Gins up to 115 in our first year!!!!

Yes we have completed a year of being open as the ‘new’ Cholmondeley Arms. September being the month we opened last year 2011. We set our stall out then to be the best pub in Cheshire for the enjoyment of a Gin and Tonic (amongst many other things of course!!) and in turn create a legend.

Little did we know 18 months ago when Tim first visited the ‘Chum’ and decided Gins were definitely the thing to do here, that gin would have become so popular with micro/craft distillers popping up everywhere.

Trips to different parts of the UK and Europe have helped teach us so much about this famous and slightly infamous spirit. The glass, the fruit, the botanicals, the ice, the tonics and of course the gins themselves have all been explored.

We run an annual amateur Fruit Gin making competition, we have guest speakers such as James Chase from the Chase Distillery talking through Gin. We have tasting sessions for those guests that want to learn just a little bit more about Gin and its history. We operate ‘Bring Gin to the Inn’ where customers themselves can search out Gins on our behalf and be rewarded for doing so.

Our aim was to start with the ‘Cholmondeley Top Forty Gins’ in our house ‘Gin Bible’ and add to our collection through our pro-active Gin suppliers, our enthusiastic team and of course our customers who have all brought ‘Gin to the Inn’ over the last year from as far afield as the States and the Far East.

We have built our collection now to 115 different gins. We are the biggest purveyor of Gin in Cheshire, in fact the north of England and in our second year we aim to make the Gin Bible more informative, have Gin Quarterlies that focus the guest on new craft gins as well as some classics changing the list four times a year, add value to our ‘Gin Tasting Classes’ and of course build our collection and our knowledge. So come and help us…enjoy a classic Gin and tonic with us. Thank you to ALL our customers who have supported us in our first year!!!! We are so grateful for your business.

Gins burst through the 100 mark!!!!

Yes it has happened………… the Cholmondeley Arms is the biggest purveyor of Gin in Cheshire and probably the north of England!! 106 Gins now grace the shelves of our fabulous back bar!! Having just got back from Mallorca with a bottle of the Menorcan, Port Mahon Gin and a Larios Dry Gin from Spain it was to my great surprise that I found that we had, had a further ten gins brought to the Inn by various ‘shy’ locals!!

While in Mallorca I found the growth in passion for all things Gin to be phenomenal. As you can see in the picture two bartenders worked on mixing gins with flair for us on a balmy evening by the ocean (yes we brought the weather back) and the final presentation in the glass was excellent. Great lessons learnt for how we can develop further the gin service here at ‘the Chum’.

Sometimes we have to remind ourselves we have only been open as the new Cholmondeley Arms eight months and we have come a long way with gin…………………… Fruit Gin making Championships, Gin tasting evenings, Talks on Gin from various Gin distillers such as James Chase, the ‘Bring Gin to the Inn’ concept, and shortly the ‘Complete Gin List’ which we
are working on as I write this.

If you are interested in gin email us regarding Gin tasting Evenings. We look forward to hearing from you!!

Gins fly in from the USA!!!

Local regulars and Gin enthusiasts have brought ‘Gin to the Inn’. Chris & Dawn have been on holiday to the USA, and have brought back 3 gins for us that we previously didn’t have.

Number 92 on the Gin shelf is a gin called American Pride we are trying to get more information on this gin but it is proving difficul!! Nevertheless Stru’ and Steve say it is a really good traditional juniper gin and I believe them!!! At number 93 on the shelf is Fleischmann’s (America’s 1st Gin according to the Bottle). A light smooth gin. Fleischmann’s was the first American-made gin, starting in 1870. Fleischmann’s has a lighter gin taste, making it more mixable.

At number 94 on the list is Nicholas Gin and this one is amazing, the yanks seem to be doing something right…. Nicholas Gin Description is of standard proof, is distilled in USA and is a modern gin. This untraditional gin contains flavours from lavender, rose hips, and hibiscus. It is distilled by Fat Dog Spirits.

So remember we are always looking for gins and a massive thanks to Chris and Dawn (below) who add themselves to the ‘Bring Gin to the Inn Club’

We have many customers who like gin, who also like to travel and may find gins we don’t stock on those travels…. so…….we came up with ‘Bring Inn the Gin’ and here’s what you have to do.

