I’ve enjoyed a gin and tonic with ice and a slice since I was about 19. A couple of years ago I worked with someone who liked different gins, and even brought gin and tonic cake into the office! So on a family trip to Edinburgh, number two son and I went for a tasting and tour to Edinburgh gin which was brilliant. The distillery was in the cellar of a small bar in the centre of town. We got a lesson about the history of gin, and an introduction to botanicals used to provide flavour including being able to smell them! We also saw the two stills, Flora and Caledonia hard at work. Then we got on with tasting, I remember we got a generous gin and tonic made with their standard gin, I think the garnish was dried orange peel. We also tasted their seaside and cannonball gin. My favourite one was their standard gin, elegant and smooth. They also have a range of gorgeous gin liqueurs including rhubarb and ginger, raspberry and elderflower. Although the tasting tour cost £25, it was well worth it, you also got a 20cl bottle of gin or liqueur and 10% discount in the shop.
Since Edinburgh I’ve been to three Gin festivals which are a great way to find out about the world of gin and talk to the makers.
I might do a blog post on my favourites sometime, but today I want to talk about my recent attempts to make flavoured gin. A work colleague lives next to commercial rhubarb grower, and she brought me some beautiful pale pink rhubarb. I followed this recipe I left it for two weeks, then made ice cubes with the left over gin soaked rhubarb, to use as a garnish in future G and Ts.
The raspberry gin was made in a similar way, I modified a recipe I stole from a magazine at my dentist! A bottle of gin, 300g frozen raspberries,125g caster sugar in a sterilised jar. Shake the jar everyday for a week, then once a week for the next three weeks. Strain and decant into sterilised bottles.
So what did I think of the results? The rhubarb gin is a pretty pale pink, but the rhubarb flavour doesn’t come through enough for me. I’m not complaining, it makes a lovely gin and tonic, and it won’t go to waste! Maybe I should have used an older rhubarb rather than the young stalks. I could have left it for longer, maybe a month like the raspberry. Also it’s very sweet, I think I’d use less sugar if I made it again. My colleague is also making rhubarb gin, and her recipe only uses 50g of sugar for the same amount of gin. I’ll have to get her to bring it into work for a taste test!
The raspberry gin smells lovely, and is a beautiful deep red colour. I’d drink it on its own, but tried it with prosecco last night which was fabulous. I’ll definitely make this again, especially when you think that a 750ml bottle of raspberry liqueur will cost about £13, £10 for the gin and the rest for the sugar and frozen raspberries. Edinburgh Gin’s raspberry liqueur is £18 for 50ml, I’m not saying mine is as good, but it’s good enough for me. I also got left with gin soaked raspberries, some I froze in ice cubes to use as a garnish, and the rest I served with homemade chocolate brownies.
I’ve got a cardamom gin recipe to try next!