Winter gin and food pairings to warm your cockles

Christmas may be over and the march through 2017 is well and truly underway but the weather is still bitter outside so here are some winter gin and food pairings to warm your cockles.

Turkish and Greek traditional rustic dinner table with raki, ouzo

Whether you are after a winter gin cocktail or a simple G&T we have the winter food and gin pairing to help you get the most out of your occasion.

These are our top suggestions for what gin creation goes well with your winter food.

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NB Gin’s gin calendar

Gin calendar

New year, same gin. We would not have it any other way.

We’ve mapped out your entire year in gin (yes, seriously). We’re good like that, you see.

Get your pens out and mark those diaries; these are the key dates of the year to be drinking gin (as well as all the other times of course) accompanied with the perfect serving suggestion.

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Why you should enjoy gin without tonic

Gin without tonic

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…

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NB teams up with party architect to the stars Johnny Roxburgh

Johnny Roxburgh video shot

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!

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Why gin is everybody’s drink

Ernest Hemingway gin

Did you think gin is a drink only to be mixed with tonic? Wrong! Gin is such a versatile spirit it can be enjoyed in so many ways. The really good gins are even smooth enough to be enjoyed neat.

Here’s a whole bunch of reasons why gin is everyone’s drink… even if you don’t like G&Ts.

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From gun powder to cocktails: The history of Navy Strength gin

So That's Why... Sailors Drink 'Grog'

As suggested in the name, Navy Strength gin is much stronger. But why?

We’re going to take you back in time to the 18th Century when legislation was passed that meant every Royal Navy vessel had to take on board a certain quantity of gin.

The Navy believed that the drink could help to keep sailors healthy and was able to fight off diseases like malaria and scurvy.

Often gin was stored below deck amongst many items including the essential gun powder.

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How to enjoy your gin like the Queen

NB GIN Queen 1

Queen Elizabeth II is now 90 (yes, that incredible lady is now a nonagenarian) and NB Gin is incredibly proud to have a small part to play in the celebrations.

Her Royal Highness will celebrate her birthday in style (obvs) from this Thursday – Sunday with a huge party at Windsor Castle… and we mean HUGE.

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25 times when only a gin and tonic will do

Stressed mum

Gin lovers out there will understand that under certain circumstances the only solution is to pour yourself a well-deserved Gin and Tonic, with the world’s best gin!

This could possibly turn into a tick list for some of you out there!

Parenting

The little bundles of joy that grow through the terrible twos into the more terrible teens but you couldn’t love them any less, however there are a few occasions where you find yourself reaching for the bottle…

When your three-year-old tells you he’s polished the new car… with a stone.

When your teenage daughter bursts through the door, tears streaming down her face to tell you that Zayn has left One Direction…

When your teenage daughter bursts through the door the next day to find out that One Direction are taking a break…

When the babysitter cancels…

When you’ve booked a family holiday but your teenager refuses to go because there is no Wi-Fi…

When your six-year-old accidently overhears you speaking about putting the presents under the Christmas tree…

When finally the house has gone quiet but you can’t relax as that means the children are up to mischief…

When your 10-year-old daughter insists on joining Facebook because ‘all her friends have it’…

When you hide from your toddler in the bathroom to get two minutes’ peace…

Students

Perhaps surprisingly, many students are fans of artisan gin like NB Gin (wasn’t it cheap cider and boxes of wine when we were students?).

You’re the type of student who has a limit of £5 on food shopping for the week because the rest of it has gone towards buying quality gin!

When you get in from a lecture, aiming to get ready for a big night out to find your electricity bill needs topping up, hello frizz ball…

When you’re singing your heart out in the shower, just about to rinse off the conditioner when the water goes from steamy hot to freezing cold…

When your embarrassing parents turn up at your front door, out of the blue and try making friends with your flatmates thinking they’re ‘down with the kids’

When someone steals your milk…

At work

Whether you work in an office, deal with customers or even run your own business, there is sometimes something that makes you wish you had a large G&T at the ready.

