Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

Category: Gin (page 1 of 2)

Posts that involve my love of gin.

7 Unmissable Food & Drink finds in Angus

Angus is a wonderful region full of treats for the food and drink lover. Here are a few of my top recommendations.

1.One of the most famous foods from Angus has to be the Arbroath Smokie. The Smokie has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. In a similar way to Champagne or Parma Ham, this means that the smokie has to be processed within five miles of Arbroath. The haddock is washed, salted and then wood-smoked in a traditional process that dates back to the 1800’s. My personal favourite is having smokies served simply with butter for breakfast but have a look over on http://www.asapsmokies.com/recipes/ for some brilliant recipe ideas.

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2. Who knew that Kirriemuir would be home to an artisan chocolate maker? Johanna Woodhead and her husband have run the gorgeous 88 Degrees café for more than 13 years and I hear that the communal bench seating has led to more than one marriage proposal! As well as being a bit of a Cilla Black, Johanna creates THE most amazing handmade chocolates. She was kind enough to let me sample the Adult Snickers (yep, as good as it sounds!) and even let me have a go at making my own truffles. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be able to give up my day job quite yet!

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3. Angus loves a food and drink event. I attended Taste Angus at Glamis Castle and it was a brilliant day out with artisan food suppliers, celebrity chef demos and live music. Look out for its return next year. Later in 2017 there’s also Brechin Beer & Gin Festival  in September and Angus Brewfest in October to look forward to. Also the Farmers Market Montrose is held on the first Saturday of every month and the Farmers Market Forfar is held on the second Saturday of the month. Lots of great opportunities to try and buy local produce!

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4. I couldn’t talk about Angus food and drink without mentioning the famous Forfar Bridie! Whilst there are conflicting stories about the origin of the bridie, there’s no denying just how tasty they are! The delicious shortcrust pastry, the hot beef filing…. nothing quite compares! The first time I visited Forfar for work, when 12 o’clock came, I was asked the most serious question of the day “Are you going to McLaren’s or Saddler’s for your bridie?“.  One not to miss out on when you visit the town!

5. For whisky lovers, this 360 degree bar in Edzell has to be a little piece of heaven. Situated in the Glenesk Hotel, the bar is home to over 1,000 varieties with the most expensive dram setting you back a cool £195. For those less partial to Scotch, the bar also has a great vodka corner and an excellent gin selection. The lounge is the perfect place to unwind with a drink after dinner in the stunning Fairways Restaurant.

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6. Angus is home to not one, but two of my favourite gin producers! Both Arbikie and The Gin Bothy are based in the county. Arbikie has two gin varieties – Kirsty’s Gin and AK’s Gin. Both distinctly different but equally delicious.

The Gin Bothy currently have four full strength gins as well as a number of fruit infused gins which are liqueur strength. The Gin Bothy is the brainchild of Kim who gave me a sneaky peak of the brand new tasting rooms where you can enjoy a guided group sampling session. She also let me try out the full range; tough job I know! What stood out for me was how ‘real’ the fruit gins tasted. There’s no synthetic flavours added so the Raspberry Gin, my favourite, tastes like real Scottish raspberries. I also fell in love with Gunshot Gin which has won a triple star in the Great Taste Awards

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7. If, like me, you are a fan of fine dining, then Angus and the surrounding areas have a number of restaurants sure to tickle your fancy! The Tayberry in Broughty Ferry was created by award winning chef Adam Newth in 2015. Adam, from Abroath, is also Head Chef at the stunning Kinnetles Castle near Forfar and has recently opened a second Tayberry in St Andrews. My experience at The Tayberry was outstanding – you can read the full review here.

Or how about a visit to one of Chef Graham Campbell’s restaurants? The youngest person in Scotland to have received a Michelin star; he is Head Chef at both Castlehill restaurant in Dundee and the Glenesk Hotel in Edzell. I watched Graham demonstrate some of his favourite dishes recently and I loved his passion for using locally sourced produce and letting the ingredients do the talking.

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Scallops with Corn

Scallops with Corn

Edinburgh Festival Food and Drink Experiences 2017

August is one of the most exciting months in Edinburgh’s social calendar. With The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh International Book Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe all going on, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to comedy, music and theatre options. 2017 is an extra special year as it marks the 70th year of the Fringe Festival.

