Readers of my blog will be very aware that I am partial to a drop of gin – imagine my excitement when I was asked to pop along to the Bath Gin Company to take part in their Distillery Tour & Gin Making experience; I couldn’t get there fast enough!
The Canary Gin Bar, which is run by the Bath Gin Company is found in the cobbled Queen Street in Bath and has been open for a couple of years now. Sadly, I’ve never actually made it there to try a gin or two (which is pretty disgraceful). It’s fairly cosy with only a handful of tables so it gets pretty packed out at the weekends which reflects just how popular gin is now – gone are the days of granny drinking a Gordons and Schweps. It’s now all about the gin, the tonic and the garnish. There’s a mere 250 gins to try but do not fear, the mixologist staff have incredible knowledge of all the gins and you’ll be sure to find something you’ll like.
After battling with various complications, Bath Gin is now produced down in the Botanicals Laboratory and Distillery in the cellars of the bar…more on this later.
On arrival, we were swiftly given a BG&T (Bath Gin & Tonic to the uninitiated) which is served with their very own Naivasha tonic. This is made from the bark of the Naivasha tree and Hibiscus flowers which are found growing together on the shores of Lake Naivasha. It has a wonderful red colour and lovely sweet flavour without being overpowering. The BG&T is garnished with one of the 10 botanicals that goes into Bath Gin, a kaffir lime leaf. We were taken upstairs and listened to manager Tom give a brief history of gin and how it turned around from ‘mothers ruin’ to the drink we all know and love today. Make no mistake, this is no boring history lesson as Tom livens the talk up with his mischievous manner!
We were then taken down into the cellars to see how the gin is made (if you want to know how, you’ll have to go on the tour!). When the door opened it was like stepping back in time with a real apothecary vibe – lots of jars with botanicals lined up in racks, small sized scales for small batch making, bottles lined up with experiments Tom has on the go. I’ll be honest, it was a blogger Instagram paradise!! Stood proudly in the corner is Jane herself, the copper still in which Bath Gin is lovingly made.
Moving back upstairs, Tom took our drinks orders – this time I opted for a summery cucumber number. We made our way to the Distillers Bar, a cosy horseshoe shaped bar where we were able to start making our own gins with the helpful guidance of Tom. We were presented with various little bottles of distillates (gin infused with flavours through the distilling process) to add to small measures of Bath gin. Initially I found this a little overwhelming as there were SO many options. After talking to Tom about what my favourite gins are, he gave me a few ideas and I made a fruity orange and lemon gin. I then had a go at a spicy version which contained cassia and cardamom which quite frankly was a complete fail! Once we were happy with our recipes we had to scale these up and make 70cl bottles of our creation. After 2 double G&T’s this is quite tricky however Tom was on hand to provide guidance and stick those labels on our bottles straight! The bottles are then capped properly back down in the lab and I was presented with my HappyWiseOwl gin!
This experience is currently running on Saturdays lasting around 2 hours – it goes without saying that you need to book. Being completely honest, I initially thought the price was a little steep at £110 per person, however it was SUCH good fun, you get plenty of gin along the way and where else are you given the opportunity to create your very own gin?!
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