Malawi Gin Club

See everything I go write something these days I always start with “sorry for the lateness”, It feels as though it has been an age since writing a blog post for Gin Club and our May event is this week too. So there will be a few Blogs.

In March I was emailed by a rather tenacious lady called Catherine about helping her with an “event” for her dentist trip to Malawi and for some reason despite my potty mouth and general grumpy demeanor I’m a complete sap and said “of course, anything”. So I took it upon myself to organise a Gin Club specially for her.

She emailed most weeks, nervous that I wasn’t being forthcoming with the planning information and all I would say back is “Don’t worry it will be sorted”. I’m pretty sure this lazy management style doesn’t suit her, but she went along with it.

So on the 5th of May we had our Gin Club, featuring Eden Mill, Edinburgh Gin and Minus 33 and we raised over £2k.

Now at this point I will use Catherine’s own words (Probably her husbands though) to describe what the event was for.

Smileawi is a Scottish Dental charity based in Dunoon set up by Nigel and Vicki Milne. Catherine and 2 members of her team (Kate Steele and Caroline Turner) from Belhaven Dental Surgery in Port Glasgow will travel to Malawi this September with other volunteers. The aim is to provide dental care for approximately 2 weeks in the northern areas of Malawi where there is no access to any dental care. The charity relies on qualified dentists, dental therapists and dental nurses to volunteer their time and skills by travelling to Malawi to help the locals with their teeth. All volunteers are completely self- funded with trips normally lasting 16 days and costing approx. £1500 per volunteer. For me, this is big deal and something Catherine has wanted to help with since hearing about the charity a few years ago.

Smileawi website –

Right and now on to my own plugging.

May Gin Club for those not going to Malawi or helping raise money, we are back in the Hidden Lane on the 26th May.

BTW there is still a link for TicketWeb saying we have no events. Hopefully that doesnt confuse folks.



Feb Gin Club, Scotland vs Wales

Alright Gin Clubbers, so we were actively told last Friday at Gin Club “your website is out of date”.

We know.  That’s what happens when one of you decides to move to Broughty Ferry of all places.

So first on behalf of my Gin Life Partner (Stuart) thanks for coming to all of you that turned up to our February event, some apologies from me; yes there were no booklets that was my fault and secondly to the two Irish girls at the bottom of the stairs, Stuart’s pouring is more reserved than mine, I was coming back.

Thanks also to the girl (from Gin Club) on the train who confused the old man sitting next to me by saying “thanks for last night” when leaving, making people look at me in confusion thinking “Maybe he isn’t gay”.

Right so we kicked of 2017 with a Scottish vs Wales theme, in time for the rugby (which was completely meant and not a coincidence at all).

First up and again this is in no order of importance we had:

Misty Isle Gin

Misty Isle Gin has been “a long time in the making” says brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson. “It’s become something of a passion. From our family home in Portree on the Isle of Skye, we have created a spirit which we are proud to call our own. Distilling this beautiful craft gin anywhere else but here on Skye was never in question. Provenance is everything – that abiding sense of belonging and community. Over time, we have perfected our recipe; a marriage of crystal clear spring waters from the Storr Lochs and the right balance of the finest botanicals”.

Misty Isle is produced in Portree (for those Glasgow folk, Portree is the main town in Skye), at the Isle of Skye Distillery.  The original name of the Gin was meant to be Isle of Skye Gin however they changed it in 2016 to Misty Isle.

The actual Gin itself was launched in February 2017 (see we bring you the newest Gin), to make Misty Isle, Alistair and Thomas use hand foraged Juniper from various wild locations around Skye and slowly distill it in a copper still, then vapor infused the botanicals some of which are coriander, angelica and lemon; We can get the full list if you want 🙂

To taste Misty Isle is smooth, you get the initial hit of Juniper (it is a Gin), then citrus and licorice (well I certainly did).  We choose to serve it with a sprig of Thyme and Fever Tree tonic.

Misty Isle is made with love and you can tell.

Wild Island Gin

Sorry for thinking there is an island theme, there is but it wasn’t intentional.

