Virtual Ginuary Tasting Programme 28th January 2023
Meet-the-Makers Virtually on Saturday 28th January 6pm - 8.30pm
With the start of the year always being a little dull as we get back into the daily grind, we all are in need of something to look forward to. So lets change January to Gin-uary!
This month we want to brighten up your gin shelves with 5 delicious and exciting gins from all over the country. We are all about championing craft and the art of distillation, here you can read about each individual company, and the gins they produce.
So, without further ado, lets start the month as we mean to go on and raise a glass to these fantastic distilleries, from afar!
Love and Best Wishes,
The Gin To My Tonic Team
Berkshire Botanical Dry Gin – Fever-Tree Indian Tonic & a garnish of Lemon and Rosemary
Contractors Classic Dry Gin – Fever-Tree Indian Tonic & garnish of Lemon & Hibiscus
Dandy Kat Signature Gin – Mediterranean Tonic & a garnish of Orange or Lemon.
No.186gin Signature Gin – Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic & a garnish of Grapefruit & Rosemary.
No.1 Fairham Signature Gin – Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic & a garnish of Orange
The Sartorially Elegant Dry Gin by Berkshire Botanical
Berkshire Botanical Distillery was founded by Johnny Neil in 2019. With experience in distilling dating back through multiple generations of his family, you could say gin runs through his veins.
Located in Yattendon, Berkshire, it all began at The Royal Oak pub, where ‘Harry’ (the copper still pictured above) lived and worked. But as the business grew and the gin grew in popularity, Johnny found the need for a larger premises. Berkshire Botanical now operates with a 200litre copper-pot still on the Yattendon estate, allowing production capacity to significantly increase.
Fuelled by a passion for the industry and a love for traditional craft distilling, Berkshire Botanical sources all local flora and fauna where possible. One key botanical in the dry gin is Norway Spruce, this is grown on the Yattendon Estate which is famous for its Christmas Tree Farm. As a company, they are partnered with Berks, Buck & Oxon Wildlife Trust to ensure they are working to protect local wildlife.
The gin itself is distilled using hand picked botanicals such as, Norway Spruce, Juniper, Coriander, Orange Peel and Grapefruit. It is a perfectly balanced dry gin which stands up to a good G&T but is also versatile enough to be used in more adventurous cocktails.
What inspired you to begin making gin and what do you love about the distillation process?
I actually got interested in gin through my Grandmother. She kept cases under the stairs at her house and her family were actually the owners of Greenall’s gin so I have 8 generations of distillers behind me, Granny made a mean G&T!
So I think I was always destined to try my luck at distilling and I have always particularly enjoyed the aromas that permeate through a gin distillery and also the change in the flavaour profile of the distillate as it flows out of the condenser. I am a huge fan of citrus and coriander and definitely more of a Dry Gin person but I have had some fun experimenting with interesting and unique botanicals. I suppose the key thing for me is the ensure we maintain the consistency though.
What did Berkshire Botanical Distillery look like in the early days?
I initially developed the Berkshire Dry recipe in Harry, our 50 litre pot still which is based in The Royal Oak in Yattendon. I was looking to develop something that used a local botanical and the Yattendon Estate is the largest producer of Christmas trees in the UK. We use Norway Spruce in the recipe from the estate on which we own a few of the trees to ensure we can cater for each batch. From those small beginnings we have developed 3 other recipes and also produce an estate Sloe gin which is very popular at this time of year! We also moved to a new site on Child’s Court Farm a little outside the village where we have Cecilia, our 200 litre still.
What is your perfect serve?
The perfect serve would be a G&T with Indian tonic water and garnished with a Lemon slice/wedge and a sprig of Spruce. Although it makes a superb Martini too J!
A Celebration of Friendship - Dedbest Distillery bring you Contractors Dry Gin
As coincidental as it sounds, the friendship between Bob Dedman and Damian Best began in a bar. As the years went on and they worked together in the construction industry, the dream of owning a distillery became more and more tempting until one day, they decided to make it a reality.
Located in beautiful Sussex countryside, the Dedbest Distillery runs out of the Old Mill Room on Crockstead Farm. Thanks to the beautiful countryside and abundance of wildlife, Bob and Damian are given the ability to take ideas directly from nature with the added bonus of a beautiful setting to work in.
