It seems that just about everybody is in love with gin these days and that makes us very happy, so here are 10 signs that you’re a gin connoisseur.
NB Gin is to celebrate its association with the BRIT Awards by serving music’s biggest stars from hand-etched BRIT-inspired bottles created by a designer from her home studio in a Scottish village.
NB Gin will be a drinks sponsor at the official Sony BRIT Awards after-party in London for the third year in a row. Stars at the glittering bash will enjoy five-star treatment at a secret upmarket venue and NB Gin’s hand-etched bottles will be served to the celebrity A-listers.
It occurred to us recently that we spend so much time talking gin that we perhaps don’t talk much about ourselves so, in the first of a series, here’s a little bit more about Viv Muir, the co-founder of NB Gin.
Now, before anyone starts getting outraged by the headline about drinking gin without tonic, let’s clear a few things up.
Firstly, we LOVE a good gin and tonic. We believe that the G&T is probably one of man’s greatest triumphs.
Secondly, this is subjective. If the thought of drinking a spirit without a tonic or some kind of mixer appals you, then that’s okay. But you’re missing out…
NB Gin and Johnny Roxburgh have created a brand new gin, to be launched in the UK in 2017.
The collaboration between NB – voted the world’s best London Dry gin in 2015 – and Johnny – world renowned party architect to the stars – will see the new gin launched in April 2017.
Johnny Roxburgh Number 67 London Dry gin is a premium London Dry with Norfolk samphire as one of the prime botanicals.
NB Gin is collaborating with Johnny Roxburgh – party architect to the stars and NB ambassador – to produce a brand-new gin that’s rather special.
There will be more about this exciting new gin in the coming weeks, but before then we thought you’d want to learn more about Johnny Roxburgh. Does he have the greatest job on the planet? Probably. Is he fabulously talented? Absolutely. Is he one of the world’s best gin connoisseurs? There’s no doubt!
Gin is more popular now than it has been for more than a century, but to us at NB Gin – the world’s best London Dry gin – that’s really no surprise.
Here are five reasons why gin is popular again.
Trying to pick London’s best gin bars is a bit like trying to pick your favourite child (okay maybe that’s a little OTT) but there are so many to choose from that it’s a tough task.
Gin and London go w-a-a-a-y back, as you probably know but, as unthinkable as it seems now, the British capital did sort-of fall out of love with gin for a long time.
Luckily, London’s love affair with gin is back and it’s stronger than it’s ever been. London now boasts some of the world’s finest gin bars.
So, in keeping with our series of gin bars in the world’s best cities, we thought we’d highlight five of the best in London.
Who made the top five? Read on and find out!
Our series on the best gin bars in the greatest cities of the world has gone down like a good G&T so we thought it was time to tell you about the best gin bars in Melbourne.
In no particular order, here are four of our favourite gin bars in Australia’s capital of Victoria, Melbourne.
Gin is most definitely in again with the clear spirit at the centre of a revolution. It seems like everyone is after the next new fashionable craft gin but is your gin really craft or just crafty?
You see, not all craft or artisan gins are created equal. For all the wonderful, inventive and delicious craft gins in the UK today, there are gins that are quite simply nothing but young pretenders.
NB Gin – the North Berwick-based London Dry which was voted the world’s best in 2015 – and NB Vodka – the world’s first London Dry Citrus Vodka – was served to high society at the lavish Houghton Hall last night (June 22nd).
The £10,000-a-head invitation-only bash saw 80 VIPs descend on the stately home of the Marquess and Marchioness of Cholmondeley and was in aid of the East Anglia Children’s Hospice, a charity which the Duchess of Cambridge became a patrol of in 2012.
Our Queen, she’s a real worker and we can all agree on that. She probably attends more engagements in a year that what most of us do in a lifetime. She’s just turned 90 but that hasn’t slowed her down. In fact, her last few years as head of state have been as busy as ever.
This is what an average day looks like for the Queen.
NB Gin, the multi-award-winning premium spirit produced in Scotland, will appear in the official commemorative publication for The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration to take place at Windsor Castle this year.
While The Queen’s actual birthday is on 21 April and her official birthday is on a Saturday in June, The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration will take place from 12 to 15 May 2016 in Home Park, Windsor Castle, and will celebrate The Queen’s life, her dedication to the Commonwealth and international affairs, her involvement with the armed forces and her love of horses.
NB Gin – voted the world’s best London dry in 2015 – has taken the extraordinary step of buying an emergency delivery vehicle to speed up deliveries to retailers.
The new vehicle, affectionately dubbed ‘The Ginbusters van’, will be used to deliver bottles of NB Gin, Navy Strength and Citrus Dry Vodka to stockists who re-order at short notice.
As well as its brightly coloured livery the van also features the siren from the hit US movie franchise Ghostbusters which will alert other drivers to give way.
NB Gin was served to the stars for the second year in a row at the BRITs Sony After Party in London last week.
NB was the ONLY gin on offer at the event and A-list celebs and music moguls enjoyed it very much… in fact, they enjoyed it so much that they drank every bottle.
We had a blast at the event. Here are five things that happened…
NB Gin, the multi-award-winning premium spirit produced in North Berwick, has received an exclusive return invitation to the Sony Music BRIT Awards After Party in London on 24th February, where it will be served to the cream of world pop for the second year running.
The BRIT Awards is the British music industry’s biggest and glitziest night of the year, and with stars such as Adele, Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Justin Bieber and Coldplay on this year’s nominee list, it should be one of the most hotly-contested nights in the event’s history.
NB Gin, the multi-award-winning craft gin produced in North Berwick, has secured a deal with Instil Drinks Company, which specialises in the distribution and brand development of a hand-picked selection of artisan and authentic spirits, beers, ciders and liqueurs.
The Instil Drinks Company is a trading arm of Bibendum PLB Group, one of the UK’s most powerful independent drinks companies.
The company is taking on NB Gin, NB Gin Navy Strength and NB London Dry Citrus Vodka and will act as exclusive distribution agent for all three, focusing on England and Wales.
Not to blow our own trumpet or anything but Scottish gin is bloody wonderful, and arguably the best in the world.
A massive 70 per cent of all UK gin is produced in Scotland across many craft and artisan distilleries so there must be a reason for all the fuss…
Style is everything
Scottish gin distillers don’t all use the same style; we like to mix it up! Scotland has such a diverse approach when it comes to producing gin. Our distillers tend to experiment which makes the end result even more exciting. This experimentation and creative verve brings a whole new edge to the industry.
A little bit of history
Although Scotland may be better known for its tremendous whisky, its gin distillers have used this immense experience to become master gin distillers.
Of course, Scottish gin is not new, as much as it is a very popular drink with the younger generation. There are Scottish gin recipes dating back some 250 years.
Many Scottish distillers take advantage of the environment, using it in their gin to produce a unique twist. From Scottish junipers to vibrant heather, Scottish distillers have experimented around with their own landscape to produce the most tantalising and creative batches of gin.
The best bar none
The gin is well and truly in again. Mother’s Ruin? That’s so last century! The pretty young things have collectively seized the opportunity to take it on board and in turn so has Scotland.
With such a huge selection of fabulous gin bars in Scotland, the gin lover (that’s you, by the way) is really spoilt for choice.
From the capital of Edinburgh to the Highlands, there’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to bars that know the importance of serving good gin.
Scotland is also home to a bar – Fifty Six North – with one of the biggest collections of gin in the country! But we don’t suggest you try all 200 varieties of gin in one night…
Competition makes improvement
Competition could be the best thing for Scottish gin, given its success.
