Summerhouse Drinks

Ok so as we start to slow down our own events in the run up to end of the year, it’s time to do some reviews and blogs of gin and gin related folks we have worked with in the past year.  
This week we focus on Summerhouse Drinks, a company who’s tonic and other soft drinks we love and enjoy working with.

Summerhouse Drinks is run by Ross and Claire Rennie from their family farm at Peathill near Fraserburgh. Claire runs the day to day business with another two members of staff and Ross, a Chartered Accountant, has responsibility for all things financial. As a small team, they pride themselves on their artisan approach and are committed to producing products that don’t have artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or sweetners.
Prior to starting Summerhouse Drinks. Claire had started and ran Berry Scrumptious, which specialised in producing fresh chocolate covered strawberries. In early 2014, two flavours of lemonade were launched under the Summerhouse Drinks brand. The lemonade proved so popular that the decision was made to sell the Berry Scrumptious brand to new owners so that Summerhouse Drinks could be given full attention.
By January 2015 there were four flavours in the range: Misty Lemonade, Scottish Raspberry Lemonade, Hint O’ Mint Lemonade and Lavender Lemonade, the latter two made using mint and lavender grown in the walled garden on the farm. The Hint O’ Mint Lemonade was proving to pair particularly well with gin and it was at this discovery that lead the team to develop Scotland’s first tonic water.
After extensive taste testing, ‘Walter Gregor’s Tonic Water’ was launched in April 2015, named after the Victorian minister in the Parish of Pitsligo where Summerhouse Drinks is based. It uses mint grown in Walter Gregor’s former garden as well as a number of other botanicals to give it a light and crisp flavour. As Peathill is located less than half a mile from the sea, it also picks up salty notes which means that it pairs particularly well with coastal gins. 
http://www.summerhousedrinks.com/

Recommended with The Botanist, Isle of Harris Gin, Rock Rose, Shetland Reel, Kirsty’s Gin from Arbikie, Pickering’s 1947, Eden Mill Original, Edinburgh Gin’s Seaside Gin.
We promise we will get them along to a gin club in 2016.
Thanks

Graeme

Advertisements

Juniper Festival – Glasgow

Its been over a year since we at Gin Club along with Gin Superfan Ger (And Gers mate, who ever he was), attended Juniper Festival in Edinburgh and now it has come around again but this time Solid Liquids have brought the event to Glasgow, our home turf (unless you count Blairgowrie).

Btw I like the awkward photo of Stuart at Juniper Festival

Our first experience of Juniper festival was their first year and ours, even though it only involved Kate and Stuart, I think I was uninvited by the cousins so they can chum out and get drunk without me.  Thankfully though as it was our first year it was where we met 90% of the Gins we would go on and feature that year (lots of those Gins are still in the shed too).

Last year in Edinburgh was my first taster of Juniper festival, but before I delve into it let me go through what Juniper Festival is, in their own words:

“The Glasgow Juniper Festival will be the first outside of Edinburgh and we will have over 30 vareties of Gin from 18 different producers as well as some lovely tonics to try. Our Festivals are set up where once inside you can taste any of the gins on show which are all served up by the people who know them best – the people behind them! If that wasn’t enough we are also taking over the Poetry Club at SWG in which to host talks on Gin related subjects presented by some of our exhibitors.”

What that means you get to wander around the SWG, where 18 lovely Gin Distillers will have a station of their products, you get to wander up learn about the gin, the brand and history then the samples, the glorious tastings of Gin.  Not only that but you can sign up for special masterclasses and tastings.

Event link:

https://www.facebook.com/JuniperEvents/

We only know of a handful of the Gins which are going to be there such as: Caroun, Minus 33 (Sam will be making cocktails no doubt), Strathearn, Daffys, Pickerings, Shetland Reel, Makar, Porters and Sipmsith to name a few.

Gin Club will be heading along on Saturday evening to wander chat and drink Gin.

Tickets available from:

http://www.solid-liquids.co.uk/juniper

 

Thanks

 

Gin Club

 

Glen Wyvis Gin

So again this should have been part of a blog which I half finished from my trip to Inverness where we at Gin Club (I say “wee” I mean me, Caldow was moving into his new flat, like that’s a worthwhile excuse), were helping with the NIP festival.  There we met the lovely folks from Glen Wyvis which is our second Gin for this Fridays Sold out Gin Club at the Hidden Lane Tea Room.

