Piping Live – Brockmans

Last on our list for Piping Live and by no means least we have Brockmans. Now I have been waiting to get this on the list for a long time. At the Juniper festival in Edinburgh I was pairing up Brockmans with the new Pink Grapefruit tonic from Fentimans and I can honestly say it wasn’t like drinking Gin and Tonic, it was its own class. So much so I kept handing people tasters of Pink Grapefruit tonic and sending them over to the Brockmans stand.

Brockmans is the creation of one man Bob Fowkes who for years worked for the big companies such as Diageo. Bobs vision to create a gin Like No Other coupled with his knowledge of the market and marketing abilities gave birth to Brockmans which is indeed a Gin like no other, as no other Gin delivers the flavour Brockmans does.

Brockmans comprises of Blackberries, Cassia bark, Liquorice, Lemon Peel, Coriander, Angelica, Orange Peel, Almonds, Orris and Juniper (it is a Gin). The botanicals are steeped in pure grain spirit for hours to release their oils. Then, Brockmans is distilled in a 100 year old traditional copper still.

To smell you get straight of the bat that blackberry, which makes you think you could be about to taste a flavored vodka (which isn’t all Gins at heart) right and floral on the nose, its bloody excellent on the nose to be honest. To taste the Juniper is there but it’s sweeter, as the wintery fruit taste along with the citrus are dominate. There is also a wee bit of heat which is ginger bread like (you won’t get this with tonic though). Neat on the finish it is dry, which is a great balance from the sweetness on the nose.
Its honestly a wonderful Gin, well done Bob.
Remember we will be running two tasting events at Piping Live on Wednesday 9th August (from 5pm) and Friday 11th at the Piping Centre, Glasgow.

Tickets are available for Friday only now as Wednesday is sold out and can be found following the below link:

Wednesday 9th:
https://pipinglive.co.uk/events/2017-piping-live-presents-glasgow-gin-club-wed/

Friday 11th:
https://pipinglive.co.uk/events/2017-piping-live-presents-glasgow-gin-club-fri/

Thanks

Graeme

Advertisements

Gin and Tonic Club

Gin and Tonic Club

I have been trying to get this post done for ages.  Like ages.  It has been months since we spoke to Fever Tree and started working together (they came us some free stock).

I also think I have made this blog (in some form) before too, I just don’t know where I saved it so let’s start again.

Right from the outset, when we call it Gin Club we usually mean “Glasgow Gin with some form of mixer in it Club”.  We rarely offer up the Gins without something to compliment it.  We do give people the chance to taste Gin neat but generally when we are running the nights we want people to enjoy the Gin the same way they would at home.

Lots of people give you the “nope” face when you offer them a straight taste of Gin, as in the past it’s not the most enjoyable thing to taste neat, which again stems from the fact they have only accidently drank Gordon’s straight, as students or at the end of the night when the mixer and ice has run out and it’s the only option.

We at Gin Club can assure you a good Gin can be drank neat, but we usually always have something in it.  With the exception of the EG night with the dry martinis using Cannonball, but that ended differently so we won’t be doing that in a hurry.

Right so let’s talk about Gin and Tonic club.

When people say “I don’t like Gin” we always say “nope you don’t like Gordon’s Gin and Schweppes Tonic.  Generally out of a tiny wee glass, a thin slice of lemon and one cub of ice.  That’s enough to put everyone off.

But there is something that will change your mind even with the dreaded Voldemort (I love how Voldemort is in the MS Word dictionary) of Gins Gordon’s.

Fever Tree!! Ta Dah…

Fever Tree has saved Gin for a lot of people.  We use it in pretty much all our drinks.  I should halt for a minute and say there are many other artisan tonics out there too, but instead of picking up a Schweppes pick up a few bottles of Fever Tree first, it really does change the whole Gin and Tonic game.

