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.

Ungava, Harris, Stirling & New Strathearn

Honestly its been weeks!  Why do we wait so long to update you on the last event.  Well in truth its down the fact that Stuart and I still haven’t adapted ourselves to the adult world.  I still think it’s acceptable to sleep until 12 and play Xbox until 2am.  So when our day time adult lives (Word 2010 assures me that “lives” is right and not “lifes”), become busy we flap and have no idea what to do.  Stuart will also use the excuse that he is “snowed under” with work all because of some music festival he was at working in the portacabin putting wrist bands on people 🙂

I didn’t get that nonsense from Kate – Actually she just went AWOL

So we had our last main Gin Club event in June and it was yet again another great night. This was heightened as for once I didn’t have to give up my house to my in laws.  No sacrificing my bed for the living room floor, no getting woken up at 8am with “right”, “ok” and the inevitable conversation through walls my new family do.

Also randomly at the June event we had a late night visit from a bearded Policeman who was escaping down the lane so he go have smoke of his over-sized vapor pipe.  I did get a bit nervous thinking the local constabulary were here to shut us down in some thought that we were a speakeasy serving drink to cake loving citizens.

Anyway, lets focus on the gins.  And in no particular order but lets jump on Gin number 1.  Ungava (the yellow one).

Ungava is a Canadian Gin which takes its name form Ungava Bay, along the Hudson strait. Ungava uses “Nordic Botanicals.” Calling them Nordic Botanicals is a good description as most of the contents of this Gin will be uncommon to the London Dry fans here in the UK

So in Ungava there is; Cloudberry, Wild Rose Hips, Crowberry, Artic Blend (which is quite like Rhododendron), Labrador tea (which is also like Rhododendron) and Juniper (it is a Gin), in this case it’s Nordic Juniper.

Ungava is yellow.  Remember how we discussed the cold infused method used in Bathtub gins where Botanicals go into a large tea bag and steep in the alcohol until infused, well a similar process is employed here.  There is not steam or boiled distillation so the hew of the botanicals remains in the final product.

On the nose its sweet, a hint of lemon zest but a good deal of juniper (it is a gin), same on the taste. We served it as a G&T with Fever Tree, garnished with Grapefruit.  All round Ungava is a great Gin to have in the cabinet (or the shed) its more on the Junipery side so will be for the Gin Lovers but a really unique gin to offer people which are new to the game.  Its Yellow so it stands out.

Next up came from one of our  favorite small distilleries, Strathearn.

I know we bark on and on about them loads, but honestly Tony and the crew really make some of the best Gin’s Scotland has to offer, I don’t think I’ve ever not had a bottle of Heather Rose in the house.

This time thought Strathearn were featuring their new one, Strathearn Juniper.

As its name suggests, our latest gin is strongly juniper-led. A smooth, sweet start switches to a light peppery mouth-feel which is followed by a gentle sherbet finish as the citrus develops towards the end. The balance is achieved by a double distillation, ideal for the ultimate G&T.

A proper Gin for the real Gin lovers, if you don’t like strong gins because of the overwhelming Juniper taste then this might not be the Gin for you.  But if you are like us and love the taste then get buying.

We served it as a Classic G&T with Fever Tree, garnished with Orange Peel.

Harris Gin

As you might of thought this is distilled on the isle of Harris in a wee copper still, known affectionately as ‘The Dottach’.  The spirit is made up of nine specially chosen botanicals which capture the elemental nature of Harris, particularly the maritime influences of the seas.

Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Root, Orris Root, Cubebs, Bitter Orange Peel, Liquorice and Cassia Bark, but it is Sugar kelp which provides Harris with its key seaside flavour. Hand-harvested by a local diver from the deep underwater forests of the Outer Hebrides.

To smell it has a well-defined juniper note with pine needles, to taste it has a good balance between the bitter juniper and pine with the sweet fruit flavours.

It’s fair to say this Gin is selling like mental at the moment, so much so that the distillery is struggling to keep up with demand.  So much so we had to do a trip to the Park bar to steal theirs for the event.  Its a fine product though, really lovely.  And marketed so well.  I think we actually gave away all the empty bottles of the gin.  Hopefully the good spirit company have plenty of stock

We served it as a classic G&T with a lime wedge.  You can buy the seaweed essence to add to the flavour too.

