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

 

Thanks

 

Graeme

 

 

 

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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.

 

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.

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.

Mr Neill I Persume

Whitley-Neill-Gin-Logo

Whitley Neill is distilled near Birmingham, in an antique copper pot still called ‘Constance’ who is over 100 years old. Using exceptionally pure water along with nine botanicals are which are carefully selected to ensure that they are of the highest quality. Whitley Neill’s tagline is “Made in London and Inspired by Africa” which is not only an insight to its creator Johnny Neill who is married to an African woman but also describes some of the botanical choices. In this line up are cape gooseberries and baobab fruit along with more traditional ones such as juniper, coriander, lemon & orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark and orris root.

Johnny established the company 2004 with the aim of offering consumers a new and different gin to those already in existence in the market. Despite the brand being 10 years old and this being Johnny’s first foray into gin he has family experience to back this up (Johnny Neill is from the fourth generation of the Greenall Whitley distilling family).

It’s also a Gin with morality as 5p from the sale of each bottle goes to Tree Aid in Africa to help with reforestation.  One of the few Gin brands along with Elephant Gin giving 15% of its earnings to two Elephants.

To taste you get juniper and citrus notes first followed by a subtle spice and complex finish. It really does not disappoint on the “different” quote as you do get more than you normally get from a London Dry.

We should be serving Whitley Neill with Fever Tree, garnished with a Cape Gooseberry (they have another name which sounds like an STD but no one can pronounce it), in a classic G&T.

Thanks

Graeme

Edinburgh Gin – Cannonball (Not Damian Rice)

EGD_circle_logo6 EG Cannonball

Our third Gin for the February Gin Club is the mighty company of Edinburgh Gin.  When looking for Gins to be involved in February we weren’t initially think about Edinburgh.  This is mainly because we could have done a whole gin club just on them, their product list seems to grow and grow.  For February’s Gin Club we are getting something rather special, they are bringing along the new Cannonball Gin – along with other goodies too.

Edinburgh Gin is part of Spencerfield Spirit Company and was launched in June 2010. Edinburgh Gin’s parent company – Spencerfield Spirit Co also have Sheep Dip and Pig’s Nose whiskies.

Now here comes the bit we at Gin Club debated for a long time, we always thought Edinburgh Gin was made in England and only bottled in Edinburgh, however…  For the first four years of its life it was made in England in a still called “Jenny”.   Then the spirit was shipped to Edinburgh and a selection of locally sourced and grown Scottish botanicals such as juniper berries, milk thistle, pine, heather were combined with the gin distillate from England, watered down and bottled.  But since summer 2014 the whole process now takes place in Edinburgh – thus ends the argument of Edinburgh Gins true origin.

The Edinburgh Gin range is rather impressive with Raspberry Gin (which we have been told are Rasps from Perthshire – hopefully Blairgowrie as Stuart and I have strict rules about the berries we eat as essentially our entire teenage years were paid for by working on the berries) and Elderflower Gin. And for us we will be using the strong “navy strength” stuff called Cannonball.

Edinburgh Gin has a full juniper hit (I keep saying this but Gins really should taste of Juniper) with heathery notes.  We haven’t tried the Cannonball yet though, I’m guessing it’s the same just stronger.  We might and I say might be making Martini’s for the evening which I want to call Mongs Meg Martini’s (doubtful if this will stick though).

February Gin Club – Rock Rose

Our second Gin at our February Gin Club is Rock Rose – when I say second there is no order at Gin Club, Just use your GinMe’s and pick which ever Gin you want to try first.

Rock Rose

Rock rose heralds from the north of our lovely country (that’s Scotland in case anyone wasn’t sure) in Caithness at the Dunnet Bay Distillery.  Now this is where I turn into the worst Geographer ever, much like our good friend Ruth Jackson who doesn’t know where anything is.  In my head (for years anyway) Caithness was just a part of Perth which was on the A9 roundabout, exactly where Caithness Glass the company is located.  Thankfully my geography has improved and I know exactly where it is.  It’s a lovely region (in name only I think not officially) near Thurso.

Continuing with a rather Scottish Gin making tradition, Rock Rose uses locally sourced botanicals.  I’m not sure if these go along with the foraging theme many other Gins in Scotland use.  The only botanicals which are not sourced locally is the juniper and the cardamom – now I don’t remember where I heard this as no doubt it was on a night where Gin was being drunk so it might have vanished into the ether of the evening but I remember someone saying that most Gin brands don’t use Scottish Juniper as it’s not meant to be that great.  Someone can confirm this for us at Gin Club though.

Rock Rose is distilled in a traditional Copper Still called Elizabeth and contains Rhodiola Rosea, Rowan Berries, Sea Buckthorn, Blackberries, Verbena, Corriander Seed, Cardamom and Juniper.  I’m sure there are more again trade secrets and all that.

So we have a wee confession on this one.  We haven’t decided how we are serving this at Gin Club.  I know normal we would be describing the perfect pour but Stuart, Kate and I haven’t sat down and went through all the pours yet.

Don’t worry.  Rock Rose tastes amazing regardless so it will be good.

So instead of our perfect taste here is a picture of Ruaridh from Rock Rose buying a new car on the Dunnet Bay Distillery expense account.

