There was a point in my life that I was sure I didn’t like gin. Granted, this was a couple of years after a very bad gin experience as a teenager at a house party where I had to be picked up by my dad and was very sick in his car. But in recent years I have managed to get over this fear of gin and now I just can’t get enough of the stuff. I love all the different variations and how refreshing it can be. So I was over the moon to be invited down to the new 58 Gin distillery in Haggerston for a gin masterclass, tasting and the chance to distill our very own gin!
58 Gin’s distillery is brand spanking new and a lovely space situated in the arches of the overground line, it’s all very slick and clean and has it’s own bar along with an area that has lots of mini versions of their beautiful alembic copper stills. This is where we made our own gin.
It was an incredibly hot day when we visited 58 Gin and so to be welcomed with a G&T on arrival was glorious. I hadn’t tried this gin before and was pleasantly surprised by how smooth it was. This is down to the single shot distillation process where the head and tail parts are cut off, leaving more of the heart. This removes any initial sharpness or unpleasant aftertaste and is replaced with a crisp taste and a soft finish. We then had a quick try of this gin on it’s own and were told how to taste gin properly.
Next, we headed to a table which was filled with pots of different botanicals. We began by smelling each of them and seeing which smells we liked and which we didn’t before deciding which ones would make it into our very own gin. There were all sorts of things to choose from but my friend Jaz and I opted for Spanish Lemon, Pink Grapefruit, Blood Orange (x2), Vanilla, Orris, Angelica, Juniper (it has to have this to be called gin), coriander seeds, and black pepper. We were aiming to go for a slightly fruity gin but with a little bit of a kick from the black pepper.
After we’d decided on our botanicals we gathered back around the bar area for another gin cocktail and to try the navy strength Gin, which will most definitely blow your head off as it’s stronger. This is because it still needed to be able to light in case it spilled on the gun powder whilst at sea.
We then (attempted to) measure out our botanicals before they were put into the mini distiller with the alcohol and were left to do their thing whilst we tried the 58 Sloe Gin (loved this) along with another cocktail and some nibbles in the form of cheese, crackers, meats etc. and WOW can I just say, that was some of the best hummus I’ve ever eaten in my life. I need to know where it was from.
After this it was time for a mini history lesson and masterclass. I’ve been to many a gin masterclass and they’re quite often full of the same information but 58 Gin managed to make it seem exciting and get everyone involved and it also stuck with me a lot more than usual! Mainly because there were jokes throughout and pictures that linked certain things with memories.
It wasn’t long before our gin had finished distilling! Much quicker than I thought it was going to be. We tried some at this point but it was still at 80% alcohol so was very strong. They were taken away to be finished and the water added whilst we had another cocktail.
We were then presented with our own gin that we’d made and were able to name it using the label before we sealed it with some lovely blue hot wax. This was the cherry on top! and now I’m too scared to open it.
Before we sealed the gin, the lovely 58 gin ladies made sure that we each had a double measure so that we were able to try our gins without breaking into the bottle. We paired it with some fever tree and it was absolutely delightful.
We had such a fantastic day at the 58 Gin distillery experience and I’d definitely recommend it for anyone who’s a fan of gin, not only do you get to taste an array of their gins, you get to see the process behind it and figure out how to make it for yourself! I learnt a lot and would do it all over again in a heartbeat just to see what different flavours of gin I can create. It’s quite a lengthy activity which I love as it feels like you get a lot out of it!
If you want to find out more about this experience you can check it out here!
Thank you so much to 58 Gin for having me!
To read more about my gin escapades, why not take a look here