On 9 June, gin lovers all around the UK celebrate their favourite tipple for the 10th time on World Gin Day. There are more than 160 brands of gin across the UK according to the Gin Guild and whether drunk neat, with tonic or in a cocktail, there’s no end in sight for the love affair with gin. From the world’s first gin spa to sailing on a gin cruise, the following experiences are the perfect excuse (not that you need one) to celebrate the juniper spirit.
Sleep in Britain’s first gin hotel
Feeling a bit hazy after a gin-filled night out? Book into The Distillery on Portobello Road, a four-storey mecca for the discerning drinker. Being the first hotel of its kind in the UK, it’s not only a working distillery but also home to two gin bars, a private dining room, and three eclectic double rooms (from £125). This gin lovers’ paradise stocks a huge range of the spirit (including the famous Portobello Road Gin) and the Ginstitute, the hotel’s gin museum and a blending room, runs masterclasses in which you’ll learn how to make your own gin blend.
Explore London’s largest gin collection
If you can’t decide on the best gin and tonic pairing, head to the Gin Bar at Holborn Dining Room where you can choose between some 14,000 different options. Featuring more than 500 gins and 30 tonics, London’s largest gin collection ranges from international brands to small-batch and local distillers. The bar menu serves up both new gin cocktails and classics, as well as a selection of fine wines, spirits and craft beer. In the Gin Masterclass (Saturdays at 4pm, £60) you’ll learn how gin is made, and how different botanicals help create unique and exciting nuances in flavour.
Sign up for gin school
It’s never too late to learn something new, so if mixing gin is your guilty pleasure, then 45 Gin School will take your skills to a whole new level. Choose from over 60 botanicals, whether it’s cracked black pepper, liquorice root or elderflower, and let your taste buds and imagination run wild. Distil your spirit in a hand crafted Portuguese pot made from copper before bottling your own 70cl bottle of gin with the help of a master distiller.
Gin journey in style
London, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds
We all know about drinking and no driving, so why not have a chauffeur-driven carriage take you around the best bars in town? In a city of your choice, the Gin Journey stops at five different venues, usually bars, but also a local gin distillery, and you’ll sample selected premium gins in each. In Manchester this year, the World Gin Day will just keep going. To lengthen the best day of the year, a special Gin Journey Brunch will take place in the city on 10 June.
Sample sea-inspired gin
Near Ceredigion, Wales
Seafood and gin might not be an obvious match but, for the adventurous, the Dà Mhìle Seaweed gin is pretty special. This variety is made with a selection of organic seaweed from the New Quay coast of West Wales and the West coast of Ireland and since its launch in 2014, it has become quite popular. Bottle number 1000 was presented to Prince Charles as a gift. If it’s good enough for royalty, you might want to take a sample back to your humble abode.
Relax in gin pampering
The world’s first ever gin inspired botanical day spa was created by the team behind Glasgow’s first dedicated gin bar, Gin71. The treatments on offer, such as facials, manicures, massages using clove, lavender, eucalyptus and pink grapefruit, and reflexology, are all carried out using products inspired by the botanicals utilised to make gin. You won’t be leaving the spa smelling of booze, however, as the treatment products aren’t gin based, unless you manage to drink more than the one complimentary gin cocktail.
Gin along the North Coast 500
One of the most iconic road trips in the UK is the North Coast 500 in the far north of Scotland. While the Scottish are famous for their whiskey, their gin output isn’t too shabby either. Gin-atics should stop at Dunnet Bay Distillery, in Caithness, for a good drop of their flagship gin, Rock Rose, and tales of illicit distilling and the history of prohibition in the local town of Wick. Near Inverness is the second gin distillery along the NC500: the intriguing Glen Wyvis. Owned by nearly 3,500 people via public crowd funding, this new distillery aims to be 100% powered by renewable energy.
Shop for biosphere gin
Something is brewing – no – distilling in the north-west Wales countryside, on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. In the family run Dyfi Distillery the unique Pollination Gin is produced in very small batches. This artisan spirit is made with Welsh botanicals foraged in the Dyfi biosphere, pure grain spirit and locally drawn spring water. Flavours unique to Pollination Gin include wild flowers, aromatic leaves, fruits and conifer tips. As foraging is not possible all year round, production is very limited and the bottles a special gift for gin lovers.
Sail on a gin cruise
You might have heard of booze cruises in the past, or even been on one, but the special gin tasting events on board the Lochrin Belle canal boat centre on your favourite tipple. The Juniper Cruises take guests along (or down) the Edinburgh’s Union Canal. During the two hour journey, five gins from around Scotland – first neat, then as part of a mixed drink or cocktail – are sampled, accompanied by a fascinating gin history lesson. Already sold out for the first part of the season, October and November dates will be announced in July.
Take Northern Ireland’s first gin tour
Launched last year by Taste and Tour, the Belfast Gin Jaunt is Northern Ireland’s first gin tour, in a diversion from their normal whiskey and beer tour offerings. Guests visit five bars and pubs to try seven very different gins, including three locally distilled ones, while walking from the Victorian Gin Palace to the famous Cathedral Quarter. The three hour tour (£60) covers everything gin: gin styles, garnishes, cocktails and more.
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