A local gin that’s actually good

Blenheim Bay - good to the last drop

Blenheim Bay - good to the last drop

I’ve been sampling some local (Aotearoa) gins recently. To my surprise I wasn’t all that impressed by South, though it comes in a really nice bottle. Luckily my sample was courtesy of a little corporate gladhanding, so I didn’t have to pay for my disappointment.

However, last night I enjoyed a 100ml sampler bottle (paid for) of Blenheim Bay, which is made by a company called Prenzel. I’m not sure what it means, but this gin won some awards at a drinks festival/competition in Belgium. Perhaps the judges had been sampling some local brew before hand.

The BB has eleven botanicals, which compares well to my other favourite Bombay Sapphire, and a hint of citrus which is very refreshing and manages to stand up to the infusion of vermouth.

Anyway, it makes up a good Martini, or if you prefer a Gibson.

I’ve been trying the Gibson variation recently, which is using small Italian pickled onions rather than olives. For the adventurous I would recommend one stick of olives and one of onions. It’s become my new evening cocktail of choice.

You can pick up Blenheim Bay at a new Prenzel outlet in Auckland’s Elliott Stables, which (unbelievably)  is in Elliott Street.

The developers have actually done a nice job of updating this little bit of Auckland history. It actually was a stables and now it’s a gourmet’s delight. There are several good little restaurants that serve cheap and cheerful lunches; a whisky shop, which I’m yet to venture into; an artisan wine shop with reasonable prices; a Kapiti fromagerie and an organic deli that has a good range of reasonably priced meats as well as the usual drygoods.

And while I’m talking gin, a word of advice: don’t use sloe gin in a Martini. I made this mistake in London, it’s an abomination worthy of being known as a Volz crazy drink. Whatever it is, sloe gin is not gin. Sloe berries are from the blackthorn bush and while the concoction is tasty, if a little sweet, it is surely not meant to go in a Martini.

2 Responses to A local gin that’s actually good

  1. Crankynick says:

    I quite like a sloe gin, with a splash of lemonade and ice – it’s a refreshing afternoon drink in the depths of a Perth summer.

    But not, I’d agree, in a martini. Hendricks for a martini, for mine, and almost nothing else.

    Can you get those gins outside of NZ, btw? Wouldn’t mind trying them.

    There’s also a decent gin some mob in Albany were making a little while ago, using local WA botanicals – we had a couple of samples of it and were quite impressed at the time.

  2. Ben says:

    If you can get a hold of a bottle, try the martin millers gin in a martini. spectacular stuff. Has a bit of cucumber in there somewhere.

    There’s very definitely some gins that are not for martini’s though. Like Aviation Gin.
    Sloe Gin for mixing with the tonic though.

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