Created by the folks at Colonsay Brewery, this small batch gin takes its design inspiration from the colours and contours of the island’s beautiful Kiloran Bay, and takes its flavour inspiration from the wild botanicals that grow on Colonsay. For those of you who dont know, Colonsay, an island of only 120 inhabitants, is located more than two hours by boat of the Scottish mainland.

Wild Island Gin is made up of 16 botanicals 10 of which are base botanicals with a further 6 make of hand-foraged island botanicals, botanicals which we have been able to identify are; lemon balm, meadowsweet, wild water mint, heather flowers, bog myrtle and sea buckthorn.

Colonsay Brewery purposefully opted for a gin base which was heavier on lemon than other gins which translates the Colonsay lemon balm aroma and you can really taste this, sometimes the Citrus flavor makes you feel like your not drinking.

To Taste Wild Island is summer holiday in a glass, its fresh and zesty with the Lemon coming through, there is Juniper there but its not the usual punch in the throat you get.  You might be tricked into thinking you weren’t drinking Gin.

We added to this by serving Wild Island with a Lemon Slice and Mint, and this just further added to the feeling of being on holiday.


Kirkjuvagr Gin

Furthering or little Island hoping adventure Kirkjuvagr Gin, pronounced ‘kirk-u-vaar’, is made on Orkney by residents Stephen and Aly Kemp in 2016. Kirkjuvagr means ‘Church in the Bay’ in old Norse which is what the Vikings described Orkney’s capital, Kirkwall (see you can see it now). You should all try and say it with an Orkney accent, it makes it more fun.

The gin is hand crafted in small batches using traditional copper stills, for the botanicals alongside the Juniper there is a wee tale about a local legend that spoke of a variety of Angelica brought to the islands by Norsemen centuries ago, which can still be found growing wild today and is one of Kirkjuvagr defining ingredients, including a host of local botanicals; Ramanas Rose, Burnet Rose and Borage. Uniquely and traditional Orkney bere barley in our recipe.

We serve Kirkjuvagr with Orange Peel and Fever Tree (we some how managed to go through three bottles of it too despite only going through two of others). To taste the Gin is well balanced  between the sweet and herby, the organe peel bringing out the citrus.and some people were saying there was a sherbert-y taste while others found a peppery taste.

We loved this, and again somehow managed to go through three bottles.

Also they have a Kirkjuvar pouring tap, which we should have requested.

Cardiff Gin

If only Cardiff Gin was an ironically name Gin for something which was actually made on a Scottish Isle then we would be laughing with our well sculpted theme.  I’ll come clean there was no theme, we just get what we want to drink.  Luckily though Scotland were playing Wales the next day so there’s our them, boom.

Launched at Cardiff Gin Festival in 2015, the gin started its life after a public call on social media, where they got hundreds of responses to what people wanted to see in their own gin. After weeks of submissions and trawling through recipe ideas they created samples of three gins, which were reviewed by some expert-y type people (Btw we didnt get bloody asked). Then we stuck with the one we have now and launch 150 bottles at the Gin Festival

The Gin has no citrus fruit and is dry like a Gin should be, to smell you really get Aniseed or Licorice this we presume comes from the use of Rosemary and Sorrel which is then combined with Caraway and Fennel seeds.  You would think you get the Citrus from the Sorrel but you don’t.  Obviously as its a Gin there is Juniper which is home grown we have believe, there is also Lemongrass and Verbena (we think)

To smell you could be confused with drinking a Pastis, obviously nothing as strong as that. The Ginny smell doesn’t come through until the taste.  Everything changes when you add the tonic, the strength of the licorice notes soften and then you know your drinking a Gin.  We served it with Cucumber to see if it would smooth the drink out, which it did.

Summerhouse Drinks

Ok so as we start to slow down our own events in the run up to end of the year, it’s time to do some reviews and blogs of gin and gin related folks we have worked with in the past year.  
This week we focus on Summerhouse Drinks, a company who’s tonic and other soft drinks we love and enjoy working with.

