The Gin To My Tonic Club December Christmas Special 2021
Meet-the-Makers Virtually on Saturday 11th December 6.00pm-8.30pm
Can you believe it’s December? And what a year it has been as well! We’ve expanded our gin horizons, fell in love with new creations, championed innovation, and celebrated the talents of some truly awe-inspiring distillers.
This maybe our last Virtual Gin Tasting of 2021 but we are ending on a high note with another immersive and exciting batch of gin producers. Expect the usual dose of backstories, gin tours and perfect serves, paired with a sprinkle of Christmas magic as we ask each of our makers to serve up inspiration with the festive season firmly in mind.
So, please get ready to give a warm welcome to this month’s fabulous gin producersincluding Castle Hill, Eden Mill, Greenwich Spirits Company, Hepple Spirits and Lunun Gin, as we indulge in another batch of glorious gins and raise a Christmas drink with you from afar.
Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!
Em and Paul – Co-Founders, Best Friends & Fellow Gin Enthusiasts
ON THE NIGHT - MIX WITH THE BEST
Castle Hill Lady Grey Gin – Fever-Tree Indian Tonic & a garnish of Orange.
Eden Mill Botano Gin – Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic & a garnish of Basil.
Greenwich Marine London Dry Gin – Fever-Tree Indian Tonic & a garnish of Grapefruit.
Hepple Sloe & Hawthorn Gin – Fever-Tree Lemon Tonic and a garnish of Lemon. Whilst a mixer has been provided, we thoroughly recommend this neat.
Lunun Gin – Fever-Tree Naturally Light Tonic & a garnish of Lime.
These are recommendations of The Gin To My Tonic and Fever-Tree.
From the Hills of Hepple: Hepple Spirits
The Hepple story began at their now home, on the hills of Hepple, one of Britain’s last wild sanctuaries for juniper. Celebrated foraging chef Valentine Warner brought legendary bartender Nick Strangeway and distillery developer Cairbry Hill up to Hepple in the remote Northumbrian national park to meet Walter Riddell, owner of the Hepple estate in March 2013. A bone-chilling wind was blowing from the east, as ever.
The original plan was to make something esoteric, but out on the moor the wind hounded them to take refuge amongst a stand of ancient junipers, glittering with green and purple berries. The gin revolution was underway, and innovation was coming thick and fast. The innovation was about new botanical inclusions, discoveries of ancient recipes and of new distilleries that honoured places, people. As they huddled amongst the shaking juniper, bejewelled with berries, it became clear that something core to gin had never been fully revealed. In the chilly Aladdin’s cave was something bright, complex, glittering – the true essence of gin.
After much experimentation and research, they found that the only way to capture the heart of each ingredient was to distill in three dimensions, and Hepple’s unique Triple Technique was born. It takes five times longer to make Hepple Gin than a conventional gin.
What is your favourite Christmas tipple recipe?
That has got to be our Winter Aperitivo!
35ml Hepple Sloe & Hawthorn Gin
Top with Fever-tree Mediterranean Tonic
What has been your favourite moment from 2021?
In October this year we hosted the ‘Hepple Extreme Martini Competition’ we had the pleasure of hosting some of the top bartenders from some of the best bars around the UK to develop an Extreme Martini. Along with bartenders we had Valentine Warner and Gill Meller two of the UK’s best known foraging chefs cooking the most incredible food from the land at Hepple. But the best part was…it was during the wet and windiest day of the year! It felt like we were eating and drinking in a typhoon, but it really added to the extreme element of the competition. We can’t wait to do it all again, next time maybe in Summer!
Tell us something we might not know…
Did you know it takes 16 years for a juniper bush to produce berries and it is only the female juniper bushes that produce berries. The juniper bushes across the Hepple moors are over 400 years old!
Crafted by Hand with Eden Mill St Andrews
The Eden Mill story started with a mission to revive the lost art of distilling and brewing in St Andrews. St Andrews, the renowned home of golf, and the arts of brewing and distilling were once integral to the town. Based on the site of a historic distillery on the banks of the River Eden, Eden Mill were the first to make spirits in the region for 150 years.
As Scotland’s first single-site distillery and brewery, making gin, whisky and beer, Eden Mill spirit is created in copper pot-stills and exhibits a wide range of flavours from botanicals sourced from the local area, as well as from around the world. As creators of craft gin, whisky and beers, their team of distillers have the opportunity to marry the best practices from all these disciplines.