Creating a gin that represents the authenticity of their dream to own a distillery was key. The ratios were tirelessly tested and tweaked to created a unique yet traditional flavour. The stars of the show are Hibiscus and Lemongrass. This initial burst of citrus combined with the delicate floral notes gives a beautifully balanced gin.
What do you love about gin / distilling?
One of the things I love about Gin is that it is so versatile. Flavour wise you can go through a spectrum. From sweet to savoury. Unless you are going for something super traditional, there are no wrong answers.
But I think most of all, I love the community and people I have met through gin and distilling. I have always been a “people person” and anything that brings together as many people as gin does, is a winner for me.
What was your favourite moment from 2022?
A couple of favourite moments from 2022. Receiving a silver award from The Global Spirits Masters in our first year was an incredibly proud feeling. Also at The Gin To My Tonic Show in Brighton. I sold out and had to drive the distillery in the break to grab more gin. A clear sign it was going down well!
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
I would say my biggest challenge so far has been learning all aspects of growing this business. From the creation of the gin, to selling it. Then maintaining the prementioned whilst also trying to expand and grow. The phrase “spinning plates” springs to mind!
Afternoon Tea at its Finest!
The founders of The Dandy Kat Gin Company are quite lucky. Not only are they siblings, they’re also great friends. Older sister Suzanne is the gin fan and a collector of anything small-batch; Martin is the business mind so, together, they make a great team.
It was on one of their many dog walks together that the idea of making their own gin came to life. Suzanne had visited a number of gin distilleries, had even made her own gin, and dreamed of, one day, owning her own distillery. She knew what the gin would be called. She knew what the botanicals would be. She kept on talking about a lottery win…
Martin, on the other hand, realised that this dream could become reality. He began talking about demand, promotion, costs and, ultimately, how they could make this actually work.
A few months later and the gin was in production.
What made you choose botanicals you chose for your gin?
I knew I wanted to use tea in the gin alongside the citrus notes. I also wanted to keep the botanicals, as far as possible, linked to the North East. Lord Earl Grey is a figure from the North East (there’s even a Nelson’s Column-style monument in the centre of Newcastle of him) and Earl Grey is also my favourite kind of tea, so it seemed to make sense! Additionally, the plans for this gin began during Lockdown 2020 when Black Lives Matter protests were prolific in the news. Lord Earl Grey was a key figure in the abolition of slavery so it seemed it was the perfect match!
For the citrus aspect (as Earl Grey is best served with a slice of lemon) lemon seemed to be the perfect pairing. However, we thought initially that it was too strong and so opted for dried citrus peel alongside the addition of Lemon Verbena. This then gives quite a smooth, balanced gin and depending on an individuals palate, some get more of the Earl Grey and some get more of the citrus!
Do you have any exciting plans for 2023?
Yes! A top secret summer gin, focusing on my favourite Mediterranean flavours. Think, a great gin for a Dry Martini!
Would you ever consider branching away from Gin and experimenting with other spirits?
Currently, no. I love gin too much and don’t yet have the facilities to diversify. But, who knows what the future holds?!
The Spirit of the North, No.186 Gin
What began as a personal journey, when husband and wife team Matt and Lynsey had to switch their tipple of choice to gin. This sparked a passion for premium craft spirits and all that goes with it.
After lots of testing and tweaking, the team at No.186 had a gin ready to release! Made with premium local ingredients and supporting sustainable practises, this gin can be enjoyed with one and all. It has gone onto win multiple awards within the Gin industry, including a Bronze Medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.
No.186 Flagship Signature Gin is well-rounded and exceptionally smooth, bursting with citrus and grapefruit flavours for refreshment that packs a punch. Balancing juniper, citrus and herbaceous notes with hints of soft spice.
What inspired you to start a distillery?
Matt and I became gin lovers back in 2013 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and it was just suggested he switch from drinking beer to clear spirits and sugar free mixers. We started experimenting with gin when craft gin was relatively new and we attended the festivals and ordered a different craft gin every month as a treat. We visited loads of distilleries and found the process fascinating. When we became involved in setting up one eight six in Manchester, we decided to create our own range of gins, that we knew had no added sugars or artificial sweeteners. We began using a local distillery to distil our gins initially before investing in two beautiful 200l copper stills. Our distillery in Manchester Will be open to view within one eight six in march and we have just expanded into a second site in Blackpool which we hope will be open for tours around the same time.
What do you love about the distillation process?
The smells. Our distillery always smells incredible. We of course enjoy tasting too and have gone from struggling to try gin neat to now tasting it coming off the still at 85 percent.
