Brighton Gin

One of the most fabulous things about the gin renaissance is that it has spread far and wide, from its traditional London home, out down the roads and railways to towns and cities far and wide, as micro distillers try to make their own perfect gins to delight the ever-swelling ranks of the gin drinking public.

And gin has spread in other terms – from a Gordon’s, Schweppes and a wedge of lime to a Hendricks with cucumber and then out into a sea of fruit and weird and wonderful tonic waters to create a myriad of marvellous mixes.

Down the end of one of these roads out of London (23, M&A) you’ll find Brighton, and down the end of one of these experiments in garnish you’ll find a stick of minty Brighton Rock. Yes, that’s right, the good folk at Brighton Gin have taken the gin world by storm, by not only producing a wonderful gin, but then sticking a piece of Brighton rock in it to make a ‘Brighton Rocktail’ of a gin and tonic.

I am not a fan of Brighton Rock or mint in general, and while I do intend to try this construction one day, for now I am sticking to a more traditional , and recommended on their web site, mixture of gin, tonic and orange. And oh my word is it good.

Unless you are a total purist London-Dry-only man, sporting a waxed jacket, standing in your un-muddied willies in several hundred acres of your very own arable land, then I defy you not to like this incredibly approachable, smooth and refreshing gin. But then, at Brighton Gin, they do everything right – the bottle is fabulous, the colour scheme and label are fabulous, the social media management is fabulous, the publicity machine is… well you get the idea. But the thing is, the product they are selling is truly fabulous too – once sipped, it simply sells itself.Brighton Gin

Ok, it isn’t exactly cheap – at £38 for a 70cl bottle from The Gin Box Shop, you need to consider that two people can enjoy a return from London to Brighton on the train for less. But in gin terms, the cost/benefit analysis is clear – this is a premium price gin, but with a premium return on your investment.

One of the great things about it is the versatility – I’ve had it with Fever-Tree Indian and Fever-Tree Mediterranean and 1724 Tonic – all of them match to the point where I may never work out which mixer I favour. I’ve put orange with it, I’ve put apple with it,  I’ve gone traditional and used a wedge of lime – all work, and actually you don’t need to use any of them.

There is nothing remotely harsh about Brighton Gin, it is fresh, it is fun, and for the sake of alliteration and tying this whole review up nicely, it is fabulous.

Brighton Gin – £38 for 70cl

Gin & Tonic Rating: 5/5

Buy Brighton Gin at The Gin Box Shop

 

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Gin Club Opening Night Round-Up

Toby Asker-BrowneSaturday night was the first Forest Hill Gin Club Night, and I’d say it went rather well. This is a blog for reviewing things and as such, I’m hard pushed to review my own event without blowing my own trumpet, so I shall leave others to report on how good it was, and I’ll just stick to the facts.

Toby Asker-Browne, pictured above, came, brought some fantastic food from his catering company, Tablet Catering, and re-lived his past life as a cocktail shaker – preparing Raspberry Parkers; Gin Sours; Coffetinis; and a great Gin Fizz, while Charley and I prepared a range of G&Ts plus the occasional Negroni and Martini. We had 33 Gins and four different tonics, with a wide array of garnishes to suit.

gin sours

Just to prove that you never know what your best sellers are likely to be, we sold more Hoxton gin (of which I am not a fan) than anything else, followed by Williams Seville Orange and Williams GB, plus quite a lot of Silent Pool, Caorunn, Brighton and Martin Millers. Portobello Road with Pink Peppercorns was very popular as well, as was Adnams Copper House with Red Apple.

One of the fellow shop-keepers along Dartmouth Road in Forest Hill, Pauline from Sugar Mountain, “popped in” claiming that she didn’t like gin. So perhaps my biggest triumph of the night was converting this ‘wine only’ girl into an avid gin-lover who is already badgering me to get on with putting together the next gin night.

morebottlesToby gave a little talk on the history and origins of the drink we had all come to partake in, and, while I think I spent most of my night discussing gin, there were plenty of other conversations, from the dreaded brexit; to local affairs; the pros and cons of social media, and; how to turn empty bottles of fever-tree into table decorations for your wedding day.