  1. Find a gin and make sure we don’t stock it.
  2.  Buy the Gin and keep the receipt, this can be in Sterling, Euros (while they last!!) and American dollars
  3. Bring the Gin to the Inn.
  4.  Present the gin and if we don’t stock it already we will pay you the value of your receipt. (The seal on the bottle must be intact of course)
  5. As a bonus we will also give you a £10 Cholmondeley gift voucher for each bottle of gin brought Inn!!
  6. So for the new ‘Gin Supplier’ it’s a ‘win, win’ on the ‘gin,

Gins hit the 90 mark!!!

Unbelievably the gin collection here at the Cholmondeley Arms has now gone through the 90 barrier!!!

In at number 86 is a gin brought in by a kind customer who was taking advantage of our now famous….”bring Gin to the Inn” promotion (see events page here on the website) where we pay for the unique gin you bring and reward you with £10 of Cholmondeley vouchers at the same time!!!

New Beefeater London Market Limited Edition Gin

Hot off the press comes the news of another unique Beefeater Limited Edition gin. This time Master Distiller Desmond Payne has followed in the footsteps of Beefeater founder James Burrough who in the nineteenth century sought out the best ingredients he could find in London’s celebrated food markets such as the original Covent Garden. So the new gin contains new ingredients found today on London’s market stalls such as pomegranate seeds, kaffir lime leaves and cardamom pods.

With over 40 years in the industry, Desmond Payne is the world’s most experienced gin distiller and at the heart of Beefeater’s innovation. As Desmond explains: “By using these exotic botanicals, I wanted to create a gin that captures the drinker’s imagination, reminding them of the aromas, tastes and charm of London’s bustling markets in the summertime.”

And what do these new botanicals bring? The use of pomegranate produces a berry-like note to introduce a complex and balanced progression of flavours on the palate. Beefeater’s traditional citrus notes of lemon and bitter orange are complimented by the softer lime flavour of Kaffir lime leaves whilst the sweet spice aromas of cardamom gently soften the gin on the palate.

At number 87 is Bluecoat American Dry Gin

Bluecoat American Dry Gin is distilled using a variety of organic juniper berries. The taste is spicy and earthy, with notes of citrus peel and other organic botanicals.

At number 88 is Imagin Dry Gin

Imagin is comprised of juniper and twelve further botanicals. On the palate, this gin has complex notes of herbs, spices and citrus, all balanced perfectly and means Sweden is represented on the gin ‘back bar’.

At number 89 is Mayfair Gin

Mayfair gin has a big hit of juniper, followed by a touch of spice and a residual sweetness. This is a well-balanced gin with a long finish.

And then finally the number 90 is the exceptionally special Lighthouse Gin from New Zealand

Lighthouse™ Gin is, first and foremost, a New Zealand gin.

Whilst the history of gin goes back to at least the mid-fifteenth century in Holland, its true antecedents are much earlier, founded in those first experiments in the ancient and mysterious art of distilling in the presence of herbs and spices.
The predominant flavour and aroma of a modern distilled dry gin will always come from juniper and coriander, but the great challenge for the distiller is to select and blend a variety of additional, exotic botanicals to impart a uniquely satisfying, balanced character to the gin.

Lighthouse Gin

For Lighthouse™ Gin Neil took pleasure in researching and experimenting with many such botanicals, and, among those finally selected, after several years of trial, are the dried leaves from the unique New Zealand botanicals kawa kawa, together with the fresh zest of New Zealand-grown navel oranges and Yen Ben lemons, the intense-flavoured descendant of the famous Lisbon lemon. These components lend herbal and citrus notes to the gin, distinguishing it from its English and American counterparts.

Lighthouse™ Gin is made by hand in the classic ‘distilled dry gin’ tradition, utilising nine botanicals in their natural state. The distillers create the gin in a 200-litre copper still, which Neil designed himself, and had specially built by local craftsmen at 2K Design in Masterton.

The final formula of Lighthouse™ Gin must remain a secret, but the distillers believe they have achieved a distinctive and complex gin that is smooth and fresh and combines herbal, citrus, and spicy characteristics, with a subtle delicacy. The double distillation process is costly and time-consuming but results in a softer, more refined, and more approachable spirit, with each batch having its own subtle signature.

