Ever tried a glass of Chateau Smultronställe?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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