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Gin Experience: Locksley Distillery

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We had no idea what to expect when we were invited to try Locksley Distillery's new Gin Experience on a rainy Friday night, but it was one of those nights that we'll gladly enthuse about to anyone who'll listen. That could have been largely thanks to the copious amounts of gin consumed and the entire 70cl bottle that we made ourselves and got to take home with us, but the best bit was undoubtedly the ginformation.

Drinks in hand, Joe, the curator of the experience, took us on a jaunt from China, all the way down the Silk Road to the monasteries of Southern Spain. He told us about experimenting with the mystical qualities of juniper berries, the introduction of gin by the Dutch and the subsequent gin craze, which has culminated in Londoners drinking a whopping two pints a week.

We learnt of the independent traders crushed through regulations as gin became a public health crisis, and the welcome resurgence of craft distillery in recent times. The lowering of the required still size in 2009 meant that after hundreds of years, gin could again be produced on a small scale, not just industrially. John and Cynthia were well ahead of the curve, Sir Robin of Locksley Gin being distillery number 15 in the UK, which has since seen numbers rise to nearly 400.

Armed with our newly-acquired gin knowledge we felt confident that we were now experts, so on we went to Gin School to have a go ourselves. We were let loose with our own stills and an impressive selection of over 60 botanicals to choose from. We debated the merits of lavender vs hibiscus and just how much ginger is too much, then sat back anxiously, waiting to taste our creations, with another generous Locksley G&T to keep us going while we waited.

From start to finish, Joe delivered a brilliant experience. It was the perfect way for even the casual gin drinker to spend their Friday night. As well as leaving with our very own bottle, we were treated to endless samples of the various gins Locksley has to offer throughout the evening, all of us leaving with a new favourite.

The thing we were most nervous about was the moment when it was suggested that we all try Locksley Gin neat, but by the end of the night we were revelling in their 57% Old Tom Navy Strength Gin. It certainly kept us warm on the walk home.

You can book your Gin Experience here.

Eleanor Holmshaw & Natalie Burton

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