looks to reward and highlight market driven consumer.

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Hubbards Casino Blend is now for sale

It has taken over 12 months since my initial idea to create what I believe is a flavoured gin which will stand out from the crowd. Hubbards Casino Blend actually tastes of gin  with a touch of flavour which compliments my base gin botanicals rather than over powering them. I have used my London Dry Gin as a base which includes 9 very carefully selected botanicals. This delivers a very smooth and elegant base for my first release which is the Casino Blend. I have based this small batch release on the classic Casino cocktail of the 1930’s which used an Old Tom Gin as the base, coupled with maraschino cherry liquor and orange bitters. I deconstructed the orange bitters to reveal 3 additional beautiful botanicals. These botanicals were blended with my London Dry Gin with a subtle touch of cherry to create a truly superb and multi-layered flavoured gin. With an ABV of 40% this gin packs a punch and does not let you forget the lovely piney and citrus notes of the base london dry gin.