Pickerings Gin Baubles

So like I said sorry for being away but here we are.

Let’s have a review of the best of British Gin Christmas presents. 

To start with I need to cover something I was meant to chat about following the Scottish Gin Awards, which is Pickerings Christmas Baubles.

So what are they?  Well in short they are standard baubles you would put on your tree but filled with Gin.  No complaints there.  The only disadvantage here is you can’t keep them to next year and keep bringing them out without your tree smelling like you’re some alchy. 

Last year Pickering’s launched these little beauts and they sold out far too quick.  This year there is no issues as they have been packing since the summer.

Each bauble is filled with 5cl of Pickering’s and there are six in the box.

Retailing at £30 for the six is an excellent price and these would be great for a Xmas present, along with a wee treat for yourself and your now alchy tree.  

All we need now is fever tree or Fentimens to launch tonic stars and we are laughing (how would the ice and garnish work??).

Link to the shop below.

Pickering's Gin Baubles (pack of 6)

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Juniper Festival – Take Two

I like how the greatest debate I have in writing most things is weather or not to type like a teenager texting or try and be exact, knowing full well that the dyslexia will creep in at some point.   In this blog it was whether to use the word two or 2.  First word problems (the other problem being my incapable ability at proof reading).

So Juniper Festival has been and gone.  A massive well done to all the organisers and the brands for standing up for hours on end pouring and repeating the same words over and over.

We (me Graeme) went along in a working capacity and dragged my lovely wife along for good measure (still strange saying that).  I should point out that my wife Rachel gets drunk on one drink and hasn’t had a proper drink in three months.

I always forget how long the walk is to the SWG is from the bus route road.  Should have ditched the car tbh.  We arrived, got signed in and heading straight for the first faces we knew.  Edinburgh Gin.  Where we lined our stomachs with all the Gin liqueurs.  And no this was not abuse of power or stealing.  We were furthering our knowledge.  Always great to see the EG folks.  They do have the products down to a tee, luring your in with sugary Gin crack (the liqueurs) then building you up to the Cannonball.


Then we seen the smiling enthused face of Sam from Minus33.  Another one of our regular favs.  We got to catch the end of Sam telling some nice people about how it’s low calorie.  Then he made us two cocktails of the pink variety.  Btw I seem to pick all the effeminate drinks.  We also need to get that recipe off Sam.


Shouldn’t really list all the people we spoke too.  Next was Makar, where we stuck our hands deep in juniper berries.  Then to catch up with Claire from Summerhouse Drinks who deals in the wonderful Walter Gregors Tonic (Walter Macgregor if your a teuchter).


After visiting lots of other gins, like Darnleys, Strathearn, Daffys, No3 London and Sipsmiths.  It was time for our first talk which incidentally was Sipsmiths.  Where we learned some new facts, the swam in Sipsmiths signifies the still and the “Swans neck” at the top.  Straight back out to the floor together more booze.  First stop Pickerings (no Paul), but the main man himself.  The wife is a big fan of Pickerings, me too.  The old recipe (the orange top).


We then met (again) Alfonso from Valentia Gin, we can safely say that he is one of the locusts Gin Reps we’ve ever met.  Going to try sort that Gin for Gin Club as it tastes amazing.

Last talk of the night, hosted by David from Makar.  Good patter from David as always, good to learn about the relationship between Makar and Loch Fyne, also good to taste the cocktail topped with Loch Fyne Salmon.

It’s fair to say that it was a good night with lots of Gin drunk.  There were a few gins we didn’t even get to which we wish we had.

Long walk home where we we’re nearly tempted into the Park bar by some lovely ladies from Ireland and Harris.  We resisted, taxis for Macdonald’s then beans on toast.  In from a Saturday night by 11pm.  Amazing.

Piping Live & Gin Club

Right, so, ok, right (as my mother in law says constantly to herself).  Two blogs in one week!  How creative of us, or we have just plagiarised from the website we are about to promote.

As hopefully most of you are aware we are teaming up to host two special events for Piping Live.  What is Piping Live I hear you ask to yourself (assuming you are not a Teuchter or a member of the traditional music fraternity), well dear reader as I send in my work emails, “see below”:

“The spectacular evening is part of this year’s Piping Live! Festival, the world’s biggest week of piping which sees over 50,000 people flock to Glasgow to enjoy over 200 events throughout the city”.
Piping Live! is a week-long celebration of bagpipes and traditional music, taking place between 8 – 14 August.  It brings over 50,000 music fans to Glasgow and sees over 200 events, with over 8,000 performers, take place in various venues across the city.  Each event will showcase the world’s most talented musicians in modern trad music, with this year’s festival being headlined by the globally-famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers (Saturday 13th, O2 ABC).

 

We your Gin facilitating friends will be working with this fine festival on their Summer Sessions. Where we will be hosting two events on Wednesday 10th August at the Piping Centre and the 11th August in the George Square Marquee.  At these events four of the finest Scottish Gins will be there for you to taste  which are; Eden Mill, Pickerings, Shetland Reel and Minus 33.  You also get a mini masterclass, get a full Gin and Tonic but not only that  eat a selection of delicious canapes which will be provided from a variety of specially selected Glasgow restaurants, courtesy of the Glasgow Restaurant Association.

The night will be rounded off with toe-tapping musical performances from some of the best celtic artists from the Piping Live! bill, as well as the opportunity to pipe up and give the bagpipes a go with exclusive come-and-try sessions.

Tickets for Piping Live!’s Summer Session with Glasgow Gin Club are £20 and available now at www.pipinglive.co.uk

Some words of finery about us too:
Roddy MacLeod, festival director of Piping Live!, said: “Piping Live! is famous for bringing the very best talent to Glasgow and this collaboration is no different. The Glasgow Gin Club are renowned for their great events, knowledge and love of gin and I’m excited to have them join us to add a refreshing twist to this year’s festival line up.”

There are load of things happening all over the city for Piping Live, try and get involved.  Most of it, drink, food and of course music related.  If you get the chance head over to the Piping Centre for the tents outside, whiskey galore btw. There is also the Pipers’ Market which includes food trucks by Fire Dog and Bowl Food, supplied by Good Food Glasgow as well as a range of stalls filled by a variety of independent traders. The market will be open from 11am-6pm from Monday 8th to Friday 12th August.

Pickerings

So this one I have planned ahead.  Yes go me.

For our third Gin we have the amazing Pickerings back.

Pickerings was launch in 2013 and founded by Marcus Pickering and Matthew Gammell, at the Summerhall Distillery which was the former School of Veterinary Studies.

Pickering’s is based on an old Bombay recipe which was kept as a family secret for over 66 years,and resurfaced in 2013. The gin is a recreation of this original recipe where Pickerings have increased the amount of juniper compared to the original.

The Gin itself consists of nine botanicals – juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica, fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves.

The process involves macerating the botanicals for 24 hours with neutral grain spirit in a copper still, nicknamed Gert. The still is heated in a unique way almost like a custom-built water bath allowing the heat to be altered and applied directly.

To me Pickerings is a smooth bu almost earthy Gin.  Its fresh with an initial hit of Juniper (it is a Gin) with a piney taste.  There is an after taste of fennel and cardamom, leaving you with the overall spice.

We have no idea how we are serving this yet.

I may have time to fix the blog before tomorrows pre alert.

We do love this Gin though.

 

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