We arrive in a deserted farm yard in woody, rural Leicestershire, we stand at the door slightly nervously as it opens from within and we are ushered inside. The smell of gin hits us as soon as we step inside, herbal, floral and fruity, my mind whirs trying to name the scents. Across the room copper pot stills glint enticingly, the room is set out like an old fashioned science lab, each station neatly lined up with pyrex jugs, notepads and scales. The neatness and shininess of it all captures me instantly, it promises a night of alchemy and old school fun.
A gin cocktail is placed in my hand and there’s a warm welcome from all the team. As I sip a perfectly chilled Tom Collins, Master Distiller Jamie Baxter introduces me to Bessy. I am stunned by her beauty, gorgeous copper tones, she radiates sparkle. There’s something deliciously vintage and exotic about her, like something out of a Sci Fi film.
‘She’s like something out of a Jules Verne novel isn’t she?’, volunteers Jamie.
I had the ultimate experience for a gin lover on Tuesday night. I spent the evening with Amanda from The Ana Mum Diary and several other lovely local, but new to me, bloggers, distilling my own bottle of gin at 45 Gin School, also the home of the distillery of Burleigh’s gin.
Resident Master Distiller Jamie Baxter gave us a grand tour, introduced us to Messy Bessy, she’s the incredibly beautiful 450 litre copper pot still Burleigh’s use to distill their gin.
Jamie then talked us through the process of distilling gin. He even let us fully explore the unique botanical ingredients that make up Burleigh’s Gin, before letting us loose to make our own, with as much or as little guidance as we wanted. While our gin distilled, he gave us a fascinating history of gin.
I had so much fun making this video, and that’s not just the gin talking
I knew I loved gin, but I had no idea how much fun could be had blending my own choice of the botanicals to make it unique. Gins can be spicy floral, herbal, and i was soon in heaven sniffing different herb and spice extracts. It was like wine tasting, I now know why I prefer one gin over another. Or perfume creating, I made a bottle of gin that absolutely tells a story of my loves. I have to leave it to settle for a couple of weeks, but I can’t wait to taste it!
The Verdict – one year later!
The gin was amazing and has been truly treasured over the last year – I know, it was so good I had to make it last! Time to go back and make another bottle!
Fancy Gin School?
You can book your gin experience here, I highly recommend it, few gin schools allow you to make your own bottle of gin from scratch, the team are so friendly, the cocktails top notch and Jamie is full of fascinating information about gin, whether it is the production, the history, the taste, or the culture of gin production that fascinates you most.
As we left Jamie was telling us about a bar he would visit in London the next day, who stock Burleighs – the name escapes me, but you have to pretend to need a detective to get in. Just one of many anecdotes that had my brain buzzing over the evening.
Gin school is open to individuals, groups, hen dos and corporate groups, and is suitable for all abilities, from novices to those who want to set up a distillery. It was great to have a lab partner in crime! To book in for Gin School or find out more, go here.
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Music Credit – Messy Bessy