The Glasgow Gin Club Premiere

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As you may or may not know, Glasgow Gin Club had it’s very first Glasgow event on Friday (June 6th) at The Hidden Lane Tearoom. It certainly would have taken a great deal of skill to avoid this information if you are friends, work colleagues or mere Facebook acquaintances of any of the three of us.

Our aim for the night was always simple – bring really good Gin to the people, have a good old chat about the stuff and just have fun. There are SO many mind blowingly good Gins out there that people don’t know about, and it was almost criminal not to do something about it. I guess we knew (or should I say hoped) that no matter what happened along the way, as long as we had enough great Gin and really good tonic on the night, plus a half tonne of ice shards we could keep a tearoom full of Gin fans happy.

After 6 weeks of; planning event format, confirming Gin’s, designing membership cards, matching garnishes, securing a venue, changing original event format, roping in friends, calling in favours and sourcing 100 miniature spoons for Gin jelly with 24 hours to spare – Gin Club was almost ready to open it’s doors for the very first time.

The Gin gods were definitely on our side on Friday night – the sun continued to beat down as the evening drew in and although for once we were not celebrating Gin o’clock ourselves, it was the ultimate G&T weather. The Tearoom doors opened at 7.30pm with the event set to kick off just after 8pm and as  membership card no. 4 was handed out at around 7.35pm (the founders being numbers 1,2 and 3 and Snoop Dogg 213 – see instagram) Glasgow Gin Club became official.

Tables were set with tasting cards alongside the corresponding bottles and in keeping with the vein of our amazingly unique venue, it seemed only fitting that we used some empty bottles from our personal collection to hold one or two flowers – let’s just say Stuart had a busy week to ensure we had enough Gin Club vases.

Ok, so details…..what Gin’s did we actually serve at Gin Club? The running order (all served with Fever-Tree Indian tonic water);

(i) London No.3 Dry Gin  – a traditional London Dry Gin created with 6 botanicals in copper   pot stills – garnished with a slice of lime.

(ii) The Botanist – hails from Islay and contains 31 botanicals in total – 22 are foraged on the island – served with a slice of lemon and sprig of thyme.

Interlude – Gin and Elderflower Jelly

(iii) Strathearn Heather Rose – the combination of Rose and Heather produce this uniquely delicate, floral Gin – no garnish just tonic.

(iv) Caorunn – 6 traditional and 5 celtic make up the 11 botanicals in Caorunn, one of which – the Rowan Berry gives the Gin it’s name – delivered with a slice of red apple in the glass.

To Finish – Gin and Tonic Sorbet courtesy of Mad Chef

The lovely Craig Johnston kindly agreed to come along and drop some serious tunes as the soundtrack to our evening (promised payment in Gin of course) and who didn’t enjoy a bit of The Temptations, Chrvches or the Jurassic Park theme tune while sipping on their Gin and Juice? Bridget from the Hidden Lane Tearoom was also on hand to serve some of their own delicious baked treats. Gin, Jelly, Cake, Sorbet and Sunshine – think we covered almost all bases.

Now, 5 days after Event No. 1, we can confirm that we served over 200 G&T’s to a little over 50  Gin Clubber’s – a number that we’re still overwhelmed by. As a result Gin fever has well and truly hit Gin Club HQ – Who are we kidding? We’ve always had it. But  the ideas for what comes next are certainly mounting up.

Thanks again to absolutely everyone who came along (both under order and free will) and helped us through the Gin and 120 bottles of tonic. We hope that a few of you may be willing to do it again…?

Photography by Ritchie Patton

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).

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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.

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(Caldo with The Botanist – New Bottle)

Squirrel: Gin Club