Those of you who come to Gin Club will have no doubt read and been preached to by Stuart and I about Fever Tree, but for those who haven’t read our Gin tasting guide check it out word for word below (yes I’m lazy, it’s my work lunch break):

Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water launched in the UK in early 2005, the brand name chosen as a Fever Tree is the name for the cinchona tree, the bark which gives us Quinine.  One of the main uses of Quinine is in the treatment of Malaria, one of Malarias main symptoms is Fever, hence the name the fever tree.  Using Rwanda Congo Cinchona Bark and blended with spring water along with eight botanicals, such as: marigold and a bitter orange from Tanzania.

Fever trees have a range of products which they also make from Low Calorie tonic to their own Ginger Ale.

Right then let’s go through some mixers and Gins and their merits.

Fever Tree Tonic:

For which Gins: All of them

Notes: The standard amazingness which is Fever tree a must for all Gin’s and Tonic.  With maybe one exception of Gin (although I disagree but the distillers swear on it, more later).

Others: This also comes in Low Calorie, and a Lemon Tonic.

32

Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic:

For which Gins:  Anything Salty or Olivey, Good in Gin Mare and EG Seaside

Fever Med

Fever Tree Ginger Ale:

Gins: Anything with a spice that ginger can help with.  Ophir.

Others: Ginger Beer and light of both.  We used the Ginger beer in Firkin Gin last month.

Fever All

Schweppes Tonic:

Gins: Experiment with Fever Tree first but according to Tony at Strathearn Distillery he says Schweppes is the perfect tonic of the Heather Rose.

Others: Load but I can’t be arsed.

Summerhouse Walter Gregory’s Tonic:

Gins:  This artisan Tonic has an almost minty taste and works well with Daffy’s Gin.

Others:  Summerhouse do a host of artisan Lemonades.

Summerhouse

1724 Tonic Water:

Gins: I haven’t experimented with one taste group but this is a perfect product which compliments all Gins, Stuart loves it and he usually goes for the savoury Gins.

1724

Supermarket Home Brand:

Notes: So this sound stupid but I generally find that Tesco, Morrison’s, Asda’s tonic own Tonic waters perform better across the Gin board to Schweppes.  Experiment.  I’m a fan of Waitrose own to be honest.

Bottlegreen Elderflower Tonic:

Notes: Bottle Green do a range of products, their standard tonic is lovely   across all Gins.

Gin: All

Others: They do things in pink, pomegranate.

Bottlegreen

Fentimans Tonic:

Gins:  For the floral Gins

Notes:  Not my tonic of choice, I love the Fentimans brand and adore the Curiosity Cola but it’s too sweet and brings out floral notes in Gins which are already too flowery.  They actually did a bottle of Gin and Tonic Mix with Bloom Gin.

Fentimans

Spirit Christian Jensen

Number three in our featured Gins for March is the wonderful Jensen’s (another pluralisation, but not one like when people add the S to the end of Miller –that’s Miller lager not Martin Miller’s or when they ask for “sailor Jerry’s”.  Grrrrr).

I have to say my first impression of Jensen’s was skewed.  This was because Stuart decided to experiment with Gin one night and had the Chipotle infused version and thought it would make a mean Red Snapper.  Most people who know me know I am a complete wimp when it comes to spice, I can barely handle a Korma, so Chipotle infused Gin is a bit of a trek for me.  Well I can safely say that after that experience the taste of their Bermondsey Gin changed my initial impression of “holy hell that will burn a hole right through me”.

Jensen’s base is in London and produce some truly fine Gin.  Along with the Bermondsey they have an Old Tom and a fair few infusions like the Chipotle one (everyone except this one appeals to my palate).  I have read that man behind this fine spirit Christian Jensen (Spirit Christen Jensen – sounds like a bluegrass Americana performer), was in Tokyo and feel in love with a certain Gin and was then told that it was defunct.  He then went on a mission and found the recipe for the Gin and worked with a team at Thames Distillers to recreate it.  To test they had it right he bought the lost spirit at auction and compared.  I haven’t worked out what this illusive spirit was thought.