As there is such a massive array of gin distillers in Scotland this obviously leads to competition.
But for customers this is fantastic and the reasoning why is simple – distillers will work even harder to try and grasp your attention against their competitors, resulting in a bigger diversity of gins.
More flavours, better quality, more styles, more garnishes, new cocktails – the works!
Passion at the heart
There is a reason why the Scottish gin industry has boomed in the past decade and one of the major reasons is the passion that goes into distilling gin.
Distilling world-class craft and artisan gin is an art. We use our own two hands and high-quality ingredients to create our award-winning London Dry gin… with a little help from our kinky still.
NB Gin is an artisan London Dry gin – recently voted the world’s best – and is distilled in North Berwick, Scotland. To learn about stocking NB Gin, contact us here.
It’s getting to the end of a long, hard year and what better way to say goodbye to 2015 than with a big bang? Behave, we mean fireworks.
Around the world, celebrations are carried out in many unique and entertaining ways and what better way to get into the celebratory mood than to know more about them?
Starting off close to home…
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – #EdHogmanay
We all know that the Scottish like to celebrate New Year in the biggest way possible. Not just with one event either.
Throughout the holiday season the Scots have put in place several amazing events leading up to the big day.
Some of these events include a classic ceilidh in Edinburgh, which this year is attempting to the set the world record for the world’s largest Scottish country dance.
The highlight of the three-day festival might just be the Concert in the Gardens, which year after year showcases some amazing talent from all over the world. This year Scottish sensations Biffy Clyro will be headlining.
Sydney’s New Year’s Eve – #SydNYE
Our Australian friend will be setting the sky alight with colourful fireworks for their celebrations.
The iconic Sydney Harbour event will kick off with a stunning water display before the Harbour Bridge transforms into a canvas for a spectacular display.
As the night goes on spectators will witness a cultural ceremony celebrating Australian heritage followed by a family fireworks display then the famous Harbour of Light Parade will take place.
To finish the night off, a spectacular 12-minute firework and pyrotechnic display will lead you into the New Year.
New York City’s Time Square ball drop
Possibly one of the world’s most watched events is the NYC ball drop where Times Square is transformed into a magical hub of musical performances, balloons, confetti and of course a massive pyrotechnic display.
Taylor Swift was one of the big names to perform last year and is back again for the 2015 Farewell Show.
The live events start at three in the afternoon taking you all the way through to midnight.
Streets are closed as a mass of people take over the city streets to experience this magical event.
Rio’s New Year’s Eve beach party
New Year’s Eve in Rio is the country’s second biggest party of the year, coming close to their infamous Carnival.
During the day people gather on Copacabana beach to lay flowers as offerings to their Sea Goddess ‘Lemanja’ and as darkness creeps closer the party begins!
Stages are spread along the 4km Copacabana Beach entertaining the crowds of people with all different styles of music.
For those who want to waltz the night away in a more traditional way their Copacabana Palace hosts a stunning masquerade ball. Guests must dress in white with the added accessories in red for good luck and romance!
If you aren’t all about crazy parties in the world’s capitals, staying at home can be just as memorable.
Picture this: Surrounded by friends and family in your own little world next to the roaring fire with a G&T in hand – what could be better?
Get your NB gift pack from Lockett Bros in North Berwick here. Be quick!
After we were chosen by Rolls Royce as one of the world’s most revered brands in their enthusiasts publication, we’ve been celebrating this as Luxury Week.
We couldn’t resist tempting you into the most luxurious cocktails in the world and even included the cocktail we came up with for Rolls Royce – Spirit of Splendour.
Rolls Royce – Spirit of Splendour
This cocktail emphasises the highlights of luxury life without breaking the bank as you can make it in your own home.
To make this gorgeous cocktail, fill a shaker with ice and add a healthy measure (50ml) of NB Gin, mix in 12½ml red Vermouth, 5ml of Pedro Ximenez sherry and finally two dashes of Angostura bitters.
Give the mix a good stir and strain into a champagne balloon. Just to add that opulent touch, garnish with gold leaf.
Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Costing a whopping £660, the Mint Julep is a signature sip at the Kentucky Derby.
The cocktail is served in a custom made Tiffany & Co cup immersed in ancient ice sourced from an Alaskan glacier more than 10,000-years-old.
The Mint Julep is made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon and turbinado sugar with a garnish of Louisville-grown mint.
Our thoughts: do you get to keep the cup?!
From just across the Channel comes a limited edition drink that may not be available in years to come.
Priced at £340 the Sidecar starts off as a normal, but classic mix of brandy, Cointreau and a dash of lemon juice, but added to this is the very rare 1830 Ritz Reserve.
There are a small amount of Ritz Reserve bottles left in the world due to the batch being made before the invasion of phylloxera pest, which destroyed a large amount of France’s valued grapes.
You can order the Mai Tai at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast with a price tag of £936.
The price is so high due to the uniqueness of the rum, with only six bottles available worldwide, the Merchant owning one of them.
The Merchant claims to be the only bar in the world serving the exclusive cocktail.
The Diamond Is Forever Martini
On the 45th floor of the Ritz-Carlton at the top of the Tokyo Midtown Tower you will find the Lobby Lounge and Bar where this remarkable cocktail is served.
The extravagant drink is made up of cooled Grey Goose Vodka and fresh limejuice, but there is something even more luxurious about this drink…
Sparkling in the bottom of the glass is a beautiful one-carat diamond – which you get to keep. The drink does cost £9,700 though.
The flawless one-carat diamond definitely makes this drink a girl’s best friend.
Want to know how to make an NB Gin Spirit of Splendour? Check it (and the Rolls Royce) out here.
NB Gin is one of the companies featured in the new Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club (RREC) publication Strive for Perfection – A Celebration of Design & Luxury. And a bottle of the Scottish craft spirit will become a formal exhibit at the publication’s official launch in London.
As one of the most prestigious car clubs in history, the RREC has legions of devoted members around the globe. In recognition of this enduring appeal, it will be hosting a luxury showcase at London’s famous Saatchi Gallery to launch its new book. It’s here that a bottle of NB Gin will appear in a lit-up glass case and be placed on its own individual plinth.
Rolls-Royce and Bentley motor car enthusiasts, owners and collectors, along with celebrity VIPs, will be hosted by motoring journalist and TV presenter Quentin Willson, racing driver and TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson, and the famous wine critic Jilly Goolden when the gallery opens its doors for this special book launch and exhibition on 4th December.
A showcase of Rolls-Royce and Bentley exhibits will be on display throughout the event to celebrate the illustrious history of the luxury motor car manufacturer. Curated to resonate with the book’s theme of high-end luxury and design, more than 100 of the most revered brands in the world – including NB Gin – will also be exhibiting at the launch. In addition, guests will be taken on a culinary journey of specially selected food and wines as they explore the gallery.
Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Distillery, where NB Gin is produced, commented: “We couldn’t be more delighted that the RREC has selected NB Gin to be part of its 2016 publication. From the very start, our focus has been on quality and we’re thrilled that it’s the quality of NB Gin which is driving its success. The fact that it’s being actively sought out by other luxury names means that the time and effort we put into getting our original recipe absolutely perfect was worth every minute.”
