The Gin Den - Recommended Gin Blog
What started your passion for gin?
My passion for gin was triggered by my brother, who enticed me into trying Hendrick's Gin many years ago. Up until that point, my spirit of choice was Single Malt Scotch Whisky. When the growth in the craft gin market started to gather pace, I found myself trying more and more new releases and learning their back stories, starting with Misty Isle Gin from Isle of Skye Distillers. I wanted to get these stories out there, so the blog was born in January 2018 and it continues to grow.
What else do you do as well as writing about gin?
I’ve spent the last 30 years in retail and hospitality, and continue to do so. It’s hugely rewarding and provides an insight into customers trends and demands, as the world moves closer and closer to the need for everything to be accessible online. I’m a keen amateur photographer which also helps a little with the blog!
What's different about your website and social media, and why should gin lovers make sure they have a read and follow you?
My objective is to keep everything simple and focus on the gin and a headline review of it. Everyone has different tastes, so I try to cover a diverse selection which appeals to all. Featuring new-to-market gins and supporting distillers with their launch is also a passion of mine. Having said that, I only ever feature the gins I would recommend and like.
Over the last 6 months, I’ve co-hosted a virtual Mini Gin Festival with another blogger to try and provide something a bit different to the usual blogging I do! I also love a ‘Gin Tour Road Trip’ and have managed to complete a few this year, covering around 28 distilleries in total.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf and can we see your gin shelf!?
There are so many fantastic new and established craft gin brands on the market that have created a full range of stunning gin, including Junimperium, Peak Gin, Biggar Gin, Isle of Skye Distillery, York Gin and Gower Gin. I really struggle to pick a favourite from each, it really depends on the type of gin mood I’m in.
Local to home, The Shropshire Distillery’s Spiced Gin is a favourite, alongside Henstone Navy Gin which is remarkably smooth and warming.
Do you have a favourite gin bar or gin event that you'd recommend to gin lovers?
There are several events I would recommend in the UK. Junipalooza for its breadth of distillers and stunning location. Sussex Gin Fest which continues to grow in size and popularity in the gorgeous location of Borde Hill Gardens. The Gin To My Tonic events for their diverse approach with Shows and Festivals landing in towns across the UK, so easily accessible. And finally, last year I was kindly invited to the annual Scottish Gin Awards in Glasgow, which is a simply amazing, glitzy night of celebrating the gin industry in Scotland.
If you had to choose a favourite way to serve gin, what would it be?
For me, neat on ice or as a very simple gin and tonic with a basic garnish. In every case I want the tonic to fully compliment and not mask or cover up the gin that each distiller has spent so long perfecting. I do like the odd gin cocktail and there are some stunning mixologists creating some amazing drinks, its just not my preferred approach.
What is your top tip for people just starting to discover gin?
Don’t necessarily be tempted by the supermarket shelf bargains, unless its on the back of a recommendation. Have a look online at websites like The Gin Guide where you will find a plethora of information and detailed insights in to gins from across the world.
Always try a new gin neat first, just enough for you to get a feel for the botanicals and the type. Gin events in local towns or the ever-growing virtual tasting market are both great ways to find new gins and discover exactly what your preference is.
Do you have any top tips for aspiring gin bloggers?
Firstly, enjoy it! Spend your time immersing yourself in how gin is produced, either online or by signing up for one of the WSET courses, I recently completed Level 2 Spirits and I found it absolutely fascinating.
Secondly, start local and check out what gins are available. Speak to or visit the distiller and find out about what they created and how. They are in the main small businesses who need support and that starts with your local area. I’ve found so many that are almost on my doorstep, but I never knew they were there until I found them at local markets or farm shops. The support you give them can make a huge difference.
And lastly find your point of difference. It’s your ‘newspaper’, so what’s going to be different about it and make it stand out from the crowd?
What do you see for the future of the gin market in the next few years?
The market has grown at such a rate over the past few years that it was inevitable that it will plateau at some point. I do think we’ll see more and more distillers adding new gins to their existing ranges (aged, navy, seasonal) and I have no doubt that we’ll see other spirits being added to their stable. What is clear however, is that the level of interest in gin will continue, and where there’s demand in the market it will continue to inspire distillers to push themselves to new limits.
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