This Is Gin.

When I started this blog and published my first post about the Aberdeen Gin Festival, a lovely lady called Karin McGivern got in touch to say she loved the post and wanted to send me her very first gin guide to read; This is Gin – the first publication in the ‘This is Guides’ series.

I have absolutely loved flicking through this small guide written by her and Scott Donald – so here are my thoughts…

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Published this year, the guide includes around 40 of Scotland’s own gin distillers. From Gordon’s to Gordon Castle, it’s a delight turning each page to read a little about another different gin. It is beautifully presented, packed with photographs and illustrations, not to mention guest sections (I enjoyed the bit about Summerhouse Drinks and the Walter Gregor tonics!) and an overview of the history of gin. And, I have to say, what’s nice about it is that it’s not pretentious or overly informative (sometimes I think you can read too much about a gin), this guide gives you a little insight into where it’s made and some high level tasting notes. Just enough to give you an indication of what to expect.

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And what’s better? There’s space to add your own notes! Hoooooray! How many times have you tried a gin you’ve been dying to get a taste of, only to forget what it tastes like (usually because you end up having too many… just me?!)? It’s great to be able to add just a couple of notes, whether it’s maybe what you drank it with (flavoured tonics, anyone?) or which garnish you chose to drink it with. I really like this feature – it’s like creating your own little gin diary. You can also fill in the stars and give it your own personal rating… Definitely feeling like a little gin critique right about now! *insert sassy emoji ;-)*

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I don’t know about you, but I am a bit of a garnish geek. I don’t have a natural ‘talent’ at pairing perfectly suited garnishes to individual gins, no no. But I do love being told what goes best and I usually try to re-create perfect serves to try and get the best out of the gins. Karin & Scott have done the leg work for you and have dedicated a page to suggesting some of the best gins for the best garnishes – this will now be my go to trusted source! As a side note, I would also pair Gordon’s Castle with rosemary – I tried this at the Inverurie Gin Club a few months ago and it was deeeeelicious.

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And what’s even more wonderful, is that this is just the first guide. I recently saw on the Instagram page (@thisisguides) that the deadline has recently passed for different gins to request to be involved with the next edition – I cannot wait to see what’s been included for the next one. The Scottish gin market is growing at an impressive rate and the quality of those new gins hitting the market is equally as impressive.

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At the beginning of the Guide, Mike Stewart from Inverurie Whiskey Shop writes a very relevant and palatable foreword. I feel like he’s summarised the gin market perfectly with this;

“Gone are the heavy Juniper hits, the old fashioned smell that could put you off gin for life. Young people are into gin in a big way, both men and women, its fashionable – the bottles are designed in a new and trendy way. But there are also the trend-setters. Those 30 plus who have been drinking gin for years, now get a sense of pride in the way that they pioneered ‘the movement’. This is what helps make gin so popular, it really is a drink for everyone.”

And I think the This is Gin guide is for everyone, too. I’m enjoying noting down my different, personal, tasting notes and rating the array of Scottish gins in the market. It’s like my own little private mission to ‘complete’ the guide. Maybe I should aim to have completed it by the time the second one comes out… Challenge Accepted! #WishMeLuck

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L-R: The Botanist, Esker Gin, Eden Mill Botano Gin, Portobello Road Gin and Whitley Neill (note: not all of these gins are in the guide! But just a little part of my personal collection πŸ™‚

If you’d like to purchase the book, visit the This Is Guides Facebook or Instagram pages to shop the collection! At Β£14.99, it’s a neat little addition to your gin collection and I would totally recommend it*.

Enjoy πŸ™‚

Aimee x

*Karin kindly sent me this guide for free in exchange for a review. I was delighted to accept and all views are 100% honest and are all my own.

Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin | Launch Event

I was very, very excited to be invited to the Aberdeen launch of Jindea, a single estate tea gin (“a tea gin?!” you ask… all shall be revealed!)

The event took place at The Tippling House, a very on-trend,  subterranean late night bar in Aberdeen city centre.