If you’d like to include some food and drink themed fun in your plans, here are my top tips for the 2017 Edinburgh festival.

 

1. Ice Cream from Mary’s Milk Bar

Sometimes the sun shines in Edinburgh. Mostly it doesn’t. Either way, make sure you sample the delights of Mary’s Milk Bar! The soft gelato is freshly made each day and comes in exciting flavours like Fried Bananas in Butter or Fig & Goats Cheese. Check out Mary’s Instagram page to see the mouth-watering treats https://www.instagram.com/marysmilkbar/?hl=en

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2. Fine Dining and Enchantment

If you only do one thing at the festival this year, make it this. The Illusionist’s Table was my highlight of the 2016 Fringe.  The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a brilliant venue and you can look forward to an evening of food, whisky and enchantment. Always a sell out so make sure you get your tickets well in advance. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/at-the-illusionist-s-table

3. Fresh Seafood

Stop by Odine for Oyster Happy Hour! Oysters are only £1 a shuck (5.30 – 6.30pm Mon – Thur, 5.00- 6.00pm Fri – Sat).

https://www.ondinerestaurant.co.uk/oyster-hour/

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4. Have a dram

Scotch whisky is famous across the world and with good reason! We have over 100 distilleries in Scotland so why not take the opportunity to try out the national drink during the festival this year? Here are some of the planned tasting sessions available:

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5. Foodies Festival

I’ve been along to Foodies Festival a few times and it’s always a great day out with loads to see and samples to taste. This year is set to include appearances from top chef Mark Greenaway, a Vintage Tea Tent and even a Chilli Eating Competition! The festival takes place at Inverleith Park between 4th and 6th August. http://www.foodiesfestival.com/edinburgh-food-festival/

Foodies Festival fun

Foodies Festival fun

6. Dram & Smoke Pop Up Dining

Meet new people and try some Scottish seasonal delights at this pop-up dining event in a former biscuit factory. You can expect a welcome cocktail and a four course dining experience followed by live music. The coolest way to have dinner during the festival! https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/dram-smoke-the-campfire-feasts-pop-up

7.  Picnic in Princes Street Gardens

Princes St Gardens were created in two phases in the 1770’s and 1820’s following the draining of Nor Loch (where they used to drown Edinburgh’s witches…. go on a ghost tour to hear more about this).  The Gardens are a lovely place to sit and people watch while you have a great view of Edinburgh Castle. Why not stop off Valvona & Crolla for some gourmet picnic ingredients? Remember to tweet me with your picnic pics @girlversusfood

8. Dining and Cabaret Show

A four course meal and evening of traditional Scots fiddle and bagpipes will make for a great night out at Prestonfield House. I’ve visited Prestonfield before and I was really impressed by the grand 17th-century building and the delicious food. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/famous-taste-of-scotland

Prestonfield House

Prestonfield House

9. Visit a Farmer’s Market

There are weekend Farmers Market in Stockbridge, Leith and the Grassmarket which stock a wonderful variety of local produce. Check out the website for details. http://www.stockbridgemarket.com/

10. The Gin Whore Tour

Historical tales of hooch and harlots, paired with the very best gins….sounds like my kind of thing! The one-woman show is back for a second year and will be running from 21st to 27th of August (four gins are included in the ticket price). Here I am with the fabulous Gin Whore herself: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/gin-whore-tour

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11. Thai Cookery Class

Get hands on with this Thai cookery workshop from executive chef Rujira Herd where you will make an autherntic three-course lunch. Rujira has been running the Thai cook school from an Edinburgh town house for nearly 20 years and has a wealth of knowledge about the traditional cuisine of her homeland. https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/thai-cookery-workshop-with-lunch