Ruh

Thanks

Graeme

Ginuary

The forgetful January

So the first Gin Club of 2015 is over, before I prattle on I would like to thank NB, St George, Martin Millers and Brecon Gin for being part of Gin Club January.  All these amazing brands went down a storm, my only regret is even though the car was ditched, #thecarsgettingditched, which led to #lettheginbegin, was that in no way did I drink enough of these fine brands.  Rothney (the help) and Ritchie (the photo man) did though.  Caldo and I as per were left too dry for our liking.

Caldo and I weren’t sure how the evening would go as we were minus our mother hen Kate, who had decided to bugger off on a ski holiday, even though she can’t ski and is always moaning about being too busy .  So we drafted in the services of our beer / wine making hermit of a friend Craig Rothney, tt was a pleasure to allow this man to escape his Perthshire cave for the evening and come and serve booze instead of standing by around with his usual side kick Colin (i’m average height) Clayes.  Those of you at the first Gin Club may remember that our #Gindout  hashtag comes from Mr Clayes as he cannot handle his booze (nor social interaction tbh).  Anyway Rothney saved us on Friday so thanks to him.

Another surprise blinder for the evening was that the Hidden Lane laid on a special Gin Club treats menu, which might I say was rather special.  Even though I was too busy to purchase anything, the pile of dishes at the end of the night was a clear sign of a successful gin related menu.   I did help myself to some off cuts of sponge.  Yummm.

Massive thank you to DJ Malky B who was sober…  No wine for him, just soul music, making our already couple-esk night feel like a Tinder speed dating evening with Gin to ease the inhibitions (thankfully nothing clatty happened).

There was no order to the gins this evening as me (Squirrel / Graeme) forgot to bring half of what he was meant to (I’m blaming Kate for not reminding me).  The booklets were absent for the first 20 mins and the Gin Me cards were in no colour coded order.  Some lovely guest asked “Are the Gin Me cards colour coded to the gins flavours”!…  Blank expression from me then a laugh/ As we have a tangerine colour and sea blue colour.

ginjan-1-15

Our first gin to arrive and most people’s first gin of the night was NB (this is down to bottle placement on the bar nothing else).  We served NB with a slice of orange served with Fever Tree.  I love NB, it really is a classy well-made spirit.  You can check out our blog dedicated to NB or google it, but if you haven’t had some go and grab a bottle from the Good Spirit Co and enjoy it.  If you’re not wanting to be really adventurous (I am in no way saying NB is simple btw, its anything but) but wanting something expertly made and tastes incredible get yourself some NB.

ginjan-1-7

Next to NB was a little bottle of a gin we never thought we would get, but hey if you don’t ask you don’t get.  St. George Terroir all the way from California (and not Yosemite park where I had it in my head it was from, apparently you get bears in lots of American states).  St. George isn’t a normal gin it’s much more specific and leading towards the herbaceous.  In our blog post when which we posted to announce the gins I describe the taste in much more detail but just to remind you, it tastes like an alcoholic alpine woodland, there is that hint of the smell your living room gets on the first day you get a Christmas tree.  We served it with Fever Tree and Rosemary, we originally put rosemary and lemon in there but it tasted too much like a standard G&T.

ginjan-1-11

Martin Millers was something we have also wanted at Gin Club for a while and thankfully this time round Mr Miller appeared.  I have always been drawn towards this brand, not just because of the art deco bottle or the Icelandic connection but with the self-indulgence which goes into crafting it.  Two distillates and a 3000 round mile trip to add the water, truly a huge carbon footprint but what a magical result.  For January’s Gin Club we served it with Strawberry (sadly not Blairgowrie ground ones, it is January after all and not even a poly tunnel can help us) and black pepper.  Ohhh what a smooth drink, great combination from Stuart Caldow if ever I say so.  Those of you we stuck around to the bitter end will have got to try Caldo’s garnish experiments with Chilli’s and Coriander.  I like the difference in the taste with this but preferred the sweet strawberry.  We even changed the tonic at this point.  Martin Millers is a gin that can change a lot just on the mixer and the garnish so if you have a bottle experiment.

ginjan-1-8

Last on our gin list was Caldo’s find, a left field option but still very much in the London Dry (Welsh Dry) world.  Brecon Gin is a very elegant lady of a product.  Classic gin flavours and made expertly.  It comes from the famous Brecon Whiskey Distillery and if you go on their website you can find loads about the Brecon national park, their incredible water and mainly their whiskey.  Not so much about the Gin though.  Brecon gin is a big traditional juniper laced gin with coriander and revealing hints of spicy cinnamon.  We served as a classic G&T with lime which soften the heavy juniper and complimented the cinnamon and herbs.

Once again Kate, Caldo, Rothney (I suppose) and myself would like to thank everyone there who made it another sell out gin club.  Next one is 27th Feb which is also a sell out then after that March which has just been announced

ginjan-1-16

Also thanks to Ritchie, his sheer manliness and camera skills, the ladies of the Hidden Lane for their  food, the heat from the oven, the cake smell and the cakes.  Finally to Carly Morrison who keeps it all legal and always helping us out, you are a massive legend misses we wouldn’t have a GC without you.

ginjan-1-31

Thanks
Graeme