Since the event I have had over forty people sign up to the gin club news, and follower numbers almost doubled on Twitter. I’d better get planning the next night, but in the meantime, thanks to Charley, Toby, Zoe and Chase, all of whom helped me make the opening night such a hit, and to The Gin Box Shop, who were our main source of gin, so expertly advised and safely delivered a couple of days before the event.

half-consumed cocktails
half-consumed cocktails

 

 

Forest Hill Gin Club – Opening Event Details

With less than five days to go before Forest Hill Gin Club’s opening event, I thought I’d share some of the detail; firstly, and most importantly, tickets!

Tickets

Tickets are being sold in advance so we have some ideas of numbers for food (see below). We will be providing a buffet of free food on the night, as well as your first drink – so we are selling tickets in advance in order to make sure we have enough to go around! Online ticket sales end on Thursday – follow the link to avoid missing out – go to Eventbrite  – Tickets are also available at The Archie Parker is you would rather pay by folding money or coin of the realm!

Everyone buying a ticket will be signed up for FREE membership of the Gin Club, which means you get first refusal on future events and discounted offers. In the future a small membership fee will be charged.

On The Night – Gin

Toby Asker-Browne will be making cocktails on the night (see below), but we will also have a Gin & Tonic Menu. Prices have yet to be finalised, but there are currently 33 gins ready for you to taste, and this number may well rise by Saturday night.

The menu includes local gins, such as Jensen’s and Sipsmith; a range of English gins – Brokers; Williams Chase; Bulldog; Brighton; Silent Pool and Adnams to name but a few; international gins such as Gin Mare from Spain, Monkey 47 from Germany, Copperhead from Belgium and Hope on Hoskins from South Africa. Add to this some of the growing number of fantastic Scottish gins such as Crossbill, Rock Rose and The Botanist, and you can see that it is any gin lover’s dream. Plus we will have four different tonic waters and a range of garnishes to suit the individual style of each gin.

On The Night – Food

Tablet Catering will be providing a gin-based menu to compliment the evening – with an English / Colonial tapas type theme with gin-cured salmon, chicory leaf of coronation chicken; polenta cake with cashew pesto and artichoke and more.

On The Night – Cocktails

This is very much down to Toby, but we’ll certainly be having a range of cocktails including a Royal Gin Fizz, a Raspberry Parker and a Gin Sour.

 

Prices for drinks will start at £4 for gin (and range up over £10 for some of the best gin & tonics known to man!) although we will also have bottled beer and soft drinks available for those who are driving or have taken a wrong turn thinking this was the Forest Hill biscuit club (if that doesn’t exist, it should!)

I will update this post with more information as I get it….

millers gin

Whitley Neill

One of the first gins I bought, when first I ventured beyond Tanqueray, was Whitley Neill. I bought a bottle for my sister and her husband for Christmas circa 2013 and they seemed impressed so by the time spring had sprung I bought a bottle for myself. At the time I remember being a little disappointed, returning to Tanqueray when making my next purchase in Sainsbury’s.

But I’ve often been tempted to buy another one (I very much like the matt black bottle and simple styling) and so recently I did just that. Whitley Neill is a juniper lead, handcrafted dry gin that is distilled in Birmingham using an antique copper still. The unique factor in this gin is the inclusion of two African botanicals – Baobab fruit and Cape Gooseberries, and I have to say, you can certainly tell a Whitney Neill apart from other gins. WhitleyNeill

Distiller Johnny Neill’s signature appears on the label, along with a batch number and a legend that reads “Distilling gin for 8 generations since 1762”. There is also a gold medal from the 2014 San Francisco spirits awards. Not short on experience, craft or recognition.

Bottled at 43%, you can safely invest in Whitley Neill without being disappointed, or wowed. It is a good gin, I’m perfectly content with my Copa Balon filled with Whitley Neill, Fever-Tree Indian Tonic and a garnish of orange peel. Their web site looks incredibly expensive and is aesthetically pleasing, although not very easy to navigate, but it has some good suggestions for other drinks that I will explore at a later date.

Will I buy another bottle after this one has gone? Probably not. Would I be pleased to unwrap one on Christmas morning? Certainly! And if they are going to make one of those ‘try before you die’ books about gin*, then I’d certainly recommend Whitley Neill be contained within the pages.

Whitley Neill Handcrafted Dry Gin – £24.50 for 70cl

Gin & Tonic Rating – 3/5

 

*note – there is one of these books! I will try and find out if Whitley Neill is included.

whitleyglass