Gin Ginnery, Gin Ginnery, Gin, Gin Gery!
I’ve always been a bit sceptical about buying food from a ‘club’; never sure of quality, animal welfare standards (red tractor do their best, but I refuse to buy barn reared chickens) and provenance. I’m also wary of promotions that flit across my social media feeds but gin was required, so I bit the bullet and took up the introductory offer from the Craft Gin Club – twenty quid (normally £40) for a bottle of gin, various tonics and snacks, with cancellation at any time, what was there to lose? Membership options can be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly; I opted to give it a go every other month, after all I could change it anytime, or indeed cancel if needed!
Jon and John (the co-founders) specialise in small-batch producers, sourcing six gins from the UK and six from the rest of the world over the course of a year. It seemed to be a great way to try various tipples.
Not knowing what to expect, it was with great anticipation that on Friday 4th October, I eagerly awaited my delivery, due between 08.44 and 11.44. Mid-morning, the postman came and went, no parcel – I checked my tracking number – it had been despatched, it was on its way. A wee while later, a knock at the door and I was on my feet in a flash – the box had arrived!
It was like opening a treasure chest with gin instead of rum. A packet Tyrell’s chilli and red pepper crisps, two bars of Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate (milk hazelnut, and dark almond and sea salt), three different tonics from Double Dutch, a bottle of ginger ale syrup, a twee bottle of angostura bitters, a miniature jar of Tiptree marmalade, a packet of dried orange slices and cloves, and a full bottle of Gin 1689, oh and not forgetting a copy of GINNED!, a glossy magazine full of information about the October snifter and all the other goodies. With recipes for cocktails and baking, competitions, interviews and history about the gin featured, I’m seriously impressed.
William of Orange was crowned William III, King of England, Scotland and Ireland on the 16th April, 1689. As a Dutchman, he would have been very familiar with the Dutch spirit, jenever, the fore runner of gin. He was responsible for shutting down imports of French wine and brandy and passing laws that gave tax cuts to anyone who wanted to distil their own spirits. Because of this, gin was cheaper than beer and became a staple of British culture and, some say, the degradation of society.
Any hoo, back to this month’s gin …
In 2016, two Dutch lads, Alexander and Patrick, set about tracking down a 300 year old gin recipe. A labour of love saw the fruition of their dream when they launched Gin 1689 in 2018!
The botanicals are juniper, dried quince, Pippin apple, lemon and orange peel, nutmeg, aniseed and clove, all of which pairs amazingly well with the tonics, ginger ale syrup and dried orange.
I decided to make an amended version of the monthly cocktail
William of Orange
One large glass filled with ice.
Pour in the gin, ginger ale syrup and angostura bitters, give it a good stir.
Squeeze in the juice of an orange followed by the Double Dutch cranberry and ginger tonic water.
Throw in a couple of cloves and a dried orange slice.
Sip slowly while reclining on the sofa!
The sweet chilli and red pepper crisps are the perfect snack, complementing the spices in the drink, making it rather moreish and very quaffable!
I look forward to trying some of the other cocktails featured in the magazine, and cannae wait to see what awaits me in December’s gin box, it’s got to be festive, hasn’t it!
(In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a paid-in-kind review, I forked out my own dosh for my subscription)
(C) Lea Harris, In the Kitchen with BakersBunny, 2019.