You Can Make Your Own Gin at These Distilleries Around the UK!
The time has finally come in which you’ll be able to sip on the perfect gin, made by you, from scratch! Gin producers around the UK are organising distilling classes open to anyone who thinks that the most delicious gin has yet to be invented. The game plan is similar in most places: the experience starts with a G&T and a distillery tour, you’ll then sit with an expert who’ll teach you about distillation and the favours of botanicals before having a go at making your own gin!
Head to The Distillery at No.186 Portobello Road, hand the shopkeeper your voucher that you can purchase online here and you’ll be greeted with a Portobello Road G&T. You’ll then be taken downstairs where you’ll sip on your drink and mingle until all the participants arrive. Once all the latecomers have arrived, the class can start, with a Tom Collins in your hand..
Your Gin Instructor will take you through the 200 years of history of Gin from its birth to the times where it was labelled as “mothers’ ruin” to it’s Golden Age as a cocktail ingredient and finally explain its recent “ginassance” in a G&T.
It is now time to meet the Pot Stills King Henry and Copernicus The Fourth and have another G&T on the house, all that Gin talk will have made you a little thirsty! You’ll learn about all the technicalities involved in producing gin and how to go about choosing the various botanicals which are going to define the flavour of the gin you are about to create.
Time to get your hands (or better taste buds) dirty tasting and nosing the botanicals that are available to you to personalise your gin. Once you have made the choice, the Gin Instructor will assist you in blending the various distilled botanicals together to create your completely unique recipe. BONUS POINT: The concoction will be kept in the database forever in case you think you have created the best gin ever and would like to reorder it forever after!
You’ll be offered one last drink before collecting your Gin, the trip home might be a tipsy one…
Where: The Distillery, 186 Portobello Road, London, W11 1LA
Book: The Experience
The Gin Lab Experience
The Gin Lab Experience is held in THE place in London that is the richest in history for the production of Gin. The City of London in the 18th century was filled with distilleries and gin shops for its proximity to the port of London – where all the spices and citrus fruits entered the UK. When the Gin Craze ended, very few distilleries survived, and for nearly 200 years there wasn’t a single gin distillery in the City… until the City of London Distillery opened in 2012!
You’ll be hands on in the Lab from the start of this experience that will last approx. 2hrs. Visitors are welcomed with a G&T to sip on while they learn about distilling and the different botanicals.
Your tutor will then help you choose the botanicals for your own gin and, once you think you have a killer recipe, you can start distilling!
BONUS POINT: in the Gin Lab you get to fire up your mini-still, yes you have read this right, you get to look after your very own mini still. You’ll nurture your gin throughout the distillation process, taking tastings and deciding when to make the cut.
Finish your creating by designing your own label and seal the bottle (70cl) with hot red wax to make sure you don’t drink it all on the way home.
Where: 22-24 Bride Lane, London, EC4Y 8DT
Book: The Gin Lab Experience
Salcombe Distilling Co’s Gin School
If you are looking to spend a relaxing weekend away from the chaos of the city this place should be high up on your list – especially now that the sun is out! The distillery is located in the south of Devon and based on the site of a boat repair workshop where the founders taught sailing and built waterside distillery. In a beautiful spot that backs onto the creek, visitors are able to enjoy the freshest Gin & Tonic, whilst watching the world go by on the balcony overlooking the water. Sounds idyllic!
The experience will start with a talk by one of the distillers who will explain the art of distillation and what are the integral elements needed to produce a well-balanced and harmonious gin. You’ll also be enjoying a Salcombe & Tonic or two while you listen… the perfect way to learn!
To create your recipe, you’ll be able to choose between a range of botanicals provided or you are free to bring your own to experiment with! BONUS POINT: here get to distill in your own mini still too! The distiller will guide you on when to make the all important cuts that will influence the spirit’s smoothness, balance and flavour profile.
Sample and name your gin before bottling it. Take it home in a Gin School wooden presentation boxes to show off your creation – it’ll look beautiful!