To answer the question – does this gin reach new heights? Well, from all reports coming back from the experts and connoisseurs, it does. And in the great tradition of kiwi quality and reputation, it is a worthy newcomer.

Lighthouse™ Gin is hand crafted, hand bottled, hand labelled, and the heart cut of a small number of distillations is double distilled and combined into a batch.

The Cholmondeley Arms welcome more new gins to the fold………

The 82nd gin is called Sacred Gin, this is an aromatic and creamy gin with exceptional character. Each botanical is separately macerated and redistilled with English grain spirit at low temperatures, then combined according to a secret recipe, creating a lush and fresh London Dry Gin like no other.

Number 83 is Cold River Gin which is produced using alcohol made from Maine potatoes and a secret blend of seven traditional botanicals: juniper berries, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, orris root, angelica root and cardamom. The recipe dates back to the early days of British gin. Good taste is about balance and it is the balance of the botanicals that makes Cold River Gin one of the world’s most exquisite gins.

Number 84 is Monkey 47 a dry gin with a strong body, very aromatic, with notes of pine needles, juniper berries, herbs, citrus flavours and floral nuances.

Number 85 is the familiar name of Ketel 1 which has been associated with vodka for many a year the flavour characteristics are due to the distillation method, in which the second distillation is completed with juniper berries and herbs. This gin is clear and transparent, with aromas of juniper berries and malt, providing a fresh taste and shows the pedigree we expect from Ketel.

Tim brings gin to the Inn!!!

The 81st Gin to grace the shelves of the Cholmondeley Arms is being personally delivered by our owner Tim. While having a much needed (some say deserved) break in Donegal in the northwest of the Emerald Isle he picked up  a bottle of the legendary Cork Gin. Tim’s pictured outside his favourite pub (after the three he owns of course!!!) The Glen Bar or ‘Marys of the Glen’ as it is famously known, situated in the village of Glen……………  a true pub!!!

The last time Tim was pictured outside this pub was when he brought back a bottle of Powers Whiskey for the Bulls Head in Mobberley where there are over 70 whiskies on sale. It is becoming a bit of a tradition each year standing outside the Glen Bar with a bottle of something….”the locals think I’m mad” says Tim…they are probably right too!!! So hopefully by the weekend the Cork Gin will have arrived here at ‘the Chum’!!!

Cork Dry Gin is the number one selling gin in Ireland. Its combination of juniper berry, lemon, lime, coriander and Cork Dry Gin’s mystery ingredient give it its uniquely refreshing flavour profile explaining why 8 out of 10 gin drinks consumed in pubs is a Cork Dry Gin.

The distinctive square bottle is an icon of Irish design and can probably be found in almost every drinks-cabinet in Ireland. Cork Dry Gin was awarded top points (4 ½ stars out of 5) in a recent tasting conducted by ‘Wine Ireland’ magazine.

Cork Dry Gin was first distilled at the Watercourse Distillery in Cork City in 1793 and the closely guarded recipe notes were transcribed in 1798, by apprentice distiller, William Coldwell Cork was uniquely located for the distilling of gin with plump grains from the fields of East Cork and exotic botanicals arriving to Cork’s bustling international port.

The watercourse Distillery was located on the River Kiln which possessed minerals suited to the production of a gin. There’s nothing quite like a refreshing Cork Dry Gin and tonic as a refreshing aperitif. The question remains will the Gin arrive intact!!!??

Cholmondeley thanks James Chase.

Wednesday night was a special evening here at Cholmondeleyas James Chase, son of founder William Chase, came to speak about their famous Apple Gin distilled in Herefordshire at the Chase Distillery along with the now world famous Chase Vodka. Winner of the best Vodka at the San Francisco Drinks Competition a few years back.

James, who is the marketing director of ‘William Chase’ talked passionately about gin, its history and how it is core to the future distilling at Chase. Attendees at the talk all learnt a little more about gin and sampled a superb Chase Gin and Fever tree tonic garnished with apple and served with ice of course. A miniature version of this fantastic gin was also presented to each and every one who attended so they could savour more gin at home or indeed hang on to as a reminder of the evening.

