Reviewed by Nigel Chester
Who doesn’t like a cocktail? Well, me actually, all too often I am left disappointed by sickly sweet low alcohol potion that I think of as kiddie-pop. It’s not as though I haven’t tried to get into the spirit of things so to speak, but I’m always left with the thought that I’d rather have had a gin, or a nice cup of tea.
Recently I was offered an Orange Bloom, a classic gin cocktail, ready mixed and beautifully presented by Benjamin & Blum, and feeling that it would be rude not to, I accepted and had my mind changed in one sip. This was no ordinary cocktail made for a gaggle of giggling girls, this was a grown up drink, best served as a digestif at the end of a meal as one would serve a brandy or sherry, or, more to my palate, Drambuie.
So, what can I tell you about Orange Bloom that the sophisticated art deco style bottle doesn’t? I can tell you that it’s unlike anything else I have ever tasted; it’s the colour of a good Speyside Malt Whisky, with the aromatic dryness of a London Gin and the strong, sweet orange flavour of Triple Sec, the sweetness is toned down by the addition of Darjeeling tea and to complete the fantastic blend, Italian Red Vermouth is mixed to utter perfection.
This isn’t a cocktail one could mix at home, but it certainly is a cocktail to be served at home as Benjamin & Blum have mixed it for you. At 24% alcohol be careful not to offer your guests too large a measure. The bottle contains 200ml and suggests that this serves three, I would argue that four 50ml servings would be more realistic, in fact Orange Bloom is probably too good to just give away.
I just adore the mixture of dry and sweet, bitter and orange, bright and heavy, it’s divine.
If you’re still not sure, ask Santa to put a bottle in your stocking, I will guarantee you won’t be toasting in the new year with the same bottle. As my mum used to say “it gets in your mouth” though mother was referring to Advocaat, I grew up with a more refined palate and, fortunately for me, Paul Benjamin blended Orange Bloom.
So, after this, am I a cocktail drinker? Hell yes.
Currently stocked at Harvey Nichols nationwide, Chin-Chin.
5 Stars (and a hiccup).
RRP: £15 (200ml)
For more information and stockists visit benjaminandblum.com.