PRE-RELEASE BOOK PREVIEW

Make Something Bloody Marvellous:
the Gentle Art of Mixing Gin

This week we have been enjoying some experimentation in our Gin Bar. We have been lucky enough to have a preview for the new cook book for Gin: Make Something Bloody Marvellous - the Gentle Art of Mixing Gin. The book is about combining gin with the splendid flavours of the British Countryside and has been written by the people behind Jam Jar Gin, Faye and Dan Thwaites. Jam Jar Gin is exactly what it says on the jar - Gin served in a Jam Jar. Although we are yet to try it it sounds delicious.

When creating the book Faye and Dan worked with the cocktail expertise of bartender extraordinaire Keivan Nemati (The Zetter Townhouse & The Drink Factory) and chefs Megan Roberts and Steward Mackie from Harvey Nichols and the book shares ideas that come from the drinkable and edible results of their experiments together. It is filled with a whole host of different cocktails as well as recipes for making different flavoured gins, syrups and garnishes. It also features some delicious sounding recipes including a Gin Lemon Drizzle Cake which we are itching to try. The recipes recommend you use Jam Jar Gin but other gins can be used too. We really love the beginning of the book with advice and tips for the technical art of Gin mixology.  It’s a helpful and easy guide on how to make some great components for your cocktail repertoire, recommending what to have and how to use it.

We tried out some of the recipes (substituting ingredients where needed). The cocktails all have very simple names which is what we like.  Secondly we love how it is encouraging you to use fresh ingredients. Firstly we tried the Rhubarb, which consisted of some Rhubarb Gin, Lemon Juice, Rhubarb Syrup and Soda Water. We didn’t have Rhubarb Syrup, so substituted it for Rhubarb cordial and added a little more than the recipe suggested. It was a punchy refreshing drink and a nice and easy sunny-day cocktail. We also loved how it only required a simple stir and no cocktail shaking.

Feeling confident and a little merry, we tried Daisy. Something I learned from the book is Daisy is the name given to cocktails that feature a spirit and orange liqueur. Fun Fact: Margarita is spanish for Daisy. The Daisy cocktail is very simple: Gin, Orange Liqueur, Lemon Juice and Sugar Syrup. It is quite a ‘potent’ cocktail so is best drunk slowly. I found I needed to add a little more sugar syrup than the recipe required but that is of course personal taste. It is of course very citrusy, which is always good.

Thirdly we tried one of the most simple recipes in the book - Pink Gin. We’ve said it before: 2018 is the year of Pink Gin. This is a classic recipe however; Gin and Bitters - we recommend if not using Jam Jar Gin here, use a gin that is drinkable neat. The bitters does change the flavours and makes it more complex. It’s worth trying next time you’re having a gin to see how it changes up your favourite gin.

Overall we were really impressed with the book, there is a wide variety and we cannot wait for summer to come back around when we can use more ingredients from our garden to experiment more!n The book is released on 5th December and can be preordered on Amazon http://amzn.eu/d/1YCf4dU

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Gin of the Month: November

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This month’s gin comes from Arbroath, the home of ‘Arbroath Smokie’ and therefore an important place in terms of Scottish Food and Drink. Smithies Gin is the latest produce from Smithies Deli, a local delicatessen and coffee shop. They stock over 200 gins from around the world and so you could say that know a thing - or two - about gin! This gin is the brainchild of Patti and her two daughters, Beth and Jill who were inspired by Patti’s late father Donald and his garden. The gin making trio set out with the aim to make a gin that “didn’t dictate didn’t dictate pairings or accompaniments, but that was refreshing to drink with a simple tonic while also able to handle a more robust flavouring if desired.”

We wholeheartedly agree with this statement - Smithies Gin is extremely versatile. It has a citrus aroma from the orange, lemon and lime peel in the botanicals. It is a lovely smell on these bitterly cold autumnal nights, promising a bittersweet and warming savoury goodness! Other botanicals include Bay leaves, lemongrass, gooseberries, redcurrants and our favourite sounding Grains of Paradise, which is a spicy peppercorn and that is where the bittersweet fruity yet punchy herbal taste comes from.

It is a smooth drink and we have very much enjoyed testing it ‘on the rocks’. The gin has a distinctive savoury taste, but not an overpowering flavour. When thinking about garnishes we love what Beth, one of the distillers said - “We have tried just about every flavour and garnish we could think of from orange peel and lavender to tomato and basil, which is surprisingly one of our favourite combinations. We’re excited to see how people enjoy our gin and the pairings that they love the most.” Coming from a Deli, we know the distillers know a thing or two about flavours - the gin definitely is packed full of them.

