Anyone else utterly exhausted?! What with Imbibe Live and Junipalooza not only back but also bookending Negroni Week it’s been a busy old month, so it’s no wonder my gin monthly is (once again) rather late. But it’s also been just brilliant to see people again and catch up with gin pals old and new. It’s what we have all been waiting for and it definitely did not disappoint!
The big story of the month had to be the news that Red Bull has launched a trademark dispute against Bullards Spirits for its use of the word ‘bull’. In what can only be described as a load of old bull, the energy drinks company opposed Bullards’ trademark registrations for sectors such as soft drinks, fizzy drinks and events, claiming the similarity in name will cause public confusion. Reluctant to concede to any confusion, and with plans to launch a mixer range next year, Bullards are expected to submit their defence this month.
New Gin Alerts
Accompanying the return of drinks industry events this month were some interesting new releases. Launching at Imbibe Live was Pinkster’s Triple Juniper Gin – a somewhat retro move given the direction of travel within the industry, Triple Juniper is their base gin without the raspberries. Pinkster without the pink you might call it. And very nice it is too!
Meanwhile, Junipalooza hosted the launch of Manchester Gin’s Mother of Pearl; a remarkably unusual and transportative gin made using pine, lemon and discarded oysters which has already secured a gold medal at the IWSC (at which yours truly happened to be judging!).
And of course that wasn’t all. With Autumn fast approaching we also saw the launch of Pickering’s Pumpkin Spice Latte Gin and Sipsmith’s Sipspresso Coffee Gin as well as Fever-Tree’s limited-edition seasonal Damson & Sloe Berry Tonic Water.
My Month in Gin
I kicked off the month by cheating on gin at the Vodka Masters 2021. A little outside my comfort zone, it was a wonderful learning experience and I was seriously impressed with the quality of the spirits (especially in comparison to the vodkas I knocked back during my uni years!). The morning was spent judging vodka in flights across a number of categories including price bracket, base spirit and flavoured. Then in the afternoon we were challenged to pick our top three of the top 21 entries which saw, to some surprise, a flavoured vodka – Ukraine’s Nemiroff Burning Pear – come out on top to claim the title Vodka Taste Master 2021. Click here for the full results, which also saw 58 Distillery’s vodka claim a Master in the Super Premium category.
Imbibe Live and Junipalooza were, naturally, both highlights of the month allowing me the opportunity to not only try lots of delicious new drinks but also to make new friends and catch up with old ones. Some of the highlights of Imbibe Live included Cuckoo’s Solace Gin in its stunning new bottle, Asian inspired Tarsier Spirits, Masons of Yorkshire’s new range of vodkas – including an incredible Espresso Vodka – and South France’s 44°N which I had been hoping to try for a long time and finally got to enjoy in a lovely little cocktail. As for Junipalooza – you can read all about it here!
Another highlight had to be the incredible launch of Sipsmith’s new limited-edition Sipspresso Coffee Gin at the amazing Artesian Bar in London’s Langham Hotel. Not only were we treated to great company and Espresso Martinis aplenty but there was even live music and a little dancing too! Created with ground Brazilian and Rwandan coffee beans, distilled alongside cinnamon, fresh vanilla and 4.5kilos of vapour-infused bananas, Sipspresso really is a rather special spirit that I’m looking forward to getting to know better. And I’ve already got a few serve ideas up my sleeve…!
Of course the return of live events doesn’t have to be at the detriment of virtual events, and I was delighted to hop aboard Hendrick’s Air for a jaunt up to the Hendrick’s Gin palace with brand ambassador Sarah Berardi and Dr Chambers. The interactive event involved a live quiz, cocktail making, much merriment and even a talking cucumber!
And finally I saw out the month with a day at the fabulous Craft Distilling Expo listening to, among others, a couple of brilliant talks on sustainability from Chris of Cooper King Distillery and Avian of The Wrecking Coast Distillery. As someone who almost certainly doesn’t know as much about vermouth as she ought, I also really enjoyed the masterclass hosted by Sara Jane Eichler of Negroni Club UK and Siobhan Feeley of Sacred Spirits, which even included a little sneak peak of Sacred’s new premixed Dry Martini.
Welcome to My Collection
There were so many bottles on my doorstep this month I almost lost track! Thanks to Master of Malt for Sacred’s Bottle-Aged Negroni which was the perfect treat for Negroni Week and also for the wonderful Hendrick’s Air bundle. Thanks also to Business France UK for not one but two French fancies; Mistral Gin and Gin XII. And not forgetting Orkney Gin’s amazing Aatta Gin, Portobello Road’s Savoury Gin, Wrecking Coast’s Summer Strawberry Gin, Old Bakery’s Junipalooza London Edition Gin and Sipsmith’s Sipspresso Coffee Gin!
Thank you also to all the lovely brands and friends who kindly gave me these stunning gin pins to add to my ever-growing collection.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
If you haven’t already had a read, why not catch up with my review of Junipalooza London 2021? As for October that looks like another crazy month with London Cocktail
Week Month (for which I’m now an official Ambassador) and even more judging ahead! See you on the other side… 🍸🛎🛎