A long session 

A couple of things to keep you updated!  First we had a gin club the other week and it’s was so hot we decided to do it outside in the lane.  Secondly I helped out at the Edinburgh Juniper Festival and it got out of hand.

So on the 26th May we had our second main Gin Club of 2017.  With mixed emotions the Gin world is getting really busy, events all over the place (not bad news for Gin Lovers tbh) but for us we thought we would Buck the trend and do less.  Btw we are taking full credit for being the first event of its type in Scotland.  

A rather nice Gin Club in May though, it was sunny enough to be outside the whole night.  Which is a good thing as being inside the Tea Room on a sunny day is tough, hot ovens and a roof that absorbs heats causes sweaty drinkers.  In May we featured Darnleys View, an old favourite of ours. We also had Larios Rose, one of Spain’s most popular Gins, East London Gin and an old favourite of my teenage years, Xoriguer Mahon Gin.  I’ll post full blogs on all the gins and how we served them too.

This weekend was the Edinburgh Juniper Festival.  If you don’t know what it is, it’s essentially what we do but way bigger.  And a lot of gins, it’s pretty much the cheapest way to drink lots of amazing drink over an afternoon or evening. 

So me (Graeme) was tasked with helping out our old friend Ru from Fentimens (formerly Rock Rose), providing tastings on all the mixers they do.  The best bit about it was that I had a bottle of every gin in the place to mix it with.  It did mean explaining to people I couldn’t just let you try the gin you needed to have the mixer first.  Stupidly I also decided that I would start sampling these gins (not that I hadn’t before) from 12pm.  

The mix of sugar and lots of Gin made me a bit bold.  I think at one point I said a woman laughed like Chick Young, I accused a brother and sister of incest, accidentally of course.  Don’t worry I was lovely too.  Even to the ladies that didn’t like the most amazing commotion of Gin and Mixer ever which is Brockmans and the Fentimens Pink Grapefruit Tonic.  

I think that combo sent me on the fabled path of destruction.. Which ended at 4am.  Along the way some other Brand reps spilt two of my pints, one gin, I smashed a pint.  Shared some of the bottles I had carried with me and oh missed a few trains.

This weekend might be a repeat! Juniper festival Glasgow is on.  I’m helping at another event in Dundee for Minus 33.

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Friday 8th of the 8th

Our third Gin Club (well fourth if you include Brew at the Bog and possibly 128th if you include Caldo and I’s nights in the flat discussing Gin, Miley Cyrus and how much I think Pandas are pointless creatures). So let’s say our fourth official Glasgow Gin Club event, and this time round our tickets went on sale and out of sale in the space of a mere two weeks. Chuffed we were and far too relaxed. It came to the standard Monday night tasting where we decide the mixers, garnish and do our Gin “research”, so that we can create our lovely little booklet for all the Gin tasters on the Friday. There is this huge effort in the week running up to a Gin Club night, especially collating all the necessary items for the Friday, including the city wide search for Cape Gooseberries (for the Darnley’s View). This results in Kate (the scientist) stressing. Which we found is easily fixed by adding Mint and Fig to Blackwood’s and Tonic.

“Wow I can’t believe that, that taste, it’s a totally different drink,” she says in excitement.

And yes she is single!

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Friday came and our cars were loaded, along with the skies above Glasgow. Then they opened. Rain, Rain, Rain.

So the venue was set, the bar set, the music set and Bridget from the Hidden Lane had her wine in a tea-cup. The Mad Chef finished the Hendricks Sorbet, Malky had his red wine in a pint glass while he played northern soul and the Gin Clubbers arrived.

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This time round we were trying out a new token system instead of handing out one Gin at a time. It was a hit. The tasting guides assigned each Gin a colour, we then had four GIN ME cards also colour coded so that people could select their Gin of choice and at their own pace. There were only two issues; 1. People asked for “the green one please”, to which you had to say (remember) “ah yes Opihr”. 2. I left my bar blades at home and had to make an emergency purchase of a small bear in a kilt (also functioning as a bottle opener) for some of the mixers. Other than that the idea was a success, it meant we could discuss the Gin being selected as people came to our designated bar area. It also had the added effect, that people at different tables were actively discussing their Gin choices and really engaging with the Gins. At first people were picking Blackwood’s and the Opihr, I think this is probably due to the booklet layout. Then the flood of Darnley’s View and Strathearn Homecoming came. High praise all-round.

