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Dear McCormick Friends, (Please read below)

Good news:  Broker Premium Gin announced, today, it will now become part of the McCormick’s Distillery portfolio.

Martin and Andy Dawson will stay on for a couple years in the role as Brand Ambassadors for McCormick’s ownership of Brokers Gin.

I had the fortune to have worked with Brokers Gin for a number of years with Andy and Martin Dawson.
The Brokers Gin Brand and a good number of its current Asia Pacific distributors will bring us back full circle; I feel very lucky to be back with Brokers Gin and what I’ve call the “Best Crafted Gin” internationally.  To be far, I have not considered another Gin since leaving Brokers Gin as it was a standard that was near if not impossible to match.

In the near future, I will be in touch with each of you in the coming weeks regarding; its price list, the marketing support and where you can source Brokers Gin from either USA or Europe.

More details to follow…

Ted McDonnell

The SIP – Spirits International Prestige Awards are now announced for 2013.
We at Lighthouse Group and Tequila Total are proud to represent premium Spirit Brands that have won a number of major awards this year. Best in Class-Platinum: Congratulations to KAH tequila’s for winning across the range as Best in Show.
Distinguished Platinum winner: McCormick Distillery new brands North American Whiskey –Triple Crown, Hooks Spiced Black and Gold all won in their first debut onto the USA market this summer.
SIP Awards’ panel members have no affiliation with marketers, wholesalers or spirit label distributors. Each spirit is presented undiluted and chilled, and scored based on aroma, taste, and finish in a blind tasting. Award levels include Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Among the spirits competing for titles were gins, liqueurs, rums, tequilas, vodkas and whiskeys, each divided into multiple sub-categories. The top-tier 2013 winners are crowned as follows:
Platinum– “Best of Class”
Hooks Black Rum@ McCormick Distillery
KAH Tequila Series @ World Wide Beverages
Distinguished Platinum Winners360 Double Chocolate @ McCormick Distillery
360 Georgia Peach@ McCormick Distillery

Triple Crown North American Whiskey @ McCormick DistilleryHooks Spiced Rum @ McCormick DistilleryTequila Rose @ McCormick Distillery
The Prestige
The SIP Awards have become an increasingly popular and important international spirits competition. In addition to boosting brand recognition, winners enjoy the power of consumer choice credibility. “Consumers are the ultimate decision makers, and their honest opinions are something you just can’t buy,” says SIP Awards executive producer Paul Hashemi. “When you enter this competition, your spirit will be judged by a panel of consumers, not by industry insiders.”
Although hundreds of brands enter the competition, only brands with the highest scores receive honors. Rising above several hundred entrants, the winners in each category have proven themselves superior to the competition, worthy of high honors from an honest and impartial consumer base.

Tequila — good tequila — is made entirely from the fruit of the blue agave, a succulent plant. But tequila is no longer the only agave spirit that’s widely available. In the last decade, the spread of excellent mezcals has offered a fresh perspective on the joys and complexities of agave spirits. In the process, these mezcals have raised questions, at least for me, about what exactly you are getting in a bottle of tequila.

A recent tasting of 20 blanco tequilas did little to settle those questions. In fact, you could say the results were somewhat disquieting for the spirits panel, which included Florence Fabricant and me, along with two guests: Robert Simonson, who writes frequently on drinks for the Dining section, and Jim Meehan, bartender extraordinaire and managing partner of Please Don’t Tell, a cocktail bar in the East Village.

Many people reflexively associate tequila with Mexican restaurants. I could make a case that this association has held back the growth and appreciation of Mexican cuisine in this country because the restaurants are so often seen primarily as vehicles for supplying frozen margaritas.

That perception has evolved, though, in recent years. The cocktail revival has brought a renewed appreciation of pure tequilas, distilled 100 percent from the sap of the blue agave, as opposed to mixto tequilas, the fuel of many raucous frat parties and margarita machines, which need only be 51 percent blue agave.

