So here we are: the end of August and almost time to go back to school. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer. As I write this, I’m still looking forward to my two weeks in the sun but, here, as usual, are my ginny highlights of the month!
I haven’t heard anyone ask when the gin bubble is going to burst for some time now and, perhaps, with good reason as The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s latest Market Report shows that the rise of gin in the UK is showing no sign of slowing down. Quite the opposite in fact. Gin has enjoyed relentlesss growth in the last twelve months domestically – with sales in both shops and pubs, bars and restaurants soaring – and overseas. With the total value of the category already exceeding £3 billion annually, WSTA are predicting that domestic gin sales will to continue to increase from the 76 million bottles of gin sold in the last 12 months (to March 2019) to smash the 100 million bottle barrier within the next 12 months! With export figures also expected to grow, the future couldn’t be looking brighter for our favourite spirit (although the cynic in me can’t help but acknowledge that this will probably bring with it yet more contenders for the #StopFuckingWithGin award)!
New Gin Alerts
Like last month, I’m awarding the New Gin Alert spotlight to just one release in August and that is Warner’s limited edition Farmed & Foraged Gin, produced in collaboration with those busy boys at Gin Foundry. With environmental awareness at the forefront of their mind, Gin Foundry’s Olivier and Emile challenged Warner’s to create a gin using only botanicals grown and foraged within a bee’s flight of the distillery – approximately a three-mile radius. This created opportunities, alongside challenges, and the resulting London Dry Gin features lemon thyme, lemon verbena, dried lavender, freshly picked chamomile leaves, green juniper, dandelion root, toasted Applewood and bee pollen from the distillery’s hives.
In recognition of the botanicals that Warner’s have planted and nurtured to create this gin, you are also being encouraged to grow your own garnish to accompany Farmed & Foraged Gin. Indeed, when you order your bottle the first thing you’ll actually receive is a packet of apple mint seeds! The gin will arrive about 10 days later, just as your seeds should be starting to sprout. If anticipation is half the pleasure then this #DelayedGratification idea is a jolly clever one indeed!
My Month in Gin
I was delighted, and honoured, to visit Hayman’s beautiful Balham distillery to celebrate the launch of their ground-breaking Small Gin. At 43% ABV, Small Gin is a true gin, but, due to the botanical depth of flavour, you only need 5ml (or a thimbleful) to make a full-flavoured gin and tonic; consequently each low-calorie serve comes in at just 0.2 units of alcohol. We enjoyed a host of delicious low-alcohol cocktails at the launch – including a mini mojito and low negroni – served alongside similarly small portions of British classics such as fish and chips and sausage and mash! We were also challenged to a blind taste test of a full strength G&T vs a low alcohol Small Gin and tonic. Both tasted great and many couldn’t pick out the Small Gin. I got it from the nose, rather than from the palate, but then didn’t listen to the question properly and still put the wrong hand in the air! That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it!
Welcome to My Collection
This month both Small Gin and Biggar Gin have joined my collection! Third-party distilled at Scotland’s Strathearn Distillery – and featuring locally-sourced botanicals including rosehip, rowanberry and nettles, alongside traditional botanicals such as juniper and orange – I’ve been looking forward to trying Biggar Gin since it won the London Dry Gin category in The Gin Guide Awards 2018. And I’m pleased to report first impressions are more than living up to expectations!
I’ve also been lucky enough to receive my own apple mint seeds for Gin Foundry x Warner’s Farmed & Foraged Gin mentioned above, and I can’t wait to get stuck into the gin itself when I get back from holiday. And, to go with all the booze, I’ve received a box of beautifully branded Gallybird; a new zero-calorie premium tonic water sweetened with stevia leaf extract rather than sugar. If it tastes as good as it looks it should be a big hit!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
The arrival of my lovely Warner’s pin, pictured above, inspired me to finally update my gin pin collection page! I’ve also made a start on my Theodore Pictish Gin review so, hopefully, I’ll get that published next month when I’m also looking forward to attending the WSTA Industry Summit and the Craft Distilling Expo, at which the Gin of the Year winner will be announced. See you in September! 🍸🛎🛎