Like so many others these days, I own a drinks trolley. What I can proudly say, that may single me out slightly, is that I made my own (read here how) and that one of the bottles on it, is a gin that I distilled myself. In June, I headed to The Spirit of Harrogate and took part in Slingsby Gin’s Master Distillery class. As a testament to the 2-hour long class, I brought back my own flavoured and distilled bottle of gin. A gin I like to call Citrus Curiosity.
The Spirit of Harrogate
I have never been to the Slingsby shop before but it’s unmissable in Harrogate with its gorgeous outside decorations. Across two floors, Slingsby Gin host a shop, a bar, a taster room and a small distillery. We got a tour of all areas, starting in the shop where you aside from buying their products, can try new possible flavours that they’re experimenting with. Any tickle your fancy? I know the Marmalade flavour has been released in time for their birthday this year. Anyways, upstairs we got treated to a classic Slingsby G&T awaiting the rest of the guests. The bar’s best seat is by the bay window overlooking the park.
Slingsby Gin’s Master Distiller Experience
The Master Distiller package includes four gin cocktails, which are served during the event, and your own made gin, packaged up neatly, to take home. The G&Ts you enjoy during the event are all from Slingsby’s own selection. I really recommend (as you know from this previous post) to try their gooseberry flavoured gin. To book your own experience making your own gin, had to Slingsby’s website. It’s well worth the £90. Christmas is around the corner so why not give away a gin distillery experience to someone special.
Step 1: Deciding on flavours
Over two hours, you and up to seven more people will start with a tasting session to find your preferred style of gin and after move on to distilling your own. The taster session takes place in a the taster room, decorated with a moss feature wall. It’s so cool and great for rooms that easily get damp, the moss absorbs all water. The taster includes six different flavours: juniper, citrus, spice, floral, herbal and fruit. Once you have decided on your preferred flavour, or in my case flavours (citrus and spice), the spirit making can beGIN.
Step 2: Mixing ingredients
The mini distillery is located at the entrance floor, behind the shop. Here all ingredients are stored and neatly arranged. In the bigger area you find the work stations where the concoctions happen. It feels like being back in the school chemistry lab putting on an apron and using scales and beakers. To help, there’s a tablet which has all the information about ingredients needed for each type of gin, along with exact measurements. As from my gin name you can probably guess I went for a citrus flavoured gin so to the spicy base, I added citrus flavours like lemon and grapefruit peel and lychee & lime tea.
Step 3: Distilling process
Once the ingredients are added, it’s time for the alembic process. This is the distillation process: the separation of a liquid by evaporation and condensation. It takes a while but quite interesting to watch. the liquid goes into three beakers: heads, hearts and tales. The middle beaker is the biggest and the main gin of your making. From here, you taste the head and tail to decide which taste you like the most to make up your flavoured gin. I was surprised they taste so different!!! Another surprise is that this mixture only make for a part of the gin bottle you buy in a shop. The rest is water and in Slingsby’s case, of course Harrogate water. Sorry for the spoilers, you’ll still enjoy this class. I promise!
The hardest challenge is to wait at least six weeks before opening up the signed and sealed bottle. I managed and it was worth the wait. I’ve only had a little sip so far but I really like it. If you want something you know you’re thoroughly going to enjoy – make it yourself! If you want the recipe for my gin, let me know. I got a recipe card to take home. What flavours do you think you would go for if you made your own? I wish someone would make a salty liquorice gin and a cherry flavoured gin.
*I was kindly invited by the Slingsby team to visit their store and take part in this experience in return for social media coverage and this post. All words, views and photos are as always my own. Thanks so much Slingsby for a gintastic evening!