Event Summary – #2 GIN BLOSSOMING

Cracking night. Total re-education on #gin #DrinksGalore (@PepePettigrew)

  • When: 6th June 2014
  • Where: The Hoxton Hotel
  • Spirit: Gin
  • Host: Mark Thompson

Our second event and maybe even more fun than the first – great crowd of 42 imbibers matched to a perfect selection of gins, to show the evolution of this fine spirit, topped off by a Gin and Tonic master class – in a very very aromatic with all the Basil and Lemon Thyme on display. Film coming soon. Check the Facebook gallery meantime!

We kicked things off with a classic Gin Punch:  4 parts Plymouth Gin, 2.5 parts Earl Grey tea, 2.5 parts cloudy apple, 2 parts lemon juice,  1 part sugar syrup,  Clove and cardamom to taste finish with a dash of bitters. This got us all in the mood for, well, more gin …

On to the tasting:

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  • #1 Zuidam Rogge Genever – a rye genever, a little like a whisky which nicely connected us back to the first Drinks Galore event
  • #2 Hayman’s Old Tom – wonderful flavour from this classic Victorian Gin. Mark T suggested this would make the perfect Martini
  • #3 Langley’s No8 London Dry – Their botanicals are secret, but we had fun guessing what they might be
  • #4 Dodd’s Gin London Dry – A great gin to compare to Langley’s to show how London Drys can be quite different. You really need to own both!

Katie then brought out ice, limes, lemons and grapefruit peel and of course a glass full of ice and more Dodd’s Gin, and Mark T showed us how to choose fruits and herbs to make the perfect G and T – it was a lot of fun sharing the herbs around the room and sampling each other’s serve. Mark T explained that since tonic makes up most of the liquid in a G and T it’s important to choose the very best, so of course we served up Fever-Tree, being naturally carbonated it tasted very different to other tonic water, more subtle and it let the flavours of the gin come through.

I went around the room after to see which gins people liked the most  and it was a real mixed bag, everyone had their own favourite from the genever onwards and I know quite a few people will have been showing off their G and T skills with a new found respect gin.

With 100% of the attendees rating it Excellent or Very Good and 100% “extremely likely” to recommend it to others, I am very proud indeed.

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Awesome night @markofrespect well done. Fantastically presented in great surroundings with great people. We’re both coming to next one  (@Whiskywingsuit)

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Hats off to @markofrespect for #drinksgalore. Great night of gin gin and gin. (@DFergPR)

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Thanks to Mark T for another great night and Katie for ginning us up. Special thanks to Hannah from The Hoxton Hotel for providing us with the space, promotion and food on the night, and for believing in the concept from the early days.

Guest Event Summary – Gin Blossoming

I thought a G&T was two liquids binding in a glass with ice and optional garnish. Oh how I was wrong…

Thanks to Katie McCullough, guest at GIN BLOSSOMING for this Guest Event Summary:

It’s safe to say, I’m a gin drinker. By that I mean a gin & tonic is my go-to drink when ever anyone asks, preferably with lime. I thought a G&T was two liquids binding in a glass with ice and optional garnish. Oh how I was wrong…

This was the second Drinks Galore event I’d been to. The first one, Whisky I Love You, left me with nuggets of information and a slither of knowledge were I to order a whisky. When the announcement came that the second spirit was to be gin, well I booked straight away and gathered some friends to come with.

What I love about the Drinks Galore events are that they’re casual and relaxed.

I don’t profess to know a lot about alcohol except how to put it in my mouth and swallow, but I’ve also never been that enamoured by the idea of a wine-tasting. So to have an event like this exist where it’s more about the atmosphere and the time spent getting to know the spirits, means you’re instantly put at ease. To be honest that’s definitely helped by the fact you start the night in what feels like someone’s kitchen, a complimentary gin cocktail made before you fresh, with pockets of people chatting. The Hoxton Hotel may be busy in the foyer, but where we are feels like a few drinks away from the hustle and bustle. A civilised affair where it’s not about who you’re wearing and where you work, but what you’re drinking.

