With many gins come many gin awards. And even more medals. For even the most prestigious competitions have a tendency to award a multitude of medals. Consequently the value of such achievements is being diluted; forget bronze – even silver and gold medals make few ripples. And, perhaps more tellingly, most gin-lovers say they do not consider award stickers of being indicative of a gin’s quality either. A Double Gold (such as Pothecary was awarded at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition) certainly stands out within the industry at least, as does Hernö‘s recognition as “Europe’s most awarded gin”, but it takes something really special to catch the attention of the press and public alike. Something like Napue Gin‘s well-deserved title as “The World’s Best Gin for Gin and Tonic”.
Dorset’s Jurassic Coast is a rather special spot for me. It’s where my husband grew up, where we got married, and where our children now love to visit for fossil-hunting and rock-hopping. So you can imagine my excitement to receive a sample of the county’s newest spirit which hopes to capture “the invigorating spirit of summer on the Dorset coast”.
There’s no denying that we are in the midst of an unprecedented surge in the gin industry, with ever more distilleries responding to customer demand for trends such as seasonal gins and locally foraged botanicals. Now, I am not going to suggest that either the gin market or I am reaching saturation point, but you don’t have to look too hard to spot the same botanicals popping up time and time again. It is increasingly difficult to find something that genuinely intrigues and excites; something that is truly unique. But I believe I may have found it at The Spirit Show in the form of Caledonia Spirits.
A recent poll I ran indicted that only 8% of my Twitter followers intended to attempt Dry January, with the vast majority opting instead for a boozy Ginuary! However, with more and more so-called millenials cutting down their drinking in favour of a more healthy lifestyle and plenty of other reasons to decline a double G&T – pregnancy, designated driver duties, marathon training or simply a nasty hangover – there is increasing demand for booze-free adult-style drinks.
I love gin. And I also love writing about gin. It’s not just about the spirit for me though. Yes, of course, I love interesting botanicals and a delicious drink. But I also look for a good story, and a stunning bottle. And, according to The Gin Guild, I’m not alone. Truth be told, it’s pretty rare to find a gin that really ticks all the boxes. Rarer still to be asked to review one. Ladies and gentlemen, Trevethan Cornish Gin is, for me, that gin.
Rich, warming and slightly spicy sloe gin is, for me, the quintessential festive tipple. It is also the perfect beverage to have in your cabinet at this time of year; a highly versatile drink that can add Christmas cheer to any number of cocktails but is also deliciously comforting, and still rather special, served neat. I love making (and serving) my own sloe gin but it does require a little organisation and a lot of patience. And, although there are ways to improve the standard of your homemade sloe gin, there’s no guarantee of quality or consistency. If it’s quality you want, where better to go than to Sipsmith where the craft gin renaissance began, and where I also happened to begin my own gin journey.
Think of Switzerland and you probably think of chocolate, watches and cuckoo clocks. You probably don’t think of spirits. And yet Switzerland has a relationship with absinthe that rivals that of the UK’s with gin. Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the late 18th century and rapidly earned itself such a reputation for damaging public health that it was officially outlawed in 1910. The ban on the sale and production of absinthe wasn’t lifted until 1 March 2005, during which time the spirit had become the pride of local bootleggers!