World Gin Day 2015

Events

World Gin Day – a blatant excuse to drink lots and celebrate – falls this year on Saturday 13 June. Here are my top ways to celebrate in the capital.

gin

Junipalooza
Hosted by the chaps at Gin Foundry, Junipalooza is sure to be a fun-filled, gin-packed weekend, which sees 24 makers from across the world come together for tastings, masterclasses and Martinis. It’s a sure thing for every gin lover, and we couldn’t NOT include it in this list. See here for more info.

Update: This is a ticketed event which has now sold out. 

Merchant House Masterclass
The super knowledgeable people at Merchant House will take you through gin’s rich history, with four different gins to wash it down. Classes run at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. Tickets are a snip at just £20. Book yours here.

Shake, Rattle and Stir’s Gin Voyage
Want to make your very own gin, on a boat, floating around London, sipping on cocktails? Of course you do. There are very limited spaces left for this one, which costs £70pp, and guests receive six cocktails and two samples of gin. Find out more and buy tickets here.

Go your own way
Keep it simple, and stock up on gin (Majestic Wines are doing free tastings all day on Saturday, so it’s the perfect excuse to try before you buy, FYI). Invite a few friends round, pour a few G&Ts, and sit back, relax, and revel in the majesty of gin. Cheers!

Gin Foundry’s Martini Forecaster

Perfect serve

Gin Foundry are at it again. The home of ace infographics, hosts of Junipalooza and all round gin geniuses have come up trumps with a nifty little bit of kit called the Martini Forecaster.

Can’t decide what kind of Martini to order? Well worry no more, folks!

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It’s silly, sure, but charming all the same. Download yours here.

Tarquin’s Dry Gin

Ginvent, Tasting notes

Produced by the Southwestern Distillery, Tarquin’s Gin (42% ABV) is made in Cornwall with hand-picked Devon violets and fresh orange zest. The grain spirit is diluted to bottling strength with Cornish spring water.

tarquins

I first tried this at a hotel in Bath, and then had the pleasure of meeting Tarquin himself at this year’s Junipalooza. It’s clear that he’s passionate about this stuff; he hand-fills, signs, corks and seals every single bottle.

You’ll be hard pushed to find this small batch gin (at just 300 bottles per batch) on the shelves unless you live in the West Country, but the good news is, you can buy it online – and it’s well worth seeking out.

 

 

Junipalooza

Events

Last Sunday, slightly hungover and bleary eyed from one-too-many gins the night before, I headed over to the wonderfully named Junipalooza – the brainchild of @ginfoundry and @theginblog.

The event, held in a trendy old warehouse in East London, was perfectly organised. From the moment I walked in, and was asked if I’d eaten lunch (drink responsibly, kids), to the tiny card I was given, which was hole-punched to signify how many gins I’d sampled, every detail was perfect.

gin me

Fifteen different makers were on hand, sampling 46 different gins. If there’s one way to get over a hangover, it’s a hair of the dog, right? Well no, actually. Turns out it’s a fistful of fur, which roughly translates to five gin samples and 5 gin and tonics. Who knew?

I started off with Langley’s No.8, a delicious hand-crafted gin, made with 8 botanicals in an English-produced pot still. Slightly stronger than your average ‘high-street’ gin (Gordon’s, Bombay, etc.) at 41.7% ABV, this English grain spirit was surprisingly smooth, and tastes great when served with Fever Tree or Fentiman’s Tonic over ice with a wedge of grapefruit and a basil leaf, according to Langley’s Brand Manager Nik Koster.

 

Iron Lady2

Find out more about Langley’s No.8 here.

Next up was Adnams. Well known for their beer and cider, but less so for their gin. They were sampling two types; Adnams Copper House Distilled Gin, and Adnams Copper House Distillery First Rate Finest Cut Gin.

At 48% ABV, the First Rate Finest Cut Gin was powerful and smooth with sweet notes. The Copper House Distilled Gin (40% ABV), made with six different botanicals, including hibiscus flower which really adds another dimension to the flavours of the gin. Recently awarded Gold Outstanding Winner at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2013, it really is worth a try.

adnams sign

Find out more here.

My third discovery was Bathtub Gin (43.3% ABV), produced by Professor Cornelius Ampleforth. It was the only gin at Junipalooza which is infused, not distilled. It’s been around for about two and a half years now, but is still produced in super small batches of no more than 60 bottles at a time. Cinnamon, clove and cardamom give this a really earthy, perfumed flavour and scent, but the overall consistency is smooth and almost creamy. A really lovely gin on its own, or with tonic (in this case, we tried it with Fever Tree).

bathtub

Fun fact: each bottle takes four and a half minutes to wrap, print, entwine and wax.

Next up (and feeling slightly giddy by this point), I tried Elephant Gin. As a brand with a cause, I’d already heard a lot about Elephant Gin, and was keen to see if the taste lived up to the company ethos.

elephant

For those who don’t know, Elephant Gin donates 15% of all profits to elephant conservation trusts in Africa. 

Made with 14 botanicals, including the more exotic Lion’s Tail, African Wormwood and Devil’s Claw, Elephant Gin is floral, fruity and spicy, and is best served with a wedge of apple. I found it had an almost menthol-y taste when it first hit my tongue, which was quickly replaced by the spice and fruit flavours. It’s a fresh, strong (45% ABV), but not overpowering taste, and is perfect if you fancy something a little different.

My final gin of the day was Tarquin’s Handcrafted Cornish Gin (42% ABV), made by the Southwestern Distillery. After tasting this in a hotel in Bath last summer, I was super excited to meet Tarquin himself.

tarquins

It’s a fragrant, dry and zesty gin which tastes fantastic with Fever Tree. It’s warming without being harsh, and has a lovely lasting after-taste. Made by hand, every single bottle (no more than 300 per batch) is subject to testing by nose and taste, and is then hand filled, signed, corked, sealed and inspected. My current favourite.

I came away with a fantastic selection of miniatures (reviews to follow) and a spring in my step. Here’s to next year!