When you have that sigh of relief because you think it’s Friday, only to be shocked to find it’s actually only Tuesday…

When it’s 4:58pm and you are just about to pack everything away and the phone rings…

When it’s Monday morning (or is that just us?)…

When the coffee machine breaks and the only other alternative is decaf…

When the opening hours extend in the run up to Christmas…

When you work in retail and the Christmas music has already started playing in October…

When your boss signs you up for compulsory team building exercises…

When the customer is definitely not always right…

Being an adult (it’s rubbish sometimes)

When you wake up late and you rush to the car to find that it’s completely iced over and you have 15 mins to get to work…

When you remember being an adult means you have responsibilities… and a mortgage…

When you order a pizza and say ‘love you, bye’ by accident…

When you book a romantic getaway to be told that the rooms were mixed up and you have bunk beds…

For more NB Gin news, competitions and updates, follow our Facebook and Twitter!

NB Gin arrives in America!

NB Gin moody

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.

NB Vodka cocktails to lift your summer spirit

Summer cocktails

NB London Dry Citrus Vodka – the first of its kind in the world – has been going down a storm since we launched it a couple of weeks ago.

We are rather proud of its subtle yet powerful character and, of course, it can be (and has been!) enjoyed in its simple glory – with Fever Tree Naturally Light tonic water, ice and a peel of orange for company. It’s an absolute winner, especially now the sun has come to play.

And speaking of sunshine, we love cocktails in the summer, so we thought it was prudent for us to suggest some ways to enjoy your NB London Dry Citrus Vodka… just in case our rather fickle summer weather decides to disappear again.

Keeping it simple… but delicious

25ml NB London Dry Citrus Vodka

Fever tree light tonic

Lots of ice

Peel of orange

 

Cloud No. 9

25ml NB London Dry Citrus Vodka

Top with Still Cloudy Lemonade

Garnish with Mint Sprig

Cubed Ice Filled highball

 

Summer Time Sally

25ml NB London Dry Citrus Vodka

Top with Cream Soda

Garnish with Cucumber Slice

Cubed Ice filled Highball

 

Rays of Raspberries

50ml NB London Dry Citrus Vodka

25ml Pink Grapefruit Juice

12.5ml Simple Syrup (cup of sugar, cup of water, bring to the boil and then cool)

3 Raspberries

Shake all ingredients, strain to cocktail glass.

Garnish with a raspberry.

Want to keep up to date with what’s happening in the worlds of NB Gin and NB Vodka AND win prizes? Follow us on Twitter here and like us on Facebook here.

Chin chin!

Gin: From Mother’s Ruin to a Mother’s Day gift

Mother's Ruin

As Mother’s Day approaches, there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking of spoiling your fantastic mum with a bottle of gin, perhaps even a bottle of NB Gin.

But in days gone by, gin wouldn’t have been considered a gift for mummy; it was a drink that she might have sold you to pay for!

Before we alarm you anymore, we’re talking specifically about the London gin problem of the 1700s and 1800s.

The drink that we all know and love today wasn’t always quite as refined as it is now. In fact, it was once seen as a blight on the working classes that had the British Government terrified about its influence.

Perhaps you’ll be settling down this evening or at the weekend to a well-deserved gin and tonic, an event that you give due ceremony to. You probably feel rather civilised as you savour it. And so you should. If ever there were a drink to be relished then it is artisan gin.

Things were slightly different in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries though. Gin wasn’t sold in pretty bottles from a well-informed spirits store. It definitely wasn’t enjoyed in cocktails in fine bars. Nope. Gin was sold by the gallon in those days, and bought by a whole army of people who were far more interested in its alcohol content than its botanicals.

Gin was cheap and far more accessible to the working classes than wine or other spirits. It was even cheaper than beer so you can understand its appeal when you were drinking for effect and not for taste.

