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. 
http://www.summerhousedrinks.com/

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.
Thanks

Graeme

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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:

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.

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:

https://www.facebook.com/JuniperEvents/

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:

http://www.solid-liquids.co.uk/juniper

 

Thanks

 

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 www.pipinglive.co.uk

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.

Ungava, Harris, Stirling & New Strathearn

Honestly its been weeks!  Why do we wait so long to update you on the last event.  Well in truth its down the fact that Stuart and I still haven’t adapted ourselves to the adult world.  I still think it’s acceptable to sleep until 12 and play Xbox until 2am.  So when our day time adult lives (Word 2010 assures me that “lives” is right and not “lifes”), become busy we flap and have no idea what to do.  Stuart will also use the excuse that he is “snowed under” with work all because of some music festival he was at working in the portacabin putting wrist bands on people 🙂

I didn’t get that nonsense from Kate – Actually she just went AWOL

So we had our last main Gin Club event in June and it was yet again another great night. This was heightened as for once I didn’t have to give up my house to my in laws.  No sacrificing my bed for the living room floor, no getting woken up at 8am with “right”, “ok” and the inevitable conversation through walls my new family do.

Also randomly at the June event we had a late night visit from a bearded Policeman who was escaping down the lane so he go have smoke of his over-sized vapor pipe.  I did get a bit nervous thinking the local constabulary were here to shut us down in some thought that we were a speakeasy serving drink to cake loving citizens.

Anyway, lets focus on the gins.  And in no particular order but lets jump on Gin number 1.  Ungava (the yellow one).

Ungava is a Canadian Gin which takes its name form Ungava Bay, along the Hudson strait. Ungava uses “Nordic Botanicals.” Calling them Nordic Botanicals is a good description as most of the contents of this Gin will be uncommon to the London Dry fans here in the UK

So in Ungava there is; Cloudberry, Wild Rose Hips, Crowberry, Artic Blend (which is quite like Rhododendron), Labrador tea (which is also like Rhododendron) and Juniper (it is a Gin), in this case it’s Nordic Juniper.

Ungava is yellow.  Remember how we discussed the cold infused method used in Bathtub gins where Botanicals go into a large tea bag and steep in the alcohol until infused, well a similar process is employed here.  There is not steam or boiled distillation so the hew of the botanicals remains in the final product.

On the nose its sweet, a hint of lemon zest but a good deal of juniper (it is a gin), same on the taste. We served it as a G&T with Fever Tree, garnished with Grapefruit.  All round Ungava is a great Gin to have in the cabinet (or the shed) its more on the Junipery side so will be for the Gin Lovers but a really unique gin to offer people which are new to the game.  Its Yellow so it stands out.

Next up came from one of our  favorite small distilleries, Strathearn.

I know we bark on and on about them loads, but honestly Tony and the crew really make some of the best Gin’s Scotland has to offer, I don’t think I’ve ever not had a bottle of Heather Rose in the house.

This time thought Strathearn were featuring their new one, Strathearn Juniper.

As its name suggests, our latest gin is strongly juniper-led. A smooth, sweet start switches to a light peppery mouth-feel which is followed by a gentle sherbet finish as the citrus develops towards the end. The balance is achieved by a double distillation, ideal for the ultimate G&T.

A proper Gin for the real Gin lovers, if you don’t like strong gins because of the overwhelming Juniper taste then this might not be the Gin for you.  But if you are like us and love the taste then get buying.

We served it as a Classic G&T with Fever Tree, garnished with Orange Peel.

Harris Gin

As you might of thought this is distilled on the isle of Harris in a wee copper still, known affectionately as ‘The Dottach’.  The spirit is made up of nine specially chosen botanicals which capture the elemental nature of Harris, particularly the maritime influences of the seas.

Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Cubebs, Bitter Orange Peel, Liquorice and Cassia Bark, but it is Sugar kelp which provides Harris with its key seaside flavour. Hand-harvested by a local diver from the deep underwater forests of the Outer Hebrides.

To smell it has a well-defined juniper note with pine needles, to taste it has a good balance between the bitter juniper and pine with the sweet fruit flavours.

It’s fair to say this Gin is selling like mental at the moment, so much so that the distillery is struggling to keep up with demand.  So much so we had to do a trip to the Park bar to steal theirs for the event.  Its a fine product though, really lovely.  And marketed so well.  I think we actually gave away all the empty bottles of the gin.  Hopefully the good spirit company have plenty of stock

We served it as a classic G&T with a lime wedge.  You can buy the seaweed essence to add to the flavour too.