We have enjoyed trying it out with different flavours this month including frozen raspberries, pink grapefruit, basil and pink peppercorns as well as different tonics and mixers.  After lots of taste tests, we eventually decided on our recommended serves.

Steph’s perfect serve is with Fentiman’s Herbal Tonic Water and Pink Grapefruit. The herbal tonic water brings out a little more sweet tastes in the gin, and complements the savoury flavours of the gin.

Michael recommends Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade with Pink Peppercorns. The gin stands up to the Rose Lemonade flavour, again injecting a subtle sweetness and helps balance out the flavours. The pink peppercorns help those Grains of Paradise, giving the drink a little kick.

We definitely recommend you try it in a cocktail too; our recommendations would be a Martini or a Bloody Mary, but it would so work with anything that takes your fancy. Overall we think this is a superb all-round gin. It’s great one to have in your cabinet that would work in all seasons, with all different types of gin drinkers and all sorts of mixers.   

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Gin of the Month: October

Right, we’re not going to lie about this: Stirling holds a special place in our hearts. Steph studied at Stirling University and therefore classes it as her second home. Stirling is home to the iconic castle and since 2015, Stirling Gin. It is the iconic castle that inspired this month’s Gin of the Month - The Green Lady Liqueur which is named after the legendary ghost of the green lady who has been seen wandering the grounds of Stirling Castle and watching over the city. It is said that The Green Lady was a Lady in Waiting to Mary Queen of Scots and perished in a fire saving her beloved queen. The perfect gin for Halloween!

The liqueur is made with Stirling Gin, fresh Scottish brambles and locally sourced mint. It is all natural colours and flavourings. For us we are instantly reminded of a rumberry mojito when drinking. The brambles bring a sweet, fresh and smooth taste, which works with the crisp mint flavours. The flavours just work together so wonderfully and it is such a delight to drink. The natural sweetness means it’s not a sickly sweet like some gin liqueurs can be.  

We have a few serving suggestions and think it will work well in all seasons. The liqueur would be perfect enjoyed neat on cosy autumn nights. Equally we love it when it’s added to some prosecco for special occasions - or as we like to call them... weekends! We also really love it made up into a mojito with a tall glass of crushed ice, 2 measures of the liqueur and topped with soda water, a squeeze of lime and a mint sprig garnish. This is a very easy cocktail to make and certainly one that would be the envy of any of your cocktail-bar-loving friends!

We love the story and branding of this Folklore Collection, which includes The Green Lady and Red Cap - a raspberry liqueur named after a mythical gnome like creature. The artwork was designed by Leith based artist Ritchie Collins and is so beautiful and distinctive, perfectly capturing the mystical charm of the stories the liquers represent. The creation of the liqueur was a lengthy progress, in which the distillers took time to perfect the correct ingredients and to get the balance of flavours just right - we think it’s been worth the wait!

You will be able to hear more about the story of Stirling Gin when they host a masterclass at the Gin Fayre’s upcoming St Andrews event. We also are eagerly waiting to hear about the progress of the renovation of the ‘Old Smiddy’ in Stirling City Centre into a new distillery and visitor centre. We highly recommend this liqueur as one for the cabinet and with December fast approaching it is a great gift for that friend or relative that you have no idea what to buy for. After playing around with recipes and serves, we are going to take a bottle to an upcoming gin party with friends where we each need to bring a bottle of gin to share and sample and we know it’ll go down a storm!

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The Gin Fayre wins Scottish Gin Award

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We’re delighted to announce that The Gin Fayre has been awarded Gin Event of the Year at the second annual Scottish Gin Awards.

The team attended a glittering awards ceremony in Glasgow on 20th September 2018, where they joined other finalists to celebrate innovation and excellence in gin distilling across Scotland.

Established in 2016, the Scottish Gin Awards is a competition judged by a panel of experts drawn from across the sector.

Hosted by two of the country’s most high-profile TV broadcasters, Kaye Adams and Des Clarke, the awards welcomed more than 600 attendees on the night.

The Gin Fayre has hosted five sell-out events across Scotland and is home to a variety of gin brands from across the world including Persie Gin, Stirling Gin, Boe Gin, Darnley’s Gin, Ink Gin from Australia and Cooper King Gin from York. 