12. Sample Some Sweet Treats

  • Check out The Marshmallow Lady for the fluffiest of marshmallows made from Scottish butter, cream and Fair Trade Sugar. Most are gluten free. Prosecco and Rose Petal Flavour? Yes, please! http://www.burghbakes.com/
  • Shortbread has a long tradition in Scotland. Try this biscuit at its best at the fabulous Pinnies and Poppy Seeds bakery; will you go traditional or try the butter pecan? http://pinniesandpoppyseeds.com/
  • Mimi’s Bakery on the Royal Mile is a great place to go for cakes, traybakes, brownies, cupcakes, muffins and scones. Mid-afternoon sugar fix sorted! http://mimisbakehouse.com/pages/mimislittlebakehouse-oldtown

13. Bring Your ‘A’ Game

Highland estate distiller Arbikie will be back with their ‘A Club’ this year bringing the most delicious artisan cocktails and best live music to Merchants Hall. Hop over to Arbikie Club for the full low-down. https://www.arbikieclub.com/

14. Spend time at Summerhall

It’s not just the Fringe that turns seventy this year. Pickerings Gin are celebrating 70 years since their 1947 recipe was created. That makes it a great time to head to their distillery at Summerhall. You can hang out in the gin garden, take a tour of the distillery or even play the gin-themed escape room.

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/pickering-s-gin-jolly

https://www.pickeringsgin.com/tours-tastings/lockedin-the-distillery/

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Chocolate, Gin and other reasons to visit Fife

Being invited along to enjoy a ‘Feast of Fife’ has to be one of my blogging highlights for 2016! I’m always excited to try local produce, so I was intrigued to find out what delights Fife had to offer. I took the train from Edinburgh and the journey itself was a pleasure; crossing into Fife over the iconic Forth Bridge and along a coastal track, contemplating a day of gourmet treats ahead.

Starting the day with cheeseJane Stewart

Jane Stewart from the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company was an absolute pleasure to listen to. I loved hearing about how Jane and her farmer husband had branched out to start making cheese from their dairy herd in 2008. Myself and the other foodie bloggers got to sample four different cheeses produced on the farm; Anster, Red Anster, Smoked Anster and St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar. They were all delicious but the smoked cheese really did it for me! The crumbly cheese is smoked nearby at St Monans using oak and beech chips. A great place to try St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese is at the purpose built coffee shop; it’s light, bright and has gorgeous views out to the Firth of Forth. If you visit on a cheese-making day (3 days out of 7) then you’ll be able to watch the action through the viewing gallery. I’m also definitely going to have a go at making the cheese scone recipe which is featured on their website http://www.standrewscheese.co.uk/our-cheese/recipes/

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Lunch in a barn

Next up was a visit to The Balgove Steak Barn. I’d never seen a restaurant quite like this before! The rustic looking barn has walls made of potato crates and a shrubbery lined entrance. Inside there are long communal benches and a fire pit which adds to the cosy atmosphere. Along with my fellow food writers, we started by sampling a selection of the Steak Barn’s tasty starters including chicken skewers and battered prawns. Then it was time for the mains, which of course included fantastic 28 day aged steaks, as well as burgers and huuugee onion rings! The meat is all cooked on the wood fired barbeque which provides a focal point for the restaurant. Whilst I’m normally a red wine with steak kind of gal, I took the opportunity to sample three different beers from the St Andrews Brewing Company. The Crail Ale, a crisp pale ale was my pick of the bunch.

I really enjoyed looking around the Balgove Farm Shop too. It’s a proper foodie paradise with lots of locally produced gourmet ingredients. I couldn’t resist taking home a jar of Venison and Cognac Pate.

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Gin and chocolate

What does everyone need after lunch on a Saturday? Definitely gin and chocolate. We headed to Eden Mill to sample the range of gins paired with chocolates from The Highland Chocolatier. What a treat! The Eden Mill range of gins are recognisable by their ceramic bottles and bold branding. I had the chance to sample four gins; the Original, Love Gin, Hop Gin and Oak Gin.