Discussing the content of the new book, Jaclyn Smith, Business Manager at the RREC commented: “Our publishing partner, St James’s House, enlisted the help of a number of leading experts and motoring journalists, who share our love of Rolls-Royce, to produce a fitting homage to what is one of the world’s most prestigious names in luxury motoring. Exploring the origins and heritage of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, the beautifully designed 444 pages of Strive for Perfection – A Celebration of Design & Luxury perfectly capture the glamour and prowess of this motoring icon.”
Richard Freed, Director of publisher St James’s House, said: “What better way to launch this wonderful book than with a celebration of the finer things in life? We are all very excited about what promises to be an event to remember.”
The launch event will take place on 4 December between 4.30pm and 7.30pm at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
NB Gin, the multi-award-winning craft gin produced in Scotland, is now available in Australia having secured a deal with The Wigs Cellar in Melbourne. The spirit will be sold locally through the company’s city-based premium liquor boutique, as well as being supplied to major bars and restaurants across Melbourne. It will also be made available to gin lovers across the whole nation through the Wigs website.
NB Distillery, where NB Gin is produced, is located in North Berwick on the east coast of Scotland. Following the extremely stringent London Dry distillation process to the letter, the distillery has created a spirit which is very classic, pure, and of the highest possible quality. And it was this clarity of taste together with the gin’s uncompromising quality that convinced The Wigs Cellar to snap up it as quickly as possible.
The quality of NB Gin is, in fact, the key to its success. Among other accolades, it won the “World’s Best London Dry Gin” category at The World Drinks Awards 2015 following three rounds of judging by an international panel of experts. It’s described as “superb” by Johnny Roxburgh, party planner for the UK Royal Family and master entertainer to the global elite, and was served as the gin of choice to the cream of the music industry earlier this year at the star-studded Sony Music BRIT Awards After Party in London.
And most recently, Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Distillery, scooped the gong for International Growth Business of the Year at the Business Women Scotland Awards
NB Gin will also be featured in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club 2016 Yearbook, which celebrates the best in design and luxury living. The launch will take place this December at the Saatchi Gallery in London and it is here where a bottle of NB Gin will appear in a lit-up glass case and be placed on its own individual plinth.
NB Gin is stilled, blended, bottled and labelled by hand in very small batches, to ensure that every bottle is absolutely perfect. It’s made from pure British grain spirit and a blend of eight botanicals, all of which have been meticulously selected to produce a smooth and balanced flavour which is not overly complicated. The still itself was custom built in London and installed in North Berwick by the oldest gin makers in the world.
Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Gin, says: “Gin is enjoying a huge resurgence and no more so than in Australia, where it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular white spirits in the country. Thanks to the rise of the cocktail culture and a growing appetite for quality, Australian stockists are seeking out interesting hand-crafted gins because their customers are seeking variety, authenticity and something which has a different ‘story’ to the mainstream names.
“This is where NB Gin fits perfectly and we’re thrilled that The Wigs Cellar, whose name is synonymous with knowledge, experience and quality, has selected our spirit as one of the first Scottish gins to be added to its portfolio.”
Ross Smith, Director at The Wigs Cellar, said: “NB Gin’s smooth flavour makes it perfect for cocktails but it’s equally delicious on its own, so it’s highly versatile as well as being of the highest possible quality. Gin is surging in popularity across Australia with premium craft brands in particular gaining real momentum among consumers, so it’s the perfect time for us to introduce this fantastic multi-award-winning spirit to the nation.”
Since its UK launch in late 2013, there has been overwhelming demand for NB Gin and it’s stocked in a very long list of high-end hotels, bars, shops and restaurants across the country. The word is quickly spreading beyond the British Isles too and it’s now being sold in a number of overseas markets including the U.S., France, Spain, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, with strong interest also coming from Hong Kong, China and Canada.
Reassuringly classic but contemporary in character, NB Gin is bright and fresh with subtle notes of citrus and a solid hint of juniper. It’s also uncompromising on quality, with every part of this artisan spirit having an attention to detail which makes it stand out from the rest. It works either on its own with a block or two of ice, traditionally mixed with a quality tonic, or is equally at home in a classic cocktail.
Would you like to stock NB Gin? Fill in the form here and we’ll be in touch!
It might now be gracing the bars of the Big Apple, but there’s plenty going on for NB Gin back home too.
On Sunday, it will, in fact, be the gin of choice at a prestigious arts event taking place at Blenheim Palace, principal residence of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birth place of Winston Churchill in 1874.
The Blenheim Art Foundation will be hosting a new exhibition by American artist and founding figure of Conceptual Art, Lawrence Weiner, who is regarded as one of the most influential artists working today with a career spanning more than fifty years.
The launch party takes place this Sunday (October 11) and it is here that NB Gin, along with its kindred spirit NB London Dry Citrus Vodka, will be served to around 500 high-profile guests. Both spirits will also be served again later that day at an intimate reception for 200 guests before dinner.
It is classic serves of gin and tonic, and vodka and tonic that will be on offer to the elite guest list, which will include a mix of influencers, art critics, opinion formers and industry leaders. The Art Foundation was launched at the Palace last year and was one of the most widely covered arts events in the media.
Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Distillery, says: “We are really honoured to have had NB Gin and NB Vodka selected as the spirits of choice for this amazing event. Our focus for both drinks has always been on quality, and we are delighted that they are now being actively sought out by major events companies and other luxury brands, and that more and more people are being given the opportunity to enjoy them.”
Morten Jensen, partner at Billetto UK Ltd, who is organising the event, says, “NB Distillery’s spirits are synonymous with quality and were the obvious choice for this high-status event.
“They are meticulously blended to create the perfect balance of flavours, which makes them perfect for classic serves and cocktails, but they’re also delicious served neat. And not many brands can achieve that perfection.”
NB Gin and NB Vodka are produced at NB Distillery in North Berwick, East Lothian. Already a fixture in high-end bars, restaurants and department stores around Europe, the multi-award-winning NB Gin is becoming increasingly sought after both in the UK and overseas.
Most recently, it has partnered exclusively with Duggan’s Distillers to import the multi-award-winning spirit into the United States.
NB Vodka is enjoying its own success, having been served earlier this year to the tennis in-crowd at the 2015 Wimbledon Live event, and building its own reputation for quality in the drinks industry.
NB Gin, the multi-award winning craft gin produced in Scotland, has partnered exclusively with Duggan’s Distillers to import the spirit into the U.S. It will initially be distributed to a number of high-end restaurants and cocktail bars in New York, before being rolled out to other selected states.
NB Distillery, where NB Gin is produced, is located in North Berwick on the east coast of Scotland. Purely by chance, it was there that a senior Duggan’s colleague, while on holiday, happened to taste the gin and was so impressed by its quality and taste that he personally recommended that it was imported to the U.S.
Following the extremely stringent London Dry distillation process to the letter, NB Distillery has created a spirit which is very classic, very pure, and of the highest possible quality.
And it’s the quality of NB Gin which is driving its success. Among other accolades, it won the “World’s Best London Dry Gin” category at The World Drinks Awards 2015 following three rounds of judging by an international panel of experts. It’s described as “superb” by Johnny Roxburgh, party planner for the UK Royal Family and master entertainer to the global elite, and was served as the gin of choice to the cream of the music industry earlier this year at the star-studded Sony Music BRIT Awards After Party in London.
It will also feature in the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club 2016 Yearbook, which celebrates the best in design and luxury living, the launch of which will take place later this year at the Saatchi Gallery in London. And it’s here that a bottle of NB Gin will appear in a lit-up glass case and be placed on its own individual plinth.
