What is more English than family? We love our heritage, and a family that has heritage in gin is always a story worth listening to. John James Whitley Neill has a family history that goes back to the 1700’s when his great great great great great grandfather opened the Greenhalls distillery. This distillery later merged with Thomas Dakin to form a larger production base in the North West of England. By later adding the Greenall Whitely pub business, the family became key to the development of alcohol production and distribution in England.
Today, in terms of Gin, the now G&J Distillers produce many of the gins you may recognise (including Greenalls, Opihr, Bloom, & Thomas Dakin). But Whitley Neill is only connected by name. Producing high quality, hand crafted, premium small batch gins including Rhubarb & Ginger, Quiche and off course the classic original Whitley Neill. They also produce the JJ Whitley Gins, which has an excellent Elderflower version.
The French love their wine like English love tea! So a good wine in France has to be very good. We think that the Gerard Bertrand wine house is one of the very best. Named in 2012 as the IWC Red Winemaker of the Year and Wine Enthusiast’s European Winery of the Year, he is known locally as the “King” of the Languedoc. With a range of reds, whites, and a rose, we recommend working your way through the Gerard Bertrand collection.
In 1962, 19 vine growers from San Marzano, whose families had farmed the land for generations, combined their efforts to establish ‘Cantine San Marzano’. This partnership has created some of the finest Italian wines available. This includes the Primitivo di Manduria Riserva DOC ‘Anniversario 62’, which is a densely flavoured red wine with hints of prunes and chocolate covered black cherry, combined with fresh herbs. The rest of the San Marzano collection is also terrific.
We also have Italian Prosecco from Fili – if the results go your way of course.
Yes, Scotland is more famous for Whiskey than it is Gin. And we do stock over 100 single malts and scotch whiskies in our shop. But we just love gin, and Scotland produces some of the very best. Eden Mill for example, has an excellent range of “proper” gins all distilled at St. Andrews. Another favourite of ours is Caorunn (pronounced ‘ka-roon’), which is actually produced by a whiskey distiller. Finally, Rock Rose Gin heralds a new vintage each year as locally picked botanicals will subtly change year on year.
With St. Patricks day being the last day of the Six Nations (17th March) expect all the drink focus to be on Guinness and Jamesons. That said, we have plenty of other Irish whisky to choose from in our shop that would be a perfect tipple when the Irish face England on that most Irish of days!
But if gin is your thing, try Jawbox gin. Ireland’s first single estate gin is perfectly served with ginger ale over ice for a refreshing classic Belfast drink.
We saved Wales for last, well, because we have been scouring our shelves for something Welsh! Aside from Brains brewery and some popular Welsh ciders, we can offer you a real delight in the Penderyn Welsh Whisky – which is certainly good enough to go up against the Irish whiskies this weekend!
This weekends fixtures are:
France v Italy Friday 8pm
Ireland v Wales Saturday 2.15pm
Scotland v England Saturday 4.45pm