  • The Original Gin is a London dry gin which was paired with a White Lime and Chilli Truffle. The chilli flavour was subtle and the lime worked really well with this classic style of gin.
  • The dark chocolate Ginger Truffle was an excellent accompaniment to the Oak Gin. The caramel and vanilla flavours in the Oak Gin along with the ginger in the truffle made me think of cosy autumn nights by a log fire.
  • The pale pink Love Gin was served with Rose Lemonade and this made it a little sweet for me, but I have tried it with tonic previously and it was delicious. The White Raspberry and Heather Honey Truffle was just beautiful with a thistle pattern on the outside. It tasted just as good as it looked!
  • Last up was the Hop Gin with a Passionfruit and Mango Truffle. The Hop variety is definitely the Marmite of gin and there were some mixed reactions around the table. Eden Mill have a great range of craft beer and this gin is a bit of a cross-over product which features Australian galaxy hops. I found the smell of this one a bit overpowering but the flavour definitely grew on me.

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Fife Foraging

Over the last year, I’ve developed a growing interest in foraging, mostly brought on by my experience with The Botanist Gin which you can read about here. I had mixed results at the beginning of the summer in my attempts to make elderflower cordial and champagne but that hasn’t put me off! A great way to finish my day in Fife was a guided foraging trip. Along the way we found lots of edible plants and berries and also learned what to be wary of. It’s amazing what you can find on a country walk. I’m now inspired to make some elder berry wine and sloe gin…. stay tuned!

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This was an absolutely brilliant day out in Fife and I would definitely recommend checking out all the fantastic producers in this area! Throughout the day, I saw so much passion from the producers; theyare quite rightly extremely proud of the fantastic food and drink scene in Fife.

Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Sorbet Recipe

As a gin-lover I’m always looking for ways to incorporate my favourite drink into cooking. This gin sorbet is so delicious and refreshing, I’m sure you’ll love it as much it as I do! It’s great as a light dessert or you could serve a small scoop as a palate cleanser between courses. The gin liqueur I’ve used has a 20% alcohol volume so if you use a full strength gin you’ll need to reduce the amount you add or it will taste too strong and be difficult to freeze.

 

Ingredients

300g caster sugar

300ml water

500ml good quality tonic water

Zest and juice of one lime

Zest and juice of half a lemon

75ml of Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur

1 egg white

 

Method

  1. Put the sugar and water in a pan over a low heat and stir regularly until the sugar is dissolved. Once dissolved, turn the heat up and allow the liquid to boil for one minute.
  2. Transfer the liquid to a bowl to cool (an empty plastic ice cream tub or tupperware is ideal). Once cooled to room temperature place in the fridge for one hour.
  3. Add the tonic water, gin and citrus juice and zest. Freeze for 8 hours.
  4. Remove from the freezer and break up the mixture with a fork. Transfer to a blender and add the egg white. Blitz until smooth but try to do this quickly before the mixture melts too much.
  5. Transfer back into your tub and freeze overnight. For best result remove from the freezer ten minutes before serving.

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5 places to drink in Barcelona

Craft beer, gin and vermouth are all popular on the Barcelona scene and I’ve picked out a few places for you that stood out during my recent visit. One piece of advice for visiting Barcelona would be to avoid drinking on the tourist trap that is Las Rambla. Just a few streets away you will find much nicer places and get better value.

At Fàbrica Moritz in the Raval area, all the beer consumed is produced on-site in the microbrewery. They produce Pilsner style beers as well as artisan beers, limited editions, wheat specialties and ales. The basement area is stunning, I would love to have a party here! So make sure you go downstairs and take a peek at the brewery and strike a pose in front of the lit glass. The place is open from 6am until 3am, so there’s no excuse not to pop in for a drink during your visit to Barcelona.

 

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BierCaB is located near the University in the Eixample area and has a staggering 30 beers on tap! A list of the beers is displayed on screens in the bar. I hear the patatas bravas is pretty good here too. However, a word of warning: if anyone with you isn’t a beer fan, they may struggle to find an alternative drink at this bar. The barman looked at me like I was nuts when I asked for a glass of Cava!

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Garage Beer Co is a newly opened microbrewery which is just around the corner from BierCaB. With eight beers on tap, there is a smaller selection than BierCaB. However, the consensus from our group was that Garage Beer Co felt much more down to earth and a place that you could comfortably relax for a few hours. Make sure you check out their signature beer, Riba, which is a refreshing Pilsner style beer.