How does it taste:

To smell it comes over with a strong sent juniper (it is a Gin – I might tire of this line), then you almost get sappy pine with coriander and liquorice. You also get fresh ginger, resin and violet. The liquorice carries through to the taste along with the piney juniper.  I read somewhere that one taster was getting Uncooked Runner beans – Thankfully I never got this.  No thanks to runner beans full stop, they remind me of my mother force feeding me them (by force feed I mean stern looks and ultimatums for not eating them).

Thanks

Graeme

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!

Ginweb-24

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.

Ginweb-29

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.

Ginweb-27

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.

Ginweb-3

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.

10557716_10152258828156837_4469732749910968405_o

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.

Ginweb-44

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.

Ginweb-40

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

Rocking The Boat With Our Rollers In

gin club no3 236 - Copy

It’s 6.30pm on Wednesday – scheduled weekly meet time at Gin Club HQ. I’m somewhere between locating Sri Lankan tea leaves and boiling the kettle, when Squirrel comes out with “we should do it at Kroma, I go there, they are up for it”.

The thoughts that are going through my head; I need more loose tea, I wish I’d bought chocolate, what on earth is he talking about now?

So here is a brief insight into what happens at a midweek Gin Club meeting. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t drink Gin, we usually eat cake and lots of unrelated statements are delivered as a monologue and require deconvolution.

It materialised that Kroma was being suggested as a venue for an evening with No.3 London, I was then later informed that Kroma was a hairdressers. Ok, so we had done Gin in the Tearoom and it was a hit (so much so we are doing it again) but could we really pull off Gin in a hairdressers? Guess there was only one way to find out….cue Monday the 7th of July in Finnieston.

gin club no3 079

No.3 London is an extremely classic and perfectly balanced London Dry Gin and it was raved about highly at the Hidden Lane. Having the opportunity to allow some of our Gin Club members to find out more about the Gin itself, from Amanda, the brand ambassador was such an exciting prospect for us.

Amanda gave us an insight into the fascinating story behind No.3; from the copper pot stills in Schiedam (Holland) that give birth to the spirit, to the origins of its name – 3 St. James’s Street in London is the residing address of the creators – Berry Bros. & Rudd.

Amanda Talks No.3

No.3 is a Gin which has been somewhat crafted to near perfection, and all with the undeniable expertise of Dr. David Clutton. Dr. Clutton is unashamedly my new hero, he is a chemist with a PhD in Gin. You read right, an actual PhD, he is a doctor IN GIN (the only one I should add). Nobody mentioned this option when I was considering Chemistry PhD’s – thank you University of Glasgow careers service and every graduate fair I ever attended.

So what makes No.3….well, No.3? Like all good London Dry Gins should, it has a heady note of juniper, this is combined with 2 other fruits – sweet orange peel and grapefruit peel, which are joined further by 3 spices; coriander seeds, cardamom and angelica root. Steeping these 6 botanicals prior to distillation allows their distinct flavours to really mingle and infuse into the mother liquor. Upon tasting neat, my first hit was distinctively piney from the juniper, followed swiftly by a complete citrus rush.

No.3 With Garnish

As well as a neat tasting, throughout the evening we also served; classic G&T’s garnished with lemon (plus Fever-Tree naturally), Negroni’s with a sliver of orange peel and G&T’s with a twist (lemongrass and coriander garnish), all were created and poured by the expert hands of Chris Grant. I have always claimed that Negroni and I are not exactly best friends, placing him (Negroni is a male FYI) in the exact same friendship group as Aperol – bitter with a deceptive appearance. However, I put my hands up, Chris I think I may have been converted. And although the bitter man may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, the lemongrass and coriander Gin’s went down a storm – seriously buy some No. 3 and try it!

Thanks to everyone for coming along to the hairdressers in Finnieston and drinking some No.3 with us. And of course an even bigger thanks to Amanda for bringing No.3 to a salon of Gin Clubbers in cutting chairs. A credit to Fiona for the amazing photos!

