Chateau Smultronställe probably isn’t a wine with which you’re familiar.
Probably because it’s new. And isn’t a wine.
It was one of the creations dreamed up by Birmingham’s legendary cocktail-maker Robert Wood for a dinner showcasing Edinburgh Gin at Sutton Coldfield’s Moor Hall Hotel.
For those unfamiliar with Robert Wood, he was previously bartender at The Edgbaston cocktail lounge and boutique hotel and now runs the super-cool Smultronställe in the city centre.
For those unfamiliar with Edinburgh Gin, it’s a small batch distillery in the Scottish capital that produces some of my favourite gin and gin-based drinks.
But back to Chateau Smultronställe….
It was a drink based on Edinburgh Cannonball Gin, a hefty number which weighs in with a 57.2% ABV and has pleasing pepper, citrus and juniper notes.
Add to that plum and vanilla liqueur, Dubonnet, cassis, tannin and oak and you have a red liquid that’s fragrant, herby, delicately sweet and a little like a fortified wine or perhaps the sort of dark heady vermouth you’d drink in Barcelona.
It drank very well with a rack of lamb, braised lamb faggot and a juniper and chorizo jus.
Smoked salmon with smoke trout riled, samphire, lime jelly, pickled cucumber and walnut bread had earlier been accompanied by a zingy cocktail called Edinburgh Maid.
This was based on my current favourite drop of Mother’s Ruin – Edinburgh Seaside Gin, which contains all manner of strange coastal botanicals and has a dry and almost salty snap, putting me in mind of Manzanilla.
With lime, cucumber syrup and mint added, it was an alarmingly drinkable drink.
A gin and tonic sorbet came with an elderflower liqueur and nettle espuma and was a wonderful palate-cleanser.
Rhubarb Reviver – gin, rhubarb and ginger liqueur, Lillet Rose, vermouth, lemon an rhubarb cordial – brought refreshing but assertive notes to a plum and ginger pudding with cinnamon custard.
Cheddar was accompanied by an enlivening frozen rasper liqueur.
What an eye-opener to the possibilities of gin cocktails – and food matches.
Many thanks to Edinburgh Gin, East Village and Moore Hall for the invitation.
Go to http://barsmultronstalle.co.uk to find out more about Robert and his work.
You’ll find out more about Edinburgh Gin at https://www.edinburghgin.com
And there’s stuff about Moor Hall Hotel and Spa at http://www.moorhallhotel.co.uk