Ever fancied being a gin judge? Me too. And on Thursday l was honoured (and flabbergasted) to find myself included in a very elite group of professionals judging Craft Distilling Expo‘s Gin of the Year competition at the beautiful Bombay Sapphire Distillery!
If you’re anything like me, then your heart most likely skips a beat every time you spot a new gin on social media. And then sinks a little with the realisation that there is yet another product you have to add to your must-try list and attempt to track down. And it’s hard enough to keep up with just the UK gins. Don’t even get me started on the European and worldwide gins. It is nigh on impossible to keep up with the insatiable growth in the market at the moment but a new gin subscription service from Master of Malt may just keep you one step ahead of most of the rest of us.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a mixologist, Think Gin Club could be the gin subscription service you’ve been looking for. At £40 a box, Think Gin Club offers equivalent value for money to Craft Gin Club and The Spirits Society but, in addition to the usual full-size bottle of craft gin, mixers and snacks, members also receive a mixology tool with every box.
The Drifters knew what they were talking about when they wrote Up On The Roof. And Gin Mare clearly know everything is all right up top too, as they launched their second annual Med Rooftops event in London on 20 July 2017. This year’s stunning event took place at The Institute of Engineering and Technology on Savoy Place overlooking the Thames. In keeping with the gin’s Mediterranean theme – its botanicals feature olives from Spain, thyme from Turkey, rosemary from Greece and basil from Italy – the rooftop was bedecked with olive trees, fragrant herbs and, of course, plenty of gin!
Imbibe Live is Europe’s largest on-trade drinks exhibition, showcasing an intimidating number of beers, wines, ciders and spirits. Even with my gin googles firmly on, there were more distilleries present than I could shake an empty glass at. With so much to see and so little time, I opted to skip past some of the more familiar (at least to me) and well-established brands, such as Sipsmith and Southwestern Distillery, but also, regrettably, missed out a few of the newer kids on the block like One Gin. Nonetheless, I definitely still succeeded in trying more gins than is probably wise on a Monday afternoon!
Gin is big in Spain. And so is the way they serve it. The instantly recognisable Gin Tonica is extravagantly served in a large fishbowl glass with generous mountains of ice and a tempting array of garnishes. Now one of Spain’s signature serves is making it big over here too with The Distillery’s Gin Tonica Bar launching last year. But if you can’t make it over to Spain, or indeed to West London, David T. Smith has just launched his own Gin Tonica book to help you make your very own Spanish cocktails at home.
Think of an Irish alcohol. Chances are Guinness is the first to spring to mind. Or perhaps whiskey, which some some claim was invented by Irish Monks. Irish coffees and poitín probably get a mention before gin. But, trust me, you can expect that to change. The Emerald Isle is home to a number of outstanding gin distilleries these days and they are starting to get the recognition they most certainly deserve.