NB Gin is stilled, blended, bottled and labelled by hand in very small batches, to ensure that every bottle is absolutely perfect. It’s made from pure British grain spirit and a blend of eight botanicals, all of which have been meticulously selected to produce a smooth and balanced flavour which is not overly complicated. The still itself was custom built in London and installed in North Berwick by the oldest makers in the world.
Vivienne Muir, CEO of NB Gin, says: “The gin market is becoming more and more focused on small batch artisan brands and no more so than in the U.S. Stockists are seeking out interesting hand-crafted gins because their customers are seeking variety, quality, authenticity and something which has a different ‘story’ to the mainstream brands.
“We’re thrilled that NB Gin can provide this, and are absolutely delighted that such a reputable and experienced importer as Duggan’s Distillers, which represents the world’s finest producers, has proactively selected our spirit as the first gin to be added to their portfolio.”
Since its UK launch in late 2013, there has been overwhelming demand for NB Gin and it’s stocked in a very long list of high-end hotels, bars, shops and restaurants across the country. The word is quickly spreading beyond the British Isles too and it’s now being sold in a number of overseas markets including France, Spain, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, with strong interest also coming from Hong Kong, China, Australia and Canada.
Reassuringly classic but contemporary in character, NB Gin is bright and fresh with subtle notes of citrus and a solid hit of juniper. It’s also uncompromising on quality, with every part of this artisan spirit having an attention to detail which makes it stand out from the rest. It works either on its own with a block or two of ice, traditionally mixed with a quality tonic, or is equally at home in a classic cocktail.
NB Gin’s arrival in the U.S will be further supported by a trade development visit to promote British gin across the pond. UK Trade & Investment, which works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets through exports, has selected NB Gin as one of only ten brands taking part in this “gin mission” which will involve various events and tasting sessions in New York and Los Angeles at the end of October.
You can buy your NB Gin and NB London Dry Citrus Vodka from our friends at Lockett Bros here.
When you settle in the evening and take that first lingering sip of your Gin & Tonic, do you ever wonder how and why?
Probably not… in fact, you probably don’t even care but we do so we’re going to tell you.
We haven’t lost the plot. We’re talking about the origins of the G&T, of course!
It’s quite a fascinating story and there were plenty of twists (we make no apology for that pun) and turns in the life of the Gin & Tonic.
It’s had an eventful past, from being used as a cure for malaria and scurvy to becoming the ultimate gentleman’s drink in the mid-19th Century.
We won’t go too far back, we’ve already talked about the history of gin in an earlier blog, which you can find here.
This time we’re focusing more on what makes Gin and Tonic the drink we all know and love today.
A malaria cure you say?
Yip, malaria and scurvy were big problems in India and other tropical regions where the famous East India Company plied much of their trade. It was discovered that quinine could be used to prevent and treat the disease. Of course its bitter taste wasn’t great. Enter gin!
British officers in India in the 1800s began to add sugar, water, lime and gin to the quinine tonic and, boom!
They created the greatest thing ever created by man, in our opinion. If it were not for those chaps trying to sweeten their quinine, you would have no NB Gin today! It’s an awful thought, isn’t it?
Gin? Who drinks gin?
The Gin & Tonic never really went away. It was hugely popular through pretty much every decade of the 20th Century but it did have the occasional dip and blip.
Perhaps 20 or so years ago vodka – with the help of some heavy-hitting marketing – began to rule all. Vodka bars were in. Gin, and the Gin & Tonic, were shunted to the back of the bar.
There were still plenty fans of the cocktail – including we at NB Gin – but it just wasn’t trendy. Asking for a Gin & Tonic in a stylish bar wasn’t the thing to do. Many gin lovers kept their gin love as a dirty little secret for the house! But then something changed.
The gin revolution
Over the last 10 years, but especially the last five, the whole world has gone crazy for craft and artisan gin and the Gin & Tonic is once again the drink to enjoy, whether at home or in a bar.
The gin revolution shows no signs of slowing and we’re incredibly proud to be part of it at NB Gin!
It has had its ups and downs over the centuries but the Gin & Tonic has proved that classics never die. Now, we’re off to open the NB Gin and a bottle of Fever Tree Tonic. You should too… don’t forget the ice and garnish!
You can buy your NB Gin and NB London Dry Citrus Vodka from our friends at Lockett Bros here.
Not content with serving our gin to the stars at the Brit Awards earlier this year, we can now reveal that our new London Dry Citrus Vodka will be served to players and celebrities at this year’s Wimbledon Opening Party!
The world’s tennis elite will descend on SW19 – including Scotland’s Andy Murray – and before the balls are smashed in anger, we’ll be supplying a smashing time to the stars.
It’s another big chapter in the NB story and we’re thrilled that our new vodka is already getting high-profile attention.
Not everyone will be lucky enough to get to enjoy the festivities on Murray Mountain in London but as always there will be wall-to-wall TV coverage of the event so there’s no excuse for not having your very own NB Vodka Wimbledon party!
So, here’s our top vodka cocktails to enjoy as you take in the ultimate Grand Slam of tennis. Wimbledon is a classic event on the British sporting calendar so we thought it was fitting to keep the NB Vodka cocktails classic too.
“You cannot be serious!” Yes, Mr McEnroe, we are serious.
NB Vodka Martini
It’s the ultimate cocktail because a suave spy loved it but it’s also fabulously delicious. Those who have enjoyed a Martini know just how beautifully refreshing it is. The best bit is it is as simple as it gets, so even the most novice of cocktail novices can make a killer one.
It’s powerful, with no fuss, a little like tennis superpower Novak Djokovic.
To try it is to love it.
15ml of Vermouth
60ml of NB London Dry Citrus Vodka
Twist of lemon peel to garnish
Pour the Vermouth and vodka into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir and strain into a small Martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel and serve.
NB Vodka Cosmopolitan
If it’s good enough for the Sex In The City cast, it’s good enough for all of us! Okay, so you might hate that show but you certainly will not hate this stunning cocktail.
You can’t go wrong with a classic and, once again, it’s terrifically easy for anyone to make.
The Cosmopolitan is slick, refined and exciting, much like a Serena Williams serve.
35ml of NB London Dry Citrus Vodka
15ml of orange liqueur
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
25ml of cranberry juice
A twist of orange peel to garnish
Place the vodka, orange liqueur, lime juice and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a small Martini glass.
Garnish the cocktail with a flamed orange peel (be careful!) and serve.
NB Vodka Moscow Mule
It scores 10 out of 10 for evocative titles and it’s one of those drinks that can bring you back to your usual self after a hard day at work.
If Andy Murray is celebrating on the final day of this year’s Wimbledon, we suggest you break out this beauty to celebrate with him!
60ml of NB London Dry Citrus Vodka
140ml of chilled ginger beer
Juice of half a freshly squeezed lime
Squeeze the lime into a Collins glass, or a copper mug, if you have one, and drop in the spent lime shell. Fill glass with ice and add vodka. Top with chilled ginger beer to taste.
Steve and Vivienne Muir, the husband-and-wife team behind the award-winning NB Gin, are now bringing their very own brand of premium vodka to the market. But this isn’t just any vodka. NB Distillery has broken new ground by producing the world’s first London Dry citrus vodka.
NB London Dry Citrus Vodka is certainly no ‘flavoured’ vodka. All the taste comes purely from the botanicals used in the distillation method and absolutely nothing is added after this. It is simply blended down to bottling condition at 40 per cent alcohol.
