Updated: Mar 12
With it's popularity growing and a 50% growth in gin bars and handcraft micro distillers popping up, it is said that Gin is the new Whisky. Since the revival in 2015 the UK saw sales of gin hit over £900m ($1284m) in 2016. Did you know that Gin is made from botanical's? How can Gin be bad for you? Surely it's medicinal? haha Here is what you need to know about Gin.
Gin Tasting ©Lunya
Is Gin The New Whisky?
Ingredients of Gin
All gins include juniper as an ingredient: other botanical's used are coriander,angelica, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamon, cinnamon, grains of paradise, cubeb berries and nutmeg. Typically a fine gin contains six to ten botanical's.
History Of Gin
Did you know that Gin was first produced in the early 1700's in Holland? Although some have said it might have been produced in earlier times, in Italy! It was sold in chemists as medicine to cure stomach complaints, gout and gallstones.
In 1731 when the weather turned you could see the crowds gathering along the River Thames for the London Frost Fairs, where everyone would sip hot Gin and gingerbread.
It has taken 3 decades since Gin was first referred to as 'mother's ruin', when many of the people living in London were in dire poverty and gin 'mother's ruin' was the cheapest way to forgetting your worries.
History of the Thames ©Pinterest
Gin In Scotland
Over 70% of UK Gin is produced in Scotland and with the distillers favouring Gin to Whisky, as it's less expensive and quicker to make, it looks like Gin is here to stay. One of the first on the Isle of Harris is of course the Isle of Harris Distillers Ltd. They use seaweed instead of the usual heather or milk thistle.
The Scottish Ginfographic. ©5pm.co.uk
Isle of Harris Gin
One of my favourites in Scotland is none other than the Isle of Harris Gin, distilled on the Isle of Harris off the north west coast of Scotland. The distillery opened in October 2015 and since then has been bottling not just Scot spirit but the essence of the Isle of Harris. A social distillery at the heart of the island, sharing it's magic throughout the world. Produced with hand harvested sugar kelp alongside 8 other carefully chosen botanical's.
Isle of harris Gin ©MDHarding
Top Gin Bars In Edinburgh
There is a host of top gin bars throughout the city of Edinburgh, one of my favourites is Panda and Sons, unlike "some of the other great cocktail bars in Edinburgh it would be very easy to miss Panda & Sons. Deliberately set up as a modern day speakeasy - a gin joint that pretends to be something else to fool the Killjoys and Miseries of the prohibition era - the façade is reminiscent of some dodgy Chicago barbershop straight out of the Untouchables. Down some carpeted stairs (very Morningside) and you're confronted with a door disguised as a bookcase, with askew books acting as handles. Pull on the books and step on through" - Panda & Sons
Did you know that the Head and Tales Bar is home to two Edinburgh Gin stills?
And for those of you that are huge fans of Isle of Harris Gin there is even a meet-up group!
Panda & Sons ©MDHarding
101 Gin Book
101 Gins To Try Before You Die - Ian Buxton, is the best selling drinks book in Amazon's capacious 'Food and Drink' category. Only the Guinness World Records 2017 beats it in 'Encyclopedia's'.
This no nonsense guide book delves into the world of Gin, from history to the explosion of innovative gin brands. It answers pressing questions: is Edinburgh Gin a style, or just a brand name? Can a rose-flower and cucumber infusion properly be called gin? Can gin be aged in wood or does that just make it a strange tasting young whisky? And what tonic to choose, and why?
Discover more in this beautifully presented hardback book, a perfect gift for the gin enthusiast - 101 Gins To Try Before You Die - Ian Buxton. Buxton's previous book,101 Legendary Whiskies is recognised as a classic and has sold over 100,000 copies.
Book Of Gins ©MDHarding
Take the Gin Journey tour, chauffeur driven by a Mercedes minibus (no walking tour here). There are 5 stops, 5 cocktails and 5 samples of gin, with food available during the event (food not included in the price). Join your host, Gin Guardian on the Gin Journey while you enjoy the whimsical palate stories of the locally foraged botanical's, in the unique character of Scottish Gin (Edinburgh). Tours now available in London, Manchester, Liverpool & Edinburgh! Don't miss out, these tours book up fast.
Gin Tasting ©Gin Journey
The Gin Festival is coming to Glasgow for the first time, taking place at The Briggait between the 3rd - 5th March 2017, with more than 100 gin's, top distillers and lots on gin!
The Gin Festival was established in 2013 by Jym and Marie Harris. They wanted to go out, enjoy fantastic entertainment and great food whilst drinking the best gins and learning more about all things juniper. They wanted this all under one roof - but it didn’t exist. So they created Gin Festival.
Three years later and Gin Festival has grown from a single event to a phenomenon. Delighting attendees nationwide with four, fabulous gin bars, showcasing the very best in British and international gins as well as the finest gin liqueurs. To create the perfect serve, each gin has a carefully matched garnish alongside a specifically paired Fever-Tree Tonic or Mixer.
Gin Festival isn’t just about the Gin and Tonics though, there’s a regular cocktail bar serving up fantastic gin-based libations, as well as additional seasonal treats. You can chat to the distillers and brands who love to make gin, drink gin and share a sample or two. If they get you hooked, attend one of the amazing masterclasses where you can learn all about gin how it’s made, it’s history and beyond. Alternatively, just relax, soak up the atmosphere, relish every gin and tonic drunk. There will also be delicious street food and entertainment.
Every fabulous gin, jenever and gin liqueur that can be tried on the bars, as well as irresistible gin themed gifts, are sold at the on-site off-licence and online at www.ginfestival.com/shop.
The Gin Festival is incredibly proud to host Gin Explorer at its events. A monthly subscription service bringing 4 x 50ml measures of unusual gins, a treasure trove of information and surprise treats, direct to your door. Gin Explorer is the perfect treat for anybody who can’t bear to miss out on the festivals.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and inspired to take a journey with gin. As always I would love to hear from you. Please email any comments/questions to: enquiries@MDHardingTravelPhotography.com
Please do drink responsibly!