Gin for the win. I’d wanted to try the gin making experience at Edinburgh Gin for the longest time and so at the end of August we headed to Edinburgh for an afternoon of gin making.
I booked the gin making experience for Callum’s birthday earlier this year, there’s a 3-4 month waiting list for the gin making on weekends so I thought it would be something nice to do in autumn to break up the year a bit.
I’ll talk through the basics of the experience but I don’t want to spoil it too much because I think it’s a genuinely fantastic thing to do and something best experienced.
We caught an early flight up on Friday morning, dropped our bags off at the hotel (we stayed at the Sheraton and I fully recommend it) before heading to Louden’s for a huge full Scottish breakfast. I’d definitely recommend a hearty breakfast if you’re planning to do the gin making experience because the food to gin ratio is about 5:95!
All good things start with a gin and tonic right? Upon arrival we were given a classic G&T made with the original Edinburgh Gin and Fever Tree tonic, served over ice with orange peel. This was a sign of very good things to come.
We were then lead through to a vault set up with all sorts of botanicals and spices as well as the gin stills. James, our gin expert, was really excellent and started off by explaining a bit about gin and the ingredients needed to quality a gin as being London dry. He then talked us through the different botanicals and spices and let us decide which ones we’d like to use.
After selecting the botanicals and spices, we weighed them out before James added them to the stills and looked after our gin while we joined the Gin Connoisseur tour – a 45 minute interactive history of gin delivered by Calum.
Learning the history of gin was really interesting and I learned a lot more than I had expected to! We were then taken inside the room where the operational stills were making batches of Edinburgh Gin’s Christmas Gin.
One of my favourite parts of the Gin Connoisseur part of the day was learning about Hamish the gin pig. I now want a gin pig and have set up eBay alerts!
Tour over it was time to head back to James and our gin. Whilst waiting for the gin to finish distilling we tried 2 of Edinburgh Gin’s liqueurs and 2 gins: plum and vanilla liqueur, rhubarb and ginger liqueur and seaside, 1670 and cannonball gin. We tried them all neat at first and then the second time with tonic and a garnish.
Gin tasting over it was time to bottle our gin!
For me, the hardest part of the day was choosing a name for my gin. I eventually opted for The Bloodhound on the basis that I managed to pick up different scents from the botanicals to everyone else, espeically with the orris root which I thought was floral with a hint of something like parma violets, others in the group picked up a mixture of pet shop, wet dog and old books from the same botanical!
Our friend had given birth to twins (remember the gender revel cake?) the day before we went to Edinburgh so Callum named his gin Twin & Tonic to give to them as a gift.
Finally, it was time for one more test, this time of our own gin. I really liked mine with tonic and grapefruit peel to compliment the flavours in the gin. I’m very much looking forward to trying it out at home with different flavours of tonic and garnishes.
We then went to the gift shop where we bought more gin, I picked up the 1670 which was my favourite of all the gins we tried and Callum bought the Christmas gin. Edinburgh Gin very kindly shipped our order, along with the gin we’d made, down to London for us so that we didn’t have to buy and check in a bag for our flight home which was super kind.
Gin making over, gift shop raided it was time to leave after 3 gin and fun fuelled hours. The team at Edinburgh Gin were really fantastic and definitely made the day a great experience and by keeping the gin making groups small, we were a group of 4, you get a really hands-on experience.
The gin making experience costs £100 per person but that includes your own full sized bottle of gin and the gin connoisseur tour which I think makes it really excellent value; I’d definitely pay it again!