Being my first ‘blogger event’, I was a little nervous about what to expect, who would be there and what I would talk about (how do you introduce yourself as a gin blogger without sounding like a bit of an alcoholic? “Hi! I write about my hobby… gin.” Hmm…). But on arrival, I was immediately handed a B-E-A-UTIFUL heavy, crystal highball glass packed with ice, lime and Jindea gin with a bottle of Fever Tree tonic. There was no need to be nervous – I was right at home πŸ˜‰

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Seriously though, how beautiful is this glass? I really want some for home (I found similar ones here, here and here).

The bar was pretty busy already and amongst them I recognised a couple of faces so had some people to talk to. After a gin, the lovely staff came round with beautiful looking cocktails  called the “West Bengal Punch”, garnished with edible flowers – very pretty and very easy drinking, like an alcoholic iced tea… #yummy

[ West Bengal Punch ]

30ML Jindea Single Estate Tea Gin
20ML CrΓ¨me de Peche
30ML Cold-Brew Darjeeling Tea
15ML Lemon Juice
1 TSP Caster Sugar
Shake all ingredients with ice. In an old-fashioned tumbler fine-strain over a large block of cut ice and serve with a spring of mint and slice of fresh peach.

More cocktail recipes here.

Then we got to learn all about Jindea, the gin itself, where it comes from and who’s behind the brand. I absolutely love learning the back stories of the different gins coming on the market, so I hope you do too!

Jindea is a single estate, first flush Darjeeling tea gin. I’m quite proud that I can now tell you what that actually means (everyday is a school day, and all that!). If you read my blog post ‘what makes gin, ‘gin’?’, you’ll now know that gin is categorised by its dominant juniper flavour. Jindea is no different in that regard, but where it sets itself apart is that the second main botanical is Darjeeling tea from the Goomtee estate in India (that’s where the label ‘single estate’ comes from – all the tea is sourced and exported from that one estate).

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Photo credit: Jindea

Darjeeling is often referred to as the ‘champagne of tea’ and it makes up less than 1% of India’s total tea production. It is superior in quality and is highly sought after, making it a premium contribution to the Jindea flavour. I also learned at the event that there are four ‘flushes’ which identify the season in which the tea is picked. First flush tea is the spring picking (March / April), enabling the creation of a gentle black tea – very desirable and, again, a valuable trait in the development of Jindea.

The gin also features other citrus-forward botanicals, including lemon and grapefruit, as well as coriander, ginger, fennel, cardamon, cinnamon and angelica. The spirit is produced in France in a traditional alembic copper still, which looks a little like this…

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Jindea is a London dry gin – I think I’ll do a separate post on the different types of gin, but in short, a gin can only be called a London dry gin if all of the flavour is developed in the distillation process. In other words, you can’t add any essence or flavours after the distillation is complete (it actually has nothing to do with being made in London!).

So, how do you go about creating a gin like this – how on Earth do you think to source tea from India and distill it in France? And how do you know what other flavours to add? Well, Adrian Gomes (owner of The Tippling House, Rye & Soda and events company 10 Dollar Shake), told us at the launch how Jindea came about.

“Jindea is the product of collaboration between three people with significant experience in the hospitality and drinks industry.”

As well as Adrian, the other key contributors to the development of this unique gin are Matthew Dakers (a tea sommelier, one of around only 20 in the UK!) and Jack Rackham (third generation family-owned  and London-based drinks importer).

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Photo credit: Jindea

The trio have worked together, drawing on their own experiences, connections and knowledge, to develop a vibrant, citrus-forward gin.

Adrian explained that this was their third launch event in the U.K. They have already seen great success with the gin now being stocked in Harvey Nichols and the Savoy hotel (pretty impressive). Although the guys have clear connections to Aberdeen through their personal and professional relationships, Adrian explains that they don’t claim this to be a ‘local’ gin; they’re proud to introduce the international nature of the gin to the buoyant market in the UK, and what an impression they have made…

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Jindea has just received the silver (outstanding) award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition – congratulations to the team! In celebration of this achievement (and if you’re local to Aberdeen), you can buy a bottle of Jindea at the Rye & Soda bottle shop with a 10% discount until Sunday, 30th July – get in there quick! πŸ™‚

All in all, I had a great time at the event learning all about the gin (and tea, apparently!) and the brains behind the operation. I’ll definitely be picking up a bottle for myself from one of their retailers (full list here if you’re interested).

Have you tried it yet? What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading!

Aimee x