With the exception of getting the mumps (yes, really!) November was another fun, and very busy, month with plenty of distillery visits, lots of gin and a fair bit of research and writing. Read on to find out more about what I’ve been up to.
Yet more awards have been announced this month and congratulations must go to Avallen Calvados who won The Amorim Sustainability Award (spirits) at The Drinks Business Green Awards 2021. Sloemotion Distillery received a commendation in the same category and Cooper King also received a commendation in the Green Company of the Year category.
Congratulations too to all the winners of the Gin Masters 2021 Second Tasting (which I was delighted to judge in October) and especially to Elephant Strength Gin which was declared The Gin Taste Master 2021!
New Gin Alerts
With the exception of Cooper King’s carbon-negative Discovery Gin for the Natural History Museum which features fresh basil, lemongrass and clove, most of November’s new releases have, unsurprisingly, been rather festive in style. Duck & Crutch’s Christmas in Kensington Dry Gin is distilled with caramelised clementine, cacao nibs, cinnamon and cranberry, whereas Gower’s new Old Tom Gin is based on a local Wassail folk song and features apple, foraged elderberry and damson. Pickering’s, on the other hand, has really pushed the boat out with four new flavoured gins; Chocolate Orange, Later Than Eight, Christmas Cookie and Pecan Pie!
My Month in Gin
November kicked off celebrating Portobello Road’s 10th Birthday at The Distillery. Not only were we treated to plenty of cocktails and cake, but we also got to try their brand new gin created in celebration of their anniversary. Using a potato base spirit barrel-aged in oak for two months, Special Reserve 101 is distilled with the same botanicals as their original gin (albeit with far more juniper) and then cut to a bottling strength of 50.5% ABV with Vichy Catalan water. A most unusual spirit, it pushes what’s possible within the boundaries of a London Dry Gin at pretty much every point!
I also had a wonderful time revisiting the home of Bombay Sapphire at Laverstoke Mill where David, Sara, Bernie and I had a play with the new self-serve gin machines in the Turbine Bar before getting comfortable in the new cinema room. Afterwards we had even more fun indulging in a little research and development with brand ambassador Sam Carter in the Empire Room. While in the area we also couldn’t resist popping in on Sarah and Jonathan at The River Test Distillery where we got to enjoy their award-winning gins as the sun set over their idyllic location.
While it’s wonderful to catch up with people in real life there is still plenty of space for online events, and in November I attended one of the best virtual tastings ever. Hosted by Tappers and Cocoa Runners the interesting, informative and interactive session including cocktail making with Tappers’ festive Figgy Pudding Gin alongside a tutored chocolate tasting and live cooking with Simon Rimmer.
Welcome to My Collection
Thank you to Sam and Sarah for sending me home from my jaunt to Hampshire with (respectively) an engraved bottle of Bombay Sapphire Premier Cru and a Laverstoke Cocktail gin pin, and a bottle of River Test’s stunning London Dry Gin. Thanks also to Papillon for their new seasonal Sloe Gin, to North Point Distillery for their redesigned bottle of Crosskirk Bay Gin and gin pin, to Tappers for their festive Figgy Pudding Gin, to Lebanon’s Domaine des Tourelles for the sample of GinBey, to Thunderflower for their knock out Negroni 58, and – finally – to Hayman’s for their magnificent Mulled Sloe Gin Hamper!
I’ve also added a few new items to my gin pin collection and A Good Drink; In Pursuit of Sustainable Spirits to my little library.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
As well as the obvious festivities that accompany this time of year, I’ll also be enjoying some more gin judging and plenty of freelance writing in December with not one, not two, but three more articles in the pipeline! In the meantime, why not read my most recent article, and my debut for Spirits Beacon, in which I ask “What does it mean to be a B Corp?” 🍸🛎🛎