Not being content with stopping at just one night of bringing No.3 to the people of Glasgow, we packed up the silver key stirrers and headed along to the Abandon Ship womenswear launch in the Princes Square shop.

Abandon Ship

The prints for the new line are amazing, uniquely ASA and like nothing else you’ll find on the high street….hurrah! The watermelon crop tee and skirt are to die for. We selected 3 serves for No.3 – the classic and twisted G&T’s as per Monday night and a Ginger Gin Fizz. I think it’s safe to say Glasgow LOVE No.3 London (and we love peanut butter and jam doughnuts).

To end this blog post in stereotypical girl style, I would be lying if I said that sometimes I worry people don’t understand what we’ve set out to achieve. However, if I’ve learnt anything from my fellow Gin Club founders in the last 6 months, it’s stay true to what you believe is right. We really love Gin and all we want is to find a fun way to make other people fall for it too….simple really?

gin club no3 250 - Copy

Gin Club

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. 

Summerhall Dsitillery

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

The Glasgow Gin Club Premiere

GinClub-1web

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

The First Time I Ever Saw (Tasted) Your Face (Gin)

So I was sitting on my usual 11:30 am perch, as I do everyday at roughly this time. I won’t say where exactly, however, to the males reading this it’s the place you sit and feel at your most relaxed, unless it was a heavy night before, you’re ill or if you have been on you smart phone and leaning on your knees until your legs go numb.

Anyway while sitting there contemplating this week’s Gin Club post. I started to think at what point I started liking Gin and I can remember it exactly. Best start from the beginning….

So my Dad (the old fart Stewart Macdonald) loves Gin, however, he speaks of a time where the mere smell of the stuff used to make him wretch. I also had the same experience. Any of my friends will know I never really took to drinking with the rest. I hated the smell and taste of all booze. I always imagined red wine would taste like Ribena – it doesn’t and has been a disappointment ever since.

So, I had this distaste for alcohol (which isn’t a bad thing, in Scotland it’s just considered weird). What I did have a taste for, was making and serving it to my Dad. I apparently pour the best Gin and Tonics in the Macdonald household, well I did, now my eight year old nephew does, start them young eh? I remember pouring Gin and neither enjoying the smell nor the wee sip I would take just to confirm that I indeed didn’t like it. Eventually I accepted this fact and stopped.

One night whilst still at University I was out in Perth and a girl I knew happened to be there, I think her name was Lyndsay Buchan (if you’re reading this or know of her, tell her I missed the boat and it plagued me for a few months as you/she, is/was hot). We were chatting away in Sportsters (local pub/nightclub) whilst queuing at the bar. She asks “Do you want a drink?”, of course I said “Yes”. At this point in my life I was pretty strict with what I drank, Jack Daniels and Pepsi or nothing at all. “Good” she replied, “I’m drinking Gin”, naturally I thought, hey, I could be in here. So, obviously I said, “Cool I will have one of those too” (knowing full well I couldn’t stand it).

Whilst debating who was paying for this round, I go into my wallet to pull out a £20 note and a condom falls out. She picks it up and says, “Someone’s sure of himself”. Red faced I reply “I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”. Yes that was cool of me, however, it was a long time ago and I no doubt didn’t execute it in such a smooth manner. Anyway, we sat down and drank the Gins.

That night I loved Gin, it tasted so fresh, clean almost. It was citrusy and cold. The Gins went down better than the Jack. From then on in, all I drank was Gin and Tonic. My Dad’s bottles didn’t last as long and he stopped getting me to pour them.

I will say that not all food stuffs that I have tried because of a hot woman have worked out so well. Dundee German market for example. Hot olive girl handing out free olives. I put one in my mouth and chew, she says “Good?”. “Yes” I grimace back. I rapidly excuse myself and spit the thing out. Caldo quips “I knew you didn’t like olives”. “Aye, but she was hot”. Olive fail.

I haven’t seen Lyndsay Buchan in about eight years; I think she moved to Australia. But anyway, thanks for making me like Gin.

Squirrel