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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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