Proud Parents

First Birthdays.

Obviously we can’t remember our own first birthday’s (if you say you do then you’re either Stewie from Family guy or your drunk), but we certainly remember other 1st birthday parties.  Having been to a few for my lovely Nephew and Nieces and now (god help us) my friends children, we know the format, crying, napping, half the adults drinking the other half drinking endless cups of tea, the one year old who couldn’t care less about the presents as the wrapping paper or the box is significantly more interesting.  A first birthday party is for the parents.  And if I’m honest they are lovely despite the flu or stomach bug you contract from playing with the little disease carriers (btw I’m getting a little broody in my old age) you really wouldn’t have it any other way.

So like proud parents (god does this mean that Caldo, Kate and I had a child together, remove Caldo from the equation and its normal haha), we move into the first birthday of our labour of love which is the Gin Club.

Our first solo event was the 6th of June 2014, however like a proper child it had a long gestation period, about nine months actually.  We recently did a blog for Ticketweb which describes how to create a club, so I best repeat myself on the gestation period to birth of Gin Club;


“The Art of Social Drinking” is something Caldo has always harped on about, where people go to a pub and drink nice alcohol and not just get wasted on the cheap stuff, dance and try and get off with people (these nights are ok too though).  Gin Club began while engaging in this Art form, two men in their late twenties, drinking artisan gin while trawling through YouTube for rap battles, Taylor Swift and Mylie Cyrus videos, then discussing the merits of both these two rather good female artists.

From these special moments slumped on a couch discussing which one would our mothers would prefer, a throw away thought in the form of Hashtag (#Ginclub) was born, which was instantaneously shared through each of our failing music and social media sites (it had been a long established fact that a photo of an album got less than 20 likes while a picture of a Gin pour or a beetroot and chocolate cake broke easily into triple figures).  In that one hashtag Gin Club was born (impregnated).

Don’t tell anyone it’s not three months yet

For the next few months we maintained the exclusivity of our club, while the member’s waiting list swelled with people retweeting, sharing photos and Gin Brands evening sending us stock!  But the intake was capped at two with the occasional “Gins a mine”, while our friends drank our expensive Gin and Tonic.   Keeping this cap along with the promotion of Gin and all its merits only increased demand.  Our Gin Club rules came into fruition too.  “No Gordon’s” and “Gordon’s is acceptable if there is nothing else”.

“Your showing”

Once our solid foundations had been set, we had demand, popularity and a thirst corporate engagement the next stage was to float our club idea. In the case of Gin Club this came with getting involved with the popular Brew at the Bog festival.  From this first big venture we had to draft in organised support in the third member, welcome the scientist (not the Coldplay song) Kate.

In developing this idea we had now made contact with all the Gin brands we loved and wanted to share with festival goers in Inverness.  This proved popular as all the Gin was drunk in the first day.


Our Idea was simple; it wasn’t to be formal Gin Club.  No noising glasses, just Gin served right so people could enjoy something a bit different to the norm and open to all Gin lovers.

Our club needed to be formative but informal so our guests left knowing more than what they did when they arrived without it being forced upon them or with them having to taste everything straight in crystal flute glass while writing notes in a language they would never use.

Fun / Nice were the words of choice, where people loved their night so much they took hundreds of photos, got to a good merry stage of drunkardness but happy their night wouldn’t be a late one.

Then after being at Gin Club they would want to go to a shop, buy a special Gin and realise what they have had in the pub for years is nothing compared to what they could be drinking.

We had the idea, we even had the date, the venue however wasn’t set, but a wee five minute conversation in Sainsbury’s solved that and it was set that we would be hosting Gin Club in a vintage tea room (with cake and the venue matched the feel of the night), then combine it with DJ’s, random props, table games, food (which get very competitive) and mountains of Fever Tree tonic.

Thinking back

I can’t believe that was a year ago!  Thinking of all the meetings with Kate and Caldo in Tinderbox or at Kate’s flat drinking loads of tea and eating way too much cake.

1st Birthday Party

So as it’s been a year we are going to celebrate by throwing a birthday party at the Hidden Lane on nearly the same date (one day out) as our first ever event.  To mark this we will be using the same Gins we started with;

Strathearn Heather Rose


No.3 London


There will be all the usual trimmings along with lots of other special surprises.  I’ve been looking for the Happy Birthday song which gets playing in Jimmy Chung’s, can’t find it anywhere.

So get your tickets for the 5th June at the Hidden Lane Tea Room.

Fagus House and The Botanist

Having a Friday off is amazing, especially when you’re off to Arisaig for a wedding with the Gin Club. That Friday was also the day we stopped into the Bruichladdich offices to chat to Lynne McEwan about The Botanist.

After discovering that Lynne’s Dad was the genius behind The Botanist and hearing all about the Gin itself along with their newly branded bottle, it was time to accept a generous gift and get our skates on. On the walk home there was just enough time to pick up some more Gin (you can never have too much), the selection being Ophir, which has flavours of pepper and cardamom, followed by enough Fever-Tree tonic to cater for the whole wedding and something else which I hadn’t tried yet – a pre-mix Fentimens G&T which uses Bloom. I also had to pack my homemade infusion Gin which had been flavoured with lemon grass and ginger (a tiny bit of rosemary in there too).

I love driving up the West Coast, the road from Glasgow to Fort William is incredible. Glencoe must be one of the few places on earth where you want to remain at 40mph, as the scenery, regardless of how many times you have seen it or how cloudy it is, is still spectacular enough to make you slow down and look out the window (and nearly crash your car – as I almost did).


Arriving at Arisaig was just as spectacular; an old private house, castle like in design – as are so many other noble Scottish houses, with a view out over the Sound of Arisaig. Caldo and I had a wee cottage which we were to share with the photographers Eve and Chris, who also came prepared with Gin, mixers and garnish. I won’t say what Gin they brought as it’s verging on breaking the rules….

The night started with Caldo and I enjoying The Botanist on our balcony overlooking a view of the Sound. I can safely say that Bruichladdich has produced something magical with this creation. Not only does the Gin play to my citrus loving palate (that might also have something to do the grapefruit I garnished it with), but it was a perfect match for the location at which it was being enjoyed – the shoreline of the West Coast. It’s an incredibly lovely Gin, as the night goes on you start to notice more and more of the flavours in there. The Gin also embodies the brand. Bruichladdich isn’t a classic distillery, the branding alone shows that they are modern in their vision. There is no pretence in the drinking of their products.  That’s a pet hate of mine, distillers that still treat their products as if it’s the 1940s and that they should only be enjoyed by people drinking from a nosing glass that will dissect the aroma, body and palate of the spirit. Don’t get me wrong I agree with tasting Gin and appreciating the notes and flavours which characterise each Gin but The Botanist proves that it’s an accomplished drink – do it justice, drink the thing and enjoy it.

I love their tasting notes, “Finish: All this from a beaten up old pot still, operated by beaten up distillers on the coast of heaven”. Well it tastes magical and we were drinking it on the coast of heaven at the best of events with the best of company.

Thank you Botanist.


(Caldo with The Botanist – New Bottle)

Squirrel: Gin Club