Burleighs 45 Gin School

Gin School must be the best kind of school there is, right?! Burleighs 45 Gin School is set in the grounds of Bawdon Lodge Farm, Leicester, home to Burleighs Gin. The experience is an awesome day of all things gin; right from weighing your chosen botanicals, to producing gin in your own copper still, then sealing your finished bottle of gin by hand.

When you arrive at 45 Gin School you’re greeted with tea and biscuits but more importantly asked if your gin for later will be a double! Lesson kicks off with an introductory talk from Tom, one of Burleighs distillers. You learn about the history of Burleighs and head distiller Jamie Baxter, and how their gin is distilled in Messy Bessy – their 450-litre copper pot still. Tom talks with passion about the entire process from start to finish and offers a few tips for when we come to make our own gin.

There are 14 of us at Gin School so it’s quite an interactive, social experience and we begin the process of making our own gin by selecting botanicals.


With over 120 different botanicals to choose from it took me some time to decide on 10 botanicals. Tom explains that we should think about using no less than four and no more than twelve in total. In addition to the obvious juniper, coriander and orris root botanicals, I decided on elderberry, grapefruit and lemon thyme as some of the others.


Once your concoction of botanicals has been approved by Tom, the next step is distilling. This takes place in your own mini Portuguese copper pot still.

Under Tom’s watchful eye, it’s a constant test to check when your gin is ready. You frequently taste the gin as it leaves the still, until it tastes perfect and is ready for bottling.

During this time, you’re served g&ts and can choose from the Burleighs range. There are five gins in total and as well as the Leicester Dry Gin, I was also keen to try the Pink Edition Gin which has Japanese cherry blossom, hibiscus, rose and pink grapefruit.

Once you have agreed, along with Tom’s expertise, that your gin is ready you get to label and seal it by hand. It’s a brilliant experience and after one or two gins, I have a near navy strength gin of my own sitting pretty on my gin trolley.

Cheers to Tom and the guys at 45 Gin School for a great gin experience!

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