Then you’re led into what feels like someone’s living room where snifters of gin are laid out for each and everyone of us, and it would be rude not to partake…

Mark Thomson, the spirit expert, leads us through the tumbling troubled history of gin with his tales of Fleming, tonic, botanicals, and the origins of the moniker ‘Mother’s Ruin’. With a constant stream of knowledge delivered in a friendly funny way, you never feel like you’re being bombarded. Just like the gin in hand, you imbibe the wisdom like it’s the best history and science lesson you’ve ever had/drunk. Drinking gin neat was admittedly a little frightening. But once you smell, sip, appreciate the spirit neat, only then can you marvel at the differences. My own favourite was Hayman’s Old Tom, a gin that captures the essence of gin distillery from the 1800s, but without the badness that we’ve all heard about. Fresh, soft, citrus… This is a gin I would happily drink neat in a glass toppled with ice.

Our last drink of the night was served to us somewhat dissected. Presented with the ingredients of gin supplied by Dodds, and tonic by Fever-Tree, we were invited to create our own G&T. With spruces of lemon thyme, rinds of citrus, and bay leaves dotted around, we all got to creating. My personal and extremely beautiful tasting creation was lemon thyme, bay leaf and grapefruit rind.

I entered the room knowing how to ask for a G&T, I left the room knowing that’s never going to be as simple or good enough anymore. But I’ve got the knowledge to change that. There’s gin, and then there’s a world of gin you’ve not yet tried. I cannot wait for the next spirit of choice, next time I’m bringing more friends.

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Drinks Galore Interviews – Mark speaks to Mark Thomson, spirits expert

Mark Jennings interviews Mark Thomson, spirits expert and presenter for Drinks Galore. We discuss the spirits we tried and can’t go back to, the next ‘big’ spirits, the most unusual place to do a whisky tasting and what his ‘desert island’ spirit would be.

At Drinks Galore we believe there’s nothing better than tasting unique spirits in the company of great people. We’re talking about the kind of evening where you can learn as much from the person sitting next to you as from the drink-swilling expert.

#DrinksGalore – Elegant drinks tastings for spirited amateurs

Shot at McQueen London by Alex Blogg. See more of his fantastic work

Event Summary – #1 WHISKY I LOVE YOU

“Whisky. I might actually have learnt to love you” Tweet by @felion84

  • When: 25th March 2014
  • Where: The Hoxton Hotel
  • Spirit: Scotch whisky (Cask strength from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society)
  • Host: Mark Thompson

Our first ever event, and what a night it was! See the film here.

We kicked things off with an Old Fashioned made with grain whisky (Cask G4.6 Ray Mears’ Digestif) in The Hoxton Hotel’s private Apartment rooms – we’re not at all snobby about whisky in cocktails.

43 people then neatly slotted themselves into the Library where the charismatic Mark Thompson led us through the evening’s whiskies with wit and wonder.

“About to break the rules of whisky tasting and then remake them with @markofrespect at WHISKY I LOVE YOU a #drinksgalore event for everyone” Tweet by @alexblogg

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I carefully chose the each dram to tell a story:

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  1. 9.76 – Out of Africa (25 year old) – A great example of what a whisky can be
  2. 96.7 – For a Sweet Tooth (7 year old) – A wonderful young whisky
  3. 21.28 – Relaxing in a Tropical Garden (37 year old) – An absolute cracker – exactly what an older whisky should be
  4. 4.186 – Aromatic Spices and Exotic Fruits (22 year old) – Spicy rather than peaty, a good intro to the peated style
  5. 3.217 – A Delicatessen Shopping Basket (16 year old) – Much more peaty, but not eye popping. A challenge to those who say they don’t like Islay

There was no doubting which we all loved the most – the 37 year old silenced even the rowdiest of the group with awe and appreciation and any spare drams were quickly hoovered up.

By the end of the night we were all better educated and not a little misty eyed, we’d drunk, we’d laughed, we’d made new friends. Onwards to the next one.

With 100% of the attendees rating it Excellent or Very Good and 100% “extremely likely” to recommend it to others, I am very proud indeed. The bar is set high for future events.

“Whisky, I have loved you, but it is time to say goodbye. For now… ” Tweet by @Philternz

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“… just wanted to say thanks again for a great night, I am staying firmly in my seat on this drinks galore bus, ding ding next stop…” Rob Atkin

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Thanks to Joe and Katie from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for helping to make this happen, and Mark for hosting us. Special thanks to Hannah from The Hoxton Hotel for providing us with the space, promotion and food on the night, and for believing in the concept from the early days.