#LastDrinkOfTheWeek – Gin Old Fashioned for World Gin Day

Despite my having a small pile of limes in the fridge and a bottle of bourbon staring at me from my booze cupboard, I decided that I couldn’t let the third year of World Gin Day pass me by without mentioning it here. I may have spent most of World Gin Day itself, June 15th for 2013, with a Dodd’s Gin and tonic in my hand (from The London Distillery Company, who I will one day write about more fully on the blog) but Sunday is my evening for experimentation, so a Gin Old Fashioned it is.

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Victoria Spirits

During my visit to Canadia I didn’t focus entirely on whisky. While I trawled the local bars (well, mainly the hotel and airport bars…I was busy) for new beers I also got caught up in an expedition to local distiller Victoria Spirits, makers of gin and more…

From my ‘in depth’ research before I left the UK I’d worked out that it was a shortish walk from my hotel to Victoria Spirits HQ, so considered the car-based coordination that had been organised slightly over the top. 20 minutes later, after driving down a variety of major roads in and around Victoria, we pulled down a wooded driveway a significant distance from the centre of town, and I started to doubt my map reading skills even more than I usually do.

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Sacred Gin at The Juniper Society

After a summer hiatus the Juniper Society have returned. This is the sort of thing that happens when the organisers leave the hosting bar to go and run other places, but they’re all still friends and the lovely folks at Graphic are still hosting these evenings of gin fuelled learning, with Sarah and Adam still throwing booze around. You can see what’s happening over on the Facebook page. Anyways, this was the first one I’ve been able to make it along to for ages but the plan was still the same as usual – gin maker comes in; gin maker tells everyone about gin; everyone drinks gin; profit. This session was with north London’s cold distillation pioneers – Sacred Gin.

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Heston from Waitrose: Earl Grey & Lemon Gin

Before I write any of this blog post I feel I need to make a full disclosure: I sort of worship Heston Blumenthal, aka St Heston of Bray. Over the years that he’s been becoming increasingly ubiquitous as the face of SCIENCE! in cooking I’ve watched his TV programs, read his books and even eaten at the Fat Duck. I didn’t stoop to buying one of his infamous Christmas puddings (not for want of trying) and have yet to pick-up any of his specialist salt mixes (a sign that my levels of pretentiousness are dropping) but am still bouncing like an excited child that he has a new TV series starting tonight. When I saw that he had a gin coming out as part of his Heston from Waitrose range there wasn’t much chance that I wasn’t going to buy a bottle.

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Navy Strength Gin tasting with Summer Fruit Cup

In my constant quest to learn All Things About All Things David from Summer Fruit Cup is my gin saviour. Along with pinging me details of some of the more random gins we have at work he has also run occasional tastings at Graphic and invited me along. The American Gin tasting back on World Gin Day was a bit of an eye opener and I jumped at the chance of attending his most recent one – a walk through a range of navy strength gins.

The tasting procedure was the same as last time – all blind, with David revealing all of the gins at the end after we’d submitted our top three of the night. In addition we’d be asked whether we thought each was from the USA or UK, an attempt to see if there are specific general stylistic differences between the two countries.

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Whisky Squad #38 – To make whisky you start with beer…

I am much behind on Whisky Squad write-ups, which is especially bad as I’ve recently started helping out organise The Squad properly, rather than just shouting drunkenly during the sessions and claiming that it’s ‘help’. Anyways, Whisky Squad #37 has fallen by the wayside, as I was helping present it and didn’t make enough notes. But never mind – here is number #38!

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World Gin Day – American Gin

World Gin Day may have been a couple of weeks back, but after dashing off a quick post about Latvian gin I had somewhere to be – Graphic Bar for a blind tasting of gin with David from Summerfruitcup. However, this was no Beefeater and Tanqueray laden group, instead focusing on a rapidly growing area in the world of juniper flavoured spirits – American gin.

With the flourishing craft distilling scene in the US comes a need to monetise maturing spirit and many of the distillers are turning away from the relatively easy path of producing vodka and also making gins. There are also an increasing number of distillers ignoring aged spirits and focusing solely on vodka and gin, which is an encouraging sign – it’s often easy to see gin as an ‘also ran’ in the craft distilling movement. While the US’s domestic spirit production was huge and varied before Prohibition it has taken rather a large amount of time to push beyond industrially produced alchohol to more widely available artisinal spirits, and gin has happily piggybacked on the explosion.

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World Gin Day – Viking Džins

So, it’s World Gin Day. While I don’t need an excuse to write about gin it is always nice to have one and I’ve spent the last few weeks going through our (scarily large) pile of gins at work making a list of some of the more interesting ones. While putting together a TWE blog post to do some pimping of my list and WGD I realised that I have been much remiss in my gin buying activity and had not got round to picking up something I’d promised myself, and others, that I would – Viking Džins.

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