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.

STIRLING GIN DISTILLERY PREVIEW

Stirling Gin began three years ago in a suburban kitchen after owners June and Cameron McCann put their 2.5 litre still, Jinty, to work. Using fresh basil and hand-picked Stirlingshire nettles they created a spicy, beautifully herbal gin that has been twice shortlisted for best London Dry by the Scottish Gin Society. 

Autumn this year will see Stirling Gin move into their new home at the foot of Stirling Castle. The Old Smiddy is over 130 years old and began life as a temperance hall - what better reincarnation could there be? Stirling Distillery will be growing their own botanicals in their extensive garden, distilling their spirit on site and offering tours, gin-making classes and seasonal events such as the summer garden party, fine food and gin pairing suppers and a Christmas cocktail evening. Stirling's first distillery will be another major attraction for the city and aims to celebrate the rich history of the area, primarily with their upcoming "Folklore Collection". 

We have been given a sneak preview of the distillery as it stands now, which has heaps of potential and we simply cannot wait to see the distillery in all it's glory... Watch this space!

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Gin of the Month: July

July is finally here! We have Wimbledon, more World Cup and hopefully some sunshine to enjoy this month as well as our Gin of the Month, Gorse Gin, a product of the small coastal town of Lundin Links in Fife. This excites us because we too are originally from Fife. To set the scene Lundin Links is in the East Neuk of Fife just south of St Andrews. It is a beautiful part of the world that has gorgeous beaches, world famous fish and chips and since 2017 has been the producer of Gorse Gin.

Like the name suggests, this gin’s headline botanical is the locally foraged gorse flower.  But this isn’t the whole story: with 18 botanicals, there’s a lot of flavour and a lot to love. Some of botanicals include both Italian and Macedonian juniper, elderflower, chamomile, cinnamon, grapefruit and bitter orange.  We found the gin is naturally sweet and floral on the nose, with as you can imagine, a complex flavour. Keep this in mind when tasting it. It took us a few swigs to really appreciate the complexity of the taste. This is a good tip for trying any gins, some may take a few mouthfuls before you appreciate the flavours.

The recommended serve is mango, which is both unusual and will look incredibly impressive at any dinner party to serve a G and T with Mango rather than the same old ice and a slice. The Mango brings out the fruity flavours and in this heat wave we are having at the moment is totally perfect! We also tried it with pink grapefruit and mint and both also worked. The mint tended to bring out the floral flavours and the fruit brings out the sweetness.

We would say we agree with the recommendation of a mediterranean tonic or if not an original tonic. The light tonic just doesn’t work as nicely, perhaps you just need that little sugary boost that these tonics have.  Gorse Gin can stand up to a tonic and won’t be drowned out, add it to taste. We like it at a roughly 50:50 ratio. The mediterranean really brings out the floral notes and coastal origins of the gin, and the original tonic lets the fruity sweetness flourish, so it’s just whatever you prefer!

This gin reminds us a lot of the coast and it has a lot of similarities to the Isle of Harris gin. So if you are a fan of that then this is definitely the gin for you. There is an after tang, like the sensation you get after eating a lemon sherbert. The tasting guide also says the after taste is reminiscent of dark chocolate and bitter orange, which although we didn’t quite get this flavour, we would agree the gin is as smooth and as moreish as good bar of chocolate.  It’s overall flavour we would describe as being complex and flavourful without being too overpowering.

Gin of the Month: June

 

If we had to use two words to describe Cooper King it’d be Game Changer. We loved it. This is a new Gin on the market, we were lucky enough to have a bottle from Batch #2.  The eco friendly Yorkshire distillery was set up in 2014, by Abbie and Chris who were inspired after a trip to various distilleries in Tasmania. The name comes from that of the founders great-grandfather’s. We think it adds to the overall classy but quirky branding.

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On the nose it is a sweet floral smell, a bumblebee in a wild flower garden comes to mind. The botanicals include lemongrass, lavender, cumin and the distinctive honey, many are locally sourced.  Initially it is recommended to try the gin straight, on the rocks - honestly we think this is the best way to have it. The honey makes it deliciously smooth to drink. There is no overpowering of alcohol or the after burn tang. It is as smooth as a warming honey liqueur. You can taste the cumin coming through adding a little tingle to your taste-buds.

We recommend you add tonic with caution; the tonic works a little like when you add water to whisky to open up the flavours. When you add the tonic the citrus, lemongrass flavours become more subdued and the spicy cumin flavours are opened up. We recommend a maximum ratio of 50/50 tonic to gin. We learned this the hard way and initially drowned out our first taste. The recommended garnish is lime which we agree with to bring back the citrus taste. An alternative serving is with a sprig of rosemary or coriander and slice of cucumber which we are yet to try but we think it would work so well with the floral notes.

The smooth taste comes from the combination of two spirits to suit the botanicals. One is a rich malt spirit and the other is a smooth wheat spirit. These flavours marry together with the locally sourced botanicals (including the honey which comes from the family beehive) to great the delicious gin.

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We also should mention the bottle. We love the unique pattern on the inside of the label shining through the gin. It makes an interesting addition to any gin bar and would be great to add some fairy lights to when the bottle is empty; which at the rate we are going may be sooner than we initially thought.

This definitely needs to be added to your “gin to watch out for” list.  It is a superbly smooth gin that would be perfect to serve after dinner.  The extra bonus is that for every bottle of Cooper King Gin sold, 1 square metre of woodland is planted, this combined with the distillery’s 100% green energy usage, means you are basically saving the planet one bottle at a time!  It gets the stamp of approval from us!

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