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.
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!
Last Monday I popped along to Juniper Club at the super cool Graphic Bar in Soho. For those who don’t know, Juniper Club (formerly the Juniper Society) is held fortnightly at the specialist gin-meets-art bar, with a different brand showcasing its wares each time.
Last week was the turn of Spanish brand Gin Mare (42.7% ABV). Starting with its signature serve (1724 Tonic (named after the height at which the quinine is picked on the Inca trail – but that’s another story all together), orange peel and rosemary), brand expert Sarah Moorhead took us through the history of Gin Mare, which took over three years to develop. Made with eight botanicals from across the Mediterranean – Spanish juniper, Arbequina olive, three different types of citrus, basil, rosemary, thyme, coriander and cardomom – each of which is individually macerated (rather than being stilled together), it’s a truly unique spirit.
The citrus is heavier on the nose than the palette, which is why the orange peel in the signature serve works so well and helps to lift the almost oily texture. Rosemary is the stand-out flavour for me, although in a Martini, the olive comes into its own.
In a nutshell, this is a quality, smooth and versatile spirit which tastes fab with savoury flavours and really packs a punch. Make mine a double.
Whenever I visit Bath, it’s become customary to stop at the Abbey Hotel’s Allium Brasserie and Art Bar for a G&T.
With a ‘gin of the month’, all the gins you’d expect from a hotel bar, plus several others to boot, there’s always something new to try. Add to that a range of tonics, gin-based cocktails and mixers, and you’ve got yourself a very happy afternoon.
On this occasion, we elected to try five. With a bit of advice from resident gin expert and Bar Manager, Bella, we ended up with Langley’s No. 8 (41.7% ABV) with Fentimans tonic (which my mum’s husband has proclaimed his new favourite gin), Gin Mare (42.7% ABV) with Fever-Tree Indian Tonic (which is my mum’s new favourite), Origin – Klanac (47% ABV) with Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic (which is a Croatian gin, and my boyfriend’s new favourite), a No. 3 (46% ABV) and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic, and a 6 O’Clock (43% ABV) and 6 O’Clock tonic to match.
While I’d be hard pushed to pick a favourite, this only goes to show just how varied the gin world is. From a classic gentleman’s gin like Langley’s, to an oh-so-quaffable 6 O’Clock, to the Mediterranean and aromatic Gin Mare, there’s got to be something for everyone.
As for me? I’ll be hunting down some more of the Klanac, with its sweet, soft, fruity notes and grapefruit and basil kick. Delicious.