Not much is known about this distillery.  Essentially its the creation of the local “Flying Farmer” (I need to check what this is, it sounds too exotic for Scotland and more like something you hear about in Australia). The gin launched in summer 2015 and is the first from Dingwall. The distillery (which is in construction still) takes it name from Glenskiach and Ben Wyvis, two old now defunct distilleries from the area.  Incidentally a skiach is Gaelic for  Hawthorn which is one of the botanicals in Glen Wyvis.

So like I say when I was with the guys from the Gin I got a bit too drunk and appear to have forgotten everything useful, like the distillation process.  I do know that there are nine botanicals (As I emailed Craig from Glen Wyvis shamefully). These botanicals are locally picked hawthorn as already mentioned, Juniper (it is a Gin), Orange & Lemon Peel, Coriander Seeds, Angelica Root, Cinnamon, Orris Root, Almond Powder.

To taste there is a straight hit of Juniper, which lingers just enough for the Citrus Peel to come through.  A very pleasant fresh tasting Gin which tastes like its made with love and attention.

Definitely the best thing off my top of my head to come from Dingwall, I hear they have some football team too 😉

We will be serving Glen Wyvis with Fever Tree tonic, Orange Peel and Coriander.

Avenue Coffee’s Cold Brew Gin & Tonic

So at this months Gin Club we are going to get a special little visit from Katelyn Thomson at Avenue G (Avenue Coffee Roaster) on Byres Road and Great Western Road.  Katelyn is going to be letting anyone who is around on Friday the 23rd at our October event try a Cold Brew Gin & Tonic.  Combining coffee and gin – marvelous.

avenue

I will let Katelyn do the talking now:

Avenue Coffee Roasting Co. is a small independent roastery that has popped up in Glasgow’s West End a year ago. We are part of Avenue G Cafe, which now has two locations in the West End well known for its great food and great coffee. We started in speciality coffee a few years ago but making great coffee wasn’t enough for us, which is why we bought an IR-12 Diedrich roaster and starting roasting our own high quality green beans. We set up with one simple aim – we want to make great coffee and share it with as many people as we could. We are always exploring new ideas in the coffee world and our latest one is cold brew gin & tonic, in hopes to open up a cocktail bar in the future.

Cold Brew in relatively new to Glasgow. It’s meant to bring out sweetness from the coffee verses the bitterness by coarsely grinding coffee and letting it brew for a long period of time in cold filter water, then filtered. At Avenue Coffee we let the cold filter water and coarsely ground coffee brew for 20 hours then filtered twice to get the finished product. We are using our Fazenda Ouro Verde from Brazil; which gives us a lot of nut, caramel and chocolate taste notes.

To get a great tasting cold brew gin & tonic we’ve tested it out on different gins based on taste notes and how they pair together. The gin we’ve used to pair with our cold brew is Caorunns garnished with an apple slice. This is a great one for us because our cold brew has tasty notes of nut, caramel and chocolate which we feel is highlighted when paired with something that has a delicate sweetness. Apples. The cold brew, Caorunns , tonic and apple pairs beautifully creating a pleasant cocktail that has similarities to a caramel apple with hints of chocolate.

We have some tickets still available for the October event at the Hidden Lane Tea Room on the 23rd, follow the link below:

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/artist/glasgow-gin-club-tickets/944334

Thanks

Katelyn

Hautecake by Sonnda Catto – The Negroni infused “Briottone” or “Panettoche” hybrid

So I know this is significantly late and there is only one excuse and that is that me (Graeme), got married to that stunning woman whom I proposed too in March called Rachel Brand (Macdonald now) and Stuart was my best man so we have been out of action all weekend.  We had every intention of blogging etc but weddings keep you really busy, then ill in my case.

So below our friend Sonnda Catto (http://sonndacatto.co.uk/) created an amazing recipe for us.  Sonnda is an incredible Food consultant, nutritionalist, cake designer and patissiere (missing the proper French punctuation I know).