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Negroni cocktail bar is a tiny place in the Raval neighbourhood that you could easily walk past and miss out on the most fantastic cocktails. There is no menu but the bartender is happy to whip you up your favourite cocktail or invent one for you based on your preferences. My Bramble cocktail was to die for and one of my friends said that he had “the best Negroni” he’d ever tasted. This is serious praise indeed considering he is a bartender himself and has very high standards when it comes to cocktails. The bar has a great range of spirits including a gin selection that made me green with envy! This place is perfect for pre or post dinner drinks and the cocktails average around €8.

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Last but not least, Alsur Café in El Born district of Barcelona has a lovely terrace area in the square which is perfect for afternoon drinks in the sun. Inside there is quirky decoration and plenty of locals utilising the free wifi! This felt like a trendy neighbourhood and during our drinks we got to listen to a gypsy punk band who were playing in the square. The mojitos are delicious here and only €3.60. I can also highly recommend the Tom Collins! The Café is a five minute walk from the Cathedral and is worth stopping by if you’re in the area.

 

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Gin & Tonic Sea Bass Recipe

After an incredibly interesting day of foraging for botanicals with the lovely people at The Glasgow Gin Club and The Botanist gin last month, I was left feeling inspired to think about some different ways to use gin.

So I came up with this recipe to incorporate The Botanist into a fish dish. The delicate sea bass takes on the flavour really well and the fish comes out really tender. This recipe is very easy to make, perfect for a week night meal.

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 sea bass fillets

4 thin slices of lemon

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

10 cherry tomatoes

12 juniper berries (fresh if you can get them, I could only find dried)

25ml of The Botanist gin

25ml of good quality tonic water

10g melted butter

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  2. Cut two large rectangles of greaseproof paper and brush all over with the melted butter using a pastry brush.
  3. Place a piece of fish in the middle of each sheet and scatter over the lemon, rosemary, tomatoes and juniper berries.
  4. Sprinkle the gin and tonic mixture over the top.
  5. Fold the greaseproof paper over and then twist the ends like a sweetie wrapper. Fold the ends underneath the parcel.
  6. Cook in the oven for 22 minutes.
  7. Place each parcel on a plate, to be opened at the table. I served with some herby potatoes and of course, a nice gin and tonic!

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Guest Post: Have a Gin Fling this summer!

Summer is here (in spirit, if not in temperature) so what better time for a post featuring some delicious gin cocktails? And who better to share her favourite gin cocktails with us than the lovely Gabby Garcia, Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK? The Gin Emporium is a fabulous travelling gin parlour which can be hired for parties, weddings and all sorts of events. Check it out here www.theginempo.co.uk . Now, over to Gabby…

 

ShortsWe’ve all enjoyed a summer fling with something, whether it be the dark handsome chap on the Spanish islands, cut off jean shorts or fanny packs and we all know the heartbreak when it ends, but here’s a summer fling that will take you to new heights and maybe even a little way into autumn.

We’ve put together some of the best Gin Cocktails for you to enjoy this summer including a sneaky and very cheeky cocktail to see you through to the dark nights.

  1. The Chilgrove Gin Bright & Breezy!

Handcrafted using traditional methods and distilled with Natural Mineral water from the chalk downs, Chilgrove Gin is one of the finest we’ve tasted! A gin for all seasons, we love the Bright n Breezy cocktail and it certainly goes down a storm at our events. This gorgeous number includes dashes of angostura bitters and ginger beer, giving you a refreshing kick this summer.

Recipe:

2 measures of Chilgrove Dry Gin

2 Squeezed lime wedges

4 dashes of Angostura bitters

Ginger Beer (we choose Fevertree – naturally made and delicious)

 

Add the ingredients to a Collins glass with ice and stir. This cocktail has a lovely pink tint and an exciting flavour!

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  1. The Goodmans Gin Caprice Cocktail

Goodmans Gin is from the Netherlands and one of our favourites. The story behind the gin is almost like a Hollywood movie, a bar every day at 5’oclock at the side of the pool, people chatting and suddenly a lightbulb – I’ll make my own gin. The gin is created and it’s named after the bar and prescribed to be sipped at 5’oclock. The Gin itself is courageous, it’s smooth, clean and full of spirit. It’s fantastic over ice with a slice of ginger to bring out the kick on your tongue but for today we are sharing a wonderful cocktail, The Caprice.