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Kate then decided to bring out the big guns and deliver her Gin Lemon Drizzle Cakes. Sweet lord in heaven. Imagine baking cakes to serve at a tea room that already makes cake.  They were incredible, they vanished rapidly too. I think we should get Kate to stick up recipes on the blog as standard after each event.

Bridget from the Hidden Lane has promised to create Gin Muffins for the future “hmmmmmmmm”.

On a side note to this Kate being the scientist that she is, weighs her eggs….I’ve never seen that, which is probably why my cakes are rubbish in comparison. Hopefully Bake Off will feature some accurate baker doing that this season.

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By now people were well into their third and fourth Gins. Hungry for more they were. So time to fire out the Sorbet. Yup Mad Chef Danny knows his measures; I think they go along these lines:

“Enough to knock out a bus of grannies going for high tea?? Aye!”

Mix it together with lime and sugar syrup and into the ice cream machine, serve with cucumber and there you have Gin Club Sorbet.

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After the GIN ME tokens have all been traded we open up the bar to sell all our extra stock we purchase for the evening. As always we keep going until it goes i.e. until the cups run out or until the Jurassic Park theme tune plays, signalling its 11:45pm – time to drink up or there will be a Gincident (GC copyright that phrase btw) on our hands.

We like to deck the place with props, many of which have our GC Phrases.

Gin Me = “Good evening Sir/Madame may I have one of your fine Gins”

Ginned Out = “I appear to have drunk too much Gin and am in danger of embarrassing myself”.

Gincident = “There has been an accident which is Gin related”. E.g. Spilt Gin, someone has snuck in a bottle of Gordons.

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Even although I (Squirrel, Hi) didn’t get to taste a single drop of the lovely stuff, I loved Fridays Gin Club. I don’t understand why it was so hot upstairs. Maybe the quinine in the tonic causes the bodies’ metabolic rate to increase and thus the air warms or maybe it was Malky’s dancing.

But I can safely say it was a great night and enjoyed by all.

A massive thank you to Blackwood’s, Opihr, Darnley’s View and Strathearn for being involved.

Anyone reading this that was at the event may remember our booklets stating you can buy these Gins from The Good Spirits Company, Bath Street, Glasgow or through their online portal.

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Full photos of the event can be seen at our Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/glasgowginclub)

A big thank you to everyone who came along and drank with us.

A huge thank you to Bridget, Malky B, Ritchie “the pigeon” Patton, Carly Morrison (who isn’t mine or Caldo’s girlfriend, she’s the licensee) and the Mad Chef. Finally to Bloc for “lending” us things like cups and ice.

Finally thank you to our stockists, The Good Spirist Company and Valhalla’s Goat.

Our next one is the 19th September Tickets out soon.

Thanks
Squirrel

GC

West Side To The East Side

Saturday the 14th of June 2014, possibly the most prolific date in the Gin drinkers diary. Yup, you got it – World Gin Day! And what better way was there for Gin Club to celebrate this momentous occasion, than to attend Scottish Juniper Festival at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

Summerhall is the former Royal (Dick) Vet School and functions now as a venue and art space. Rather coincidently and somewhat luckily for us, it is also the home of Sumerhall Distillery  – the birthplace of Pickering’s Gin. On Friday 13th and Saturday 14th of June, for 2 days only, this unique setting was converted into  complete Gin paradise. 

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I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t feeling my best towards the end of last week. One by one the Beatson drug discovery lab has been struck down by either a cold, flu or chest infection and in some cases all three. I knew it was only a matter of time before I was handed the baton. However, in the name of Gin I set the alarm for early Saturday morning and made my way towards Queen Street Station. There was only one thing on my mind, nope not the Gin venture that lay ahead, but rather getting my hands on that white coffee cup with the green face, and my name scribbled in marker pen on the side (needs must). And as I sat, waiting on cousin Stuart to arrive – I’m sorry to me Caldo refers to 5 family members – I gave myself a firm pep talk on the art of manning up.

Anyway, enough prattle….

What exactly is Scottish Juniper Festival? Simple, a celebration of all things Gin – think masterclasses, cocktails, talks and tastings. The festival itself was split into two sessions; afternoon (12-4pm) and evening (5-9pm). You must understand that for two VERY big gin fans this is an extremely limited amount of time, when you have a very long list of things to do.