What was your favourite moment of 2022?
Our favourite moment was launching in partnership with ITV, coronation street’s Wonky Duck gin. It was a labour of love and took months of development and lots of sleepless nights. But we are so proud of the finished product and we can’t wait to see where it takes us.
Two Lads Making A True Lancashire Dry Gin, Fairham Gin
Founders and Distillers at Fairham Gin, Elis and Liam have been avid Gin lovers for a long time! They wanted to create a ‘proper’ gin with a modern influence, their aim was to distil a gin where the juniper shines through whilst being complimented by citrus notes running alongside it.
As a two man team, they are both involved in every process at the distillery. From peeling and dehydrating fruits to labelling all of their bottles by hand, each bottle really is handcrafted. Built on a juniper-forward base and layered with exotic citrus notes. A contemporary dry gin with a uniquely smooth finish that gives you a citrusy hit with every sip.
As well as creating a delicious gin, Fairham are supporting the River Ribble Trust, for each bottle that is sold, one tree sapling is planted; helping to grow a new space for wildlife throughout Lancashire.
How did winning The Gin To My Tonic Bursary Award benefit the distillery?
We were over the moon to be chosen as the first recipients of the TGTMT Bursary Award which was a highlight of our multi-award-winning year in 2022. We’ve had the pleasure of showcasing a number of times at the fantastic Gin To My Tonic Shows which has allowed us to meet and introduce our gins to new customers, some of which that have become huge Fairham Gin fans, and it has also given us the opportunity to meet like-minded distillers who are on the same journey as us.
Do you have any exciting plans for 2023?
2022 saw us stall on releasing a Third Edition, purely due to the fact we weren’t happy with the final result we were getting. We’ve made some tweaks, done a lot of testing and we’re confident in adding to our Core Range very soon. We’ve now also got our Limited Edition and Cocktail Range that we launched at the end of 2022 that proved a huge success with our sold-out Limited-Edition Vol.1 Chocolate, Orange and Spiced release, so we’re always coming up with new ideas to provide you with something tasty to fill your glass… watch this space and look out for us at some events!
What made you choose the botanicals in your Signature Gin?
Signature Edition is a real labour of experimentation and pushing the boundaries. We first started developing Signature in March 2020 and it took us over 12 months to really nail the final recipe which was released in April 2021. With this expression we wanted to go against the grain and create a ‘Signature’ London Dry gin that wasn’t just juniper, we wanted it to stand out from the crowd and be quintessential Fairham Gin. There are botanicals we use and methods we follow that aren’t done by many other distilleries, such as using vapour infusion as a 100% method, meaning botanicals don’t touch the neutral grain alcohol in our copper still, and cutting out the chill filtration stage, with the natural oils coming out in a pearlescent haze when you chill the gin or mix it with ice and mixer. This aids in a fresh, smooth and complex gin that shines with the use citrus from lemon, pink grapefruit, kaffir lime, key lime, physalis, kumquat and Seville orange. We describe this Edition as modern juniper with bright fresh citrus, allowing the juniper to come through on the forefront which is followed by delicate citrus layers, giving it its unique Signature taste.
SAVE THE DATE
If you love listening to our distillers then why not meet them in person? The Gin To My Tonic now work with over 150 craft distillers, and you’ll be able to meet just some across the year at your preferred location.
Winchester 4th February 2023
London 24th-25th February 2023
Liverpool (SHOW) 11th March 2023
Norwich 18th March 2023
Birmingham 25th March 2023
Reading 29th April 2023
Gloucester 6th May 2023
Ipswich 13th May 2023
Nottingham 20th May 2023
Edinburgh SHOW (World Gin Day) 9th-10th June 2023
Faringdon (Oxfordshire) 16th-17th June 2023
Salisbury 1st July 2023
Bedford 8th July 2023
Harrogate 15th July 2023
Truro 22nd July 2023
Shrewsbury 29th July 2023
Aberdeen (SHOW) 25th-26th August 2023
Bury St Edmonds 9th September 2023
Cardiff (SHOW) 15th-16th September 2023
Bristol 23rd September 2023
Brighton & Hove 30th September 2023
Bournemouth 13th-14th October 2023<
Glasgow (SHOW) 3rd-5th November 2023
Manchester (SHOW) 17th-18th November 2023
Swindon 25th November 2023
Newcastle / Durham TBA
Tickets available at www.thegintomytonic.com/tickets