Even though I LOVE living in Inverness, I do miss the accessibility of quirky events – edible golf courses courtesy of Bompass and Parr, and cinemas where the seats are hot-tubs are a couple of things that I’ve heard about in London that I would have loved to try. I also read a lot of blogs that report lots of fun goings-on in Edinburgh in Glasgow. There is lots to choose from in Inverness, particularly whether you have outdoor interests or are crafty, or into locally sourced produce. One of the things I really enjoyed last year was a felting workshop that I discovered when at a craft fair at Eden Court, and Velocity is a regular haunt for me when I go into town. But sometimes I feel personally that Inverness could improve on “cool” events, and with the population bucking the trend and getting younger, there’s definitely a potential market!
So when I saw on Twitter that North Hop were organising a gin-tasting event, I knew that this was something different that I wanted to check out. £30 for a whole evening of gin education, tastings, cocktails AND cupcakes!
Myself and a work colleague turned up slightly early to grab a bite to eat at the Heathmount Hotel – the venue for the tasting. I’d never really ventured into the Crown area of Inverness so hadn’t been here before, but I was impressed by their ‘Bite’ menu. I had a beefburger which was simple but neatly done and filling, and my colleague had some haddock strips, that looked well done in the light batter and accompanying tartare sauce. The service was also extremely friendly and efficient.
Our gin-expert was Elias, from 10 Dollar Shake. I had already heard about 10 Dollar Shake through Glasgow Mummy – one of my regular blog reads. Elias was very knowledgable about the history of gin and its production , and guided us through tastings of 6 gins, and 3 tonics. We were given tasting notes so we could understand about the botanicals guiding the taste and aroma of each gin.
The gins we tasted were:
Caorunn -served with tonic and red apple in our welcome G&T – This was one of my favourites, I liked the crisp taste and flavour. I would happily have this on a summers evening with tonic and the garnish.
Bols Genever – served straight, with bready, nutty flavours. I did not enjoy this -due to the production it tasted similar to whisky – not one for me. Needless to say I sank the Caorunn to refresh my palate!
Plymouth – Again, I enjoyed this for the citrus notes and would put it in my top 3.
Beefeater – Tasting this straight after the Plymouth, it didn’t have as much of a citrus flavour
Hendricks – Not a fan of this as I’m not a big fan of liquorice.
Deaths Door – Now while this didn’t emerge as my favourite, it was a close second – and at 47% AVB, it was surprisingly smooth. Produced by a distillery in the US, it’s not found in Tesco or other supermarkets, but it did emerge at the tasting that there are a couple of local stockists which is worth remembering!
We also sampled three tonics – Schweppes, Fevertree and Fentimans. Fevertree is my usual tonic of choice, and it was interesting to find out what garnishes were paired with each gin and tonic combination.
After we had our gin tastings, we ventured out to the bar to watch Elias whizz up 16 cocktails. We had a choice of the Bramble or an Elderflower Collins – I went for the latter. It was very sweet and just to my taste!)
Thanks to Michelle at North Hop and Elias from 10 Dollar Shake for a fab event. Unfortunately we can’t make it to the next one (for all you beer and cheese lovers which Mr B is especially gutted about!) but we’ll be keeping our eyes on Twitter to hear about the next events coming up!