Below is an excerpt from the April 2015 edition of GINNED! Magazine about Cotswolds Dry Gin. Every month, Craft Gin Club members receive a bottle of amazing small-batch gins accompanied by GINNED! Magazine which is full of features about the gin, the distillery and loads of fascinating features.

The Negroni is the consummate coalescence of botanical bliss that joins three distinct drinks and their defining traits: the bitter Campari, the sweet vermouth and the spirit of gin. In the same way, the Cotswolds Distillery’s Holstein still - the copper contraption that makes your Gin of the Month this April - takes its name from this classic combination albeit in a roundabout manner that will soothe your soul just the same.

With their whisky stills named after rock songs of the 60s, the Cotswolds Distillery staff sought to smooth things out with a little jazz all while respecting the still’s German origins. They landed on Lorelei, a name not immediately apparent for its bitter, sweet and spirited characteristics. So let’s square this roundabout. 

The bitter Lorelei in your Cotswolds Negroni is a large rock formation in Germany that pokes out on a nearly 90º curve in the Rhine. The exposed part of the rock has a commanding presence yet is innocent enough. But just below the surface of the river’s waters, the geological phenomenon continues hidden from the human eye and thus, along with the strong currents of the curve, has caused many a boating accident over the centuries. The rock’s influence in the region was so great as to attract literary and mythological attention, primarily the 1825 creation of a siren-like creature named Die Lorelei that sits on the rock, combing her hair and distracting sailors so that they crash into the rocks. Bitter indeed.

A little over a century later, the famous composer George Gershwin jumped on the German myth and adapted it for a song in his 1933 musical, Pardon My English, a parody of America’s Prohibition era however based in Dresden. Gershwin wrote a sweet, jazzy tune to get the audience moving while his brother Ira kept the bitterness of the Lorelei siren in the rather amusing lyrics he wrote. Ira’s female narrator expresses her desire to become like the Lorelei, essentially a man-eater that’s “treacherous” and “lecherous” and wants to “bite (her) initials on a sailor’s neck.”  

But it wasn’t until 26 years later that the spirit of the song was realised in full when renowned jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald sang Lorelei as part of her 1959 album, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook. The spirit was confirmed by Ira himself who commented that he “had never known how good our songs were until I heard Ella sing them.”

Cotswolds Negroni

  • 30ml Cotswolds Dry Gin 
  • 25ml Campari 
  • 25ml Sweet Vermouth 
  • Grapefruit Twist

 Method: Fill a rocks glass with a good handful of ice. Add the gin, vermouth and Campari and stir until ice cold. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

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