Like many great things, this game-changing spirit came into existence with an element of chance. When creating NB Gin, which is also produced using the London Dry process, the master distiller ran some micro test batches using only a very small number of botanicals to explore the different flavour groupings this process could create. One of these was a citrus run and the Muirs were hugely impressed with the smooth, subtle and long citrus flavour which was created.
It took another 18 months, hundreds of samples and countless tasting committee sessions to come up with the final version of the new London Dry drink. Vivienne Muir says: “Like our gin, we’ve not compromised on quality, using only British pure grain spirit and the best botanicals we can find. What we’ve produced is totally new and we think that it will throw a curveball into the vodka market in terms of its uniqueness.
“There are no gimmicks or strange quirks involved. The innovation lies within its extremely stringent production method, which has allowed us to create something very classic, very natural, and of the highest possible quality, following the London dry process to the letter. There are no additives or sweeteners in our London Dry vodka. And it’s very versatile, so it’s delicious on its own but is also an excellent base for cocktails.”
As part of their final tasting committee, Steve and Vivienne once again engaged the expert services of Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers in London, who concluded: “This is an exceptionally well-balanced vodka with lovely subtle citrus notes. I’m not aware of anyone else producing citrus vodka though the London Dry process. Quite an achievement.” An excellent endorsement from such a leading industry expert.
Those who are familiar with NB Gin, which was recently judged as the world’s best London Dry gin*, will know just how firmly NB Distillery is wedded to the London Dry process. ““It’s immensely difficult to control with a vast number of variables, including temperature and run time, which can change the outcome,” explains Steve Muir.
“It is only this method which allows us to create the most subtle of variations to flavour and our smooth and distinctive long taste.”
The inaugural batch of 300 bottles of the new London Dry Citrus Vodka has already been snapped up by Lockett Brothers in the spirit’s home town of North Berwick, and will go on sale from Thursday 28th May. It follows in the footsteps of NB Gin, which was launched at the same location in October 2013.
NB Vodka is only available at Lockett Bros. Buy it from the online store here or visit the shop at 133 High Street, North Berwick.
So after an election campaign that lasted for 16 years (or at least it felt like that), the results are in and we have a winner.
Now, far be it from us to wade into political debate, so we won’t. But we did think, if we had to make a gin cocktail for each of the party leaders, what would it be?
So, in no particular order, here’s the cocktails that each of the leaders would get from NB Gin and why.
David Cameron – The NB Fizz
Mr Cameron has swept back into power, surprising many, so he’ll be rightly very happy with himself. On such a momentous day for the Prime Minister there could be only one gin cocktail for him to enjoy.
NB Gin would serve Mr Cameron a classic NB Gin Fizz. No other cocktail says, “I’m celebrating” better than this delicious classic.
Here’s how we like to do it:
- 2 shots of NB Gin
- 1 shot of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 shot of sugar syrup
Shake the first three ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Then top up with soda. Easy!
We’re not entirely sure if Ed would be in the mood for gin cocktails today. Let’s face it, he’s had better days. But sometimes, a well-made gin, with the right garnish, and lots of ice can make the world feel like a better place.
We certainly wouldn’t want to serve Mr Miliband anything too fabulous; it’s simply not his style. So, it would have to be a straightforward but stunning classic NB G&T.
Here’s how we like to do it:
- Fill a highball glass with ice cubes
- Pour a shot or two of NB Gin over the ice and top up with tonic
- Drop in a wedge of orange
To say that Nicola Sturgeon had a fabulous night last night would be something of an understatement. She’s riding high and might well be feeling untouchable right now.
But what to serve a lady in party mood? That’s an easy one! It has to be an NB Gin French 39. This is a modern Scottish twist on a French classic, which was said to be so strong it was like being shot by a 75mm machine gun during WWII!
We reckon Nicola could handle it though, given she has dealt with everything thrown at her in the election campaign!
Here’s how we like to do it:
- 1 white sugar cube
- 2 dashes of home-made lavender bitters
- 25ml of NB Gin
- Top with Champagne
- Garnish with a pear slice
- Build in order of recipe in chilled champagne flute
The former deputy prime minister is out of a job and in truth he looked a little like a man who knew his fate even before the polls closed. Quite simply, he needs a pick-me-up.
For that reason, we’d have to serve Mr Clegg a refreshing and reviving NB Gin Martini. Within minutes we’re sure he’d be looking on the bright side and thinking ahead to new challenges.
Here’s how we like to do it:
- 50ml of NB Gin
- 10ml of Noily Pratt/Dry Vermouth
- 10ml of Cointreau
- Garnish with an orange twist
- Stir down and serve in a chilled cocktail glass
So the polls didn’t return the big numbers of controversial UKIP MPs like he hoped for and he failed to win his seat. We all know how much Nigel loves a pint so we’re not even going to try to sway him with our gin.
It’s our round Nigel. What you having?
Pint of ale and a fag
Here’s how Nigel would do it
- Buy a pint
- Buy cigarettes
- Drink pint, smoke cigarette
You know that NB Gin is all about good taste and being unique in our own perfection so we thought it was time we compiled a list of the best gin bars in Scotland.
Well, here they are. Every one of them is unique in its own perfection and every one of them puts a strong emphasis on quality, artisan gin. Yum!
The next time you’re heading out for a great Gin and Tonic or a killer cocktail, check out one of these fabulous venues!
We love this comfortable and chic gin bar in the Old Town of Edinburgh and it’s not just us; it’s won a raft of awards thanks to its great food, great atmosphere and – as you would expect – its great gin!
It’s an engaging café-style location for families during the day and a fabulous place to unwind and socialise in the evening with a good gin in one of the cosy booths.
You can sample some of the 200 gins on offer at 56 North and for even more gin delights, you could even book one of their regular Gin Masterclass events. What more could you want?
Gin71 boasts Glasgow’s largest selection of gin that runs into the thousands of varieties! How could you not get excited about that?
The bar is just about to re-open after some sprucing up and we’re sure it will be tasteful and fabulous!
Perhaps the best thing about Gin71 is the staff and how much love and care they put into their job. They’re so into gin that they will “build your drink” with the absolute best garnishes based on your selection. Bliss!
This delightful spot calls itself a seafood restaurant and gin cocktail bar. Seafood and gin cocktails?! We are there!
Many describe it as a hidden gem and that would be fair to say a while ago but not so much now. That’s because it’s bloody brilliant!
What we especially like about this place is how often they change up the cocktail menu. They also have a canny knack of sourcing some unbelievably good gins from around the world.
Lively atmosphere, fun staff, cracking cocktails and regular mixology classes – sound right up your street? It should be! Aberdeen’s pretty young things love this place and so do we (can we say we’re pretty and young?).
We haven’t personally taken part in one of the mixology classes but we have it on good authority that it’s absolutely fabulous.
These wonderful people have this to say: “A cocktail should stimulate the mind as well as the appetite. The well-made cocktail is one of the most gracious drinks.” Actually, they borrowed those words from David A. Embury but, my, are they appropriate!
The best cocktails in Edinburgh? They’re certainly up there with the best and they really know their gins, which pleases us no end. They offer a heady mix of forgotten classics and original creations and they are all delicious.
Unique, stylish and in demand, that’s what we like to think NB Gin is and that just so happens to sum up our cocktail expert TJ Littlejohn from Bar In A Box.
TJ turned his gap year job into a passion… and then a successful events business and, when he’s not creating some of the world’s most innovative cocktails, he’s spreading the NB Gin word far and wide as the company’s brand ambassador.
We caught up with TJ this week, as he took a well-earned break from training up and coming bartenders all over the UK to get his insights into gin and cocktails.
