Gin festivals are always on the top of my list of events to attend. I mean, who doesn’t love a gin and tonic? Okay I know a few people that don’t, but I love a G&T. So, when asked by the lovely people at The Devonshire if I fancied attending one of their September Gin Festival tasting sessions, I answered with a big fat YES!
Gary and I headed out for an impromptu date night to The Devonshire, a lovely bar/restaurant in the hustle and bustle of the city centre. Having been renovated towards the end of 2017, The Devonshire now hosts a cosy, relaxed vibe, perfect for a Thursday evening, food and drinks are both top rate. Throughout September, on a Thursday evening, they are hosting gin tasting sessions. Gin samples, several cocktails and masterclasses all for a bargain £10, is it any good? Well continue reading to find out…
On entering The Devonshire we were warmly welcomed by Ben, our host for the evening. Our gin for the night was Martin Miller’s, who coin the idea of ‘romance and adventure in a glass’, they also happen to be the world’s most awarded gin of the last 10 years.
Ben started by introducing himself, his role and shared the fact he used to work at The Devonshire! He set the scene for the evening and what the evening involved. We were simply going to discover more about Martin Miller’s gins and highlight the versatility of them.
The (brief) Science Bit
The first topic of the evening was understanding how gin is made. We were told that all gin’s include Juniper as an ingredient. In simple terms – it’s what makes gin gin. Martin Miller’s contains nine botanics, that’s not including the juniper. After that, the spirit is diluted to reach the required strength of roughly 40% ABV, it is then pump it into a copper still.
When the still is heated, it removes the essential oils from the botanicals. In short this is how they add flavour to the gin. Once distilled and combined the gin is shipped to Iceland for water blending. At Martin Miller’s they state that the purer the water the better. On completion is it then shipped back to the UK for bottling. Don’t worry about the carbon footprint that’s covered by the company utilising ferries travelling between the two countries.
As soon as the science bit was over, it was on to tasting. There were four samples of gin in front of us, which we would try in turn:
- Martin Miller’s Original – drunk neat it, this gin hosts a fine balance of the botanicals with it’s notes of citrus. We were then given a delicious gin and tonic garnished with strawberries, perfect for sipping with the strawberries adding hints of fruitiness.
- Martin Miller’s Strength Gin (Westbourne Dry) – a bit more hearty than the previous with peppery notes, perfect for the more classic cocktails such as a gin martini with a lemon twist.
- Martin Miller’s 9 Moons Gin – not your typical gin as this has a more oaky and vanilla notes to it, hinting more towards a bourbon style. Served as an old fashioned it was smooth and easily quaffable.
- Martin Miller’s Special Reserve Gin – this was definitely more on the bourbon side, with plenty of smokey oak notes, hints of vanilla and fuelled with warmth. Perfect for sipping by the fire on an autumnal evening.
After plenty of chat our gin school came to a close.
Since I’m a fan of gin, this was a great chance to try something new. I’m not usually a fan of group tastings as you always get the know it all who talks all the way through, but this wasn’t like that. A small an intimate group, perfect for the presenters and great to listen in. There was time to ask questions, get new ideas for gins and mixers
The Devonshire are BIG on their drinks, especially spirits. They have a HUGE range of gin from London dry’s to small batch artisan and fabulous cocktails for every occasion. There are three more sessions left this month, two more tastings and a fantastic sounding gin feast.
For a bargain £10pp, it usually costs £25pp, it’s well worth swinging by The Devonshire and taking part. The sessions last roughly an hour and a half, they’re informal and perfect for those who have a vested interest in gin or those who like to dabble. Whether it’s date night or a catch up with the girls I would certainly recommend heading over and trying something new.
More information can be found on their website https://www.thedevonshiresheffield.co.uk/