The team at Eden Mill are challenged with applying modern techniques and understanding to time honoured traditional methods. An appreciation of the intricacies of barrel ageing and quality wood is one benefit Eden Mill enjoy from this special status. Applying this in order to develop truly innovative creations, such as their bourbon-aged Oak Gin.
Can you tell us about your distillation process?
Our brewers and distillers immerse themselves in Eden Mill’s hands-on process. We don’t use computers or vast production tanks – ours is a personalised approach of creation, tinkering and experimenting. We touch, taste and smell our products every day to make sure everything reflects the Eden Mill ethos.
Many of our ingredients and botanicals are sourced ethically and locally from the verdant fields and wild coasts of Scotland.
Can you tell us about the Botano gin we are tasting today?
This gin is inspired by the tastes of the Mediterranean, Botano (Voh-ta-noh) is Greek for ‘herb.’ Infusing a selection of aromatic herbs with zesty lemon and orange peel, makes this gin both fresh and fragrant.
Enjoy with premium Mediterranean tonic water and garnish with basil or neat over ice.
What is your favourite Christmas tipple?
Ah our Candy Cane Gin is the perfect festive drink and can be enjoyed in so many ways.
Enjoy Candy Cane Gin served with a premium lemonade and brambles to garnish. For those looking to try their hand at an easy Christmas cocktail, Candy Cane Gin also makes for a fantastic addition as the base spirit to a classic Mojito to add a festive twist.
For an extra indulgent treat, why not add a measure to your Hot Chocolate for a festive minty night-in!
Ocean voyage around the world with Greenwich Spirits
Greenwich Gin was born in a South-East London kitchen as a lockdown project looking to honour the maritime legacy of Greenwich along with the founders’ spirit of world exploration, ocean travel and adventure. Besides its marine character, Greenwich Gin is about bringing together different parts of the world and sharing the stories from these beautiful places, their people, their unique flavours and their culture; doing so in a way that is respectful to those people, their environment and communities by keeping sustainability at the core of the brand and product.
As gin lovers, being able to make gin at home was how the founders survived lockdown! They spent countless nights distilling different botanicals and using different distillation methods but after a year of trial & error (mostly error), they found a way to capture in the liquid something they hold very personal: the concept of the world coming together. They don’t really have a “home country” since they have been moving around the world for decades so who they are is defined by the mix of all these places they lived in and people they met along the way; and that’s exactly what they wanted to achieve in this gin: bringing the different corners of the world together. As much as Greenwich Gin is a local product, it is also a global one.
What is your perfect serve?
- Plenty of ice
- 50ml Greenwich Gin
- 100-150ml premium non-flavoured tonic
- Garnish with slice of grapefruit or lime
Greenwich Gin also shines when served on the rocks or in a classic martini.
Tell us something we might not know…
We love the ocean and there is absolutely no plastic in our packaging; we use natural cork stoppers and seals made of wood pulp. We also donate to ocean preservation projects by The Seahorse Trust for each bottle sold.
What is your favourite Christmas tipple recipe?
Mince pie martini
What is your favourite Christmas Cracker joke?
What did 52% of Brits order for Christmas dinner?
No Nonsense - Just Taste Lunun
Lunun Gin was launched in October 2019 by Chef Dean Banks. It is a premium Scottish gin with an Asian twist; influenced by Dean’s travels across the globe and his expertise in fusion cooking. Distilled in Dean’s hometown of Arbroath, Angus, the gin’s name is an adaptation of Angus’ most peaceful, secluded beach, ‘Lunan Bay’. Lunun gin is distilled by a gentleman called Lewis who has been a good friend of Dean’s for a long time so it only made sense when Lewis opened his own Distillery that both he & Dean would work together to create Lunun Gin.
Lewis distills Lunun gin in a single-fold process. Meaning the gin is not diluted from a concentrate which can be harsh on the palate. This process allows for a much smoother taste, which lets the flavours speak for themselves. It’s six unique botanicals – kaffir lime leaf, sea buckthorn, Sichuan pepper, kombu kelp, ginger and lemongrass – add a citrus essence, allowing the straight-up gin to be served with or without tonic and a simple slice of lime. This award- winning gin is known for its smooth, delicate palate, with beautifully balanced Asian flavours.
What do you love about gin / distilling?
It’s like being in the kitchen, I love the fact you can add different flavours and spices. There are some set rules you need to abide by with making gin. It’s kind of like the way a classic recipe is made for example, you want to make a shortbread you have to use a certain amount of sugar and butter for it to work, however you can add all your different flavours to it and make it a seaweed shortbread for example, as we do in the restaurant. It’s very similar to cooking which is why I love it.