Recipe:

4.5 CL of Goodmans Gin

1.5 CL of Benedictine

1.5 CL of Dry Vermouth

Dash of Orange Bitters (we say 2)

 

Stir with ice and strain into coupe glass

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  1. Daffy’s Negroni

 

Of course it wouldn’t be a true gin cocktail list without a Negroni, but here is one of our favourites and a wonderful Scottish gin to match! Daffy’s Gin is like nothing we have tasted before, you are enticed by the eyes of the blonde on the front of the bottle, followed by an almost toffee smell and then hit with spicy citrus flavour on the tongue. You feel the Lebanese mint linger and it’s fascinating! It works brilliantly in mixology and one of our favourites is the Negroni.

 

The Negroni was created in Florence in the 1920s and has become a summer staple forever!

 

Recipe:

1 part Daffy’s Gin

1 part Campari

1 part red vermouth

Orange Peel

Combine all the ingredients with plenty of ice and serve on the rocks in a tumbler glass.

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  1. The Pinkster Gin Jungle Remedy

 

Pinkster Gin is a quirky number on the market, it’s different to the others and is made by hand-steeping raspberries which are grown locally in Cambridgeshire. The Gin matches its name and is wonderfully pink, served with tonic, ice, raspberries and mint this gin changes with each new addition! It’s a perfect gin for those that don’t like heavy juniper gins, it’s also brilliant for experimental mixology! The Jungle Remedy a Pinkster Gin own recipe is brilliant and we love it!

 

Recipe:

50ml Pinkster

25ml lemongrass syrup

25ml fresh lime juice

5 fresh basil leaves

Shake and double strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, garnish with a sprig of basil.

 

  1. Burleighs St Clements

 

Burleighs Gin has an incredible flavour and a sense of purpose, from the standing proud bottle to the notes of Dandelion and Burdock, this is by far one of our favourite gins that we have tasted! The adventure behind Burleighs is another brilliant story, created by world renowned Master Distiller Jamie Baxter (who also created William Chase and City of London) and full of gorgeous Leicestershire botanicals this gin is perfect on its own over ice.

 

We are quite partial to the St Clements cocktail made with this premium pour. Bright orange and packed with flavour this cocktail perfect for a hot summer’s day sitting outside.

 

Recipe:

50 ml Burleighs London Dry Gin

35ml Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

Bitter Lemon Top

 

Serve in a highball glass with ice and an orange wheel. Kick back and enjoy this refreshing number.

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That’s the end of our Gin Fling summer line up but we did promise that this fling wouldn’t end until the autumn, so with a drum roll we are pleased to present one of our favourite autumnal cocktails….

 

Burleighs Autumn Leaves

 

Deep and dark perfect for sitting in front of the fire on an autumn day listening to the rain beat against the windows. This cocktail is garnished with blackberries and served on the rocks.

 

Recipe:

30ml Burleighs London Dry Gin

15ml Triple Sec

15ml Noilly Prat

15ml Campari

 

You should get a deep auburn colour and serve on the rocks in a tumbler glass.

 

Bramble

 

 


 

Guest Blogger: Gabby Garcia, Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK

Gabby lives in Leicestershire and is the Co-founder of The Gin Emporium UK, a travelling Gin Parlour www.theginempo.co.uk

Gabby is a food and gin enthusiast and regularly combines the two!

Gabby

Review of Firkin Gin

I was intrigued to find out that Gleann Mor Whisky Company had launched their own oaked gin in May this year. Oaked gin had been on my radar since I watched a clip about aging your own gin in a barrel on one of those weekend morning programmes. The DIY version seemed a bit of a faff to me, so I was super excited when a wee sample of Firkin Gin arrived in the post for me. Firkin Gin is aged in American oak casks giving it a lovely golden colour. And how gorgeous is the bottle?

Firkin Gin

When I tried the gin neat with ice, I found the oak a bit over-powering. It tasted somewhere between whisky and gin to me. Keeping the Scottish theme going, I chose to add Walter Gregor tonic water from Aberdeenshire. As soon as I added the tonic, the drink was transformed. The sweetness really started to come through.

