Over the last year I have tried an abundance of new gins which have varied from excellent to downright undrinkable and with so many new gins coming onto the market, just how do you know which ones to try and which to stay clear of.
I have tried to pick out some new and interesting gins on the blog over the last few months, with this set to continue with at least one great gin being featured as my Gin of the Month (You can check out my previous one on Cuckoo Spiced Gin), but there are only so many that I can feature without drinking gin daily (although that wouldn’t be the biggest chore I have had to undertake in my life)
For those of you in Manchester however, there is another way of getting to find out which gins are for you – simple head down to the cities newest bottle shop Tipples.
Tipples is the baby of Greg who has worked in a number of bars in the city as well as in training and development for living ventures. After a stint as a Gin Brand Manager, he has decided to live his dream and open a spirit based bottle shop in the heart of Manchester.
Located on Lloyd street, tipples is an Aladdin’s cave of spirits, most predominantly gin.
With 80 Gins on the shelf (well actually there are currently 76 and the remaining 4 lines are still to arrive) there really is something for everyone.
Greg has a simple philosophy about the bottles in the shop. Firstly he has had to try each one, secondly he has to have liked it for what it is and lastly he must be able to stock it at a price that he would be willing to pay for it. Many of the gins are not those that you would find in the supermarkets, instead Greg has decided to concentrate on those that you find in independents and upmarket department stores (Just without the luxury mark up).
The other great thing about Tipples is that a number of the bottles are open to be tried before you buy them, on top of that they will be holding tasting sessions each Friday and Saturday between 2 til 7pm, each one showcasing a different producer.
Another way to really find out about gin, its background and how many different varieties they have, is via a masterclass which they are about to launch. I was lucky enough to be invited to their very first one of these to find out what its all about.
Now I’ve been to a few gin producers, visited distillery’s and have learnt a small amount about this liquid wonder stuff, but even so, Greg’s passion and energy made the talks really interesting, with some background details evidence of his deep set interest for spirits.
We started off the tasting session with a Warner Harrington Dry, this is a beautiful dry gin with a nose of subtle lavender which followed through on the palette along with pepper and an almost minty finish, with a start like this I knew it was going to be a great evening.
We moved along to Brooklin Gin – ‘anyone guess where this ones from?’ ask’s Greg, to which I very obviously pipe up ‘Eh Brooklin?’. ‘Nope’ Greg responds. Close though, this is an American Gin produced just outside New York, however the owners have a vision to one day move into Brooklin and have therefore named their gin with that vision in mind.
One sniff of this and I immediately get a cereal on the nose, this is due to the base spirit being derived from wheat explains Greg – he certainly ‘nose’ his stuff (Sorry – I couldn’t resist). This is again a Juniper lead gin with citrus being the next most prominent flavour of this one.
Edinburgh Seaside was up next – the nose? – ‘Pine’ was one persons immediate response, a definite smell of the seaside for sure. This is a slightly sweeter, slightly salty gin and would be perfect in some cocktails.
Ki No Bi was a new one on me. A Japanese produced gin that uses all Japanese ingredients with the exception of the Juniper and Orris Root. This one was a wonder in a glass. Oriental is definitely in the forefront in this herbal lead gin, it uses Bamboo Leaves, Ginger, Yuzu and Green Tea amongst its botanical’s, this would make a very refreshing G&T.
We are not finished there – we follow this up with Gin Mare – The Mediterranean Gin. For me, having lived on The Ionian Islands in Greece for a number of years, the nose was of a fresh salad bursting of tomatoes, this freshness followed through on the palette followed by one of my favourite botanical’s – cardamon, this I sipped and sipped and then the glass was empty – what a winner.
Last up from the tasting session was another little wonder – An Australian Gin from Four Pillers – Bloody Shiraz Gin, which just sounds much better when said in an ozzie accent. I’m a big wine fan and my love started after spending a couple of years in New Zealand and Australia, so this Yarra Valley Shiraz Gin better be good. It’s very different for sure, I’m not a ‘sweet’ fan, but this is beautiful and fruity – very dangerous as it does not appear to be the 37.8% that it is, going down far to easily. I’m imagining this as a perfect after dinner sipping gin with some strong mature cheese.
Tipples Manchester really is a wondrous place and its not just gin, they have a wide range of other spirits including Rum, Vodka, Whisky and even Cachaça, so get yourself down there and find something new just for you.
The tasting classes will be starting soon and I’ll be sure to be posting more about them on my twitter here.