Summerhouse Drinks is run by Ross and Claire Rennie from their family farm at Peathill near Fraserburgh. Claire runs the day to day business with another two members of staff and Ross, a Chartered Accountant, has responsibility for all things financial. As a small team, they pride themselves on their artisan approach and are committed to producing products that don’t have artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweetners.
Prior to starting Summerhouse Drinks. Claire had started and ran Berry Scrumptious, which specialised in producing fresh chocolate covered strawberries. In early 2014, two flavours of lemonade were launched under the Summerhouse Drinks brand. The lemonade proved so popular that the decision was made to sell the Berry Scrumptious brand to new owners so that Summerhouse Drinks could be given full attention.
By January 2015 there were four flavours in the range: Misty Lemonade, Scottish Raspberry Lemonade, Hint O’ Mint Lemonade and Lavender Lemonade, the latter two made using mint and lavender grown in the walled garden on the farm. The Hint O’ Mint Lemonade was proving to pair particularly well with gin and it was at this discovery that lead the team to develop Scotland’s first tonic water.
After extensive taste testing, ‘Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water’ was launched in April 2015, named after the Victorian minister in the Parish of Pitsligo where Summerhouse Drinks is based. It uses mint grown in Walter Gregor’s former garden as well as a number of other botanicals to give it a light and crisp flavour. As Peathill is located less than half a mile from the sea, it also picks up salty notes which means that it pairs particularly well with coastal gins.

Recommended with The Botanist, Isle of Harris Gin, Rock Rose, Shetland Reel, Kirsty’s Gin from Arbikie, Pickering’s 1947, Eden Mill Original, Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin.
We promise we will get them along to a gin club in 2016.


Gin, Geraldo & Paints

So I know we have already posted a blog on the painting element, but we don’t have any events this month as we are being lazy so we are getting in on the act with other people.

Whats on this weekend and beyond in the Gin World (please someone give us a better word like Ginosphere or something).

Well first of all on Friday the lovely ladies of the Glasgow Paint Club (original title who would ever do the same :)) and us are doing a Gin and Painting event.

The Girls at Paintclub create a lovely relaxed and social atmosphere, where their professional artist will guide you through the evening’s painting.  Last time it was the “painting the Duke of Wellington”, which to my surprise was not a cocktail or a euphemism.  This time it is a Stag, which might look great on your wall.  And of course we at Gin Club will be providing you with four Gins to accompany the night.

You don’t need any experience to take part, I (Graeme) managed it and I am terrible at painting and drawing.  Glass in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other, you might surprise yourself!

Included in the ticket is Four Gins, a canvas (which is yours to keep), paints, paintbrushes, a table easel and instruction from our talented artist.. banter included free of charge! Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the venue.

Tickets at:

In Largs Vegas on the 19th Geraldo’s Gin Festival.  

Geraldo’s Gin Fest is taking place in The Brisbane House Hotel, on the seafront of Largs on 19th November from 12 – 6pm.  There will be around 15 gin producers there offering tastings of their various expressions of gin and some will be doing masterclasses for all of the gin professionals out there.  There will be a free gin cocktail on arrival, chocolate tasting, prize draw with more goodies, live music and a stall selling all of the gins featured at the event.


Tickets are on sale via eventbrite:


it’s being organised by Sugar & Spice a retailer in Largs.  Owner Toni Dawson has been in business since 2000 and has decided to rebrand utilising her award-winning Geraldo’s Ice Cream which will be the new name of the shop hence the festival name.


Painting and Drinking

Well what a weekend it was, not only did we do a wee private thing for Vodafone where someone did their best Oliver Twist impression “please sir can I have some more”.  But we have our usual Bi Monthly (now) Gin Club in the Hidden Lane, where we featured Valentia, Minus 33, Bulldog and Colonel Fox Gin.

I got to make my first Facebook live video of Spooky Minus 33 cocktails and Alfonso from Valentia told us all about how your not Valencian unless you have a Rosemary bush or eat Snails 🙂

So whats next:

Well we are doing another Gin and Painting night with the girls from The Paint Club Scotland.

