This New Year, say goodbye to ‘Dry January’ and hello to ‘Ginuary’, as Hand Picked Hotels’ Head of Wine and expert sommelier, Louise Gordon, shares her top gin tips and cocktail recipes to spice up the first month of the year.  

An ode to January’s dark and frosty winter nights, Louise’s recipes work perfectly with Hand Picked Hotels’ very own Rhinefield Gin. A delicious botanical gin, it is created by the on-site distillery, Hawkridge Distillers at Rhinefield House Hotel – part of the Hand Picked Hotels collection. Steeped in natural beauty and hidden deep within the New Forest National Park, Hawkridge and the Hand Picked team use local, seasonal ingredients as the inspiration behind its unique flavours.  

Louise’s recipes closely echo the botanicals in the gin and include twists on classic cocktails which can easily be recreated at home with your favourite tipple. Alternatively, you can even make your own perfect bottle of flavoured gin with Louise’s guidance.  

With a wealth of knowledge and experience from over 20+ years of working in the industry, Louise has garnered expertise developing delectable gin-based drinks and cocktails, alongside her role as an expert sommelier. She won the coveted Conde Nast Johanssons Best Overall Wine List of the Year Award in 2015 and 2016, and Most Innovative List Award in 2017.  

 

Fruity Fizz G+T 

Lighter on the alcohol – a twist on a Gin Fizz 

1.      45ml Rhinefield Gin 

2.      25ml Lemon Juice 

3.      10ml Honey 

4.      Soda Top up 

5.      Slice of grapefruit to garnish 

INSTRUCTIONS 

1.      Place the gin, honey and lemon juice in a shaker and shake! 

2.      Pour into a hi-ball and add ice 

3.      Top up with the soda 

4.      Add a slice of grapefruit to garnish 

 

Spiced Seasonal G+T  

For those chilly nights – a sweet & spicy twist on a G&T 

1.      1 orange – sliced into rounds 

2.      4 sprigs fresh rosemary 

3.      1/2 tsp chilli infused Honey* 

4.      50ml Gin 

5.      Tonic water to top up 

INSTRUCTIONS 

1.      Heat a pan over a medium high heat. Char the orange slices for 2 to 4 minutes per side. Alternately you can grill them. 

2.      Toss the rosemary sprig in the same pan until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

3.      Muddle 1 orange slice and a bit of rosemary. 

4.      Add one or two cubes of ice, the honey and the gin and top up with tonic. Stir long enough to dissolve the honey.  

5.      Add more ice and garnish with a fresh charred orange slice and toasted rosemary sprig. 

*For the chilli honey simply place a few slices of fresh chilli in a runny honey and leave to infuse for a few days – adjust according to how much spice you like! 

 

Making your own flavoured Gin 

This is a brilliant use of leftover Christmas ingredients and makes excellent gifts for family and friends! You can very easily make your own flavoured gin at home by keeping a Kilner jar of gin handy.  

Simply add the peel or skin of an orange (or lemon or lime or anything else) after you eat it or use it in a recipe and keep the jar topped up with skin and gin. Keep it in a cupboard and shake it once a week. A brilliant flavour is clementine (from discarded skins) with a bay leaf or 2 added. Also, ginger is great – simply use the bit you would normally throw away. Experimentation is encouraged, beetroot and chilli gin is a must try! 

Bottle in sterilised jam jars for a nod to moonshine, or sterilised used wine and spirit bottles then hand write labels to tie around the neck with string.