Origin: South Africa
Style: Floral contemporary
Six Dogs Blue is another of the gins using the blue butterfly pea flower in their colour changing gins. The blue butterfly pea flower, Clitoria Ternatea, should need no introduction to gin drinkers by now. But if you haven’t heard of it changes the colour of the gin with its ph. Add some tonic to lower the ph and the blue gin changes into pink. Yay!
There also lots of claims about the health benefits of the blue butterfly pea flower but if you’re drinking it in gin I think the alcohol might well pretty much blow them out of your Copa glass.
I confess I bought this gin a year ago when Six Dogs had the bursary spot at Junipalooza London 2018. And I didn’t open it until recently! My reason/excuse was that I was quite bored already with the whole wowee colour-changing gins and thought this would be a cheap replica of some of the more well-known brands. I also rather liked looking at the box. It really is rather pretty. And the label on the bottle is gorgeous too.
South African Gins
South African gins should need no introduction either. SA gins are a force to be reckoned with and it is only their difficulties in getting UK distributors that hold them back from taking the UK by a tsunami of gin. Thankfully, Six Dogs now have a UK distributor (they hadn’t when I spoke to them at Junipalooza) and their gin is readily available online.
Named after their pack of six dogs, perhaps the least interesting aspect of their story, they are based in the De Wet valley close to the Karoo, a semi-desert region in the south of SA famed for its succulent shrubs and the sheep that feast on them to give their meat fantastic flavour. The distillery also produces Karoo Gin, using like Blue wildflowers surrounding the distillery, as well as growing their own botanicals and buying others locally from farmers.
Brothers Charles and Glenn Bryant make up two-thirds of the team with their friend Luigi Marucchi the third. How these three came about their still is typical of the practicality of South Africans just getting on with it. The still is built from a remodelled copper geyser. How’s that for ingenuity? And they now have a second still three times the size of their first. Blue is produced in tiny 66 bottles per batch.
Juniper, blue butterfly pea flower, rose pelargonium, lucerne, angelica root, coriander seed, naartje or tangerine.
On the nose, this gin is sweetly floral and juniper.
To taste this is definitely a floral gin but not in a potpourri kind of way. The floral botanicals are handled well and the juniper is allowed to get a look in.
The flavour follows the aroma with sweet floral notes of rose pelargonium and violet, like a bouquet of subtle flowers.
The finish is juniper and floral. Have I used the word ‘floral’ enough yet?!
The blue butterfly pea adds very little, if anything, to the flavour. Perhaps a slightly earthy note. But that was to be expected.
This is a truly lovely gin and one that will happily sit on my floral gin shelf alongside Hendrick’s Midsummer Solstice Gin, another cracking floral gin.
You can really have some fun with the colour changing aspects of this gin, watching it morph from blue to pink. But I think the novelty of that, like a lot of other colour-changing gins, soon wears off. Truly, this gin doesn’t need this gimmick to distract you from the flavour.
It is amazing in a Martini.
- 45ml / 1.5oz Six Dogs Blue
- 15ml / 0.5oz dry vermouth
- Few drops of lemon juice
- Stir the first 2 ingredients in a shaker with ice.
- Hawthorne strain into a chilled martini glass.
- Add a few drops of lemon juice, no more.
Not this time
Or a Six Dogs Blue Fizz
- 60ml / 2oz Six Dogs Blue
- 15ml / 0.5oz homemade cucumber syrup
- 10 – 15ml / 0.33 – 0.5oz freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
- Shake ingredients over ice in a shaker.
- Hawthorne strain into your highball filled with crushed ice.
- Top with rose lemonade.
Not this time