Martin Miller's Winterful celebrates the brand's 20th anniversary

23 November, 2020

Drinks International caught up with Martin Miller’s new brand ambassador to learn more about the brand’s new seasonal gin.

Rory O’Sullivan spent more than seven years working at Trailer Happiness, 65 and King, Goat Chelsea and Be At One during his career as a bartender in London.

He is now the full-time brand ambassador for iconic gin brand Martin Miller’s, and he has joined at an exciting time in its history.

Martin Miller’s is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. It has launched two seasonal variants to mark the occasion: Summerful, which includes rosemary and Arctic thyme, hit shelves and back bars earlier in the year; and now Winterful has been unveiled.

Winterful uses the original Martin Miller’s gin as a base, and adds mandarin and cinnamon to give it a Christmassy kick.

“The mandarin adds a lot to the citrus forward notes of the citrus vodka distillate, and the cinnamon really plays well with the cassia and the nutmeg in the spice distillate,” says O’Sullivan. “You get that citrus bouquet coming through, but you do get a lot of spice. You get a lot of the cassia, a lot of cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg, and they really come up well together. It’s very Christmassy on the nose.

“The sweet mandarin comes through, and a bit of bitter orange and lime, so it gets more complex. The two distillates exaggerate the two different distillation processes we use. On the palate, you get the citrus coming through and spice.

“It works really well in anything that’s bitter-forward, like a Negroni. It works well with vermouth, especially sweet vermouth. It becomes a more boozy version of a mulled wine, which is great.”

Winterful secured initial listings with Waitrose and Amazon in the UK, and bartenders are expected to get creative with it once the lockdown ends.

O’Sullivan says that Summerful and Winterful are “probably the closest thing to a flavoured gin our brand is ever going to do”.

When asked why that is, he adds: “We didn’t want to make a flavoured gin. It’s not really our style. We had big demand to make something flavoured. We wanted to do it in the Martin Miller’s way. We didn’t want to use any artificial flavours or colourings. Everything in this product is distilled.

“Martin Miller’s has always been super-premium as a brand. There’s a lot of things Martin Miller would have frowned upon. We are never going to say we’re not going to do it, but this is probably the closest thing we are going to do to it. We try and pioneer different things. We don’t want to follow the rest of the group. If everyone else is making a pink gin or a flavoured gin, we want to be different.

“When we launched Original, there was other gins in the market, but we wanted to make the first super-premium gin. We developed Westbourne Strength with bartenders, because there was a gap in the market for Martini style gin. With Nine Moons we were the first people to start barrel ageing gin as well. We always to be at the forefront of something and have that point of difference, and that’s probably why we wouldn’t tend to go into that sector.”

Robert Eastham, global sales and marketing director, Martin Miller’s Gin, says: “Mulled wine is one of the winter traditions that link Iceland and England – the same bond that defines Martin Miller’s Gin – making it the perfect inspiration for our first winter variant.

“In creating Winterful we wanted to offer our customers our award-winning quality gin, but with a warming winter flavour profile and earthy botanicals suited to the season.

“Unlike flavoured gins, the aromas of cinnamon, mandarin orange and others like cardamom are added using a third distillation, make for a richer, deeper and more complex gin which retains the juniper backdrop but adds this new dimension.”

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