May Gin Monthly

Wow, what a month! I knew #GinADayMay would keep me busy but I didn’t expect it to be quite that bonkers. And then there were the gin releases, gin events and gin deliveries… Read on if you, like me, need a bit of a reminder of what happened this May.

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Turncoat x LEAF Bold St. Chai Gin

“Bold” is the operative word where Turncoat Gin is concerned. Terry Langton, their founder and head distiller, refuses to cut corners in pursuit of each new recipe (he blames his years working in beer!), and each finished product is always striking in its originality. I was blown away by their Cascade Gin when I first met Terry at Catford Gin Festival in 2017 and when I saw him again at the same festival (albeit in a rather grander venue) last year, Terry returned with not one, not two, but three new gins; the citrusy Our Man in Sicily; the delicate and floral Dragon Tears (featuring the top buds of the jasmine tea plant); and my personal favourite, the spicy Bold St. Chai.

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March Gin Monthly

Between celebrating a big birthday and despairing over (what I like to call Bloody) Brexit, March has been a seriously boozy month for me! So when better to start my new gin monthly column? The idea is to have a personal round-up of what has caught my eye and tickled my tastebuds this month. It’s a bit of a work in progress, so I’d love to hear your feedback below about what you like, what could be improved, and which gins you’ve enjoyed this month.

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My Top Ten Gins of 2018

What a year 2018 has been for gin! Sales have been rocketing and the bubble isn’t going to burst any time soon. We’ve seen, as a consequence, every ‘gin’ imaginable join the fray, from Hubba Bubba Bubblegum Gin to shimmering spirits and, of course, sugar-saturated pink gins galore! But, for now, let’s forget the ridiculous and focus on the sublime. Here are my top ten for 2018 and this year it was harder than ever to pick them! Keep reading for your chance to win a bottle of Brentingby!

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Catford Gin Festival 2018

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We were promised bigger and better at Catford Gin Festival this year and it certainly did not disappoint! It’s a measure of how much Team Catford value this small but perfectly formed event in their efforts to drive regeneration that, in the space of a year, the festival has moved from 2017’s empty retail unit down the road, to the Art Deco grandeur of Catford’s Broadway Theatre. With the imposing venue came higher ticket prices but, with a brochure, copa de balon glass and tote bag for every attendee as well as free tasters of all the gins available, it still offered excellent value for money. Especially with such an impressive line-up!

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My Top 10 Gins of 2017

Another year has flown by and what a year it was! Both for gin as a whole and also for my more personal gin pursuits. It has, on the whole, been an outstanding year for the industry with sales reaching an all-time high and gin being declared the most popular spirit in the UK. But, with the highs of sales in excess of 47m bottles of gin, came the inevitable lows as people looked to sell out and cash in. The wonderful gin community rallied though and, desperate to protect our sacred spirit, the #StopFuckingWithGin hashtag was born! While The Pool asked if the gin joke had gone too far, and Gin Monkey – rightly – reminded us to use the hashtag with due respect, there were plenty of offenders who deserved little sympathy – such as gin and tonic tea bags, crisps and, quite possibly the worst of them all, G&T fun buns!

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Turncoat Cascade Gin

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When I first came across Turncoat Gin, and met its founder – Terry Langton – at the small and intimate Catford Gin Festival earlier this year, I was intrigued. At first its seemingly simple bottle didn’t particularly leap out at me, but it did grab the attention of my somewhat geeky husband. And the more I chatted to Terry, learnt about, and tasted, Turncoat Gin, the more it grabbed me too. From the backstory, to the brand, to the bottle, this gin is different.

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Catford Gin Festival 2017

If there has ever been a gin festival in a more incongruous location, I’m yet to hear of it. The newest addition to the festival scene opened its doors in Catford in south east London; a priority area for regeneration in the Borough of Lewisham. More unusually, those doors opened into an empty retail unit located in Catford Shopping Centre, which was purchased by the council in 2010 as a sign of commitment to the transformation of the local area. And things got stranger still when you made your way into the bar on the top floor, which opened out directly into the enormous shopping centre car park where the festival’s street food vendors had set up stall!

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Preview: Catford Gin Festival featuring Tom Cat Six Gin

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In a recent interview with The Gin Guide I was asked what my top tip was for people just starting to discover gin. My answer? Get yourself to a gin festival; quite probably the most fun and relaxing way to learn about gin and discover what you like, love and occasionally even loathe! There are, thankfully, plenty of festivals taking place up and down the country nowadays, and each one tends to have a slightly different set-up, but one of the newest and most exciting has got to be The Catford Gin Festival in south east London.

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