Between celebrating a big birthday and despairing over (what I like to call Bloody) Brexit, March has been a seriously boozy month for me! So when better to start my new gin monthly column? The idea is to have a personal round-up of what has caught my eye and tickled my tastebuds this month. It’s a bit of a work in progress, so I’d love to hear your feedback below about what you like, what could be improved, and which gins you’ve enjoyed this month.
I’ve not been the only one celebrating recently; Sipsmith, the first traditional copper pot distillery to open in London for 189 years, turned 10 this month! Not only is the Sipsmith distillery where my own personal gin journey began in 2014 but, thanks to their fight to change the law to allow gin production in the sort of small quantities that are now commonplace, we can also thank them for starting the craft gin renaissance.
Meanwhile, there’s more cause for celebration as Kent’s Greensand Ridge has become the first carbon neutral distillery in the UK! Launched in 2015, sustainability and reducing food waste have been central to Greensand’s ethos and have seen them make spirits like their Apple Brandy and Raspberry Ghost using local surplus produce and by-products in addition to their award-winning London Dry Gin, which is distilled from eight local botanicals. Now four years of hard work and commitment has culminated with them achieving carbon neutrality and, though they may be the first, they hope that other distilleries will follow suit throughout the UK.
“The regulations demand a significant ongoing investment in time and resources and we needed to be well established before we undertook the work. Hopefully, that work can be a template for other businesses in the industry.”Will Edge, Greensand Ridge Founder & Distiller
Thanks also to Will for the lovely little gift box he sent me; I can’t wait to get stuck into it!
And finally, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s Market Report, out this month, revealed that during 2018 Brits bought over 73 million bottles of gin, breaking all previous records, with sales worth £2.1 billion. So raise a glass and give yourselves a big pat on the back!
New Gin Alerts
With the gin bubble showing no sign of bursting, March has seen plenty more #newginalerts; probably too many to mention. While it seems inevitable that Graham Norton’s new pink gin will grab the headlines, the ones that have really grabbed my eye are Brentingby Black, featuring lime, ginger and meadowsweet; Foxhole’s Hyke Gin, which uses grape spirit produced from fresh table grapes that are surplus to the requirements of the supply chain; Pothecary’s stripped-back Trinity Blend, featuring only juniper, coriander and bergamot, and Hidden Curiosities’s Aranami Navy Strength Gin, which features twenty botanicals, seven of which are specifically sourced from Japan.
My Month in Gin
I celebrated my birthday in Estonia’s beautiful capital city Tallinn and I couldn’t have had a better time! I was really impressed that both bars in which we ordered gin and tonics went to the effort of asking which tonics and garnishes we would like, and delivered the tonic (and one occasion ice!) separately so that we could dilute to taste. We also visited some outstanding cocktail bars, including well-hidden and stylish speakeasy Whisper Sister; tiny Botannik, nominated for Top 10 Best New European Bar 2019 by the Mixology Bar Awards, and Sigmund Freud, where the cocktails came garnished with candy floss and helium balloons!
Welcome To My Collection
Catching Up and Looking Forward
No new reviews this month (bad Sarah!) but, in case you missed them before, check out what I thought of Twelve Keys Gin or Koval Dry Gin. And next month I’m planning to finally fully review Turncoat’s Bold St. Chai Gin so keep an eye out for that.
I’m also excited to announce that I’m hosting an Instagram and Twitter challenge called #GinADayMay! The idea isn’t (necessarily!) to ransack the drinks cabinet, but rather to share what you love about gin, and which gins you love, every day in May using a daily prompt to inspire you. I’d love as many people to get involved as possible so please take a look at the prompts here and see if you’re up for the challenge!
And with any luck #GinADayMay will get you suitably excited for World Gin Day on 8th June! If you’re not sure how to celebrate yet, check out the World Gin Day website or book tickets to my favourite festival Junipalooza! You can find out what I thought of last year’s festival here.
See you next month! 🍸🛎🛎