Founder of The Gin Fayre, Jasmine Wheelhouse, comments:

“I am absolutely thrilled to have been recognised for our hard work over the last 18 months. Taking the opportunity to celebrate our achievements with others in the industry has been absolutely fantastic.

“Winning Gin Event of The Year has been a real highlight of this year for me. We’ve worked tirelessly to create an event to be proud of and we hope we can continue to deliver outstanding events across the country that gin lovers can enjoy as much as we do.”

Chair of the judging panel, Alex Bruce, Managing Director of Adelphi Distillery added:

“Congratulations to all the Scottish distilleries and supporting companies who have won at the Scottish Gin Awards. The Scottish gin sector can be very proud.  These medals will help retain our precious reputation as a global centre in the production of high-quality spirits.

“With a phenomenal 80 Scottish gins in the finals and 18 taste medal winners presented, the results will provide winning distilleries with a real boost in advance of the busy Christmas season. For the discerning gin drinker, these awards provide welcome guidance when choosing from the large range of Scottish gin now on the market.” 

Gin of the Month: September

 
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Summer 2018 is going to go down in history as the summer of Pink Gin! Everyone seems to be drinking it. Even those who ‘aren’t into gin’ can’t resist. Did we not say before, that no one doesn’t like gin, you just haven’t found the right one! This month we had the gorgeous Malfy Gin Rosa to sample and we think it is definitely up there in our top 5. Since the beautiful pink bottle arrived on our doorstep earlier this month, it is all we have been able to talk about.  Anyone remotely mentions gin and our next words are ‘you need to try this!’ 

For those not familiar with the Malfy brand, they are Italian distillers, where according to their website, is the home of gin. The story is that Italian monks added ‘Ginepro’ (juniper in Italian) to an alcohol base and the rest as they say is history.   Beppe and Denis are the chief distillers in the Northern Italian distillery, an area famous for fine wines, spirits and foods. The gin is created using local juniper and other botanicals alongside the prominent pink grapefruit and rhubarb infusions. 

Upon popping the cork of the bottle you are hit with a sensational smell of the sweet grapefruit and rhubarb.  You could sit and smell it all day, but then no good story started with I smelled a good gin the other day! It smells fresh and fruity and not too floral. 

It is drinkable neat, on the rocks, and we would suggest a pink grapefruit and rosemary garnish to compliment the flavours. The rhubarb and grapefruit work together to bring a natural sweetness that marries with the tanginess too.   Sometimes we have found pink gins to taste a little too artificial and sugary, but this Malfy Gin Rosa does not have that.  We think a Mediterranean tonic works the best with it to balance all the sweetness from the gin with something herby, which is why the rosemary addition also helps. 

If you are looking to jazz your drink up even further we would suggest adding some of this to your Champagne or Prosecco to create a pink gin fizz. Alternatively, a Rosa Martini with a splash of vermouth would be lovely on a weekend evening relaxing at home with some chilled out music. Our favourite cocktail is the Pink Lemonade: 2 parts gin, 1 part Limoncello topped up with soda water and served with a wedge of lime and a raspberry. It is divine! 

This is a classy pink gin.  It’s pale pink and when you add tonic, the pink colour of the spirit is barely noticeable. We love the simplicity of the Malfy branding, the frosted bottle and distinctive blue label make a beautiful addition to our Gin Bar! There are 4 different Malfy Gins, Original, Blood Orange, Lemon and the Rosa one, we are sure the others are just as well crafted as this one! 

This is one gin you wont forget in a hurry, it’s distinctive flavours are so memorable and moreish that you may find your bottle emptying quicker than you anticipated! If you are looking for a gift for that friend of yours who’s always talking about gin, we definitely recommend a bottle of Malfy Gin Rosa! 

 
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Are you our next event manager?

Are you a highly motivated, passionate and driven event manager? 
Looking for a new challenge?

Well, we might just have the job for you!

With the craft spirit industry showing no signs of slowing down, No. 18 Ltd is now on the look-out for an enthusiastic, gin-loving event manager to manage the day-to-day operations of our events and join us on the next stage of growth.

You can find out more about this exciting role below, and drop us a line if you think you might be the one for the job!

With love, The Gin Fayre Team. x

Darnley's Gin School opens it's doors!