It was a scourge in London. The very idea that such a fashionable drink today could have been such a problem is quite hard to comprehend but it was a massive problem back then.

In the 1730s it was found that the average Londoner drank 14 gallons of gin every year. That’s more than 63 litres. Ouch.

The stories from “the gin problem” in those days make for grim reading. Parents neglected their children and women in particular were seen as particularly “susceptible to the problem” which lead to the term ‘Mother’s Ruin’ being coined.

There’s plenty evidence of workers being paid partly, and even fully, in gin and one particularly awful story tells of a drover who sold his 11-year-old daughter to a trader for a gallon of the stuff.

Something had to be done but the Government of the time was terrified of the ramifications, such was gin’s grip on society. Tighter legislation and bigger taxes didn’t have the desired effect – it simply drove the distillers underground and sparked a raging black market.

In 1830 the Duke of Wellington did something that would finally bring an end to the problem and, in turn, made beer an infinitely more popular drink. He passed the Sale of Beer Act, which removed the tax on beer and allowed anyone to open a beer shop after paying a small fee.

So, as you give your gift of gin this Mother’s Day, you can dazzle her with some trivia from a time that was far less civilised than now.

Chin chin!

For more on NB Gin, like us on Facebook here and follow us on Twitter here. 

Gin – The drink at the centre of a revolution

NB Gin beach

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 to be served to world’s music industry at the BRITs after party!

BRITs Beyonce

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

Gin and tonic: From Holland to India and all the way to London

NB Gin

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!

The kink that makes NB Gin perfect, in an imperfect kind of way

NB Gin waitresses

Would you rather be perfect or unique? For NB Gin, those two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. In fact, we like to say that we are unique in our own perfection.

Not many would consider a kink to be perfect. It’s usually the result of a mistake; of a heavy hand or an unfortunate collision but the kink that we are talking about is now integral to the gin we produce. You could say it’s engrained in what we do.

When the copperhead still was being lovingly put together, we ended up with a kink in one of the pipes. Others would fix that sort of thing right away but when NB Gin was first crafted in that still, the result far exceeded what even our high expectations were. Why would we want to change that?

You see, fads come and go in a flash, especially when it comes to drinks, but quality will always endure.

We’re most definitely at the centre of a gin revolution, as many of our fans will tell you, and we’re definitely not stuck in our ways but there are some things you simply don’t change. That kink would probably drive neat freaks to distraction but to us – in a weird kind of way – it’s as an integral to our artisan gin as the eight botanicals that go into NB.

All this talk about kinks and imperfections might make you think that we are nonchalant about how we produce our gin but that could not be further from the truth. We spent countless hours in the early days making sure absolutely everything that went into NB Gin was as perfect as it could be and, believe us, that commitment has not changed since those formative distilling days.

Our master distiller would never compromise on anything. You could call him a hard task master distiller… but we would never say that.

It goes back to that word, perfection, again. For him anything less than perfect just will not do. It’s that simple.

Okay, so practically every fine drinks producer might wax lyrical about quality and perfection but to many of them, they’re just words. They’re part of a marketing operation to sell more units. Talk to our master distiller about marketing and watch his reaction. He doesn’t have time for that – there’s another batch of NB Gin reaching a crucial stage in the distilling process!

Long before we thought of telling the world about our drink, we tested, we trialled, we plagued friends to sample our product. Only once we were absolutely sure that the artisan gin we had produced was of a quality that could rival the best gins in the world, then we cast a fleeting glance at the market. Not the distiller though, his focus is only ever on that still, with its little kink.

 

All this talk of kinked pipes might lead you to think we’ve spent too long tucked away in the distillery. Maybe we have, but give NB Gin a try and you’ll probably understand why we’re so keen to keep our process consistent. Like we said, we’re unique in our own perfection… or imperfection.

Visit our website for more information or to contact us. Chin chin!

Come in, sit down and make yourself comfortable! Can we get you a drink?

Viv and Steve photo

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.

Chin chin!

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!