So we at Gin Club gave her all the stuff needed to craft a Negroni, some fine cocktail Gin (No.3 London), Punt-e-Mes and Campari.  Sonnda exchanged this booze for Panettone so a fair swap.

Below is the amazing recipe:

HCSC_8617_lo_b.jpg

Recipe development went something like this:

Orange and white chocolate are fab together. The bitter orange flavour from the negroni and peels is going to offset the richness coming from the chocolate, dough and nuts. And on those nuts, what nuts do I want to eat with a negroni? In Italy, I’d be served a little bowl of salted almonds alongside, but I want something richer here. Macadamias. So far so good. And it’s got a classy gin cocktail in there. What’s not to like??!!

Taking inspiration from both brioche and panettone, the dough bears a resemblance to each while not quite being either. Unlike any bread I’ve encountered before, the mixture is so liquid you literally pour it into the cake tin! But that contributes a wonderful moistness.

I want to call it “briottone” or “panettoche”. Since it has the same shape and orangey additions as the Italian classic, I’ve settled on panettoche.

This is great eaten on its own. But with a bit less chocolate, 50g say, I reckon it would go very well with a top-quality pâté as a posh starter, toasted brioche being a classic French accompaniment to pâté. Duck liver would be my first option; duck and orange being another classic combo, and also because the bitterness from the negroni and peels is going to work so well against the richness.

Let me know how you enjoyed eating it!

Makes 1x6inch round cake tin

Ingredients

100g whole glacé orange peel, excess sugar rinsed off and diced fairly finely*

100ml Negroni (33ml each of gin, Punt e Mes** and Campari)***

10g fresh yeast (or 1¼ teaspoons dried)

125ml lukewarm water (not more than 30C)

250g strong white flour

15g caster sugar

1/2 level teaspoon salt

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 whole medium egg, beaten

zest of 1 whole orange

50g macadamia nuts, quartered

100g best quality white choc you can get your hands on, chopped roughly (I use Valrhona Opalys – leave the pistoules whole so they don’t completely melt)

egg glaze made with 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Notes on specialist ingredients

Negroni+bread-3+of+8-lo

*This has a far better flavour than the diced mixed peel you get in tubs, fairly yukky stuff saturated in sugar syrup, which means it will absorb hardly any of the steeping alcohol. However, it’s not that easy to get hold of whole glacé peels these days. Try your best local health food shops and delis. Or order from Wholefoods online: Peel – Whole Orange 125g.

**Punt e Mes is an Italian red vermouth with a strong, distinctive flavor, half-way between regular rosso vermouth and Campari. It works better here because it’s drier and less sweet. If you can’t get hold of it, substitute with a regular red vermouth.

***Unless you’re a regular negroni drinker you’re unlikely to have Punt e Mes, any other red vermouth or Campari in your drinks cupboard. In which case, drop into a local pub or cocktail bar with a small tupperware tub. They’ll have no problem giving you a few measures to takeaway. Thanks to Paul from Epicures who did just that for me!

Method

Soak the chopped glacé peel in the negroni. The aim here is to get as much of the alcohol into the fruit as possible, so soak for 24 hours at least. Longer if you’re not in any hurry.

This can actually be done days, even weeks, in advance; the peel is preserved and alcohol is a preservative. Just pop everything in a tupperware tub with a tightly fitting lid, or place in a small bowl and cover with cling film. Let the fruit soak up the alcohol at your leisure, and use whenever you’re in the mood to bake the loaf.

When you’re ready to make the bread, crumble the yeast into 100ml of the lukewarm water in a small jug/bowl. Leave for 5 minutes, then stir to dissolve.

Mix the sieved flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

Make a well in the centre of the flour and add in the yeasted water.

Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the yeasted water to form a soft paste. Cover the bowl with a tea towel, and leave to “sponge” until frothy and slightly risen, 20-30 minutes.

(NB: The sponge method adds a period of fermentation to mixing, resulting in a bread with a lighter crumb and a less yeasty flavour.)

Strain the excess negroni liquid from the glacé orange peel.

Combine 50ml of the strained negroni with the remaining 25ml water.

Mix in the flour from the sides of the bowl, gradually stirring in the 75ml negroni and water mixture. As the liquid is added, the texture of the combined ingredients will move from a crumbly mixture to a slightly sticky mass that will begin to come away from the sides of the bowl and form into a ball. The end result will be a soft, sticky dough.

Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured work surface. Knead until soft, smooth, silky and elastic, about 10mins.

Return the dough to the large bowl and cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Negroni+bread-1+of+8-loNegroni+bread-2+of+8-lo

Grease a 6inch round cake tin (at least 3 inches tall) and line with silicon baking paper (aka baking parchment). If you only have greaseproof paper, brush the insides with melted butter (15g will do) or it will stick so fast you won’t be able to peel it away from the bread.

Knock back the dough, knead for 5 minutes, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

Meantime, place the soft butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the strained peel and orange zest and beat with the paddle attachment until thoroughly combined. Gradually add the beaten egg and continue to mix until combined. At this point you’ll have a softish paste.

Negroni+bread-4+of+8-lo

Next, add the remaining strained negroni and beat until combined. The mixture will now look like a thick cake batter. Finally, add in the chopped macadamia nuts and chunks of chocolate/whole pistoules. Mix briefly until just combined.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and using a spatula fold the mixture to ensure the fruit, nuts and chocolate are evenly dispersed throughout.

Negroni+bread-5+of+8-lo

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface, pushing any visible chocolate chunks just below the surface to ensure they won’t burn.

Holding the tin a few inches above your work surface, drop it down. Repeat several times until the surface is completely level.

Negroni+bread-6+of+8-lo

Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size, about 2 and a half hours (check after 2 hours).

Negroni+bread-7+of+8-lo

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Using a soft pastry brush, brush the dough with the egg glaze. Be very gentle so as not to rip or deflate the dough. Also, be careful not to “glue” the loaf to the edge of the baking tin.

Bake for 45mins until the surface is glossy and a deep golden colour (think of the colour of brioche here). Check at 35 minutes, turning the tin 180 degrees to ensure even browning.

Turn out of the tin, place upside down on a baking sheet, peel away the lining papers and return to the oven for a further 10-20 minutes until hollow-sounding when tapped underneath – check after 10 minutes, giving another 10 minutes if need be.

Turn out of the tin onto a wire rack to cool.

Negroni+bread-8+of+8-lo

Best eaten within 1 day.

Gin Themed Baking – Scones (Aye Bake of is on)

So it is officially that time of year when the Great British Bake off is back on our screens (I know it is a bit late as it started last week), to celebrate this Graeme (that’s the person writing btw, who most of you know as Squirrel) and hopefully Kate (when she reads this) will be doing lots of Gin themed bakes.

Why would we do this?  Well we do host our main Gin events in the Hidden Lane Tea Room and they always have Gin themed cakes for you all to eat when you come along.  But mainly because Kate and myself have always been keen bakers, despite the fact that every Victoria Sponge I have ever made has failed to live up to my mothers.

So last week (btw there are no pictures as I hadn’t thought about doing this blog until late Tuesday night, while scanning through an old Delia Smith cook book) after the Bake off I thought “oh yeah, I make a mean Madeira Cake” so I did.  However I added more lemon juice than normal then using some spare No.3 London gin I made a Gin and sugar syrup glaze then topped it off with candied lemon slices.  Yes it was pretty great (or Doss, if readying the Perthshire area).

So this week to keep in with the Gin theme (however completely ignoring the theme of this week’s bake off which  was biscuits) I decided to make some Gin themed scones.

Starting off with a tradition scone mixture, but with a bit more butter than most recipes say I cracked on with a basic scone mixture.

Using:

500g (sometimes more sometimes less) Self Raising flour or Plain Flower (just over a pound in real money) – I find that using plain flower and 5 teaspoons of baking powder gives better results.

100g (4oz) none salted butter (at room temperature)

80g (3oz) caster sugar

Walnuts (as many as you like)

Dried fruit (Raisins or dates)

A whole zested lemon

2 eggs (make then as ethically sourced as your head allows or not)

2 tsps baking powder

Then milk (usually 250ml) but you won’t use all of it.

Method:

Firstly fire on the oven to 200 degrees

Sift most of the flour into a decent bowl, not all though you want for tweeking your mix come the end.  Then in lovely wee cubes add the butter.

