Review: Shortcross Gin Tasting At The Vault, Banbridge

A not-so-traditional drink, yet polls suggest one of the current most popular drinks in Northern Ireland is gin.

thumbnail_Vault PizzaShortcross Gin is a local flavour that’s very name is Irish for Crossgar; the place where the gin originates.

An insightful, tasty and thirst quenching night was provided by Shortcross and The Vault on #NationalPizzaDay.

The night started with an engaging conversation on how Shortcross became Northern Ireland’s first and most-awarded Gin.

Founder David told us how it started with a love of gin and grew from there, allowing them to be the first gin to actually be distilled, bottled and labelled under the one roof in Northern Ireland.

The first drink was a traditional Gin and Tonic with fever tree tonic and orange peel to extend that citrus flavour – a perfectly designed floral arrangement for the taste buds.

This deeper flavour was due to what he described as his “Botanical playground”, allowing them to add great deep flavour to this local gin, with elder flower, juniper wild clover, coriander orange and lemon and apples from their own walled garden.

So how do you move on from the perfect gin and tonic? Apparently you chuck your carefully crafted gin into old red wine barrels.

This was an experiment worth carrying out, creating a completely new gin after 4 months of soaking up the flavours from the Chateau de La Ligne, Bordeaux oak barrels.

We were served a much sharper drink – a more complex Gin and tonic with one large frozen sphere ice cube. Initially I thought this was just for visual appeal, but as Michael Campbell (Brand Ambassador) explained, it had hidden grapefruit peel in it. As it melted it released more citrus flavours into a more fiery gin, dare I suggest with a slight resemblance to a whiskey.

The night was accompanied with some of the Vaults most intriguing pizza combinations for National Pizza Day. We were treated with everything from tender wings to smoked salmon pizza. The smoked salmon and fiery cask aged gin was a particularly intense flavour combination.

It was then time to go back to WW2 with a more classic cocktail: the French75. This, named for the Gin and Prosecco combination, is meant to hit you like a WW2 gun.

Shortcross and Vault teamed up to add a slight twist to this cocktail, adding an elder flower flavour paired with a sharp hint of bittersweet from the lemon and sugar syrup.

A night out in Northern Ireland could not end without a little connection to Game of Thrones with a cocktail named “Shorcross is coming”. A very sweet end to the night, with Armagh apples and little bit of rosemary, added to that forest-like feel.

This was the perfect end to an evening that, across from me had a first time gin drinker as well as a lover of all things gins, and myself, a gin enthusiast. Shortcross really gives Monkey 47, Hendricks and Tanqueray something to think about.