From heatwave to downpours, July has been a bit of a roller-coaster of a month. I started the month too ill to attend Imbibe Live and ended it unable to take a trip to the Telegraph Gin Experience as my mother is too ill to look after my kids. Luckily there were some ginny highlights in the middle…
If you ever worry that you are spending too much on gin, here’s proof that there’s always someone willing to spend more. A unique gin that was distilled at the top of Mount Snowdon has just sold at a charity auction for a vertigo-inducing £1,085 – the same height in metres as the mountain on which it was conceived. Summit Gin Mountaineers Cut was produced by Aber Falls Distillery, using botanicals picked from the side of Mount Snowdon (which had to be specially approved by the local government given the area’s protected status). With just three bottles in existence, it is one of the rarest gins in the world, and now (obviously) one of the most expensive.
If that all sounds a bit out of reach for you, you might be more interested in checking out the International Wine and Spirit Competition 2019 winners. There are too many to mention them all, but I’m really delighted to see Masons Tea Edition and York Gin Old Tom awarded Gold Outstanding and HYKE Gin and Papillon Gin taking home Gold medals.
New Gin Alerts
There’s been a few new gin alerts this month, including The Gin To My Tonic’s promising collaborations with Brentingby Gin and Gower Gin. However, there is only one that, in my opinion, deserves the spotlight this month: Hayman’s Small Gin debuted at Imbibe to great acclaim and no wonder, this is a real game-changer. Low- and no-ABV drinks are becoming big business but it’s a tricky category for gin-makers to enter as gin has to be a minimum of 37.5% ABV by law. Hayman’s have ingeniously tackled this, not by reducing the ABV in their spirit, but by increasing the flavour. So much so that only a thimbleful of 43% ABV Small Gin packs as much flavour as a full-strength gin and tonic but contains only 0.2 units of alcohol per serve. It’s super clever stuff and I cannot wait to try it!
My Month in Gin
I missed out on a couple of events this month but I was over the moon to be able to live La Dolce Vita at O’ndina Gin’s pairing dinner at London’s Palatino restaurant. The authentic Italian experience features four delicious courses inspired by O’ndina Gin’s 19 botanicals, each served with a different delicious cocktail. The highlight for me was probably the primi of spaghetti with mussels, tomatoes, chilli, garlic and breadcrumbs served with the O’ndina Sgroppino, featuring lemon and sage sorbet and prosecco. But every course was simply sumptuous including the vegetarian secondi of aubergine parmigiana served with a stunning Negroni. Unfortunately you’ve missed the first exclusive dinner, as it was … err, tonight! But don’t despair – tickets are on sale now for the three remaining dinners on August 14th, September 4th and September 19th and, at £39 each, they are, in my opinion, a bit of a bargain!
Welcome to My Collection
I may not have made it out as much as I hoped in July but my good friends kept my postman busy with plenty of deliveries to my door. My cricket journo husband and I enjoyed toasting England’s success in the Cricket World Cup with Nicholson’s Gin (the official gin of Marylebone Cricket Club, dontcha know!). We also had fun experimenting with Brentingby’s Gin to My Tonic Yuzu and Schezuan Pepper Gin. Meanwhile, Tappers Three Fine Days (and a Thunderstorm) couldn’t have been more fitting given the crazy weather. A pleasingly pale gold in colour, this compounded gin has an improved recipe this year, featuring freshly cut lemon balm and lemon verbena alongside the original ingredients: juniper, lemon and grapefruit peel, and hawthorn leaves. Next up, Wildcat Gin, featuring cat’s claw – a woody vine found in the tropical jungles of South and Central America – which is said to lend a whisper of spiced citrus to a classic dry juniper taste. And finally those lovely folk at Wrecking Coast not only replaced my empty bottle of Clotted Cream Gin, but also sent me a bottle of Cornerstone Gin. Made by Wrecking Coast for Tom Brown’s (and my local) restaurant of the same name, it is distilled with cloudy apple juice rather than water, and is really rather special!
With the heatwave hovering over the country, both That Boutique-y Gin Company and Sipsmith kindly sent me care packages of canned drinks to help me keep my cool and they definitely worked! You can pick yours up from Master of Malt.
And that’s not all! Colonsay Gin treated me to a taste of the first in a series of collaboration projects; Luxury Handmade Colonsay Gin Chocolates made by Highland Patissier. Available in three delicious flavours; Orange and Colonsay Gin; Berry and Bramble; and Chilli and Colonsay Gin, the latter is definitely my favourite. Great Northern Books also generously sent me a copy of Fiona Laing’s beautiful The Gin Clan; essential reading for August!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
Summer holidays and gin are best pre-mixed in a tin (at least if you, like me, have young children) but rumour has it August will bring with it some more exciting new gins (not least an intriguing collaboration between Gin Foundry and Warner’s Gin) and of course there’s also International Scottish Gin Day to celebrate on Saturday 3rd August. As for me, I’ll see you in September! 🍸🛎🛎