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The suggested serve is a wedge of orange or a vanilla pod. I happened to have a vanilla pod in my baking cupboard so I split it lengthways and added it to the G&T. The vanilla really brought out the caramel and toffee notes in the gin and the result was a sweet, but not sickly, flavour.

As I was feeling generous, I let Mr GvF have a sip too. The G&T, or perhaps it should be F&T, got a big thumbs up from the whisky-lover. Firkin Gin has been totally different from anything I’ve tried this year. Different in a good way!

Firkin Gin is released in limited batches of 100 bottles and costs £45 for a 70cl bottle and is available here..

Gin Foraging Event, Glasgow

I’ve decided that Bear Grylls has it all wrong. Drinking reindeer blood and snacking on bugs to stay alive? Nah, I’ll pass! Foraging for gin garnishes, on the other hand? That sounds right up my street! So I was super excited to hear that The Glasgow Gin Club have teamed up with The Botanist Gin to hold a foraging event on the 4th of July 2015.

The Botanist is one of my favourite gins. It’s made on Islay from hand-foraged botanicals and has a clean, citrus flavour.

Over the last year in particular, I’ve noticed a trend for more interesting gin garnishes. In parallel to the rise of craft gins, people have become much more adventurous when it comes to finding great accompaniments. Why limit yourself to lime or cucumber when there’s a whole world of possibilities out there?

What I love most about the idea of foraging for botanicals is that it means your G&T will change depending on the season and what you’ve been able to find that day.

The event will start with a scenic walk from the Botanic Gardens to Kelvin Grove Park and along the way there will be an opportunity to learn about botanicals that can be found growing wild in the area. Then it will be on to the Kelvingrove Café where there will be the chance to participate in a drinks workshop and try out The Botanist with a variety of foraged garnishes, syrups and tonics. The day will end with nibbles and a delicious cocktail made by the professionals. All in all, this sounds like my perfect Saturday afternoon!

The Glasgow Gin Club hold monthly events which are a great chance to meet like-minded gin lovers! You can buy tickets for the foraging event here http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/182875

Hope to see you there!

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The London Gin Club, Soho

A visit to London for my 30th birthday was always going to involve gin! After a bit of online research, I stumbled across the London Gin Club. The bar stocks 130 varieties of gin and is in a great location in Soho.

The website recommended booking a table and I’m glad I did as the place was really busy when we arrived on a Friday evening. I loved the quirky décor with vintage signs decorating the walls. The only thing I wasn’t so keen on the steep stairs down to the toilets. I can imagine these being a little tricky after a few drinks! The menu made it perfectly clear what kind of place it was:image1

There was an excellent list of gin cocktails but we both opted for a blind tasting which was £26 each and included four different gins for us to try. My attention has been very much on Scottish gins recently so this was a great way to sample some new gins without being biased towards the homeland! The waitress brought over the gins along with Fevertree tonic and a selection of garnishes. She suggested tasting the gin neat, before adding some tonic and tasting again and then choosing a garnish.

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I absolutely loved tasting the four gins with no preconceptions and choosing which accompaniments I thought went best. The garnishes included orange, lime, raspberry and thyme. Mr GvF and I had some great discussion about the gins and ended up going for totally different garnishes. They great thing is, there’s no right or wrong answers; you choose what you think goes well together.

As they change the gins on the blind tasting menu regularly, I can reveal the ones I tried without ruining the surprise for you!

Brokers – a 40% English gin

Chilgrove – a 44% English gin

Berkeley Square – a 40% English gin

Da Mhile – a 42% Welsh gin

Each gin was very different and it was difficult to choose a favourite; I would have been happy to drink any of these again. However, I think the Da Mhile just edged it for me. It has notes of pepper and I opted to garnish it with thyme which I think was a great combination. I’ve since read up on it and discovered that it is one of very few organic gins produced in the UK and is very reasonably priced at £30 for a 70cl bottle.

The London Gin Club is a must visit attraction for gin lovers and makes a great date night. I’m looking forward to visiting again the next time I’m in the capital. Cheers!

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