The last Gin on the night (again no order) was Striling.

Before the event I hadn’t tried or read up on Stirling Gin, Stuart was the champion of this one and I soon worked out why.

Stuart and I differ loads, he is tall, with loads of hair, skinny and people like him.  I’m shorter, losing my hair, my once amazing hair is leaving me and people like me less.  Our Gin tastes are different, I like fresh and citrus and he likes the savory herby side of things (which might explain a few things tbh).

Stirling is the only gin to come from Stirling.  It is distilled in Glasgow, as stills are large, expensive and pricey to run.

So whats in it:  Juniper, basil, nettles, angelica root, orange and lemon peel.

To taste there is a firm hit of Juniper, and then a slight peppery to spicy taste, its a very interesting Gin.  If you are in the Good Spirit or other decent place we strongly suggest you give it a try.

Right so whats next.  The August Gin Club is sold out on 12/08.

However we are doing two events on the 10/08 and 11/08 with Piping Live in Glasgow.

Piping Live is the festival for the World Pipe Band Championships where people from all over the world descend on Glasgow.

Throughout the city there will be a whole host of events.

We are holding two Gin events, one on the 10/08 in the Piping Centre

And a larger event on the 11/08 in George Square.

Both will have music and food.

Gins to be feature are:  Pickerings, Eden Mill, Minus 33 and Shetland Reel.

Piping Live! Presents Glasgow Gin Club

Piping Live! 2016 Presents A Summer Session with Glasgow Gin Club








July’s Gin Club

Firstly, can I just start by apologising for typing this later than expected, we at Gin Club like the blog posts going out at 3pm on a Wednesday, which according to the Google Machine is the best time to post anything to Social Media.  I general find that it isn’t the timing that causes a difference but more the content.  Cake and Gin seem to do better than anything else so we are winning this race already.

Last week we had a double bill of Gin Club, in that we ran two events.  The first was our July dedicated Brand event and was all about No.3 London Dry Gin.  Anyone reading this regularly (this is where I question you all for reading these ramblings) will know that we have worked with No.3 London and several occasions.  It was featured at our first Gin Club then again at our 1st Birthday Party and it was also the first time we did a dedicated Gin free event.

This time round though we teamed up with a new Eyewear store (store is very American I apologise) called IOLLA Eyewear, which is in deepest darkest Finnieston.  At first I had no Idea what an Eyewear store was, I kept calling it an opticians and saying “look at these glasses” where I was corrected and then eventually started saying eyewear.  I am now a convert to this shop though; they even found glasses for my football shaped head and Macdonald cheeks.

Amanda Baxter from Berry Brothers & Rudd came up from London to give the 30 odd guests a brand masterclass on No.3 London.  Going through the history of Gin, Gin in London, the Berry Bros & Rudd Brand then specialising in on what makes up what we regard as one of the best Cocktail Gins on the market No.3 London Dry Gin.

In between all these talks, Stuart and I were handing out classic G&T’s, then neat tastes (cracking jokes back glasses for drinks and putting glasses next to reading glasses – classic dad humour), an alternative G&T which was Lemon Grass and Coriander, then to break up the Gin madness we served old fashioned Gin Fizz cocktails.

I really want to say thanks to Amanda, Claire, the folks at IOLLA Eyewear, the guests, Stella the dog and Betty and Bee for making it a great night with us. #IOLLAxNo.3

Then on Friday the 31st July (yes summer has officially ended – not that it began) we hosted our regular end of the month Gin Club event in the Hidden Lane Tea Room.

So July has been a wet month and something we have notice has really affected Gin Club goers, it seems not many people want to do much when it’s miserable outside and you never know if it’s going to rain.  But we did get a fair few of you out to drink the best spirit on the planet.

We decided to shake things up a bit this month and move the bar to front room in the Tea Room which I can safely say is the smartest thing we have done.  It even meant people sneaky neat tastes for those waiting for the loo.