Sticking your hands in the bowl, rub the flour and butter together until all the butter has mixed in.  They say in cookbooks until it looks like breadcrumbs. It never looks like breadcrumbs, it just gets slightly darker and can be clumped together.  The main thing is though that there shouldn’t be any lumps of just butter.

Then sift in your sugar and mix gently, flowed by the baking power.

Gather your dried fruit and nuts and chop finely, try to get things a bit even and a few millimetres in size.  The larger the fruit the more it sinks in mixture and the les even the dispersion of fruit and nuts will be in the scone.  Mix the fruit and nuts to the dry mixture.

Make a little well in the bottom of the bowl and crack in two eggs.  Then using a butter knife (no idea the logic of the knife, my mother always told me this was the way it had to be done) mix the eggs into the dry mixture until the moisture of the eggs vanishes.

Grab your milk and pour half of your 250ml in and mix with knife.  Soon it will be absorbed by the dry ingredients.  Now get your hands in there and mix it all together.  If it’s too dry and the flower isn’t forming together then add more milk.  Keep doing this until you have dough.  Sometimes you might add too much milk and the dough becomes sticky, that’s fine just throw in flour until stops being sticky.  Your dough will have the right mix once it stops sticking to your hands and the bowl.  Just knead it for it about until everything is mixed.

Dust the worktop and plant the dough on it.  Don’t drop it or you will knock the air from it.  Then gently roll it out (in any shape) so it is an inch thick.

Using a cutter, wine glass or cup, cut out some shapes and place on a buttered then dusted with flour baking try.  Make sure these are clean cut, it allows them to rise better.  Let them sit for a few minutes to let the baking powder do some work to the dough.

Once all cut, get a brush and coat the top with milk.  Then sprinkle a little sugar on them and finally place the lemon zest on them.

Fire in the oven for 15-20 minutes, they should have risen and gone golden brown.

Fire on a cooling try and then serve them look warm.

Scones should be eaten the same day or the day just after.

I served mine with home make Sloe Gin, Raspberry and Black current Jam.  Yum.

Scones Sloe Gin Jam

French Gin (Diplome) and German Stills (Sipsmiths)

Our last two Gins, which we have the pleasure of announcing for tomorrow night, are Diplôme and Sipsmiths London Dry (I know we have had it before but it was a dedicated Sipsmiths night so technically it doesn’t count).

So Diplôme is created in Dijon (famous for mustard) France and have been created roughly the same way since 1945, however the recipe was perfected during WW2.  Along with other cuisine and mustard Diplôme is very famous in France for its unique recipe and long standing stature.

After the end of the war, Diplôme Dry Gin became the official gin for the American Army stationed throughout Europe.

Using botanicals sourced from Europe and Morocco, Diplôme Dry Gin is made up of;  Juniper (it is a Gin), coriander, whole lemons, orange peel, angelica, saffron, orris root and fennel seed.

On the nose of Diplôme gives a slight smell of cherry trees and cloves, you also get the Juniper and Coriander.

To taste you get the natural hit of Juniper (it is a Gin) but it also has zesty citrus fruit, slightly nutty and possibly lavender.  I have heard people say it almost feels oily.  I haven’t got that however I stress that we at Gin Club tend not to be wearing Tweed waist coats, while doing tastings and try to thing how the Gin will work and how it will be enjoyed.

I would say that Diplôme tastes old.  Old class, it is very French but I can’t describe why.  Its French in the way you know Daft Punk are French just by listening but in no shape or form did the French invet Funk music they just seem to excel at creating their own unique identifiable funk based genre.  It is a very smooth Dry Gin which works well in many drinks.

So Sipsmiths, well lets begin by saying we love Sipsmiths, their whole range we also have in the Gin Shed.

Anyway…

In 2009, Sipsmith was launched by Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall and Jared Brown to pursue their passion for handmade spirits.

Sipsmith became the first copper-pot based distillery to start up in London in over 150 years, a fact that made the process of being granted a license a long and tiresome affair.

Sipsmith is made using ten botanicals: Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Seville orange peel and Spanish lemon peel.

Each botanical plays its part however a few liquorice, coriander and angelica play distinctive roles.

To taste Sipsmith has strong notes of juniper but there are also definite citrus notes and a depth to the liquid that lingers.

