What a month. International Scottish Gin Day, Negroni Week, London Cocktail Week, International Gin and Tonic Day, even a(nother) change of Prime Minister – it’s all been going on and that’s hardly even half of it!
Living in this so-called state of “permacrisis” I think we’ve all had enough news to last us a lifetime. However, we could all do with a little good cheer so I’m happy to report that the gin category is expected to grow by US$6.68 billion by 2026! And, despite absolutely every-bloody-thing the last couple of years have thrown at it, the Hospitality sector has committed to achieve net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2040, an impressive ten years ahead of the UK Government’s target.
New Gin Alerts
October’s new releases really demonstrate the breadth of the category at the moment. While York Gin have added a pink raspberry gin to their range, Scotland’s North Point Distillery have produced a London Dry Gin for Burgh Island Hotel featuring botanicals from the eponymous tidal island in … Devon! Meanwhile, at the Gin To My Tonic show in Glasgow, Gyre & Gimble released a Pinot Noir Grape Skin Gin, created using discarded grape skins from vineyards throughout Norfolk, while at Junipalooza Melbourne, India’s Greater Than launched Broken Bat Gin, created by dropping shaved and toasted Kashmir willow cricket bats into their classic gin!
My Month in Gin
October opened with a little ready-to-drink judging for the Global Spirits Masters (the results of which will be online soon) and also attending (and speaking at!) the Craft Distilling Expo. The fantastic first day began with a keynote address from Stephen Gould of Golden Moon Distillery – who spoke about the importance of community – and a really interesting and informative panel discussion on how to start a distillery, and concluded with Alex James detailing his incredible journey establishing From London to Lima, and David T Smith’s inspired Drinks of James Bond Masterclass (with superb accompanying samples!). Somewhere in the middle, the lovely Rosie Milsom and I also talked about sustainable packaging and shipping which seemed to be well received, so to speak!
London Cocktail Week kicked off in style at the official opening party, where Hendrick’s took us on a most surreal dive into the sea-inspired world of their latest release, Neptunia, complete with lobsters, turtles, an orca and the beautiful mermaid Neptunia herself! With Trisoux, Mo Bar and Nutmeg & Clove joining the Silverleaf team behind the bar, we were treated to a stunning selection of cracking cocktails, and I also had the enormous pleasure of (finally) meeting Hendrick’s ambassadors Sarah Berardi and Luke Condell.
As for the rest of the week, my highlight was definitely enjoying Eve Bar’s Hapusā Collins with Hapusā’s very own Anand and Abhishek, but I also loved Artesian’s Familiar with Hapusā Gin and Moët & Chandon Champagne, The George’s Irish coffee (I can definitely see why Millie Milliken, Tyler Zielinski and Adam Jamie Hussein declared it the best in London!), Eataly’s Eatalicus Spritzer and Loading Bar’s stunning Bloodbourbon (especially as they let me make the bubble myself!).
And in among all that, I also got to meet the founders of The Orientalist Spirits over dinner at Fox Fine Wines. Originally established pre-pandemic, the pan-Asian spirits range now consists of four products – Origins Vodka, Gunpowder Gin, Dragon Whisky and Imperial Rum – and we were treated to all four, both neat and in a selection of cocktails, alongside a wonderful meal including burrata, lamb kofta and roasted octopus. I loved the vodka and rum but naturally it was the gin that I was most drawn to. Made in Taiwan, using both traditional and vacuum distillation, the contemporary gin features 23 botanicals – including Gunpowder tea, Kampot peppercorn, Siberian ginseng and Korean Omija berries, alongside Macedonia juniper, coriander and tangerine peel – and is well worth trying if you get the chance.
I was also treated to a fabulous lunch to celebrate International Gin and Tonic Day, courtesy of Agnes Arber Gin and The Arber Garden – both tributes to the first female botanist to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1946. Alongside an Agnes Arber Gin and Franklin & Sons Rhubarb & Hibiscus Tonic (or two!) I enjoyed a fantastic three-course meal inside the lovely venue which also boasts a gin garden adjoining Fitzrovia Chapel and in very close proximity to Oxford Street: a perfect pit stop perhaps, if you’re doing some seasonal shopping anytime soon!
Finally, I spent a fabulous evening at Sacred’s bottle shop learning all about Absinthe! Alongside two delicious cocktails made by Sacred’s lovely Siobhan, Alison of Devil’s Botany introduced us to all things Absinthe, including samples of their London Absinthe and Absinthe Regalis served with the traditional spoon, sugar and fountain for us to dilute to taste. We were also treated to a taste of their brand new Chocolate Absinthe Liqueur which really impressed and brought to mind the minty notes of a Benedict’s Bittermint! Alison’s spirit(s) definitely won me over, so I’ll be popping along to her Absinthe Parlour at Hackney’s The Last Tuesday Society soon, but I’d definitely recommend a browse in Sacred’s bottle shop if you find yourself in Shoreditch too.
Welcome to My Collection
It’s been another great month of goodies, kicking off with Junimperium’s sensational Special Edition Tallinn Dry Gin courtesy of Craft Gin Club (if you’re tempted to join, don’t forget to use discount code DING50 for 50% off your first box). I’ve also been delighted to receive the brand new One Vodka (which has already won a gold medal at The Drinks Business and Spirits Business Autumn Blind Tasting), Armenia’s Astronomer Gin, Agnes Arber’s Rhubarb Gin, not one but two sloe gins courtesy of The Oxford Artisan Distillery and Hayman’s Gin, and – until recently – the entire range of MOTH ready-to-drink cocktails (which have just been joined by a French 75, Aperitivo Spritz and Piña Colada). Thank you also to Loading Bar for this splendid pin which joined my collection alongside this Rives Gin Pin, which I couldn’t resist picking up on eBay.
Catching Up and Looking Forward
If you haven’t already, please do read my latest article for Club Oenologique looking at why more producers are opting to make their gin from native juniper. As for November, I’m looking forward to joining the judging panel for the World Gin Awards and also to heading off on a very exciting top-secret trip. Keep an eye on my socials, or check out my next Gin Monthly, to hear all about it! 🍸🛎🛎