I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know where February has gone and I’m not really sure what I’ve done either. But there’s a fair bit of booze news and new releases to catch up with, so continue reading to find out what you might have missed out on.
It’s been a month of highs and lows in the world of gin, and we’ve very sadly bid farewell to not one but two gin brands. Having found it harder to recover from the pandemic than they expected, the owners of Warrington’s 3 Pugs Gin have decided to call time on their business and move into semi-retirement. Meanwhile, London’s Duck and Crutch Gin have also announced their end of trading saying there is dignity in walking away at the right time and in the right way.
In happier news, we’ve celebrated the results of the Icons of Gin and the World Gin Awards 2022. The Aussies did amazingly well with Four Pillars taking home Distiller and Brand Innovator of the Year, and Never Never claiming Master Distiller of the Year and World’s Best London Dry Gin for their incredible Triple Juniper Gin Export Strength, but it’s hard not to sing the praises of us Brits too. Congratulations to Hayman’s for having their Exotic Citrus Gin named World’s Best Signature Botanical Gin, and to Shed 1 Distillery for claiming Visitor Attraction of the Year, but the biggest round of applause has to go to the wonderful Emma Stokes (aka Gin Monkey) for (finally!) being awarded Communicator of the Year!
Looking to the future, it’s also been inspiring to hear about the launch of the The Pinnacle Guide. From the co-founders of London Cocktail Week, Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, and Dan Dove, owner and operator of Global Bartending, The Pinnacle Guide is a recognition system for the world’s best bars; essentially the drink industry’s answer to Michelin. All members of the drinks industry are invited to take part in the consultancy phase between March and August, but what I really want to know is how I bag the dream job of being a Pinnacle Guide bar reviewer!
New Gin Alerts
This month has finally seen the release of a delicious crabapple spirit from Bertha’s Revenge which I had the pleasure to try at Junipalooza 2021 but, at 31% ABV, it certainly seems to fall into the category of liqueur rather than gin as they’ve named it. Either way, if you do pick some up, be sure to try pairing it with a hunk of cheddar cheese! Cornwall’s Mainbrace Rum has also added a citrusy gin imbued with seaweed to their range created to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.
But the real busy bees are at Edinburgh Gin who have launched a limited and exclusive range of not one, not two, but three new gins! Their Old Tom is created with tonka beans, macadamia nuts and meadowsweet, while their Cranachan Gin features both fresh raspberries and freeze-dried raspberry powder, is matured in an ex-whisky cask and is then infused post-maturation with toasted oats, fresh raspberries and honey. But it’s the Salt n Sauce Gin which really pushes the boat out! A tribute to Edinburgh’s signature chippy sauce (essentially, I’m told, a 50/50 mix of brown sauce and malt vinegar) Salt n Sauce Gin brings together tamarind, dates, apples, tomato powder, chilli, vinegar and bladderwrack seaweed. I can’t even begin to imagine what it tastes like but I’m definitely intrigued!
My Month in Gin
It’s been fairly busy behind the scenes this month but I’ve finally picked my top ten gins of 2021! It’s also a huge pleasure to see the publication of issue 17 of Gin Magazine which includes all the winners of the World Gin Awards and Icons of Gin alongside my latest article. To mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March, I explore the portrayal of women during the 18th century gin craze, and also talk to some of the working mothers at the forefront of the industry today. If you pick up a copy I’d love to hear what you make of it.
Welcome to My Collection
I’ve received an absolutely stunning collection of gins this month which I simply can’t wait to crack open. Thank you to Dorset’s Gloriette Artisan Gin for a sample of their vacuum-distilled spirit featuring an incredible 45 botanicals, to actor and filmmaker Paul Feig and his team for Artingstall’s Brilliant London Dry Gin, to Umodzi for their sugarcane gin which features an array of African botanicals and, last but certainly not least, to Shivering Mountain for their grapefruit-forward pink gin. Keep an eye on my Instagram channel to see how I decide to serve them.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
If you haven’t already, why not check out my Top Ten Gins of 2021 and also the line-up for Junipalooza 2022 including the much-anticipated return of their masterclasses hosted by Olivier Ward? As for March, I’m going to be judging not only for The Gin Guide Awards but also The Global Spirits Masters and the IWSC, and I’ve got three articles to write too, so it’s going to be busy, busy, busy. See you on the other side I hope! 🍸🛎🛎