During a rather hectic summer, unfortunately our monthly gin club fell a little by the wayside. However, it would seem that on Wednesday stars aligned, text messages were sent and five of us were available to catch up on Thursday!
This month was to be a gin club with a difference. One of our Ginly friends is from New Zealand, and he, along with his lovely lady (gin teacher buddy #1, my gin day partner in crime,) went to visit his grandparents over the summer holidays…bringing back with them some delicious native treats, in bottle form of course! G.C.D.C the October edition was to be New Zealand themed!
The house looked great, and their dining table was stocked with New Zealand nibbles, gins and not to mention a bowl of our favourite Kiwi dip…a staple at every one of our gin nights! The four gins on offer for the evening were Scapegrace, Ariki, Sacred Spring and this month’s incredibly convenient Craft Gin Club offering, Lighthouse.
We decided to kick things off with one of the unfamiliar gins, which was purchased in New Zealand, Ariki. Ariki gin originates in Silverdale, a village which is just north of Aukland and takes it’s name from the word for a Maori chief or high priest. Ariki combines a wealth of internationally sourced botanicals, Seville orange peel, Portuguese lemon peel, Rarotonga vanilla and Tongan coconut, to name but a few, with something a little more extraordinary. The Manuka flower. If it’s sounding familiar, that’s probably because you have heard of Manuka honey which is renowned for it’s healing and antibacterial properties. Surely this means the gin is healing too…I for one am sold!! If you ever have to opportunity to try this gin, please do, it is divine. Clean and citrusy on the nose, with a delicate floral feel from the Manuka flower and an underlying hint of coconut and vanilla. I found this gin so easy to drink and was definitely left wanting more. Thankfully it’s almost half term and, with another gin day scheduled, I can’t wait to try the Taupo cocktail.
As I mentioned earlier, we genuinely couldn’t believe our luck when we opened out Craft Gin Club box this month to find Lighthouse, a New Zealand gin. Our friends had already decided that our next gin club should be Kiwi themed and this offering only hastened the meeting. Boasting an eye-catching new label which resembles the Cape Palliser Lighthouse which provided the inspiration for this fantastic gin. The history of the lighthouse itself is brilliant and was actually imported from Birmingham, England in 1896…although sadly I don’t think that means we can lay any English claim to this delicious New Zealand gin. With it’s punchy, dry, lemon flavour I can imagine this gin making an excellent martini, although it was incredibly well received in G&T form at our gin night. I would also like to add, this gin provided much amusement as our New Zealand friend asked Hubby to try to read the words ‘Wharekauhau Country Estate’ from the label. Needless to say, what you think it says is actually NOTHING like how you pronounce it…there is a video, although it features a couple of grown up words and I don’t really want to offend anyone so pictures will have to suffice!
I had been immediately drawn to the stunning bottle of Sacred Spring at the start of the evening, and had decided I wanted this to be my last gin of the night…for no other reason than this bottle was pretty and the one I liked the best. Sacred Spring combines just eight botanicals in it’s recipe, cardamom, peppercorns, liquorice root, angelica root, coriander, almonds, juniper and once again Manuka, only this time the distillers have chosen to use leaves and twigs from the plant, as opposed to the flower. The water used in the distillation process of Sacred Spring is a boast in it’s own right, as it is ‘drawn from the aquifer that feeds Golden Bay’s Te Waikoropupu Springs (The Place of the Dancing Sands), the clearest spring in the world, which has an optical clarity measured to 63 metres.’ Sadly tiredness kicked in and not even the beautiful bottle could hold my gaze without my eyelids becoming heavy. I was however persuaded to try a touch of the gin neat from the cap before leaving and was completely caught off guard by the spicy, peppery finish which followed a very subtle start. Teacher buddy #1 has assured me that she will absolutely be bringing this gin to our gin day and I cannot wait!
I think there is just one thing left to say, and that is thank you New Zealand, not only have you jumped on the gin bandwagon but you are fiercely flying the Kiwi flag with some insanely good gins. I honestly cannot wait to try some others!