Seeing as we are all currently locked down staying at home, there are no gin festivals, launches or tastings happening in real life. However a few brands are moving online during this time and Boutique Bar Brands are one of them. They moved the Manly Spirits UK launch of Lilly Pilly gin to an online launch and tasting on 1st April, using a host of UK gin influencers as guinea pigs. As that went well they have now opened their tastings up to the public for free! Read on for what to expect:
*Full disclosure, I was gifted the samples used for the two tastings that have already taken place*
Online gin tasting: Boutique Bar Brands
Lock-down gin tasting online
Boutique Bar Brands have launched their online ‘virtual’ gin tastings in April, starting with the online launch of Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly gin.
As that first session involved sending out bottles of Lilly Pilly gin to all the gin industry people who were meant to attend the launch in person at Harvey Nichols, it had a lot of logistics to address. So us gin bloggers and influencers were the guinea pigs and a second public tasting happened on the 10th April.
Since then they have expanded to showcase more of the gin brands that they work with, including Greensands Ridge gin. You can register to watch both the Manly Spirits and the Greensand Ridge tastings (aka webinars) on playback in your own time too:
Read on to see what they have coming up!
The event format
Charlie from Boutique Bar Brands kicked the online gin tasting off and introduced the other presenters. These included BBB team members, the distiller and a bar tender to take us through some cocktail serves. The first session with Manly Spirits included David Whittaker the distiller in the distillery at Manly, Sydney and Andrei Marcu from Coupette bar. The Greensand Ridge tasting last week had distiller Will Edge at his distillery in Kent and Josh Linfitt from Propping up the Bar on cocktail duty.
Gin story and tasting
After introductions there was the chance to learn more about the distillers journey’s into gin making. The distillers told us their stories and also talked about the local botanicals that were used in their gins. Then we got to the good stuff – tasting the gins! I always try my gins neat first, and then with tonic. It was good to taste along at home with the distiller giving input as you tasted. For the first 2 events, Manly and Greensands I was gifted samples of the gin. As a member of the public you have the opportunity to buy the gins with a cheeky discount so you can taste along.
Then we had a brief tour of the distillery. It’s fab to see these places that no one can visit at the moment and I think online tours will take off in lockdown. Seeing the Manly distillery at 7am was early though, I feel for David being up so early! It was also cool to see how each brand made their gin and how there are differences to each distillery.
Then it was on to the cocktail making session, with Andrei and Josh taking us through their various cocktails for each brand. I didn’t have all the ingredients to shake along with them – but they do let you know what ingredients to get if you can get out to buy them! I’ve since managed to make some of the cocktails and that was good fun.
How do I access the tasting?
To attend a virtual tasting you need to buy a FREE ticket from Design My Night. They also have the option to buy a ticket that includes a bottle of gin (& postage), just make sure to get that ticket 48 hours in advance, so you get your gin in time for the tasting. Tarquins Cornish Dry gin is the next tasting on 13th May at 8:30pm British Summer Time:
After you’ve registered you’ll be sent an email from Design My Night which has a link to Boutique Bar Brands Sipping Rooms (aka where they are hosting the event from online). You’ll also have user name and password details to login.
Or you can buy your gins directly from Gin Kiosk with a 10% discount using the codes below (you still need to register for the tasting):
Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly gin – LILLYPILLYLIVE
Greensands Ridge gin – GREENSANDLIVE
Tarquins Cornish Dry gin – SWDLIVE
Also Gin Kiosk are donating to Hospitality Action, a charity that supports people in the drinks industry that might be struggling in the current situation. So all your purchases do good too!
Coming up soon:
- Next up is the Tarquins Gin with founder Tarquin Leadbetter. That is at 8:30pm on 13th May.
- Downton Abbey gin at 8:30pm on 27th May
Let me know in the comments if I’ll ‘see’ you there!