Gin lovers and spirit enthusiasts, this is for you. For my birthday this year my family bought me a Make Your Own Gin experience with Adnams. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I have made my own gin before with a homemade kit (that friends bought me for a birthday… there’s a theme here) and whilst that was fun it was fairly straightforward and so I didn’t see how this was going to take over 2 hours.
I booked my experience at the Bury St Edmunds Adnams store, they run them at the Adnams Brewery in Southwold too but that’s it at the moment. The distillery at the back of the shop was a great set up, with 7 stills and botanical stations for you to create your own botanical mix for your very own bottle of gin.
Once we were all ready to go, an enthusiastic George started to talk us through the Adnams gin collection – coupled with brilliant knowledge of the gins, the processes and gin facts!
Although Adnams was originally formed in 1872, and has been brewing beers ever since, it wasn’t until 2010 when the Copper House distillery was built that they began distilling spirits too. Adnams is one of few gin distillers that can claim from ‘grain to glass’ in their production methods.
We tasted all three of the Adnams range of gins, these include:
Voted the world’s best gin in 2013 at the International Wine & Spirits Awards, this was my favourite, using only 6 botanicals including sweet orange peel.
I already have a bottle of this and still haven’t really made my mind up on it but it’s made using rye malt so gives it a unique flavour.
This gin is a triple malt using oats, rye and barley and uses only the finest cut of spirit before being distilled again with 13 botanicals, clearly a great quality gin.
George talked us through all the different botanicals and told us that all gins had one of two fixatives, orris root or angelica root. He advised us on the minimum and maximum measurements of all the botanicals to ensure we didn’t ruin our own gin!
Once everyone had decided between 6 – 10 botanicals and their measurements George checked our recipes and then let us measure them all into the copper pot. I loved this, it was so special to be measuring out the ingredients that would form the basis of my gin.
I added juniper (an essential in gin!), hibiscus flower, orris root, coriander, orange peel, cubeb berries and grains of paradise. I was aiming for a fruity and floral mix with a little peppery kick as the aftertaste. We added a bottle of Adnams Long Shore vodka to the pot and then they were added to the still.
As they go onto the still you watch in anticipation to see the temperature rise and the first drops of your very own gin begin to drop out. This part of the process takes a while so what else is there to do apart from settle down with your Adnams G&T of choice with your fellow gin fiends!
As the gin begins to trickle through once it reaches 400ml it’s time to start bottling up the good stuff (and mixing with some osmosis water). You also get to name and label your own gin – I called mine C&C as I knew I’d feature the experience here on my blog!
My group was so chuffed with our finished products we took pictures of one another, all of us beaming with our creations – we made gin! Before we headed off George handed us a goody bag filled with fabulous Adnams treats – it was like Christmas had come early.
I left with a Cheshire cat smile brimming with excitement at what I’d learnt and the fact that I was carrying a whole bottle of C&C gin home with me – made my me.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes trying new gins and loves a G&T. I’ve done several gin experiences, from Afternoon Tea on a routemaster bus served with gin cocktails to numerous gin tastings, but this really had the edge for me – this wasn’t just about tasting gins this was about finding out what you like and then being able to try to match those flavours to the botanicals and create a one of kind gin, yours!
Don’t just take my word for it, check out their 5* Trip Advisor reviews.