Do you know your Copperhead from your Curtis and your Hendricks from your Haymans? Can you tell the difference between a measure of Masons and a shot of Sloane’s?
No, me neither. But I do know that I take mine with three ice cubes, decent full fat tonic (not the supermarket home-brand crap) a slice of lemon, and if I’m feeling posh, I’ll pop into the garden and harvest a sprig of rosemary and bung that in too.
I am however, a particular fusspot when it comes to the glass in which my G&T is served. Hand me it in six inch thick glass, bought from Ikea, on a buy-60-for-a-pound deal, with one of those pointless thin black straws in it and expect to be told bluntly to decanter it into something more appropriate.
Info-graphic showing the glasses you can serve me my Gin in…
I do love a decent G&T. It’s what gets me through most weekends. I’ve recently purchased a Nutri-Bullet, which is just fabulous for whizzing up all sorts of Gin-based cocktails. A decent glug of Gin, plenty of frozen berries, crushed ice, elderflower cordial and soda water and Voila! Scatter a few Chia seeds on top and it makes a healthy breakfast if the kids have got out of their beds on the wrong side… but as a rule I would suggest you try and hold out until at least after the school run.
Anyway, two weeks ago my wonderful husband informed me that he had arranged a surprise for me and my lovely friend Jo for Friday 30th September.
I spend several hours trying to extract more information out of him one evening (I bloody hate surprises), picturing myself and JoJo enjoying a luxury spa break, a weekend on the Costas maybe? Or a personal-shopper experience in Harvey Nics with money to spend? Anyway, I eventually managed to squeeze it out of him…
…Two twelve quid tickets to a Friday night Gin Tasting Master Class at the local off licence.
Of course I tried desperately to sound grateful.
OK so it’s not exactly an off licence. Premier Cru is an independent fine wine and Gin shop in Guiesley (not quite Rudding Park).
I drive past the place most days but I’ve never been in until last Friday when Jo and I rocked up a little after the kick-off time of 7.45pm for our little treat courtesy of Iain. We opened the door to find the tiny shop jam-packed with people of all ages and walks of life. They were all staring in the direction of the check-out counter on which a rather sweaty chap in his 30s with a bearded, wearing an ill-fitting black polo shirt and a tea towel slung over his shoulder was about to introduce himself.
This was Tim, the shop’s Manager and wine and Gin connoisseur who was about to give us all a master-class on craft Gins.
Jo and I figured out that for twelve quid we’d probably get three G&Ts and then we could hot foot it out of there and head for somewhere a little more appropriate for two girls-about-town on a Friday night…
Well… fast forward seven Gins, ten new best friends to include Tom and Cat from the Highroyds and Cat’s Gin-loving parents, and we were having a ball! Tim had given up at about Gin number three and decided to use his time wisely working the room with a plate full of sliced lemons, rosemary, sliced limes and some Juniper berries, which no one seemed all that interested in.
Meanwhile his Canadian assistant who was in charge of filling our glasses with a variety of Gins has also given up trying to work out who had has what and was pouring liberal measures of Gin on request to anyone who wanted it.
Over by the window a colourful spread of food catered by Delicasolo down the road in Menston and included tasty looking spring rolls, olives and stuffed new potatoes – we were encouraged to eat in a bid to sober us all up a little.
It was 11pm before we know it and Cat and Tom invited us back to theirs for an ‘after-party’ along with their parents and anyone else who was standing.
Apparently Cat and Tom and their parents are regulars at Premier Cru’s wine and gin tasting events – in Cat’s mum’s words “darhling – where else can one get pissed as a fart for twelve pounds on decent wine and Gin… with delicious canapés thrown on?” And she was spot on really.
Although Tim and his team are not daft; ‘Get them pissed and they will part with their pennies’ I expect is the business strategy behind their tasting events, and bearing in mind we alone cleared out the wine fridge for Cat and Tom’s after-party, I reckon their strategy is pretty spot on.
We sampled Blackdown, The Lakes, Slingsby, Rock Rose, Death’s Door, Fifty Pounds and another beginning with the letter G. I attempted to jot down the tasting notes for you all but only got as far as Gin number one.
They all tasted the same after number three and I could see two of Jo after number five. The rest of the weekend was one hell of a struggle and I’ve not had Gin since.