The gin is distilled in a beautiful still affectionately named Prudence where she lives alongside Patience her sister at the Hammersmith HQ.

Tickets can be purchased here:

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/glasgow-gin-club-tickets/178989

The Birthday & The Botanist Foraging Event

First I would like to say thanks to everyone that came down for our Birthday party, it was one of those rare Gin Club’s now where Kate, Stuart and myself got to ditch the car (#carsgettingditched) and have “some” Gins for ourselves.  I completely hogged the Heather Rose.

ginbirthday-1-5ginbirthday-1-14

I have said it in a couple of other Blogs, our best ideas are conceived drunk at 1am, Gin Club was one of them.  Going to the Cat House when you are 31 after a Gin Club is not up there with the greatest of ideas, but worth it for all the looks “Alternative” teens (btw alternative doesn’t exist anymore, alternative is so mainstream that word is now null and void) were giving us when we were dancing, not a single f*ck was given.  Teens really are self-conscious, if only they had had Gin.

So after that minor expletive (I couldn’t find an alternative for that saying), we have moved out of our first year as Gin Club.  Again a massive thank you to all you Guests who came along drank Gin, learned about small batch and craft Gin, ate cake, cracked jokes and join Kate, Stuart and I in the art of social drinking.  When we started Gin Club (at the time we never thought it would come to anything), all we wanted to do was make something fun but at the same time have something the Gin brands would want to be part off.

ginbirthday-1-10

So on our first birthday we went back to our first event and used The Botanist, Strathearn Heather Rose, No.3 London and Caorunn.  These at the time were our most commonly used and favourite Craft Gins.  The Botanist was the first Gin we confirmed for Gin Club and picked up from Lynne McEwan before heading off to Ritchie Patton’s wedding at the time we had the date for the event but didn’t even have a venue.  Strathearn is a distillery close to our Perthshire homes and Heather Rose is one of those Gins I go back to time and time again, like a perfume you constantly buy as you like the smell, my drinks cupboard isn’t complete without it.  No.3 London was the Gin we used for our first dedicated single brand events, which we did in a Kroma Hair and again who we used for the Abandon Ship online and London shop launch events.

ginbirthday-1-3

The main difference (other than the free cake, balloons and party bags) between the setup we had at the first event and Birthday party was the garnishes we used:  On Friday I met with a lovely man called Gary and there in Argyle street he handed me three bags of greenery, which I in turn handed over money.  It looked exceptionally dodgy, but it was just bags of Sorrel and Spruce Shoots, all hand foraged by his himself that very day.

All our Garnishes for the birthday party were garnishes that can be found in environment around us then Foraged to be used in Gin. For Botanist instead of Lemon and a complimenting herb we used Sorrel.  It has a naturally and surprising taste of citrus and can be foraged around Glasgow.  For No.3 London we went away from the citrus notes and used Spruce Shoots, which add a pine flavour to the gin, when you chew it, its sweet but very very dry.  For Caorunn we used fresh brambles, mint and Braebury apples.  Wild mint grows all over the UK, Brambles are often the bane of a gardener’s life as it grows quickly and everywhere (Braebury apples are from New Zealand but hey two out of three ain’t bad).

The reason for this change in tact is that as of this Blog post we are announcing our first dedicated single Gin event of 2015 which will host The Botanist.

the botanist

On the 4th July we are hosting along with The Botanist a foraging event which will start at the Botanic gardens then walk through Kelvingrove park, while stopping along the way to forage for wild ingredients which are used in the production of The Botanist and for botanicals which can be used to garnish or make Gin cocktails with.

The foraging event walk will finish at the Kelvingrove Café on Argyle Street where the lovely Mixologist Danny Whelan will walk you through The Botanist, explaining the tastes and notes as you try it neat.  Then you will try three G&T’s all garnished with Foraged ingredients which complement the botanicals which create the fine drink.  After that you will get nibbles and a Foraged Gin Cocktail.

BotanistForage2BotanistForage1

Tickets for this event will be very limited as numbers have to be small.

Here’s the link for tickets (Golden ticked doesn’t include this sadly):

http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/182875

 

Thanks for spending a year with us.

 

 

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;

Conception

“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.

Birth

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

Botanist

No.3 London

Caorunn

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.

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