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Muddy’s Ruin….

gin 6

I’ve done a few wine tastings in my time – as you do – and even the occasional champagne tasting, but I jumped at the chance to sign up for a Gin Tasting evening recently.  I mean, really.  A chance to *ahem* sample 4 craft gins, guided by an expert taster – it’s practically educational.

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The evening was organised by Shelley Dowsett – an experienced events organiser, a consummate gin lover and all-round good egg.  And it was beautifully put together.  From the G’n’T that greeted us when we go there, to the gin-bottle lights on the tables, to the little bowls of garnishes and nibbles, to the teeny-tiny bottles that held the gins we were tasting – all lovely.

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The venue was great, too.  I’d not visited the Red Lion in Stanstead Abbotts before, but I’m now very much looking forward to finding an excuse to go back.  It’s a big pub, given the size of the village, and after talking to the locals on my table, it’s clear that it’s a much-loved part of the community there.  There’s the main bar, and then there’s a restaurant – which I was assured served properly good Italian food.  The landlords, Mel and Mas, certainly seemed to know everyone and were very welcoming.

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So, the gin.  We – and it was a sold-out event – were guided through 4 very different gins by Dave Overall, who you’ll find online as ‘Gin and Tonic Reviews’ and who reviews and writes up 3 or 4 gins every week.  His own personal collection runs to about 300 bottles, and he appears to know just about all there  is to know – but talks about it all in an unpretentious, down-to-earth way that didn’t leave you guessing about what he was on about.

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What amazed me was the sheer variety of gins he’d brought with him – and even the range within the 4 we tasted.  The first one – Bulldog – came in a suitably fierce-looking bottle but was surprisingly ‘floral’ in taste (get me!), and had a sort of undertone of lavender.

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The second one – and my absolute favourite of the night – was Gin Mare.  It’s distilled with rosemary, thyme, basil and (get this) olives, which makes it more savoury than some gins – and had me and my gin-tasting friend Lucy wanting to eat focaccia and olives.  It’s like an Italian holiday – only without the flights and, er, the sunshine.  Neat bottles, too.

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The Sipsmith London Dry was a more traditional gin – lots of juniper taste and very recognisable.  Delicious, though.  The final gin of the night was very different – Opihir is distilled with Indian spices like cardamom, turmeric and so on, and we tried it with a garnish of fresh chili.  Quite the kick.  Dave suggested fresh ginger as a garnish, too, and I bet that’s gorgeous.  On my table, we agreed that it would be lovely in the winter – after we’d spent the summer drinking the Gin Mare.

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Luckily, Shelley has more tasting events planned.  She’s hosting a cocktail night, again at the Red Lion, on 19 June – and you should definitely get tickets early if you want to go.  Her events seems to sell out before you can say ‘mine’s a large one.’  Or you can do the gin thing on 29 May – the bank holiday weekend! – at the White Horse in Wareside.

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So, I’m now pretending to talk knowledgeably about gin – and I’m being a bit more daring in my purchasing than my usual.  Good stuff, all in all!

Find Shelley Dowsett and her delicious events at facebook.com/bespokefrankevents.

Thank you to Amanda Warner at AW Photography for the images.

 

 

 

 

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4 comments on “Muddy’s Ruin….”

  • Pam Henson April 2, 2016

    The Gin night was an amazing success for Shelley. I am so proud of how it went.. fantastic venue, host and Dave was very knowledgeable in all Gins.. well done sis :)…

    Reply
  • Clare Maynard April 2, 2016

    What a fab night it was and we enjoyed your company on the table Pippa. What a lovely and accurate review and Dave certainly knows his Gins. I have been scouting the shops for Gin Mare too. I’m also on the hunt for Gin Syrup though 😉

    Reply
    • pippachappell April 4, 2016

      I had a great night — great to meet you three! And yes, that tonic syrup was amazing… 🙂

      Reply
  • Shelley Dowsett April 5, 2016

    Thank you so much Pippa. Claire try Waitrose for Gin Mare x

    Reply

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