Those who don’t know about the event it is essentially a night of painting where you are guided through step by step like Bob Ross in the Joy of Painting “lets get a bit crazy of here”.

The Girls at Paintclub create a lovely relaxed and social atmosphere, where their professional artist will guide you through the evening’s painting.  Last time it was the “painting the Duke of Wellington”, which to my surprise was not a cocktail or a euphemism.  This time it is a Stag, which might look great on your wall.  And of course we at Gin Club will be providing you with four Gins to accompany the night.

You don’t need any experience to take part, I (Graeme) managed it and I am terrible at painting and drawing.  Glass in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other, you might surprise yourself!

included in the ticket is Four Gins, a canvas (which is yours to keep), paints, paintbrushes, a table easel and instruction from our talented artist.. banter included free of charge! Food and drinks will be available for purchase from the venue.

Link to Tickets:







October Gin Club Tasting Guide

Was supposes to do this yesterday, but here is the tasting guide for tonight.

Colonel Fox Cremorne 1859:

Cremorne 1859 was launched in 2012 and is a collaboration between CASK Liquid Marketing, PR guru Antoni Heatley and the artist Charlotte Cory. They wanted to produce a classic London Dry Gin when they came across an intriguing recipe by Colonel Fox.

Using only six core botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root, cassia, liquorice and bitter orange peel, they produce classic gins that hark back to Victorian England. The balance between the botanicals in Colonel Fox’s gin is perfect. The juniper is prominent on the palate, closely followed by a zesty, fruity flavour. There is a very traditional kind of sweetness, presumably from the liquorice, that gives it a pleasantly creamy mouthfeel, ending with a focused and peppery finish.

We are serving this as a G&T with Cherries.

Bulldog Gin:

Generally overlooked by gin enthusiasts but it’s worth seeking out and our “star in a reasonable priced car”. The name could be from the year of release 2006 which was the year of the dog, or as their website says it’s a reference to Winston Churchill.

This gin is quadruple-distilled and bottled at 40% ABV.  Bulldog is made up of 12 botanicals, juniper the most noticeable one (it is a gin), lotus leaves, lavender, cinnamon, cardamom, citrus fruits, liquorice, poppy and Dragons eye (I can’t remember them all).

To taste its slightly spicy with the cinnamon, cardamom and citrus leaving you with a warm finish that lingers.

We will be serving this with Pink Grapefruit and a lemon twist


Valentia Gin comes from the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada, Spain where (I read) the water is known for its exceptional purity.  The Gin is double distilled in small batches in a traditional cooper pot still.  Valentia is made using “Mediterranean botanicals” which are; Juniper (it is a Gin), Angelica, Cardamom, Thyme, Coriander, Rosemary and Valencia citrus fruits.

To taste there is the initial juniper hit but it is like a punch, it’s a level hit, this fades quickly to leave the citrus fruit.  To make it had an orange sherbet flavour.

We are serving Valentia as a G&T, Pink Grapefruit and Rosemary

Minus 33:

Minus 33 is crafted by scientist at the Locabev Laboratory in Rosyth.  Yes this Gin is really made in a lab.  Minus 33 comes in at 33% so technically does not qualify as a London Dry Gin but  It is a Juniper distilled spirit (which is also one of their taglines).

After 3 years and 539 test tubes of experimentation Locabev decided that the optimum strength for a really smooth spirit was 33%.  This also makes it the perfect drink for those on a diet as that makes it just 46 calories per serve.

To taste Minus 33 it is fresh and floral with hints of juniper, citrus, lavender, elderflower and angelica.

Sam is making Halloween themed cocktails.  And G&T’s with Raspberries, Blairgowrie boys need to have Rasps somewhere.

Valentia Gin

So we have been quiet and we can’t even blame seasonal changes to the lack of chatter.

