March: Blind Gin Tasting

At our Christmas party we surveyed our members as to what their top 3 gins were. This was in preparation for a blind gin tasting later on in the year. We decided March was the perfect time and just needed a suitable venue. We figured there was no better place to drink gin that a gin bar, and no better gin bar in London than Graphic! When we said blind we meant it, as we gave no indications as to what the gins on the menu for the night were. This was because we wanted to strip away any trace of marketing and focus on the contents of the bottle. On the night there were the 3 gins that our members had voted as their favourite and a couple of sneaky additions from Mark, Kate and I. As everyone began to arrive, the very lovely Adam from behind the bar handed out welcome G&T’s, each made using one of the 5 gins. These had been decanted into plain bottles so that there was no indication as to what they were….ooo the intrigue! On the tasting table there were a further 5 wine bottles filled with the gins and around 300 tasting glasses sat lined up side by side (yes I did stick the stickers on each of them!). We made up some tasting sheets so that people could write down their thoughts and tasting notes, and also record their top 5 in order of preference. Once everyone had arrived the tasting began, and Mark and I handed around the various samples of gin. They were colour coded so that red=1, orange=2, yellow=3, green=4 and blue=5. The task was not an easy one, as not only did we want our members to rank the gins in order of preference, but we also wanted them to have a guess as to which gin they were drinking. We realise that ranking the gins and trying to guess what they were was a particularly difficult task as we were asking people to drink the gin neat, which we realise isn’t the usual way most people drink gin!! However we were really happy to see everyone getting involved and exploring the gin category – which is what we intended the evening to do.     The scores were tallied up and the final result was: 1 – Tanquaray 10 2 – Sipsmith 3 –...
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March: Four Roses

At our March meeting we were lucky enough to have Mr Dan Priseman in session and tending stick behind the bar at Academy (formerly L.A.B). Dan works for Four Roses bourbon, and also runs a blog called Bitters and Twisted. I imagine there’s very little you’d want to know about bourbon that this man doesn’t know! A veritable fountain of knowledge we were all looking forward to an evening learning loads about this wonderful category! Academy were kind enough to give us most of the downstairs space for the evening, and Dan took up residency behind the bar to make us some fab cocktails. Made in jam jars we had the choice of a mint julep, kentucky lemonade and something yummy with peach, the name of which escapes me now! Aimed at being quick and simple to make (he was tending bar solo!), they were perfect for the evening and fantastically yummy too. Part way through the night Dan talked through bourbon, it’s heritage, production methods, and the Four Roses brand specifically whilst we tasted the range starting with the Yellow Label (40% ABV). It was interesting to see opinion divided between whether people preferred the small batch (45% ABV) or single barrel (50% ABV). A fantastically fun and educational evening all round we’d like to thank the guys at Academy for giving us the space, and the super awesome Dan for both tending stick and imparting some of his vast wisdom upon...
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