Saturday 29 October 2016

Gin tasting at The Winchmore

The shot was set up by Adam of Glendalough Gin. No way would I have had the nerve to do this.

Gin is back. And it's big. OK, so it never went far but it is big now. There are thousands of micro-distilleries popping up offering all manner of variations. The Winchmore Pub stocks a fair few of them and to facilitate our discernment, they held a tasting. Very decent of them.

Look, this might end up sounding like a puff piece, and damn, maybe it should as few things swell my chest like fine, local endeavours in food and drink (sorry kids!) and learning that people have bought old bourbon barrels off eBay leaves me all a-flutter. After taking over the Winchmore pub last year, brother and sister team Mark and Eimear have foisted some of their love of spirits on us punters in the form of tutored tastings and, on this occasion, a boutique style gin evening. Great fun, superb spirits, boundless enthusiasm, loquacious men with big beards, and a bit of an education; my kinda night out.

A range of 'botanicals' to scratch and sniff.
By boutique style I mean there were several tables each representing different distilleries or merchant companies. Each had a range of gins to try, neat or with a splash of one of the many Fever-tree tonics. Each gin also came with a complementary (and complimentary) canapĂ©. Let's not drink on empty stomachs.

Gratifying to meet many guests from the supper club but not surprising. This sort of event is a natural draw for Enfield foodies. And maybe, just maybe, they are on the increase. Holtwhites - bakers of excellence - are hosting more of their cheese and wine evenings this winter.

Back to the Winchmore and a busy, bustling and (by the end) rather blurry evening. My only problem was the lighting, and this is by way of apology for the quality of my photos. The pin points of illumination were great for ambiance; less so for a clumsy man with a Canon and an entirely inappropriate lens. "Use a flash." Urged my drinking partner Joanne. Yeah but only if you really want that 'crime scene' vibe. 

Mark (the manager, below) had also brought a barrel of his... dunno what to call it... cocktail? An unlikely sounding blend of sloe   gin, rioja and port which (of course) proved to be delicious and probably my drink of the evening. A wonderful complexity of sweet and sour. It's probably on sale in the bar. Maybe not. Ask Mark. I wish I'd taken more notes. 

I was really pleased to finally shake hands with Ian who makes a gin - Old Bakery Gin - in Palmers Green, not half a mile from my house. I'm still not sure what the story is there but the important thing is that the gin is delicious. It will definitely feature on my menus sometime. Maybe a G&T sorbet?

Waking in the morning with a mixed recollection and a slight tremor, I regret not making notes. Tricky though with a glass in one hand and a heavy camera/ big lens in the other... I could have hung it over my shoulder but then the strap pulls and separates in that rather unfortunate manner that blights the flabby pecs of fat men. Or I could have put down my glass...


The Winchmore has an array of events upcoming. If you live locally, make the effort. Puff, puff, puff.

Ian and Mark. For some reason, gin seems to lift people's arms.
Old Bakery Gin made to an original 1758 recipe.
From Geneva to Gin. A drinkable history lesson. My favourite sort.
East London Gin, numbers 1 and 2. I loved both.
No idea. This was after several samples. See what I mean about the arms though?

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