Whoops. I allowed a li’l bit of radio silence to creep in there, didn’t I?? It’s been quite a while since I let it go that long without posting, but honestly? Posting every day while having a full time job is not the easiest – or at least not if you also want to have a social life anyway! I’ve been on a great roll this year of being organised enough to have content going live most days, but it was inevitable that with work being super busy, a week in another country and a couple of jam packed weekends the pre-written stuff was bound to run out at some point. There were more than a couple of times this week where I started to get jittery about the fact I hadn’t posted in a few days and found myself wanting to ditch whatever plans I’d made to rush home and furiously write something about anything, but the fact is, sometimes it’s good not to force these things and take some time out for yourself. So I’m back now with some seriously quality content for you, of course. JUST KIDDING!! I’m giving you one of those really lazy posts where you collate a load of other people’s quality ideas. I spoil you guys sometimes, I really do….
Anyway, on with the post…. If you follow me on Instagram or have read more than a handful of my posts, you can’t fail to have noticed that I’m a bit of a gin fan. I am in no way, shape or form, an expert, but I have managed to find about a trillion ways to enjoy my favourite tipple through my mission to try every possible incarnation, so I thought what better way to celebrate a day dedicated to it than to share some of those with you! HAPPY WORLD GIN DAY EVERYONE!
1 – Find Your Perfect Pairing
Obviously my favourite ways to experience gin is to drink it – that is, of course, why it was created in the first place. But one of my favourite things about gin is how versatile it is – you can have the same gin umpteen different ways and it can taste completely different every time. Now, as I’ve stated before, I’m no expert, so I’m always happy to take tips and advice from those in the know, and it was on our recent trip to the Edinburgh Gin Distillery that I learned about the app, Ginventory. Ginventory is basically a directory of pretty much every gin known to man, complete with a rating, tasting notes and recommendations for both the best mixers and the best garnishes to compliment them! It is now rare that I don’t have a sneaky peek when I fancy a G&T and it’s completely opened my eyes to how the different combinations can enhance the flavour. If you are new to gin or just learning the ropes one gin at a time like me, you NEED this app!
2 – Make G&T Ice Lollies
We might not get much sunshine here in the UK, but we’ve actually been pretty blessed weather wise so far this year, and what better way to make the most of the warm weather than with a G&T ice lolly?? You could be lazy of course and just buy some (Aldi’s aren’t at all bad, just so you know…) but why not get creative? Grab a home kit like this one and go nuts – it’s another great chance to try out any new flavour combos you’ve found through Ginventory! My personal favourite is to add a couple of slices of cucumber to the mix!
3 – Get Tickets To a Gin Festival
I have a pretty huge collection of gin, it has to be said, and I really enjoy seeing it grow and recommending my favourite new finds to friends and family when they come round, but even I will be hesitant about dropping a lot of money on a new bottle if I’ve never tried it before. That’s where gin festivals come in handy! These days, with gin really enjoying a surge of popularity right now, you can be pretty certain a quick Google will find an event in your area in the coming months, but if you’re looking for something established, I can’t recommend Gin Festival events enough. I’ve visited in a couple of cities now, and have had a fantastic time every year, so with events planned up and down the country all year round, why not pop over to the site and see if there is one near you? They are always a really fun day with live music, masterclasses and street food on offer, and of course the main point is that you get the chance to try lots of specially selected gins without having to commit to a pricey purchase!
4 – Cook!
It’s not just for drinking! You can also use gin as an ingredient in your cooking! Well, the term ‘cooking’ might not be the best phrase to use as the subtle flavours of gin will quickly evaporate if you heat it too much, however it can still be used to add a bit of a junipery kick to your food! Why not use it to cure raw fish, for example? Or as a pickling agent – cucumber pickled in gin sounds pretty fab to me! And it can definitely be used in sauces and glazes on sweet treats. I plan on tweaking my classic lemon drizzle recipe to include some gin soon, so I’ll keep you posted as to how that goes, but in the meantime, here are a few other recipes for you to try your hand at!
5 – Book a Distillery Tour
If you’re genuinely interested in gin, you can’t beat a distillery tour. Our previously mentioned trip to the Edinburgh Distillery was fantastic and I learned so much. Now that gin is such a huge trend you can see everything from huge well known Brands to tiny independent craft labels, and there are many, many different experiences on offer. Check out this list from The Metro outlining 19 of the best, but if you have a favourite gin, why not have a Google and see if you can visit where it’s made in person?
6 – Make Your Own Gin
Once you’ve got back from your distillery tour, why not put your new expertise to use and make some gin of your own?? Obviously I don’t mean setting up a still in your garage or anything (although – HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE???) but certainly flavouring your own gin is pretty simple to do at home, and you can be as creative as you like. I really fancy trying this Rhubarb Gin recipe by BBC Good Food – sounds like the perfect summer drink! Of course you could go one step further and visit The Ginstitute, where they will teach you all you need to know to create your very own bespoke craft gin!
7 – Visit a Gin Bar
Living in The Midlands I am very lucky to have some fantastic gin bars nearby, and I love to pop in to see what new wares they have on offer and what the team are recommending this month. Here are my favourite Birmingham bars:
40 St Pauls – Recently declared the top gin bar in the UK, 40 St Paul’s is almost like a secret speakeasy! I think every time I have been I’ve accidentally walked straight past it and had to backtrack. Still, once you have found it you won’t want to leave – it’s kind of like drinking cocktails in someone’s living room. A someone with the fanciest gin collection you’ve ever seen!
The Gin Vault – This new little canalside spot is a recent addition to Brum’s bar scene and houses around 200 different gins – impressive.
The Jekyll & Hyde – This quirky, Victorian styled pub is a must visit for gin lovers. It’s a great pub anyway, but with it’s very own Gin Parlour upstairs these guys mean business. You won’t find any snootiness though – I’ve only ever come across friendly, passionate bartenders who really know their stuff. Thursday nights are the main event, with three gins showcased along with a free tonic.
The Old Crown Gin Garden – Birmingham’s oldest pub transforms it’s beer garden in the Summer to offer you the perfect haven to sip gin cocktails in the sunshine. Here’s hoping for some more sunny Saturdays!
8 – Attend a Masterclass
Masterclasses can be a great way to learn more about gin and how to drink it. Whether it’s learning about the different botanicals, pairing with food or even making your own cocktails, you will be sure to pick up some gems of knowledge that you can share with your friends at your next party! If you are lucky enough to have a Botanist in your city, why not check out theirs?
9 – Make a DIY LED Lamp
I don’t know about you, but I am as drawn to some of the gorgeous bottles gin comes in as I am to their contents! It seems such a shame to throw them away once you’re done. After getting some inspiration at the Edinburgh Gin Distillery last month, we’ve decided to make ours into some LED lamps to decorate out bar (when it finally comes into existence!). The special bottle top lights are easy to come across and look fantastic once finished. Just pop them in and switch them on – easy as that! I can’t wait to get started!
10 – RELAX!
Finally, my favourite thing to do with gin of all – settle into a hot bath for a good old pamper! I don’t know what it is, but sipping on that wonderful tipple instantly puts me in a chilled out mood, especially if it’s in a bubbly bath surrounded by candles! In fact, I might just go and run one right now!
How are you celebrating the big day, gin lovers?