Over the two floors and the courtyard of the main Summerhall building, 14 Gins were on show – where oh where to begin? In essence, it did not matter as either way we’d be making sure we visited each and every one. Between the two of us, we had probably at some point or another tasted most of the gins before, however, to be able to compare and contrast each Gin back to back is fantastic. It’s funny how easily your recollection of how something tastes changes, when you are comparing it to another Gin of even just slightly different botanical composition. Gin no longer just tastes like Gin. New notes, finishes, sweetness and spices all reveal themselves, both to great surprise and delight. In fact just being able to see so many artisan products all in one space at the same time was enough to leave me in awe (further ammunition for the boys at the next Gin Club Meeting)….

There are too many Gins to mention individually so I will put a list at the end. I did however, love the Opihr display (only mildly disappointed there was no Tuk Tuk – google it) and the Darnley’s Gin Cake! It was great to see a few of the Gins from our event the week before too and have a proper chat and say thanks.

Throughout the day various Gin led talks were also taking place, all within the “Spiritual Sessions Theatre” – accompanied of course, by various juniper based tipples. Picture the scene; curved rows of tiered wooden seats, a blackboard on the wall, a vaulted sky light, 3 antiquarian lady chairs on which the Gin experts sat and desks flanked by Gin, oh and there was a man with a dog. As I sat there 4 Gins in hand, I couldn’t help but think, that if only all my chemistry lectures could have been delivered in the same way (I’m sure I could have argued relevance in some way) then maybe I would have found studying the different lattice structure of metals more interesting….I did say maybe. Geraldine Coates, the prolific author of GinTime certainly blew any lecture I’ve ever sat through out of the water.

The central courtyard was a visual feast with the Pickering’s Snickering Pig Roast and Gin Cart, Hendrick’s Ma’am (Winnebago) and the Cocktail Bar all occupying separate corners.

Just a few small steps into Ma’am and you are instantly transported into the wondrous world of Hendrick’s; jars stuffed full of sensuous botanicals, etchings, maps of London Gin Dens, books in glass cases, a typewriter, a branded lamp, a cuddly toy (loved the generation game) and Hendrick’s, lots of Hendrick’s! Duncan McRae led visitors (or maybe more aptly passengers?) through the history of Gin; from Holland, through the scandalous Gin soaked streets of London to an English Rose Garden where one would enjoy tea from the finest china whilst nibbling on cucumber sandwiches. All to be rounded off with a mighty fine peach cocktail.

23 Gins in (a mere estimate I had lost count somewhere between 1.30 and 2pm) and there was still more to see…..but first food, I needed food. Pit stop at the Snickering Pig before onwards and upwards to Pickering’s. Pickering’s is a relatively new Edinburgh Gin and we were fortunate enough to have a chat with Marcus about his creation. This was followed by a good old look around the distillery – I was pretty much in the copper still with excitement, as Stuart measured up the size of the thing, realising that getting one in his flat was in fact achievable.

It was definitely after 4pm by the time we left the distillery and Summerhall was hotting up for the evening guests. I know we would have stayed for another 4 hours but there was another action on the To Do List that had to be seen too.

In fear of not yet being Gin’d oot we had spied the opening of Heads and Tales – a new bar at the home Edinburgh Gin in Rutland Place, it really would have been rude not to at least go and see the place wouldn’t it? One Gin cocktail (Stuart opted for an Irn-Bru Botanist – when in Rome), a G&T, and a Zizzi’s pizza later, I was definitely ready to get back home. We rolled back into Glasgow at the very respectable time of 11.30pm – definitely the earliest return after a night out I’ve ever had!

To top it all off, on Sunday my head was positively clear – the world was a great place, I’d had the best day learning and talking shop, caught up with all the family in Edinburgh and drank the best Gins…..

It wasn’t until Monday morning when I chirply got in my car to drive to work that I realised that my glasses (which I had to pitch to my Mum as an investment) were still on holiday in an unknown location Edinburgh…..cue a long day of phone calls describing comedy sized tortoiseshell spectacles.

It would be criminal to finish this post without acknowledging Martin Duffy of Solid Liquids for pulling the biggest and best Gin jamboree together. Gin Club are counting on the event being annual!

A list of the Gins we enjoyed and chatted to; Burleigh’s, Opihr, Caorunn, No.3 London, Darnley’s View, Crossbill, Gin Mare, NB Gin, The London No.1, Blackwood’s, Hendrick’s and Pickering’s.

Kate