Our first Gin for the evening (remember these come in no form of order you can bring the GinMe to the bar and chose anyone) was Shetland Reel.  I can safely say I was thrilled to be featuring this Gin and have Stuart the master distiller there to chat about it.  I have been trying to get Shetland Reel at Gin Club all year and finally it arrived.

Shetland Reel comes from Unst, which is part of the Shetland Islands. The Shetland Distillery Company was created by four people sharing a passion for producing top quality products in local communities. Frank / Debbie Strang and Stuart / Wilma Nickerson.  The gin uses 8 botanicals including locally grown apple mint.  On the nose there is a strong hit of Juniper and coriander, with fresh floral notes. To try it neat it is dry with a juniper spine and a clean dry bite.  This then becomes smoother and sweeter.

The more you drink the fruitiness builds making it a wonderful Gin, a truly loved product with of course a decent solid Juniper taste (it is a Gin)

Along with neat serves (on the sly) we intended on doing G&T’s with Fever Tree and Raspberry, but Stuart convinced us to try Kiwi fruit.  No surprises he was right.

Our second Gin for the night (which technically isn’t a Gin) was Minus 33.  Minus 33 is crafted by scientist at the Locabev Laboratory in Rosyth and started out in the labs at Edinburgh Uni.  Yes this Gin is really made in a lab.  Minus 33 comes in at 33% so technically does not qualify as a London Dry Gin but It is a Juniper distilled spirit (which is also one of their taglines).

After 3 years and 539 test tubes of experimentation Locabev decided that the optimum strength for a really smooth spirit was 33%.  This also makes it the perfect drink for those on a diet as that makes it just 46 calories per serve.

To taste Minus 33 it is fresh and floral with hints of juniper, citrus, lavender, elderflower and angelica. For the serve we were going to be using lemon and coriander but again the distiller Sam convinced us otherwise and we used dried Hibiscus.  Sam even used our old bar space to create a small lab which he served Minus 33 cocktails in beakers.

Then we had Diplôme.  Diplôme is created in Dijon and has been created roughly the same way since 1945; however the recipe was perfected during WW2.  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. Which we served as a classic G&T with Fever Tree, garnished with Grapefruit

Our last Gin for the month was Sipsmith.  Sipsmiths is an old fav of ours which we would rave about all day if we could.  Sipsmith’s was launched by Sam Galsworthy, Fairfax Hall and Jared Brown to pursue their passion for handmade spirits.

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.

Thanks to all of you for braving the weather and coming along.

The next one is the 28th August.  Get your tickets from Ticketweb.



July Gin Club – Shetland Reel

Shetland Reel is our first Gin for July.  We have been trying to get this fine product along for some time, but it’s no easy feat.  Last time we were emailing about get the Gin along, there was a storm and some power cuts.

Shetland Reel comes from Unst, which is part of the Shetland Islands and as stated by the storms and power cuts it’s not an easy place to live, but also beautiful (I have never been, maybe one day Gin Club will get the boat for Up Hella Aa, drink Gin and pretend to be Vikings.

The Shetland Distillery Company was created by four people sharing a passion for producing top quality products in local communities (Direct Quote from the web there). Frank  / Debbie Strang and  Stuart / Wilma Nickerson.  Apparently the work of the distillery is split between couples, the Strangs turning the area at Saxa Vord into the award winning tourist resort and the Nickerson’s handle the whiskey and the Gin.  Thank you Strangs and Nickersons!

The gin uses 8 botanicals including locally grown apple mint.  On the nose there is a strong hit of Juniper and coriander, with fresh floral notes. To try it neat (most of you who normally read this know I’m now a neat trying convert, I don’t know if that makes me sound like I am officially old or an alchy).  Anyway neat it is dry with a juniper spine and a clean dry bite.  This then becomes smoother and sweeter.

As usually a good tonic (Fever Tree people, cheap stuff is banned) rounds the Gin off and compliments the fruitiness of the apple mint.  The more you drink the fruitiness builds making it a wonderful Gin, a truly loved product with of course a decent solid Juniper taste (it is a Gin)

We haven’t decided yet what we are going to garnish or serve this with yet!  According to the UK Gin Law (The London Gin Club) Coriander Leaf or Raspberry really compliment Shetland Reel in a G and T.

Tickets for July: