Guest post by my husband who is also known as Mr Ting
In the height of the summer, Ting and I returned from a city break in Edinburgh with bellies full of steak and whisky but a gin shaped hole in our hearts.
It was only through an impromptu visit to the Edinburgh Gin distillery in the centre of the historic city that we finally discovered its sheer popularity, and fully booked out tours.
Now, having had the pleasure of finally meeting the Edinburgh Gin team in Birmingham I’m left in no doubt as to why this was the case.
So, in order to authentically recapture the moment I’m writing this whilst tasting the gin distilled by my own hand for the first time, or as Ting calls it ‘daytime drinking in your pyjamas’. Which in my humble opinion is the true gin experience *takes a sip*
But before we begin I’d like to share, courtesy of stylist magazine, a fun fact discovered by Innsbruck University of Austria. That an affinity toward gin has links to psychopathic tendencies. Given that bitter tastes set off the body’s poison detectors a decision to proceed drinking anyway demonstrates a certain level of enjoyment for painful activities. So I’ll soon be pitching the idea of a side column for Ting’s blog called ‘everyday masochism’ because I deserve it *takes another sip*.
In fact, article one would be a retelling of my re-repainting of the living room walls. Whereupon the first brush stroke Ting pointed out the unpleasant pinky hue of our selected colour, and somehow, despite this, I felt sure that covering the entire room with it would magically transform it into a less offensive colour. Remarkably, it didn’t, so four days and the same number of paint tins later the room was restored and the night of the Gin experience had arrived. And it couldn’t have turned up sooner *takes a larger sip*
Yes! anyway, Gin! and the kismet appearance of the Edinburgh Gin Experience in Birmingham, hosted by the enigmatic Jekyll and Hyde no less. And I say so for their transformation of their garden terrace into a veritable wonderland, which some interpreted from the green grass and plants and life size wall art of Wonderlands best-loved characters, whilst others were drawn by the rows of gleaming tabletop copper distillers with their spiralling pipes and funnels, plus the magic box of herbs and spices, evocative of a Hogwarts potions class. The latter prompting my call to be referred to as Gin-ny Weasely for the remainder of the evening *takes an extra large sip*
You might be wondering by this point how the Gin distilling actually worked, but for the best and worst of reasons, procrastination became the theme of the night. Alas, the sheer amount of distillers in use blew a fuse in the bar, resulting in only one of us being lucky enough to finish the evening with their Gin baby ready to take home, the rest of us sadly finishing the evening remaining virGins.
But do not fear! For what am I drinking now (and probably too much of) but my own recipe gin, finished by Edinburgh Gin and hand delivered by the Jekyll and Hyde, *refills glass* (This is definitely happening, Ting can verify).
Now, I would say it’s good, but instead, I’ll say it suits my tastes, and I couldn’t ask anything more.
This happy result is due in large part to the advice of the EG team, which involved a tasting covering their broad offering, including my personal favourites Seaside and Canonball, and the JH team’s ability to produce the perfect mix of tonic and garnish to compliment our favoured tipple, and generously at that. So we may not have left with the gin, but certainly had a wonderful experience.
The drink upon arrival and JH’s signature offering for the Birmingham cocktail weekend was the short sharp and bitter John Silver’s bounty. Which in a salute to the author Robert Louis Stevenson ties together two of his most beloved novels – including the one about the kind hearted physician who transforms into a psychopathic monster after imbibing some sort of clear liquid *hic*.
My top pick of the evening was the Edinburgh Gin cannonball naval strength gimlet, essentially a 57% proof Gin with a spot of lime juice. Simple, perfect.
This said, it was the cannonball gin that inspired the selection of botanicals for my own hand crafted ‘Pyjama Gin’. Heavy on the Juniper, and alcohol content, with the classic accompaniment of lime, Sichuan pepper, plus a wild card of caraway seed for some extra spice.
My second favourite Gin cocktail of the evening was a real crowd pleaser. Edinburgh Gin Seaside is a softer blend at 43% with notes of coriander and cardamon, pictured here with a blueberry garnish for a sweet finish but equally good with orange peel as a palette cleanser.
As a special mention, the biggest surprise of the evening for me was the quality of party food at the Jekyll and Hyde. It is delicious!
Confit guinea fowl covered in pistachio and orange glaze, crispy crunchy sweet potato samosas, chard baby gem lettuce seasoned with cured egg yolk and elderflower and an inventive pulled pork arancini. All far exceeded my expectations of the venue’s food offerings and provided a delicious relief from a gruelling evening of gin tasting *pops lid back on Gin* (ok, that last one definitely didn’t happen).
Credit for the photos, and notes, and for generally keeping me on track in life (and this article) go to Ting xxx.
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