Blog/Insta Summary: Features and reviews of gins, other spirits, distilleries and events, as well as plenty of cocktails.
What started your passion for gin?
It all started with a trip to the west country, diving in and out of gin shops, bars and pubs. I discovered the likes of Wrecking Coast Gin, Conker Gin, Lyme Bay Gin, Pothecary Gin and Beachcomber Gin.
I found myself wanting to know more about the distillation, botanicals etc, so I booked distillery tours at the Bombay Sapphire Distillery and Beefeater Distillery. It was at that point I started to really understand the difference between craft distillers and the big guys, as well as contract distilling. Learning that Beefeater ship their gin up to Scotland to make use of the water was an eye opener!
What else do you do as well as writing about gin?
I qualified as a solicitor last year. I work in local government and specialise in contracts and procurement. Fortunately, working in the public sector means that I have time for my favourite gin drinking hobby.
What's different about your website and social media and why should gin lovers make sure they have a read and follow you?
I’d like to think that my social media platforms and blog are both an inclusive environment for everybody and anybody who enjoys gin. I try to bring something different where I can. For example, I’ve helped create a virtual ‘Mini Gin Festival’ and various ‘Virtual Visits’ throughout lockdown.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf?
I always find these types of questions tricky to answer, it really depends on the style of gin that I’m after. Local Sussex gins such as Chichester Harbour, Madame Jennifer, Ditchling, Slake and Brighton Gin are a few that I treasure. I teamed up with Hogmoor Distillery during lockdown and we created a charity gin, which will always be very special to me.
Do you have a favourite gin bar or gin event that you'd recommend to gin lovers?
I really enjoyed Junipalooza last year, as well the GTMT show in Glasgow. I’d always tell people to book a couple of sessions, it’s amazing how quickly the time passes. My favourite bars have to be The Scotch Malt Whisky Society bars in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They make the most incredible single cask gin. Some of my favourites include ‘Thai me up’ and ‘Berries with Attitude’. Whilst your there, the Dome in Edinburgh is also well worth stopping by for a drink, especially during Christmas time. Plus, they have their very own gin!
If you had to choose a favourite way to serve gin, what would it be?
I don’t think that you can beat the first time you open a new bottle and try it neat. Once I’ve got that out the way, my favourite cocktails have to be a Gin Sour, Clover Club, Bramble and Bee’s Knees. Basically, anything short with plenty of citrus, but you also can’t go wrong with a Martini and of course a classic G&T.
What is your top tip for people just starting to discover gin?
Go and visit distilleries and meet the people behind the gin if you can. You always get details that you’ll never find on their website!
Do you have a top tip for aspiring gin bloggers?
I’d really recommend studying the WSET course in spirits. I just completed level 2 and have gained a whole wealth of knowledge surrounding the production and key characteristics of all spirits, as well as how to identify and describe the appearance, nose, palate, finish and quality level of a spirit. Above all, it’s a hobby so have fun.
What do you see for the future of the gin market in the next few years?
As well as the obvious rise in ‘pink gins’, I’ve seen a lot more European gins entering the market. Palma Gin, Junimperium, Mirabeau Rosé Gin, Artisan, Caprisius and Gin d’Azur to name a few. I hope that we will see a lot more of these.
A lot of distilleries are also diversifying into other spirits and hard seltzers, which are all becoming increasingly popular. For example, Keepr’s swapped out their huge range of flavoured gins for a vodka, rum, bourbon and gin infused with honey. They’ve also got a good range of hard seltzers and produce the only ultra-low premixed gin and tonic that I’d recommend to people, at 0.5 ABV. The distiller has cleverly used a botanical which creates that rosy cheek, giggly feeling you get with a full-strength gin and tonic.
I’ve also seen an increase in awareness around sustainability. I hadn’t really appreciated how much water and energy is required for distilling. There are now plenty of distillers reducing their carbon footprint and also offering a refill service, I’m sure we will see many more doing the same. There are also some brilliant ‘field to bottle’ distilleries, Arbikie being a great example.