TJ’s services are in high demand but how did it all start for him?
“I started off as a waiter when I was 15, and when I turned 18 I became a bartender and was working part time in a pub when I was at uni.
“I was supposed to be a marine biologist. I wasn’t enjoying uni, and had a year out. There are two types of people who work in bars – people who do it for a job and those who do it for the lifestyle. For me, it wasn’t supposed to be a career but I really enjoyed it and that was it from there.
“Cocktails and liqueur just grabbed me and it turned into a real passion. It became a lifestyle for me very quickly.”
Long, unsociable hours didn’t seem to put TJ off and as he improved his knowledge and abilities as a cocktail bartender, he started to find there was real demand for his talents.
“I started doing events, for people having birthday parties in the beginning, and people just started asking me to do bigger and better events.
“That’s how Bar In A Box started. It grew from initially just doing things for friends and it became a lifestyle. Suddenly I had a client list and we got popular quite quickly.”
Now, TJ and Bar In A Box – much like NB Gin – are winning plaudits far and wide. TJ’s company has branched out into festivals and other large events and was even hired for the VIP area at Party In The Palace.
The relationship that TJ has with NB Gin is one that he is proud of and it all started with a few new cocktails that he created for us. Since then, NB Gin and TJ Littlejohn have gone together like a Gin & Tonic.
“NB Gin took me to Madrid for three days for the Gin Show last year, which was fantastic and an amazing experience.
“As soon as I tasted what NB Gin produce, I really loved it. It’s something I always really enjoy.
“I think there’s a number of aspects to NB Gin’s success; partly, right place, right time; Viv [Muir, NB Gin CEO] is incredibly good at what she does and thirdly Steve [Muir, NB Gin master distiller] makes a fantastic gin and knows so much about gin.
“I love speaking to Steve as I always seem to learn so much from him.
“From the bottle, the design, the gin itself, NB Gin is run by the right people who have more than just passion for it, there’s love and insight to it and that’s something people can buy into and relate to very easily. People love that.”
We could not possibly interview a cocktail expert like TJ without getting some advice. For TJ, it’s quite straightforward. There are golden rules to making a good cocktail that must be adhered to. So what are they TJ?
“First of all, loads of ice. It doesn’t really matter what the cocktail is, but plenty ice is always going to give it a lift.
“Secondly, don’t be scared. Some people get intimidated by cocktails but there’s no need. Be bold and creative and think outside the box. That’s when I became a much better barman; when I learned to experiment.
“The last thing is, enjoy it. Cocktails are to be enjoyed and making them should be fun. Don’t try too hard and appreciate the ingredients that you’re working with. Remember that, but seriously, the ice is really important.”
Visit the Bar In A Box website here to learn more about TJ.
North Berwick artisan gin producer NB Gin has been selected by NASA to develop a new juniper-infused rocket fuel.
The deal, which will see NB Gin open a new distillery at the Kennedy Space Center in Fort Lauderdale, is the culmination of months of secret talks between the two parties.
NB Gin, which was recently voted the world’s best London Dry Gin by the World Drinks Awards, already has a strong following in the US and this latest deal is expected to build on that.
NASA has been working on a number of greener alternatives to conventional rocket fuel and said that juniper-powered space shuttles were the obvious choice.
April Lofos – the renowned Greek aerospace engineer and NASA’s lead engineer on this project – said: “Greener fuel is a priority for NASA and we’ve been experimenting with a number of alternatives. Many people have said that NB Gin is out of this world so we thought, why don’t we look at how these guys can power our rockets.”
As part of the five-year research and development project NB Gin will supply NASA with 10,000 bottles of their artisan gin. A NASA spokesman would not be drawn on rumours that the organisation is close to signing another deal with a well-known tonic water producer.
There’s a curious thing happening with the spirits and beer industry at the moment, and it’s been going on for quite a while now.
You probably already know what we’re talking about if you’re a regular to our NBlog. But for those who are uninitiated NB fans, we’ll tell you.
People are leaving the well-known, mass-produced big name brands to sniff out something a bit different; something like NB Gin.
Over the last few years there has been a strong shift towards anything that falls into the category of “craft”, “artisan” or even just “real”.
Those little words are the signposts for canny buyers these days and they’re becoming even more important with every passing month.
It probably really got going in the UK about five or six years ago and it was partly thanks to producers of craft beer and real ale (although those who know their crafties and ales will also know the pains producers go to to highlight they’re not the same).
There were always small pockets of fans of craft beer and quality ales and there were a few good breweries around to quench their thirst.
But, thanks to a few brave brewers who decided to put their money where their mouths were, the industry grew arms and legs and staggered into the mainstream with a burp and a giggle.
The craft beer industry is a rock ‘n roll show now and it seems like every second 30-something bloke you meet has a hankering to launch his own craft brewery.
Perhaps buoyed by the massive success of smaller, quality brewers, there were plenty foolhardy ladies and gents who wanted to try the same in the spirits world and it worked, big time.
Just look where we are today. Obviously, there’s NB Gin, but we are just one of hundreds of artisan distillers in the UK.
It should be a byword for “quality” but it isn’t always the case. You have to be careful that the word “artisan” isn’t used by producers who simply are not. We at NB Gin have another tag we can use now too: World-class. That’s not us saying that, it’s the World Drinks Awards!
Artisan, craft, real. They’re more than just words to us at NB Gin. They’re part of the manual that we use to create a drink that boasts a quality that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.
The fantastic news for producers like NB Gin is that many, many consumers have simply had enough of drinking Spirit A or Beer B just because the massive corporation that makes it can afford the best marketing.
Not that long ago, it was only the enthusiastic foodies who might be tempted to seek out a real quality artisan gin or craft beer, but that tide has turned and it’s far more mainstream to want something of a higher quality.
Perhaps the best example of that is how supermarkets have had to completely overhaul their spirits and beer ranges. When the buying public speak, they have to listen and a walk down the aisles will show you just how far we’ve come in the quest for quality.
As for NB Gin, we’re not supermarket-mainstream and we like it that way, and that will never change so keep finding us where you do and keep enjoying us.
Bugger it, we’ll have a G&T right now. Care to join us? Chin chin!
We are incredibly proud to announce that NB Gin has been named as the world’s best London Dry Gin at The World Drinks Awards!
NB Gin was selected by an international panel of experts over three rounds of judging.
Chair and Editor of TheDrinksReport.com, Felicity Murray said: “The judges of both the Taste and Design categories were extremely discerning - all those who have won an award can be justifiably proud.”
Our CEO Vivienne Muir said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award. From the very beginning, our focus has been on quality and we’re thrilled that this has been recognised at The World Drinks Awards.
“To now be categorised as the world’s best London Dry Gin is overwhelming and emotional!”
The award is another huge milestone for NB Gin, in what has already been a memorable 2015. Only last month NB Gin was being served to the stars at the Brit Awards After Party in London.
NB Gin is produced in a custom-made copper still at our micro-distillery in North Berwick, East Lothian. It’s made from pure British grain spirit and a blend of eight botanicals, all of which have been meticulously selected to produce a smooth and balanced flavour.
This latest gong isn’t the first award for NB Gin though. The distiller bagged a silver medal in the Micro Distillery category at The Gin Masters 2014, just nine months after launch.
In November 2014, NB Gin scooped the award for “Most innovative new product” at the ninth annual East Lothian Food & Drink Awards.
NB Gin was also the ”clear winner” and “really stole the show” in a November 2014 gin taste test of 11 different brands conducted by The Scotsman newspaper.