On the night our Stru “Gin-troduced” the new ‘Gin-troduction’ tray (pictured) which is for two or three persons to share to introduce them to the varying tastes of different gins with different tonic and garnishes too. This will sell for £15.00 (so a ‘fiver’ each really) and gives you three gins to sample….. Berkeley Square Gin, Brockmans Gin and of course William Chase Gin. All are very different and I don’t want to reveal too much as we look forward to you trying them and telling us what you think.

Also launched on the night was Struan’s Cholmondeley Martini. Stirred not shaken, this Martini (Pictured below) is a classic using the Spanish ‘Gin Mare’ whose ‘botanicals’ include fresh basil, Olives, Thyme and Rosemary. It is finished with a smidgen of Noilly Prat then ice chilled and garnished with an olive and sprig of thyme!!

Thanks to Struan for making the Martini ‘live’ in front of the gin audience!!!

What a ‘pro’ he is!!

Also a massive thanks to James Chase, who I have to say is so enthusiastic about his Gin it made for a refreshing evening in more ways than one!!!

He did confess that he used to come to Cholmondeley as a boy and could not believe how much the pub had changed since our recent restoration work.

Thanks too to everyone who attended.

Gins number 79 and 80 arrive from Scotland

Old Raj gin has arrived at the ‘Chum’ all the way from bonny Scotland and the William Cadenhead distillery. The gins have just picked up a silver award at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. Cadenhead’s Old Raj Gin is distinctive in that it contains a measure of saffron, the rare and costly spice derived from the crocus flower. In addition to a slightly spicy flavour, this also imparts a pale yellow colour to Old Raj. The addition of saffron is undertaken personally by the Company Chairman in order to ensure a consistency in flavour and colour each time Old Raj is bottled.

The difference between the colours is simply strength with the Blue sitting at 55% abv!! So to now hit the 80 gin mark after being open six months is a great effort from Stru and Steve our ‘Gin champions’ and our suppliers too for supporting our Cholmondeley Gin Palace.

Gin number 77 and number 78 arrive!!!!

After being open just 5 months the Chum has almost doubled its Gin collection on the back bar!!! Struan our Gin Champion at the Chum welcomed gin number 77 and number 78 today as you can see from the photo.

Oxley is a revolutionary English Gin with a fresh, bright, smooth classic gin taste. Oxley is made from an innovative cold distillation process. Cold distillation occurs at -5c capturing the natural flavours of the botanicals and preserving them in the final spirit.

Finsbury is distilled with juniper berries, exotic fruits, herbs and spices according to an elaborate method from the 18th century. The recipe is a well-kept secret and unchanged to this day. Finsbury is a particularly fine and mild representative of the flavour “London Dry Gin’, preferred both internationally and in Great Britain. Finsbury Gin has a rich aroma with a fine and elegant bouquet and is ideal for many popular long drinks and cocktails, including the great world classics; Gin and Tonic, Singapore Sling and Dry Martini. The 47 comes from its strength 47% abv!!

G&T anybody!!!??

The Chum leads the way with ‘Gin at the Inn’

I now see how ahead of things we were by dedicating our back bar here at the Cholmondeley Arms to the great English favourite Gin (and Tonic).

Everywhere I look there is coverage of a gin revival. We opened with 40 different gins and presented to the customer a ‘Gin Bible’ to help educate and influence experimentation by giving choice. We held our Amateur annual gin making competition in Sloe and Damson Gins in December and we now have a gin evening arranged during our forthcoming Cheshire Game week on 15th February 2012 where “William Chase Gin” distiller James Chase will be talking through the ‘farm based’ distillery that followed the success of Tyrells Crisps brought about by James’s father William.

Naturally gin will be tasted and discussions will ensue at what promises to be one of many gin nights to happen here at the ‘Chum’

We have grown to 80 gins on the back bar and are now the biggest purveyor of Gin outside London!!!

Also on the 15th Steve and Stru will be launching (finally) the ‘Stirred not Shaken’ Cholmondeley Gin Martini and also their “Gintroduction” board!!!

Coupled on the night with Christians Cheshire Game stew cooked with junipers and William Chase Gin cured Salmon on a savoury apple scone and fennel coleslaw it promises to be a great evening!!

Please ring Steve for further details. Below is an article written by Mike Wendling of BBC Radio Four which gives an insight into the growth of the ‘micro-distiller’. Interesting stuff indeed!!

To download the article “Gin is the tonic for a creative boom in the drinks business” click here.