Tele reporter Amy Hall loves the pub, which makes lockdown a bit of a bore. Here she finds an alternative way to enjoy a sociable tipple — without leaving the comfort and safety of her living room.
Lockdown has put paid to weekend trips to the pub.
It is a depressing situation — but all is not lost, there is a still a way to combat boredom while enjoying a little drink.
Guardbridge based distillery Eden Mill is used to welcoming customers to try a range of their unique gins each week so when lockdown conditions were imposed the staff got creative.
Now the events team led by Chris Weir have held two virtual gin tasting events and I had the enviable task of taking part on Saturday night.
Events manager Chris welcomed over 100 people to the tasting on Saturday evening, with each participant tuning in to his at home bar through a video conferencing site.
Beforehand everyone was sent a box filled with an array of 12 gins and gin liqueurs, two bespoke glasses and instructions on how to connect to the event, along with details of which mixers and garnishes to have at hand during the tasting.
Chris said: “When we got to the point where we knew we were going to have to close for a while we started to think of ideas to keep bringing people together.
“We thought about doing this online virtual tasting and its kind of taken off. At the start we had 62 sets which we put out and they sold out straight away. On Saturday we sold 100 sets which are for two people each so we had around 200 people tuning in.”
The evening was split in to two tasting sessions with the first featuring Golf Gin which is made of ingredients which can be found at Scottish golf courses, a fruity mango and pineapple liqueur and the pink coloured Love Gin which was the company’s 2018 Valentines special — and their best seller.
Chris talked through each of the gin’s ingredients giving pointers on how it is best served whilst also explaining the history of Eden Mill as well as the site the factory sits on and a bit about how each of their gins, whiskies and beers were created.
Chris added: “Its a way for us to interact and still tell the Eden Mill story and share our passion for gin and give something for people to look forward to. People can still join in with something and interact with other people.
“Everyone has got really engaged with it and we have added more dates to it too.”
The second taster session saw a lavender liqueur, which was very reminiscent of parma violet sweeties, and the company’s very first gin, their Hop Gin. It was accompanied by some ginger beer and Chris also recommended to add some chilli. I decided against the chilli as the spice of the ginger beer was enough for me.
The tasting rounded off with my absolute favourite the Raspberry, Vanilla and Meringue liqueur. There was a fabulous suggestion of serving a shot over vanilla ice cream and I think I have now found my summer essential.
A quiz at the end with an array prizes on offer added an element of audience interaction and it really did feel like you were part of an event rather than just having a tipple at home.
My partner and I had an amazing night and we still have six gins left over to try at our leisure — this really can be a tough job.