How will the NB Gin team be celebrating tonight? Take a wild guess. Chin chin!
Our trip to London to serve NB Gin to the stars at the Brit Awards Sony After Party was, simply, an incredible experience!
We’re now back on the much quieter shores of North Berwick and back to normality after the craziness of last week. What a fantastic few days it was, and another exciting chapter in the NB Gin story.
So how did the party go down, we hear you ask! For NB Gin, it could not have gone any better. Around 150 bottles of our artisan gin was enjoyed by the music VIPs and we ourselves even found the time to let our hair down with the celebs!
The Sony After Party was held at the famous SushiSamba in Heron Tower, London. Not long after the Brit Awards had finished at the O2 Arena, the stars started to arrive for the after show bash.
Rita Ora, Mark Ronson, Paloma Faith, Little Mix and Lisa Snowdon were just some of the big names who made their way to Herron Tower to relax… and enjoy an NB Gin or two, obviously.
We were struck by just how relaxed and informal the evening was. It had a very chilled out vibe with several bars dotted around the venue. Many of the VIPs were happy just hanging out and chatting after the high-octane performances of the show itself.
Of course, much of the chat was about Madonna’s mishap as she fell off the stage during her closing performance.
The atmosphere was pegged up more than a few notches a couple of hours in however when Mark Ronson took to the decks for a surprise guest DJ slot, a move that had the 600-or so guests up on their feet and partying to some of his biggest hits.
For NB Gin, the sight of lots of happy people – many of whom were music royalty – enjoying our drink was a real honour. As producers, we don’t often get to see the reactions to our gin.
We’re normally tucked away at our little distillery perfecting the next batch so it gave us a great sense of pride to see it take centre stage at a truly global event.
We’re told the event rolled on until after 6am but we were not quite that rock ‘n’ roll.
Would we do it all again? Absolutely! What’s next for NB Gin? Well, there are one or two really big things happening for us over the next few months.
We’d also like to say a huge thank you to all of you for supporting us over the last few years. Your kind and encouraging words in the run to the Brit Awards made us feel on top of the world!
It’s less than 24 hours until we head for London to showcase NB Gin at the Sony Brits After Party!
The event is regarded as the only party to be seen at after the glittering awards ceremony and 150 bottles of our finest NB Gin was whisked off to Heron Tower earlier this week in preparation for the bash.
NB Gin will be the only gin to be served at the party and we’re incredibly proud to have been selected.
The Sony Party – this year hosted at Sushi Samba – will be as A-list as it gets with more than 600 showbiz guests partying long into the night after the awards bash.
So who’ll be there? Ah, well that is the million-dollar question but you can absolutely guarantee that the planet’s most famous faces will be there to party… and drink lots of NB Gin, obviously.
If last year’s Sony After Party is anything to go by, it’ll be the party of the year. In 2014 Pharrell Williams, Nicole Scherzinger, One Direction and Rita Ora were just some of the celebs who attended the bash.
We’re all ready to go. We’ve even got our glad-rags (including one kilt) packed for the bash. We wish you could all be there too but, alas, you can’t.
So we’ve got the next best thing – we’ll be live tweeting from the party! Follow us on Twitter here to get all the news, gossip, pics and more from the event!
They say home is where the heart is and any company that is born out of a labour of love should also have a heart and a place to call home. For NB Gin, it’s the beautiful town of North Berwick in East Lothian, Scotland.
This is the place that NB Gin is produced, or you could say crafted, before it makes its way all over the world to be enjoyed and savoured by a rapidly expanding fan base.
For us, there could be no better place to produce our artisan gin. North Berwick is woven into the tapestry of our company, even if we haven’t been around for all that long.
We like to think there’s a little bit of North Berwick in every gin and tonic or NB Gin Martini that you enjoy; it’s part of who and what we are and we’re very proud of it. If you listen carefully, you can just about hear the waves lapping on the shores of our seaside town as you pour yourself an NB Gin.
Okay, so perhaps that’s a lyrical stretch too far for some but North Berwick got into our soul; under our skin, and we’d urge our fans to visit the town and take it all in for themselves. You might love it so much you’ll stay and build a distillery!
It really doesn’t get more picturesque than North Berwick. If you spent your childhood holidays at the seaside then you’ll probably already have an appreciation for it but there are now whole generations who didn’t get that, due mainly to the rise of package holidays to the Med.
North Berwick most certainly retains that old seaside town charm of those days gone by but it has something else too.
Where, sadly, many traditional seaside towns were as good as killed off as tastes in holidays changed, North Berwick has been an omnipresent fixture for those wanting to get away from it all.
There’s a heady mix of culture, creativity and good old-fashioned charm here. It has a spirit; a feeling of bohemian freedom on every street. You only have to look at the array of craft producers, artists and artisan stores that are dotted around the town to realise that North Berwick is a little town that positively buzzes with things to see and do.
It’s that spirit, and perhaps the obvious can-do attitude of those who call North Berwick home, that rubbed off on us and compelled us to launch NB Gin in this beautiful little corner of the world.
So you might think that we’re going a bit over the top about how much of an influence North Berwick has had on our artisan gin, that’s okay, we might have been of the same opinion before NB Gin was born.
But we’d urge you to come for a visit and see for yourselves. Have a wander around the beautiful stores and galleries, talk to the friendly shopkeepers, grab a coffee from one of the exceptional cafes and enjoy the sea air as the Firth of Forth entices you on to the seafront. Do that and then you’ll understand why we get so misty-eyed about our little town and why NB Gin calls North Berwick home.
When NB Gin was born, it was around the time of a new gin revolution in the UK and what has happened over the last two years has taken even the most enthusiastic gin lover a little by surprise.
It’s no longer a UK gin revolution, it’s a worldwide gin revolution and we’d like to think that from a beautiful little corner of the country in North Berwick, we’re doing our bit to help it roar on.
It seems that gin is the spirit on everyone’s lips… we couldn’t resist that little pun.
It’s not that gin ever really fell out of fashion as such. The beautiful, refreshing spirit has always had a passionate following but vodka has reigned supreme for decades. You could say that gin perhaps got lost in the super-marketing of other big spirits, namely vodka. Not now though. Gin is back and we’re glad to say it’s here to stay.
In fact, in a recent survey of London’s top bars, the majority of mixologists named gin as the most important spirit on the shelf and the one that most customers class as the ‘drink to be seen with’.
One of the biggest factors in the gin revolution is the changing drinking habits of the public.
Perhaps as a result of the huge success of the craft beer scene, people are now far savvier about drinking quality spirits rather than the mass-produced, heavily marketed options that flood the industry.
In short, drinkers place far more weight on quality than they do on marketing tactics and that bodes well for artisan and craft producers, like NB Gin.
As we’ve said before, for us it will always be about the quality of our product. We only ever produce in small batches of no more than 100 litres at a time. That way we can be absolutely certain that our gin is perfect every time.
The gin revolution shows no sign of slowing (or should that be sloe-ing?) and we feel quite honoured that our drink is one of the names mentioned by experts when talking about world-class artisan gin.
Cocktails have helped to make gin cool again too, especially in a time when no self-respecting bar would be without a mixologist who really knows his or her stuff.
Our very own mixologist and brand ambassador TJ Littlejohn from Bar In A Box loves to mix with gin and he even created three brand new NB Gin cocktails to wow the celebrity guests when we serve them our gin at the Brit Awards.