Demand for 100 percent blue agave tequilas has risen significantly. In 2012, more than 12 million cases of all types of tequila were shipped to the United States, about 54 percent more than a decade ago, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a trade group. Although super-premium tequilas, the highest-end blue agave spirits, accounted for just about 15 percent of all tequilas shipped to the United States in 2012, they were by far the fastest-growing segment, practically quadrupling to almost 1.9 million cases in 2012 from about 500,000 in 2003.

The nagging question is whether something has been lost in that rapid growth. While the panel’s favorites were complex, elemental and intriguing, we were troubled by a lack of intensity in many of the bottles as well as by a sense of artificiality in some. As Florence put it, we found a great divide between those tequilas we liked and those we didn’t like, without much in the middle.

I couldn’t help contrasting some of these tequilas to mezcals, with their direct, unmediated expressions of agave in all its nuanced complexity. Now, tequila by its nature will generally be smoother and gentler, but still the flavors should have depth.

In the past, I’ve suggested that good tequila tastes like a good margarita, with all the saline, citrus and vegetal elements of the cocktail built right into the spirit. Yet, compared with the roughness and vigor of the mezcals, many of the tequilas seemed wan, as if all their inherent rusticity had been rasped away in an effort to make them presentable in polite company.

Jim noted that such a comparison was not entirely fair. Mezcals are often essentially handmade small-production spirits, while tequila is generally made in industrial quantities. That’s true, and tequila, of course, ought not to resemble mezcal too closely. The spirits are made in different ways, from different types of agave. Yet clearly, something is being lost when many tequilas seem to be faded chalk outlines of what they could be.

Partly, that reflects a corporate approach to selling tequila. Indeed, most of these tequilas are exported, and, as Robert and Jim pointed out, the corporate tequila producers have rushed to appeal to the sizable audience for America’s No. 1 selling spirit. “Tequila producers seem to have taken their cues from the vodka category,” Jim said. “They’re trying to make neutral tequilas to appeal to the vodka market.”

By their nature, blanco tequilas, also called silver or plata, ought to offer the purest, most forceful expressions. These are clear, essentially unaged tequilas, unlike reposados, which spend 2 to 12 months in oak barrels, and añejos, which are generally aged 1 to 4 years in oak.

Perhaps we showed our mezcal bias in our rankings of the blancos. Our favorite, the Casa Noble Crystal, was explosive, with rough, rustic flavors that, in their intensity, certainly reminded me of mezcal. At $34, it was also our best value.

Our other top picks were the Select Barrel Reserve from Milagro, a similarly direct and complex tequila, which got about a month of barrel aging, and the powerful, elemental Astral. A new and unusual brand, Astral was introduced by the sommelier Richard Betts, who also imports Sombra mezcal. It is an effort, he says, to make tequila using artisanal methods, as before it became an industrialized product. This was my first taste of Astral, and I was impressed by its craggy, raw flavors.

Brokers Gin has been battling the big names in the Premium Gin Category for the past 12 years. Brokers Gin unique approach to natural herbs and spice creating the cleanest tasting Gin and so it is awarded. See Below…

Broker’s Gin celebrates record year

– 75% increase and more duty free listings –

 Broker’s Gin grew by well over 75 per cent in 2010, boosted both by new distributors and by winning one of the industry’s major accolades – the Chairman’s Trophy at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, New York.

The premium brand saw sales rise to over 21,000 cases (9L equivalent) with the US, Canada, Spain, Russia and Greece taking the lion’s share. 

During the year the company also laid the ground for future expansion by increasing its global footprint to 40 markets and adding duty free listings in Turkey and Southeast Asia.

Having gained 9,000 cases in the last year, Broker’s plans to sell more than 30,000 cases in 2011 and consolidate its position as the world’s third fastest growing premium gin brand (after Bombay Sapphire and Hendrick’s), as announced in the IWSR Drinks Record Dec ‘10/Jan ‘11.

Launched in 1998, Broker’s Gin has succeeded through a combination of word-of-mouth and personal promotion by the owners Andy and Martin Dawson wearing their trademark bowler hats – symbol of its London Dry style and featured on every bottle cap.

The gin itself is made in small batches, five times distilled in a traditional mini-still.  Its flavour and character are based on a classic 200 year old recipe using ten botanicals.