So our first Gin to announce for the October Gin Club (which is in no order might I add) is Valentia

Valentia Gin comes from the Sierra Nevada mountains in Granada, Spain where (I read) the water is known for its exceptional purity.  The Gin is double distilled in small batches in a traditional cooper pot still.  Valentia is made using “Mediterranean botanicals” which are; Juniper (it is a Gin), Angelica, Cardamom, Thyme, Coriander, Rosemary and Valencia citrus fruits.

Valentia is my (Graeme not Stuart) idea of what Gin should be.  By that I mean drinking it should make you feel like you are on holiday.  It should be fresh, fruity and citrusy.  Stuart goes for savoury and I go for sweet, you can probably tell that by looking at both of us, he’s skinny and I am “less skinny”.

To taste Valentia delivers the holiday vibe but not a nasty Spanish holiday (I’m sure that’s a film), like a trip to Benidorm, definitely the good kind which began with a BA flight and not Ryan Air.

To taste there is the initial juniper hit but it is like a punch, it’s a level hit, this fades quickly to leave the citrus fruit.  To make it had an orange sherbet flavour.

We will be serving Valentia with Pink Grapefruit and Rosemary.

Juniper Festival – Take Two

I like how the greatest debate I have in writing most things is weather or not to type like a teenager texting or try and be exact, knowing full well that the dyslexia will creep in at some point.   In this blog it was whether to use the word two or 2.  First word problems (the other problem being my incapable ability at proof reading).

So Juniper Festival has been and gone.  A massive well done to all the organisers and the brands for standing up for hours on end pouring and repeating the same words over and over.

We (me Graeme) went along in a working capacity and dragged my lovely wife along for good measure (still strange saying that).  I should point out that my wife Rachel gets drunk on one drink and hasn’t had a proper drink in three months.

I always forget how long the walk is to the SWG is from the bus route road.  Should have ditched the car tbh.  We arrived, got signed in and heading straight for the first faces we knew.  Edinburgh Gin.  Where we lined our stomachs with all the Gin liqueurs.  And no this was not abuse of power or stealing.  We were furthering our knowledge.  Always great to see the EG folks.  They do have the products down to a tee, luring your in with sugary Gin crack (the liqueurs) then building you up to the Cannonball.

Then we seen the smiling enthused face of Sam from Minus33.  Another one of our regular favs.  We got to catch the end of Sam telling some nice people about how it’s low calorie.  Then he made us two cocktails of the pink variety.  Btw I seem to pick all the effeminate drinks.  We also need to get that recipe off Sam.

Shouldn’t really list all the people we spoke too.  Next was Makar, where we stuck our hands deep in juniper berries.  Then to catch up with Claire from Summerhouse Drinks who deals in the wonderful Walter Gregors Tonic (Walter Macgregor if your a teuchter).

After visiting lots of other gins, like Darnleys, Strathearn, Daffys, No3 London and Sipsmiths.  It was time for our first talk which incidentally was Sipsmiths.  Where we learned some new facts, the swam in Sipsmiths signifies the still and the “Swans neck” at the top.  Straight back out to the floor together more booze.  First stop Pickerings (no Paul), but the main man himself.  The wife is a big fan of Pickerings, me too.  The old recipe (the orange top).

We then met (again) Alfonso from Valentia Gin, we can safely say that he is one of the locusts Gin Reps we’ve ever met.  Going to try sort that Gin for Gin Club as it tastes amazing.

Last talk of the night, hosted by David from Makar.  Good patter from David as always, good to learn about the relationship between Makar and Loch Fyne, also good to taste the cocktail topped with Loch Fyne Salmon.

It’s fair to say that it was a good night with lots of Gin drunk.  There were a few gins we didn’t even get to which we wish we had.

Long walk home where we we’re nearly tempted into the Park bar by some lovely ladies from Ireland and Harris.  We resisted, taxis for Macdonald’s then beans on toast.  In from a Saturday night by 11pm.  Amazing.

Juniper Festival – Glasgow

Its been over a year since we at Gin Club along with Gin Superfan Ger (And Gers mate, who ever he was), attended Juniper Festival in Edinburgh and now it has come around again but this time Solid Liquids have brought the event to Glasgow, our home turf (unless you count Blairgowrie).

