A few weeks ago I was invited to the Liverpool Gin Distillery to try out their Gin Lab Experience along with some Liverpool bloggers. [ invited ] Located in one of my favourite parts of Liverpool City Centre, the Liverpool Gin Distillery is the ultimate bar to visit for a great G&T. Or if you’re looking to try something new, they have a rum bar too!
We kicked the evening off with a little menu tasting in the basement rum bar. As someone who had no idea that the Liverpool Gin Distillery even served food, I was absolutely blown away by the menu.
Traditional Scouse, Red Cabbage, Bread and Butter
Starting with an absolute Liverpool classic, we tried their traditional Scouse which was served with fresh bread and red cabbage. There’s nothing better than a hot stew in the cold Wintry weather and their Scouse definitely warms you up!
Fresh Goats Cheese, Paprika and Honey Grilled Flatbread
Next we were served a grilled flatbread which was topped with fresh goats cheese, paprika and honey. And oh wow, was this stunning. Goats cheese is one of my absolute favourite toppings when it comes to pizza. I know that it’s a bit of an opinion divider but, for those of you who are a fan of the cheese, it was incredible.
Goats cheese and honey is just simply a classic combination. So I knew before I’d even tried it that I’d love it. Plus, who doesn’t love a pizza served on a chopping board?
Ham Wrapped Dates With Almonds
This next little dish was definitely one to get you in the festive spirit. Dates stuffed with almonds and then wrapped in crispy, smokey ham. I have to say though, I think I was the only member of the group who was excited about the fact that the ham was wrapped around a date rather than the classic pig-in-blanket.
That’s not to say that I don’t love a good pig-in-blanket but it was just a nice little twist on what you’ll usually find at this time of year. Once again it was definitely a dish to divide opinions. But the dream for anyone who loves a sweet-savoury combination.
Grilled Atlantic Prawns with Garlic Mayo
You just can’t go wrong with a garlic prawn can you? When we were served a plate of grilled Atlantic prawns and garlic mayo as the final dish in the tasting I was so excited. I absolutely demolished my serving in minutes – incredible!
GIN #1 Liverpool Gin and Tonic with Watermelon
Mid way through the menu tasting we were each given the first of our complimentary gins for the evening. There are 4 main Liverpool gins which are available at the bar, and we kicked it off with the classic. Served alongside it was a slice of watermelon – one of my favourite fruits to have in a gin.
I opted for a simple tonic with mine but a few members of the group went with lemonade instead. It was definitely a crowd-pleaser! One of my favourite parts about having a slice of watermelon in my gin is that when you finish the gin you’re left with a gin-infused slice of watermelon as an extra little treat.
Gin #2 Valencian Orange Gin with Basil Tonic
Not long after finishing the first, we were given our second gin of the evening. A Valencian Orange Gin with Basil Tonic. I’m not a huge fan of sweet drinks (which you might have gathered from my whiskey or 1919 cocktail posts) so the basil tonic was a big hit with me. I’d never tried basil with gin before but it’s definitely something that I’ll be looking to add into my usual G&T more often.
The Gin Lab Experience
With our second gins in hand, we headed up to the gin lab on the first floor to start making our unique gins. In the gin lab there are 32 mini copper pot stills sat on wooden benches around the outside of the room. Each still has its own name (mine being the lovely Judy) and was set up with all the equipment that we’d need to get started on the making process.
After a brief history of gin from our gin lab leader, Akil, it was time to choose what we wanted to add to our gins. When it came to choosing the botanicals for our own gins we were told we had to include 3 key botanics; angelica root, juniper and coriander seeds. These three botanicals have to be added to all gins in order to actually make the gin.
Making The Gin
We were then given a sheet with all of the different botanicals we could add to our gins. Each different one had a recommended range for how much you should add, e.g. 0.5-1g of rowan berries (this way we knew that our gin wouldn’t taste terrible!). And we were told to add no more than five to the three base botanicals.
I added three extra ingredients into my gin, varying from strong herbal flavours to a small hit of sweetness to balance it all out. Of course I’ll be keeping the exact ingredients I added to my gin a secret because I can’t have you stealing the recipe to my self-proclaimed best gin ever, can I?
With my ingredients all picked out I added them into the still with ethanol and patiently waited as it did its thing. Slowly the first bit of liquid started to drip out of the still, which is called the head (mostly harsh chemicals). Once these harsh chemicals were out I got to test my gin at a mind-blowing 80% (I know right?!). It was so exciting getting to taste the first bit of my gin (even if it was incredibly strong!).
When the gin was finally finished I added distilled water to the liquid to bring the ABV down to 40%. Then I poured the final blend into a classic Liverpool Gin bottle. Once everyone had bottled up their gins, we headed over to the waxing room to seal our bottles up.
To end the experience it was time to add a label to our gins. We each got to name our gins whatever we wanted and then printed the names onto the classic Liverpool Gin label. The end result looked super professional, not bad for my first bottle of gin eh?
To finish the evening we got to choose a cocktail from their cocktail menu. After having lovely light gins earlier in the evening I decided to shake it up with an Orange Negroni. It was the perfect drink to end the evening sipping on.
If you’re looking for a unique gift to give this Christmas then an experience at the Liverpool Gin Distillery’s Gin Lab could be perfect. And you’ll even get to take an extra gift home with you; your own bottle of Liverpool Gin! It really was a great experience and the team were absolutely lovely.
Have you ever made your own gin before? What flavours would you add to your dream gin? Let me know in the comments!
Read next: Cocktail Hour: St Germain Spritz.