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The deVOL Journal

45 Gin School Experience

6th June 2019

By Kathryn Collins

I remember trying gin for the first time. I was at University and sampled some Gordon’s gin, neat. It was awful and I couldn’t believe a drink could actually take away moisture from your mouth. The experience was so bad, I didn’t touch the stuff again for almost 10 years.

How times have changed, I now love it! It has to be in a proper gin glass, with loads of ice and a slice of any citrus fruit (and I still don’t like Gordon’s!) but it’s great. I like sampling all the different options but my current favourite is our local Burleigh’s Gin.

My husband is also a big fan and so for his birthday I booked us in at Burleigh’s Gin School in Leicester. Some of you might have heard of it but essentially you go, drink and make gin. The experience lasted about 3.5 hours including a brief introduction to gin (whilst having one in hand) and we learnt about the process of making it. We then had a cocktail masterclass where we made a gin cocktail, blindfolded and then moved on to making our own.

Making gin was the really good bit, there were around 200 botanicals to choose from, spices, herbs, seeds and floral ingredients. You were allowed to smell them all without looking at what they were and wrote down all the ones that took your fancy. From this list you selected 10-15 ingredients and then the lady who ran the session advised how much of each ingredient to include, to avoid a disaster. You then used the tools provided and distilled your own gin using the concoction of chosen ingredients and waited for the magic to happen.

We opted for a floral, fruity gin but with the inclusion of pink peppercorn and Oak and Cassia bark, it added a bit of spice and earthiness to it. You got to sample your gin literally as the first drops came out and tasted how it changed throughout this process. You then bottled it up and sealed it to complete your very own bottle of gin to take home.

Five gins later we happily made our way to a lovely, authentic Italian restaurant, as we’d built up quite the appetite, before catching the train home. We actually forget our bottle of gin in the restaurant but luckily realised before it was too late!

If you’re a gin fan then this is something you should definitely do. Highly recommended and lots of fun!

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