What party/Christmas canapé perfectly complements your gin?
The perfect canape for my gin is our kombu cured gin trout. Basically, we take the gin and kombu seaweed and we cure the trout with that and you serve it simply on a blini. We also do it at the restaurant inside a cone. It looks like a wee ice cream cone with rye bread, custard, a little bit of nutmeg and Exmoor caviar.
What are your favourite Christmas party cocktails?
Favourite Christmas party cocktails, very simple. I like simple things for Christmas parties so you can do our sweetened gin, Jamberry. It’s basically gin sours with the jamberry in it and that’s it. It’s beautiful. I also like gin and tonic, straight up, it’s a great one for socializing with. Glasses of champagne and espresso martinis, always espresso martinis, trays upon trays upon trays of espresso martinis.
What has been your favourite moment from 2021?
It was one day a couple weeks ago when I won Distilled Gin of the Year at Scottish Gin Awards. I won three AA rosettes, I got an early mention in the Michelin guide. It was the first time of doing this in their history. And I picked up the keys for my brand new restaurant Haar St Andrews, all in the same day. Four huge things all in the same day, with a spot of luck it was all in the same day but that would be my favourite moment of 2021.
A truly Yorkshire spirit with Castle Hill Gin
Founded by Tom Clark during lockdown 2020, Castle Hill Gin is based in Huddersfield and has quickly become an award winning distillery thanks to its Lady Grey Tea gin! Demand has been exceptional and along with a delicious London Dry Gin and brand new Rhubarb and Apple gin there are a number of other flavours in the pipeline due to be released over the coming months!
Their story will resonate – as with so many people facing the challenges of a year where so many businesses have been impacted by the dreaded C word!
Tom was a diehard gin fan working in the print industry. He started 2020 with such promise and optimism before sadly having to close the doors on his business due to the pressures of the pandemic. Whilst no doubt devastating this also gave Tom an opportunity to seek out new inspiration with the world of gin that he had held a lifelong dream for. In the summer of 2020 Tom set himself the goal of having a finished product before Christmas.
Can you tell us more about The Lady Grey gin we are trying today?
The Lady Grey is a delightful blend. Smooth and elegant Lady Grey botanicals give waves of light black tea and bergamot fragrance then disappear into a silky and abiding citrus finale.
The tea has been carefully chosen from the wonderful T&Cake tea rooms in Almondbury (the home of Castle Hill!).
This gin is beautifully paired with Lemon slices, Blood Orange peel and Fever-Tree Indian Tonic Water.
What inspired the Castle Hill Range?
Initially I knew I wanted it to be a very local product as Huddersfield has been my home for many years, and I’m a firm advocate of the town, and what better landmark to champion the brand than Castle Hill.
With over 4000 years of history there’s plenty to discover about this amazing landmark; set on the horizon of Huddersfield, and visible from their premises in the town centre, it has been a constant inspiration for the creation of our craft gin.
Are you still looking for the perfect Christmas Gift for a gin lover? We have a huge variety of products available on our online store. Order before 10:00 am GMT on Wednesday 22nd December for delivery in time for Christmas!
Why not buy your loved ones tickets to our 2022 Gin Festivals or Shows? A Gin-Tastic Day out where you will be introduced to new gins you are likely not to have discovered, broaden your horizons with craft gin, vodka, rum and whiskey and sample with our fabulous distillers in person. For tickets click here.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH FEVER TREE
Fever-Tree began in 2003 with a meeting of minds and one simple premise: if three quarters of your G&T is the tonic, wouldn’t you want it to be the best?
It became apparent that Charles and Tim had both come to the same conclusion – namely that the growing prevalence and popularity of premium spirits had not been matched by what was on offer in the tonic category.
From the very beginning, Charles and Tim approached their business in a different way – there would be no compromise at Fever-Tree. Flavour and quality were of the utmost importance. This mindset led them on an 18-month adventure from the archives of the British Library to facing the wrong end of a Kalashnikov in the Democratic Republic of Congo and concluded with the launch of our Premium Indian Tonic Water in 2005, with the belief we still operate by today.. If 3/4 of your drink is a mixer, mix with the best. As well as quality, Charles and Tim wanted to put the choice back into the category.
The whole company has been built on innovation. Constantly developing new mixers, new flavours, new ideas, thus creating, an array of flavours to pair with the myriad of premium Gins, Vodkas, Whisky’s and Vermouths.