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.

Squirrels Year End (Not Rear) Review

So me (being Graeme or Squirrel to everyone except my family) used to write a blog every year, a new year’s summing up what had happened in past 12 months and my thoughts going forward. I feel I should continue you this through, taking it from whatever band blog I was in at the time and bring it into the Gin Club world.

2014 might be the quickest year of my life, I feel it was only a few weeks ago that it was my 30th birthday in February and that I was feeling all sad about being a different tick box on a survey or worse that certain surveys no longer apply to me. Like the feeling you get when you are older when walking down the town on a Saturday night and club reps ignore you as you’re not cool enough.

They do say though that from now on the years blur into one, they go quickly and that the all significant birthdays have a zero in them. Maybe the zero should signify the lack of hope. Jokes.

So apart from my ever increasing descent into middle age and having nothing to show for it lets review the year.

This was the year that we finally created Gin Club into something bigger than me and Caldo drinking gin in our pants and watching Mylie Cyrus on YouTube while constantly commentating on how “why yes I would” then comparing the difference between her and Taylor Swift. One you want to go home with and one you want to marry and have babies with the latter being Tay Tay.

We did our first official event at the Brew at the Bog festival which seen us pedal lots of gin through a new gin bar devised by the exceptional brain of Yvonne Murray. In doing this we put out the word of Gin Club to lots of gins. We were asked to comment on gin on Radio Scotland. At this point our “Club” had growing a torso, legs and we needed a head. Welcome Kate Gill. A woman who I have known for years only as Caldo’s cousin and seen either in Oxfam books or in her joggies on university avenue (and not in a clatty dirty old man at night meeting on university avenue way btw), she brought note pads and “don’t be stupid” looks / comments then made us have meetings. It’s fair to say she sorted out our ideas into a format. This then formed into our first sell out event in the Hidden Lane Tea Room.

From there we have essentially done a sell-out gin party each month in various locations (mainly the tearoom) until the end of the year.   I think a highlight for me with these events would be the London No.3 event in a hair salon (Kroma), as it was so random and really educational from a brand prospective. I also got to see Chris Grant not in a tracksuit and not talking about jumping stuff instead watching him craft gin cocktails.

Outside Gin Club life has gotten rather grown up. Caldo has buggered off to the Bermuda triangle of Glasgow’s south side, where people piss off too and they stay there hidden away, never heading west. You can’t just walk down the road with them for a pint; you have to bus it or drive. Me I decided to buy a house, not a flat, but a proper house, with a shed, lawnmower and a conservatory (the shed is full of gin btw; I need Wifi out there and a couch hehe). Kate did the biggest move, she traded Glasgow for Wolfhill. Yes no one who isn’t from Perthshire has a bloody clue where Wolfhill is. Essentially if you don’t need to you won’t ever go there, it’s a wee hamlet where I was once told the last wolf in Scotland was killed there. Glasgow or Wolfhill??? Hmmm tough one J . Then changed her job from Science to making money. Big move but she’s happier. Now she needs to open Perth’s first gin bar.

I usually get a big reflective in thinking about the year past. I have to say I am one of these people who evaluates his yearly performance. This year I don’t know what to make of it. I have made huge steps forward in my life, but think other aspects have frozen still. I have always felt that since finishing university all those eight years ago I have been minus achievement. Each year you sit exams and pass or fail them. Sadly the only exam I have sat this year was for P30 programme management training which I failed. I also hung up my musical hat and put my last band to bed. Which is a huge deal for me but one that only me and the five men involved seemed to be bothered about, like mist it just was there then wasn’t, you know it’s time to call it a day when an album you make gets less hits than a beetroot and chocolate cake. Haha. This isn’t a problem it’s just one of life’s things, the cake was bloody good though.

In our older life’s we don’t have this constant learning and evaluation. One of the few measures we have is our events or activities that cannot be quantified as pass or fail but busy, fun or educational. For Gin Club it’s been a huge success, we have created a grown-ups party where people drink small batch Gin and learn about the brands and the love each distiller puts into their products (except Gordons)

I don’t know what more to say about 2014. I would say it was fun, quick and I’m not sure if I did my best as a human this year. I know I could do so much better.

Next year we have some great ideas for events, some big things to come for Gin Club and I hope the gins and the guests will be up for drinking the Mothers Ruin with us. Actually I hope that Kate, Caldo and I get to drink more gin. The more events we have the less gin we get to drink, we only get to sample it and write the tasting notes L