Darnley’s Gin has added a ‘Distil Your Own’ experience to its tour offering, inviting visitors to Darnley’s Gin School to create their own recipe from a selection of botanicals and distil a 70cl bottle of gin to take home.  The Gin School is the second tour space in the Darnley’s Gin Distillery cottage and houses 6 mini copper stills which visitors can use to distil their own bespoke bottle of gin. 

The experience will see visitors enjoy a welcome drink and introduction to gin making before exploring the large range of botanicals available to include in their recipe, some of which are grown in our own cottage garden. The hands-on experience continues as they weigh the botanicals and begin distilling their one of a kind gin on their own mini still.  While this is happening, guests will enjoy a tour of Darnley’s main distillery whilst sipping on a refreshing Darnley’s G&T and led through a tasting of the Darnley’s Gin range.

At the end of the experience, visitors will fill and label their bottle of gin to take home and enjoy. 

 
 


Emma Hooper, Brand Manager, commented, "The opening of Darnley's Gin School and the launch of the Distil Your Own Experience, offers people the unique opportunity to go behind the scenes and become a distiller for the day. The new visitor space demonstrates our drive to offer a range of engaging and informative gin experiences complementing our existing Discover Darnley’s tour.”  

“Distil Your Own” at Darnley’s Gin School lasts approximately 2.5 hours and is held weekly on Friday at 3pm and Saturday at 11am. The experience can accommodate 6 people and private group bookings are available.  Distil Your Own is available to book from Friday 10th August,  is priced at £100 per person and hosted at Darnley’s Gin Distillery at Kingsbarns in Fife, located between St Andrews and Crail.

Find out more here: www.darnleysgin.com/tours

Gin of the Month: August

Are you even British if you don’t talk about the weather?

What a glorious few weeks we have been having, I hope you have all been taking some time in the sunny weather and enjoying the Great British outdoors. That is what inspired August’s Gin of the Month, Sing Gin. The Yorkshire Dales was the muse for Ian Thompson and his family, who live in the beautiful Kettlesing which gave inspiration for the name. Particular inspiration came from Fountain Abbey and it’s gardens which can be seen in the gargoyle that features on the bottle.

 
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As the bottle and branding suggest, Sing Gin is a sophisticated and elegant gin. It is a soft and silky smooth drink that has sweet floral notes. The distinct difference in taste can be attributed to the fact the key botanicals - including juniper, orange peel, mint, and flax, are hand-crushed meaning they unlock the flavours and aromas more. We think that this made a big difference and let other flavours come through from the gin without it being too heavy a juniper taste.

Another attribute to the distinctive flavour is Sing Gin is made from grape spirit rather than grain. This changes the flavour and adds that silky smoothness to the taste.

It is because of this we believe the gin is best savoured like a fine wine. The recommended serve is with Mediterranean tonic and either Mint or Orange Peel. A top tip if you are ever using mint as a garnish, give the mint a few claps in your palm, it really opens up the flavour of the mint and makes you look like you work in a fancy cocktail bar too! We liked both orange peel and mint and so it is ultimately up to personal preference. We would say the gin does not really work with lemon or lime garnish it overpowers the delicate flavours.

If you fancy mixing it up and really making an impression with a gin cocktail, here are our favourites.

 

  • The Sing Mojito - Using a tall glass fill it with ice, add 2 measures of Sing Gin, a handful of mint leaves, a teaspoon of sugar and top up with soda water, give it a good stir.
  • The Sing Fizz - 2 measures of Sing Gin, 1 Measure of Elderflower cordial, top up with Prosecco.

 

We feel we need better names for these cocktails, especially with a name like Sing Gin, there are plenty of puns available. Feel free to send your suggestions in!

Overall this is a perfect everyday gin, it is classy, versatile and will suit any occasion. It is just as nice on its own as it is in cocktails with other gins. It definitely is a Gin to Sing About!

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COCKTAIL SERIES: SHETLAND REEL

Originally developed in the late 19th century, a Tom Collins has been enjoyed for many years. Traditionally this refreshing cocktail was made using Old Tom Gin which has a sweeter taste that balanced out the sharp acidic lemon flavours.

Shetland Reel have created their own twist on this traditional drink; a Tomas Collinson, made using their very own Up Helly Aa edition gin. The sweet sherry notes from the cask aged Up Helly Aa gin give a sherberty note that compliments the citrus notes from grapefruit. 

 

 

What you'll need:

 

Combine gin, juice, and syrup in a highball glass and fill with ice. Top up with soda and give it a peerie stir to combine – garnish with a grapefruit slice.