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.

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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.

Thanks

Graeme

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

Gin 71 – Gin Festival

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We at Gin Club are late to the party for chatting about Gin 71, who knows maybe on some subconscious level we thought “oh no, they are after our turf”,  which couldn’t be further from the truth (We don’t have a bar with Gin piled up to the roof, Graeme has a Gin Shed though).  So its long over due we write and blog post, collaborate and celebrate Gin 71’s latest enterprising idea.

 

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What / Where is Gin 71:

Gin 71 is Cup and Cup is Gin 71.  Located in the city centre behind the new shopping bit on argyle street where the old tea room used to be on Renfield Street you will find Cup a lovely tea shop which opened to in 2012.  From 6pm Cup becomes Gin 71, which is Glasgow’s only dedicated Gin Bar.  There has only really been one other tea gin combo in Glasgow and that was Heston Bluementhal’s horrible attempt to combine earl grey tea and gin.  Please never buy this gin, if you have ever been bought it fire it at the back of the drinks cabinet only giving it to the family member you don’t like.

Gin 71 is excellent for those of you who like small batch or lovingly made gins.  They really do some great work to promote the small man and I think I am right in saying they observe our number rule of No Gordons (btw Eileen from Gin 71 if this is not right please correct me).

Ginfestival:

Continuing the love for all things Gin, Gin 71 have crafted a selection of events to form a Gin Festival, all eight nights of joy.  Sadly we are nearly at the end of the festival but there is still time to catch up on drinking (responsibly, these are school nights after all).  The festival opened with on Wednesday the 11th with one of our favs at Gin Club, Mr Martin Millers and up until this evening has hosted a selection of dedicated gin brand evenings, with the likes of Edinburgh Gin (featured at this month’s Gin Club) and specialist gin cocktails for Valentine’s day.

This evening is featuring another Gin Club firm favourite which is all things Sipmsiths.  There is still time to head down this evening from 7pm, try Sipsmiths, learn about the brand, drink some more, then keep going until the bank card appears, the buses have stopped and you regret not having the day off (or week off when you see what else is on).

We at Gin Club will be heading along tomorrow for the Gin Tour of Scotland event which will feature gin stalls from Makar, Pickerings, Strathearn, Darnley’s View and the Eden Mill Distillery.

http://www.gin71.com/gin-festival/

Again there is definitely still time to get yourself organised and come along to the remaining events.

Thanks

Graeme