The last Gin on the night (again no order) was Striling.

Before the event I hadn’t tried or read up on Stirling Gin, Stuart was the champion of this one and I soon worked out why.

Stuart and I differ loads, he is tall, with loads of hair, skinny and people like him.  I’m shorter, losing my hair, my once amazing hair is leaving me and people like me less.  Our Gin tastes are different, I like fresh and citrus and he likes the savory herby side of things (which might explain a few things tbh).

Stirling is the only gin to come from Stirling.  It is distilled in Glasgow, as stills are large, expensive and pricey to run.

So whats in it:  Juniper, basil, nettles, angelica root, orange and lemon peel.

To taste there is a firm hit of Juniper, and then a slight peppery to spicy taste, its a very interesting Gin.  If you are in the Good Spirit or other decent place we strongly suggest you give it a try.

Right so whats next.  The August Gin Club is sold out on 12/08.

However we are doing two events on the 10/08 and 11/08 with Piping Live in Glasgow.

Piping Live is the festival for the World Pipe Band Championships where people from all over the world descend on Glasgow.

Throughout the city there will be a whole host of events.

We are holding two Gin events, one on the 10/08 in the Piping Centre

And a larger event on the 11/08 in George Square.

Both will have music and food.

Gins to be feature are:  Pickerings, Eden Mill, Minus 33 and Shetland Reel.

Piping Live! Presents Glasgow Gin Club

Piping Live! 2016 Presents A Summer Session with Glasgow Gin Club

 

Thanks

 

Graeme

 

 

 

Pickerings

So this one I have planned ahead.  Yes go me.

For our third Gin we have the amazing Pickerings back.

Pickerings was launch in 2013 and founded by Marcus Pickering and Matthew Gammell, at the Summerhall Distillery which was the former School of Veterinary Studies.

Pickering’s is based on an old Bombay recipe which was kept as a family secret for over 66 years,and resurfaced in 2013. The gin is a recreation of this original recipe where Pickerings have increased the amount of juniper compared to the original.

The Gin itself consists of nine botanicals – juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica, fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves.

The process involves macerating the botanicals for 24 hours with neutral grain spirit in a copper still, nicknamed Gert. The still is heated in a unique way almost like a custom-built water bath allowing the heat to be altered and applied directly.

To me Pickerings is a smooth bu almost earthy Gin.  Its fresh with an initial hit of Juniper (it is a Gin) with a piney taste.  There is an after taste of fennel and cardamom, leaving you with the overall spice.

We have no idea how we are serving this yet.

I may have time to fix the blog before tomorrows pre alert.

We do love this Gin though.

 

Glen Wyvis Gin

So again this should have been part of a blog which I half finished from my trip to Inverness where we at Gin Club (I say “wee” I mean me, Caldow was moving into his new flat, like that’s a worthwhile excuse), were helping with the NIP festival.  There we met the lovely folks from Glen Wyvis which is our second Gin for this Fridays Sold out Gin Club at the Hidden Lane Tea Room.

Not much is known about this distillery.  Essentially its the creation of the local “Flying Farmer” (I need to check what this is, it sounds too exotic for Scotland and more like something you hear about in Australia). The gin launched in summer 2015 and is the first from Dingwall. The distillery (which is in construction still) takes it name from Glenskiach and Ben Wyvis, two old now defunct distilleries from the area.  Incidentally a skiach is Gaelic for  Hawthorn which is one of the botanicals in Glen Wyvis.

So like I say when I was with the guys from the Gin I got a bit too drunk and appear to have forgotten everything useful, like the distillation process.  I do know that there are nine botanicals (As I emailed Craig from Glen Wyvis shamefully). These botanicals are locally picked hawthorn as already mentioned, Juniper (it is a Gin), Orange & Lemon Peel, Coriander Seeds, Angelica Root, Cinnamon, Orris Root, Almond Powder.

To taste there is a straight hit of Juniper, which lingers just enough for the Citrus Peel to come through.  A very pleasant fresh tasting Gin which tastes like its made with love and attention.

Definitely the best thing off my top of my head to come from Dingwall, I hear they have some football team too 😉

We will be serving Glen Wyvis with Fever Tree tonic, Orange Peel and Coriander.

PCA Bathtub Gin

You know once again this blog entry comes a week late.  I have three more which need written too.

Anyway two Friday’s ago we did one of our dedicated brand nights where we take things a little more seriously and actually serve you some facts with your gin.

This months dedicated brand night was all about Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Gin and as it happens is our first Gin featured at this months Gin Club.

The rather well informed (about booze facts) Dan Crowther from PCA (I can’t bring myself to type the full title each time). Came along to Kroma hair to serve a select few 30 of you Gin Clubbers a fair bit of his fine product.  Four bottles of the Bathtub, two of the Sloe and one of the Navy strength might I add.

At Gin Club we are featuring the Bathtub Gin which is part of The PCA (growing line) which is; Bathtub Gin, Old Tom Gin, Sloe Gin, Summer Fruit Cup and Cask Aged.  Fingers crossed Dan brings the whole line this week.

Bathtub Gin is made using a technique called cold compounding (this was me taking notes from Dans speech). In Dan’s words what this means is they get a big tea bag, fill it full of the botanicals and plant it in a vat of neutral grain spirit.

Dan explained that it is an old technique of basically infusing spirit with botanicals.  In the past it was seen as a cheap way to distil and now not really used.  Historically (hence the name) this was done at home by self Brewers in the bathtub.  But in the olden days the spirit was so cheap the addition of botanical other than juniper was to hide the other ingredients which were not alcohol.

Distilling this way isn’t an exact science.  It means that each batch will be different from the one before and because it hasn’t gone through a heated still the gin retains a hue from the infusion.  We think this is great, every batch a different beast and the computation adds to the charm!

As discussed the name of this type of gin production is believed to originate in the US Prohibition era.  Bootleggers used to create spirits in their home using stills and then water the Gin down to drinking strength with tap water, but had to use the taps in the bathtub as the large bottles wouldn’t fit in the sink. Or bootleggers actually using their bathtubs to infuse the spirit to hide the “yes this may kill you smell”.

PCA use six botanicals: juniper (it is a gin) coriander, orange peel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. The final spirit is bottled at 43.3% ABV and has a slight hue caused by the infusion process.

So to smell it, citrus and juniper for me. Taste it’s a straight hit if juniper and alcohol which leaves quick leaving pine, citrus and cardamom. The company behind the gin Master of Malts tell us it’s a “manly kind of gin”. Like an allotment.

We will be serving it one of two ways.  

Straight up gin and tonic

Or

Orange peel, cardamom and tonic 

Or orange peel and ginger ale
Thanks

Squirrel 

Eden Mill – Hop Gin

Oh god I am properly late with this one.

See what happens when the day job takes over.  Who said that 3pm on a Wednesday was the best time for social media engagement???

So Gin numero quarto, Eden Mill Hopped Gin.

It’s safe to say we have been trying to get the folks at Eden Mill along to Gin Club for a long time.  They have a huge product range and the Gin is very different to the other London Drys out there, so we have to have them feature at least once.

The Eden Mill story is quite a different one, historically there hasn’t been any spirit production on the site in over 150 years, between 1810 and 1860 where the Haig family produced Whiskey.  The brewing element has been long established, then in 2014 they decided to start producing Whiskey and Gin again.

There are no other distillers / brewers in Scotland like this.  It is a unique combination which only serves to produce unique, highly crafted spirits.  Bringing their own brand of distilling, which definitely comes from the craft beer world, gave birth to the Hop Gin.  The first of its kind in the UK! This is a fairly decent achievement to be honest, I haven’t ever done anything (nothing savoury at least) which was the first in the country.

The Gin contains botanicals: Juniper (it is a Gin), Australian Galaxy Hops, Sea Buckthorn, Oak, Hibiscus, Hickory and I think others are in there Citrus peel, Coriander and Liquorice (Sorry Eden Mill I couldn’t find a full botanical list, but I was sure I could taste coriander and maybe the Hops were giving me the citrus flavour).

To taste this, it really does confuse you, again in a good way.  It already has that beer-esq hue about it when you pour it, you half expect when you smell it that it might froth on the top (thankfully it doesn’t, I don’t know if frothy Gin would sell).  Yeah so the taste confuses you (in a good way) as the Juniper slides away to this hop like citrus taste, which lines the mouth (I believe that’s called oily but I’ve never liked that expression).

It’s a lovely drink, Gin lovers you will love the difference this drink does to your impression of what a Gin should be.  Make sure you try their other range.  Not a clue how we are serving this yet.