Where: The Boathouse, 28 Island Street, Salcombe, Devon, TQ8 8DP
Book: The Gin School
Price: £100 or £125 for 2 to share
The 45 West Gin School
If you dropped a pin in the middle of the UK on Google maps you’d end up here. The scenery is the lavish British countryside, make sure you visit them on a sunny day to treat yourself with a long walk on the green grass after your gin making session!
Your 45 Gin School Experience starts a tour of the working distillery where you’ll meet a Burleighs Gin distiller and find out what it takes to produce craft distilled Gin in their beautiful 450 litre copper pot still, Messy Bessy.
You’ll then go on to choosing the botanicals for your gin. There are over 120 different botanical ingredients that can be used to make gin and most recipes contain no less than four and no more than twelve botanicals. To call it gin, the predominant flavour will have to be juniper, but it is up to you to decide weather it’ll have spicy, floral or herbal character.
You will learn how to weight the right amount of botanicals to reach the desired end result and be able to fully appreciate all the delicate flavours of your gin. You will then distill your gin in a hand crafted copper Portuguese pot still – fill it with your chosen botanicals and and enjoy a G&T whilst your creation bubbles away.
Once you have tested the strength of your gin and the master distiller has approved it, you’ll bottle and label it before taking it home!
Where: The Collection Yard, Bawdon Lodge Farm, Charley Road, Leicestershire, LE12 9YE
Book: The 45 West Gin School
Price: £115 or £145 for 2 to share
The Cambridge Distillery Gin Tailor
The Cambridge Distillery is the world’s first Gin Tailor – yes a GIN TAILOR (finally)! Here you won’t get to play with botanicals and pot stills and you won’t risk ending up with an undrinkable concoction to take home. The master distiller will make your gin for you with the unique approach that is so on point that is requested by the world’s best restaurants and satisfies the most discerning palates.
The sessions are very exclusive, the one-to-one appointments are strictly limited in availability and you can only bring one special person with you at the session. Most of the tailorings take place here in Cambridge but the master distiller also regularly visits London, Bath, Manchester and Edinburgh, so keep an eye on their website to find out which one is most convenient for you!
Creating your bespoke gin will take around an hour and a half in which the Master Distiller will guide you through blind tastings to determine your palate preferences and sensitivities and – if you can mange to stay sober till the end – he’ll create the best gin you have ever tasted.
Like any suit of superior quality, tailoring your gin is quite expensive – but the recipe will last a lifetime! You can order just a bottle at a time, or in quantities of up to 60. The price of your tailoring includes your first bottle, which will be delivered to your door in a silk-lined oak presentation box – FANCY!
Where: Check the calendar for their availability and location
Book: The Cambridge Distillery Gin Tailoring
Gin Making Experience
This distillery is located in the heart of one of the most enchanting and historical cities in Scotland, Edinburgh. The flavour of the gin is inspired by the majesty, marvel and mischief of the Scottish capital and its inhabitants. The distillate of finest Scottish grain is the base, the juniper, citrus peel, orris root and angelica are the regulars and the milk thistle and heather are essential to create the distinctive “taste of Edinburgh”.
In the Gin Making Experience you’ll lose yourself in the fascinating world of gin for around 3 hours. You’ll get the chance to visit the distillery and the exhibition area in a guided tour before taking part in a tutored-tasting session.
After choosing your favourite botanicals, load up your own baby still that was crafted especially for the experience. Personalise the label, then accept the invitation to sample our gins. The package comes with a 10% discount for the Edinburgh Gin Shop too!
This experience is so popular that it is fully booked till August 2017 (must be good hey!) – get in touch with the distillery to check availability for Aug-Dec 2017 and book your spot!
Where: 1a Rutland Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2AD
Book: The Edinburgh Gin Making Experience
Price: £75 – Great value!
Want to discover more great gins? Sign up to the ILoveGin Club and receive 4 G&Ts in the post every month – £14 + Free delivery, members discounts in the ilovegin.com and exclusive members competitions to win more gin!
You missed off Nelson’s Gin School in Staffordshire. I can highly recommend!