With summer finally upon us, it’s the perfect time to get out in the garden and enjoy those long, hot days we’ve all been yearning for. Of course, you’ll want a refreshing summer drink on hand to cool you off, and from Pimm’s and lemonade to the humble Aperol Spritz, options are aplenty.
But if you’re planning on hosting a garden party, barbecue, or sophisticated outdoor soiree, then the chances are that you’ll want to serve up something a little bit more special and refined – and the new luxury French-made 44°N Gin, with its light and aromatic botanical blend, ticks all the right boxes.
An award-winning ultra-premium gin designed by the Comte de Grasse distillery, this luxurious spirit is expertly distilled on the glamorous shores of the French Riviera – more specifically, in the upmarket city of Grasse. Inspired by the area’s local parfumiers – something that is evident in its taste – it’s a sophisticated drink that has won it a legion of affluent fans – and from its chic branding to its inspired taste, it’s easy to see why it has fast become the must-have gin of the summer.
The brand’s aim? To make the drinker feel as if they have the essence of the Côte d’Azur on the tip of their tongue, each and every time they take a sip. No mean feat, but one that 44°N Gin has captured exceptionally well, with the luminous depths of the ocean and the windswept aromas of the Mediterranean evident in every drop.
Named in a nod to the geographical coordinates of Grasse, botanicals lovers simply won’t be able to get enough of its heady and aromatic taste, with ingredients including bitter orange, cade, mimosa, centifolia and immortelle capturing the exquisite energy and flavour of this iconic and endlessly glamorous region of France.
Combining modern gin distilling methods with the utmost in cutting edge perfume extraction technology, it seems that the brains behind 44°N Gin have come up with a very appealing blend indeed. Its warm and tangy base notes are reminiscent of the undergrowth, where cade grows in abundance, while the inclusion of orris and honey make for a sweet yet musky flavour that lingers on the tongue, mingling with the drink’s floral and citrus notes as it does so.
Then, it’s onto the blooming floral body, which comprises hints of Grasse’s rose centifolia and draws on jasmine for a tantalising appeal. Comprising facets of bitter orange that are balanced by the herbaceous taste of angelica and just a hint of warm pepper, top notes include zingy, fresh lemon peel and grapefruit, samphire and mimosa. The result is a mouth-watering celebration of wood, pine and the marine breeze, making this a truly special drink that every self-respecting gin connoisseur should readily add to their drinks cabinet.
There’s no denying that the Côte d’Azur is an inspiring place to be – but how exactly did it come to spark the creation of this extraordinary gin? A spokesperson for the brand says that it all happened rather naturally.
“The landscape of the Côte d’Azur is truly spectacular, and is unlike any other place in the world. From its mountainous landscapes to the deep blue sea, and the pure water that connects them both, it’s bathed in an abundance of sunshine that has made it a nourishing home for some of the most precious botanicals in the world.”
So, what do we know about these botanicals? Evidently, that they are the ultimate ingredients for creating a memorable and inspired taste. Cade, which is native to the Mediterranean, lends a woodiness to all that it touches, with a warm fruitiness that works perfectly with the bitter orange and dried fruit characters of the immortelle in 44°N Gin. The latter is somewhat reminiscent of the fresh and uplifting appeal of fig, with a hay-like finish and a slightly smoky undertone, while subtly floral mimosa, with its green top notes brings a sweet finish to the table and provides the necessary balance to the drink’s floral notes.
Verbena has plenty in common with both the citrus and the floral families, so it’s perhaps no surprise to find it thrown into the mix. And as for the somewhat geranium-like rose centifolia, its light and floral top note evokes memories of the rose fields for which Grasse is widely known.
So now that we know this exciting botanical blend inside out, how exactly should we drink it? The brand’s spokesperson says that you simply can’t go wrong by incorporating it into a French Negroni.
“During the creation of 44ºN Gin, our master distiller, Marie-Anne, and I spent hours on end in the lab. Marie-Anne not only individually distilled over 200 botanicals so that we could begin with layering them to create the end result, but she also became a bit of an expert when it came to making cocktails – and the French Negroni, along with the Martini – and of course, the classic gin and tonic – became some of her specialist drinks.”
The original Negroni combines Campari, gin and sweet red vermouth to form a heady and potent cocktail – but Marie-Anne’s French twist brings an added air of glamour and sophistication to the table. Made with a mix of 35ml 44ºN Gin, 10ml Dolin Rouge, 10 ml Lillet Rouge and 20ml Amer Picon, it draws on three dashes of orange bitters and fresh orange for garnish – you can find the recipe in full on the 44ºN Gin website.