Broker’s Gin takes Chairman’s Trophy in New York’s Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2010

UK Family Business Wins Top Award for 4th Consecutive Year

Shepperton, Surrey, England – March 2010

For the fourth year in a row, a small Shepperton-based company, Broker’s Gin Ltd, has snatched the ultimate accolade from under the noses of the gin-making giants.  This latest award is the spirits equivalent of winning an Oscar in Hollywood.

Broker’s London Dry Gin was created in 1998 by brothers Martin and Andy Dawson.  Despite being a small family business, Broker’s Gin continues to knock spots off other well-known brands the world over.  With a score of 97 points out of a possible 100, Broker’s is the first gin awarded the Chairman’s Trophy in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge based in New York.  To win the trophy, Broker’s trumped Tanqueray and Tanqueray Ten, Beefeater and Beefeater 24, Plymouth, Hendrick’s, Citadelle and Citadelle Reserve, and many others.

“Sue and I were delighted that Broker’s wowed the judging panels.” – Founder, Sue Woodley and Judging Chairman, F Paul Pacult – Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

“… a world-class product, and at a price that is not insane.  Broker’s makes a simply superlative gin.” Keith Brant Berube, The Well-Dressed Gentleman.

“This is the best gin I’ve ever had in my life and I’m 61 years old.  I just bought a bottle the other day and I’m ‘converted’.” – Dr David Posner, Rabbi of the world’s largest synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, New York.

Broker’s Gin is handcrafted in the heart of England. Ten classic gin botanicals, sourced from around the world, are distilled with pure wheat spirit in a traditional copper pot-still, named “Constance”. Broker’s Gin is distilled a total of six times using a recipe over 200 years old.

Winner of:   2010 – Ultimate Spirits Challenge, USA

                     2009 – International Spirits Competition, Germany

                     2008 – The Gin Masters, UK

            2007 – World Beverage Competition, Switzerland

Here are some thoughts for mixing La Fee Absinthe….

Classic Absinthe Cocktails

Morning Glory Fizz

45ml Blended Scotch whiskey

15ml  LA FEE Absinthe

15ml Lime juice

10ml Lemon juice

2tsp Castor sugar

1 Egg white

Syphon selters or vichy water to top

Add all ingredients except syphon selters to your mixing glass. Dry shake (without ice) to emulsify egg white. Add cracked ice and shake briskly. Strain into a highball glass and top with sparkling water. Consume immediately.

Adapted from Harry Johnson’s New and Improved Bartender’s Manual, 1934 Revised Edition

Death in the Afternoon

15ml La Fée Absinthe Parisenne

Moet et Chandon Brut NV Champagne

Pour absinthe into a Champagne saucer. Top with Champagne.

Monkey Gland

45ml Dry Gin

45ml Orange juice

5ml Grenadine


Add all ingredients into a mixing glass. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Adapted from Ted Haigh’s Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, 2004 Edition

Tinkerbell’s Demise

30ml LA FEE BOHEMIAN Absinth

10ml Parfait Amour

15ml Rosemary gomme

30ml Lemon juice

Egg White

1cm Rosemary sprig

Press Rosemary leaves and Rosemary gomme in the base of a mixing glass. Add other ingredients and dry shake to emulsify egg white. Add ice and shake again. Double strain into a Champagne flute and garnish with a seamless maraschino cherry.

Geoff Fewell, Pelagic Bar & Dining, Canberra

Van Gogh Treacle

40ml Junipero gin

30ml LA FEE PARISENNE 75% abv

2 Dashes Peychaud’s

2 Barspoons demerara sugar syrup

15ml Cloudy apple juice

Stir over hand cracked ice. Garnish with an apple ear.

Reece Griffiths, Victoria Room, Sydney

Mouse Rinth

30ml Rittenhouse 100 proof straight rye whiskey

30ml LA FEE absinthe

3 Dashes Fee Brothers orange bitters

20ml passionfruit pulp

1 egg white

Shake two ways and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with half a dried apricot soaked in house spiced rum. Smear around rim of cocktail glass and fold over rim as garnish.

Lee Potter Cavanagh, Victoria Room, Sydney

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