All this talk about ‘being in’ and trendy bars might lead you to think that this revolution is about style over substance. No way, we say! In fact, we’re pretty sure that anyone who has ever enjoyed a good quality gin and tonic will know that it’s all about what’s in the glass.
The fact that gin is on trend again is a mere side point to it being one of life’s little luxuries and we’re so happy to be part of it. Chin chin!
NB Gin, the award-winning premium spirit produced in North Berwick, will soon be sampled by some of the biggest names in world pop, following an exclusive invitation to grace the tables at this year’s star-studded Sony Music BRIT Awards After Party in London on February 25.
The BRIT Awards is the UK’s biggest showcase for music talent and one of the most anticipated events in the global entertainment calendar. But when the stars really start to let their hair down is afterwards, with some of music’s most famous faces painting the town red well after the gong-fest.
And the most sought-after tickets in town will be to the Sony party, where pop icons such as Pharrell Williams and the members of One Direction are due to attend.
NB Gin will be the only brand of gin being served to the 600-strong guest list and will be joined by some of the most exclusive drinks brands available, such as Belvedere vodka.
NB Gin’s expert mixologist has created two unique cocktails to be served to party guests on the night, including the Bees Knees, made with honey and rosemary. Bottles of NB Gin will also be placed on every table, with tasting glasses alongside.
Vivienne Muir, director at NB Gin, says: “We are thrilled and honoured to be serving NB Gin at the biggest night in British music. To have been chosen from such a long list of other possible brands is the icing on the cake of what has been a fantastic year for us, and we cannot wait to let the music industry elite sample our very own handcrafted spirit.“
Morten Jensen, partner at Billetto UK Ltd, which is assisting with the drinks brands for the Sony event, says, “NB Gin was a natural choice for us. Its quality is second to none, making it perfect in cocktails but also delicious served neat with ice. And the chic bottle looks great. Our guests will only be served drinks worthy of this glittering event, and we are delighted to have NB Gin on the menu.”
NB Gin is produced by Vivienne and her husband Steve in a custom-made copper still at their micro-distillery in North Berwick, East Lothian. Using the London Dry Gin distillation process, it’s made from pure British grain spirit and a blend of eight botanicals, all of which have been meticulously selected to produce a smooth and balanced flavour which is not overly complicated.
Since its launch in October 2013, there has been overwhelming demand for the new spirit. It’s now being stocked in a long list of high-end hotels, bars, shops and restaurants across the country, from Aberdeen to London. And things are going well overseas too, with sales thriving in Spain, Germany and Denmark, and an agreement nearing the final stages with a distributor in the USA.
NB Gin was honoured with a silver medal in the Micro Distillery category at The Gin Masters 2014, just nine months after launch. It was the “clear winner” and “really stole the show” in a recent gin taste test of 11 different brands conducted by The Scotsman, being praised for having “a smooth, rounded palate with a fabulous long poised finish” and described as a “proper” gin.*
And it is described as “superb” by royal party planner Johnny Roxburgh, who has more than 33 years of experience in luxury event catering and party design. He has become one of NB Gin’s biggest fans and is already serving the artisan spirit to guests at high society events across the country
To help with increasing demand, Vivienne and Steve have upgraded their equipment and expanded their premises for the second time in a year to make sure that they’re geared up for more significant production. They have also launched a new website at www.nbgin.com
If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be sitting down at the end of a long week to a well-deserved gin and tonic right about now but have you ever thought about where it originated?
Okay, your thoughts might not be as consumed with gin as ours are, but it does have a fascinating story since it was first produced in the 1600s.
A chap named Sylvius de Bouve is credited with the development of what we know as gin today in the 16th Century, although it was probably rather less refined than the spirits we enjoy now.
Mr de Bouve – a Dutch physician – wanted to create a spirit with strong medicinal qualities and it’s well documented that it was believed to help circulation and other ailments. The juniper berry had been used as a medicine for centuries before Mr de Bouve got his hands on it and records also show it was even used in the fight against the plague!
There’s some debate about just how gin became such a massive hit in London and subsequently throughout the UK but many gin experts believe that it was brought back by English soldiers fighting in the Dutch War of Independence in the 1580s.
By the early 18th Century, gin was at the centre of a spirits revolution in London and its popularity explosion had politicians worried. Public drunkenness, illegal distilling and general unruly behaviour lead Parliament to slap the drink with huge taxes.
But what about the tonic, we hear you say. You can’t enjoy a refreshing G&T without the tonic! Okay, okay. We’re just getting to that bit.
Ah yes, the ‘T’ in G&T has an equally fascinating story and it centres around quinine from the bark of the cinchona tree. Europeans discovered the value of the plant in fighting malaria during the 17th Century, after the Spanish had conquered parts of South America.
But how did these two drinks marry into the delicious couple we all enjoy today? Well, we have India to thank for that, or British soldiers stationed in India to be precise.
Around the 1820s the soldiers began to add gin to their tonic ration, why not, and as time moved on this became pretty much THE only way to enjoy your tonic. The G&T was born.
It should also be mentioned that there were health reasons behind the ration of tonic. It was seen as a vital tool in the fight against malaria in the colony and gin was added to cut through the bitterness. Sounds like as good an excuse as any…
From fighting the plague and malaria, inebriating war-ravaged soldiers and worrying Parliament to once again being the drink at the centre of a London spirits revolution, our old friend gin has had quite a history.
And you thought it was just a pleasant drink to enjoy at the end of a long week. Have a wonderful weekend! Chin chin!
Creating something that people love is an odd thing, especially when you started out just tinkering with ideas and having fun.
NB Gin was borne out of a desire to create something that we could be proud of and that we would enjoy doing. Something that we could say, “Yip, we made that.” Nothing else.
We really had no grandiose visions of creating a brand that people would come to love. We didn’t even think about people buying the product at first.
But first thing first – you must create something that is truly the best you can make it. That was crucial at the start for us. If it’s not going to be the best you can possibly do, then what’s the point?
Perhaps experimenting with botanicals and an old bashed pressure cooker were not the most auspicious beginnings but, hey, we had to start somewhere.
We like to think that all the quirks and backstories, trials and errors, have all gone in to make NB Gin what it is today and we are routinely blown away by the feedback that we get from those who drink our produce.
The stories we could tell you… wow! There have been some really exciting days, some very tough days and some days that we’ll never forget. It has always been fun though. If it weren’t fun, then what would be the point? We aim to create something that people enjoy and that they want to talk about and share with their friends.
To that end, we thought it was about time to start talking to you in a little space we can call our own. This is for those who love gin, those who buy our gin, those who don’t and those who might just be interested in learning more about the gin revolution – welcome to the NB Gin Blog!
It’s really quite exciting to think that over the coming months and years, we get to share all the stories and news about our artisan gin in this little digital corner of the world.
The next 12 months look set to be massive for us and we’ll be telling you all about it all right here.
It’s been a real adventure from day one for NB Gin and every day seems to bring a new opportunity or challenge, which we relish.
We have a passion for what we do and we want to let you in on that. Whether you love artisan gin or not, we want to make this a welcoming and enjoyable place to come. There will be a prize or two and perhaps even some exclusives to those who follow the blog.
So, pour yourself a drink (it is Friday evening after all), settle in and enjoy our stories. We’ve got lots to tell you!
And to think it all started with an old pressure cooker.
Want even more news about NB Gin? Follow us on Twitter here and like our Facebook page here. We have a competition where you can win a bottle of our gin right now (entries close on Monday, January 26th 2015) so head on over!