Btw I like the awkward photo of Stuart at Juniper Festival

Our first experience of Juniper festival was their first year and ours, even though it only involved Kate and Stuart, I think I was uninvited by the cousins so they can chum out and get drunk without me.  Thankfully though as it was our first year it was where we met 90% of the Gins we would go on and feature that year (lots of those Gins are still in the shed too).

Last year in Edinburgh was my first taster of Juniper festival, but before I delve into it let me go through what Juniper Festival is, in their own words:

“The Glasgow Juniper Festival will be the first outside of Edinburgh and we will have over 30 vareties of Gin from 18 different producers as well as some lovely tonics to try. Our Festivals are set up where once inside you can taste any of the gins on show which are all served up by the people who know them best – the people behind them! If that wasn’t enough we are also taking over the Poetry Club at SWG in which to host talks on Gin related subjects presented by some of our exhibitors.”

What that means you get to wander around the SWG, where 18 lovely Gin Distillers will have a station of their products, you get to wander up learn about the gin, the brand and history then the samples, the glorious tastings of Gin.  Not only that but you can sign up for special masterclasses and tastings.

Event link:

We only know of a handful of the Gins which are going to be there such as: Caroun, Minus 33 (Sam will be making cocktails no doubt), Strathearn, Daffys, Pickerings, Shetland Reel, Makar, Porters and Sipmsith to name a few.

Gin Club will be heading along on Saturday evening to wander chat and drink Gin.

Tickets available from:




Gin Club


Piping Live & Gin Club

Right, so, ok, right (as my mother in law says constantly to herself).  Two blogs in one week!  How creative of us, or we have just plagiarised from the website we are about to promote.

As hopefully most of you are aware we are teaming up to host two special events for Piping Live.  What is Piping Live I hear you ask to yourself (assuming you are not a Teuchter or a member of the traditional music fraternity), well dear reader as I send in my work emails, “see below”:

“The spectacular evening is part of this year’s Piping Live! Festival, the world’s biggest week of piping which sees over 50,000 people flock to Glasgow to enjoy over 200 events throughout the city”.
Piping Live! is a week-long celebration of bagpipes and traditional music, taking place between 8 – 14 August.  It brings over 50,000 music fans to Glasgow and sees over 200 events, with over 8,000 performers, take place in various venues across the city.  Each event will showcase the world’s most talented musicians in modern trad music, with this year’s festival being headlined by the globally-famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers (Saturday 13th, O2 ABC).


We your Gin facilitating friends will be working with this fine festival on their Summer Sessions. Where we will be hosting two events on Wednesday 10th August at the Piping Centre and the 11th August in the George Square Marquee.  At these events four of the finest Scottish Gins will be there for you to taste  which are; Eden Mill, Pickerings, Shetland Reel and Minus 33.  You also get a mini masterclass, get a full Gin and Tonic but not only that  eat a selection of delicious canapes which will be provided from a variety of specially selected Glasgow restaurants, courtesy of the Glasgow Restaurant Association.

The night will be rounded off with toe-tapping musical performances from some of the best celtic artists from the Piping Live! bill, as well as the opportunity to pipe up and give the bagpipes a go with exclusive come-and-try sessions.

Tickets for Piping Live!’s Summer Session with Glasgow Gin Club are £20 and available now at

Some words of finery about us too:
Roddy MacLeod, festival director of Piping Live!, said: “Piping Live! is famous for bringing the very best talent to Glasgow and this collaboration is no different. The Glasgow Gin Club are renowned for their great events, knowledge and love of gin and I’m excited to have them join us to add a refreshing twist to this year’s festival line up.”

There are load of things happening all over the city for Piping Live, try and get involved.  Most of it, drink, food and of course music related.  If you get the chance head over to the Piping Centre for the tents outside, whiskey galore btw. There is also the Pipers’ Market which includes food trucks by Fire Dog and Bowl Food, supplied by Good Food Glasgow as well as a range of stalls filled by a variety of independent traders. The market will be open from 11am-6pm from Monday 8th to Friday 12th August.