After my last post on Blackwater Distillery No5 London Dry Gin the secret is out, I am that gin eyed girl. The gin eyed girl who has more money than sense and spends it on craft gin in the gin palaces of London. What was once known as Mother’s Ruin, Cuckold’s Comfort and Dutch Courage has grown in popularity in the last 5 years and distilleries are churning out small batch gin’s quicker than you can pour yourself a gin and tonic.
Although I am far from new to the gin scene (gin being my drink of choice from far too young an age to admit here…which we can blame my father for) I was quite excited when I was recently asked to attend a gin fuelled event event at The Clachan, a lovely pub which is part of the Nicholson’s Pub Group. As part of the event we where we were treated to a lesson on the history of gin from historian and author Olivia Williams before getting the chance to taste 4 very different gins.
Now, I must admit, whilst I knew a lot about the history of gin itself (and I’d tried some of the gins before), I wasn’t so familiar with the Nicholson’s brand. That being said, since the event I’ve seen that some of the gin palaces closest to me are in fact part of the Nicholson’s group. But, Nicholson’s aren’t just a pub chain. In fact they originally set up as gin distillers in the 1870’s – so when it comes to serving gin to thirsty Londoners they most definitely know what they are doing.Fun facts about Nicholson’s include that founder William Nicholson saved the future of Lord’s cricket ground in 1866 by purchasing the freehold of the ground and shortly afterwards the Marylebone Cricket Club colours changed to match those of Nicholson’s gin!
Enough about Nicholson’s I hear you say, what about the gin? As part of the event classics like Bombay Sapphire were served up alongside the more exotic or oriental of gins such as Opihr. The most experimental gin we tried was the William Chase GB made from potatoes. I’m a big fan of the Chase Distillery and this wasn’t my first time drinking out of a bottle topped with a bow tie! We also got to taste Adnams, a gin made from a long standing beer brewer with which I was very impressed! It was fantastic hearing from the teams behind the gins, learning about production, flavour combinations and how you become a master distiller (is it too late to re-train?)
It’s also nice to know that when I am out having a cheeky G&T in the summer a pub bearing the Nicholson’s name has a true history with gin and is worthy of the label gin palace – unlike Weatherspoons and other bar chains jumping on the tidal wave of gin’s popularity. If you’re not a gin drinker don’t panic though. Each pub has at least eight hand pulled beers from national favourites to upcoming microbreweries so hopefully there is something for everyone. Oh, did I mention they do food too…
Overall, I had a fantastic night sipping gin with some wonderful company and I am excited to try some of the goodies I got at the end of the night. You can most definitely expect a review of Opihr and Adnams soon.
*Disclaimer: whilst I was invited to attend this event and received the samples free of charge I was under no obligation to write about Nicholson’s pubs or the gins I tried. I merely thought you might be interested! Chin chin!