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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The perfect summer serves for your gin

NB summer serves

We know and you know that gin is perfect all year round but now that it’s summer (apparently) it’s an ideal time to spice up your serves.

NB Gin – whether it’s Navy Strength or original – is rather spectacular enjoyed neat, in a classic or a cocktail so here are a few ideas to make your summer serves really sparkle.

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How to taste gin (you don’t have to spit it out)

How to taste gin

So you’ve finally realised that gin is quite simply the only drink that you’ll ever want to enjoy ever again but how best to do it?

For those smarty pants who are thinking to themselves, ‘open the bottle and pour into a glass’, get to the back of the class and put on that dunce hat (it’s 1940 for the benefit of that sentence).

There’s a lot more to drinking and enjoying an artisan gin than just sploshing it into a glass and glugging it back. There has to be due ceremony and a bit of love added to the process.

But here’s the best bit – you most definitely do not need to spit the gin out! We at NB Gin make our artisan gin to be savoured and we’d be more than a little bit miffed if you decided to discard it!

So, here are our top tips for tasting and enjoying your artisan gin.

Class in a glass

Before you even get your hands on that beautiful gin, you have to choose your gin glass and choose it wisely. What’s the best gin glass? Well, that’s a big debate of its own but we’d suggest something like a rocks glass that can handle all that ice and, in the case of a Gin and Tonic, a good tall glass is wise.

Many mixologists will choose a tall, wide glass to let plenty of air circulate in the drink.

Win by a nose

One of the true joys of a quality gin is the subtle aromas that it treats your nose to. Once you’ve poured your gin, gently swirl the glass around for a few seconds and take a small sniff of the drink. The botanicals can work their magic at this stage.

You might get floral notes, perhaps even herbs and, of course, juniper.

Be careful not to take a huge sniff of your gin. You don’t want to be overpowered before you even get to taste it!

Time to taste… and no spitting!

The groundwork you laid by smell a moment ago will stand you in good stead for the bliss that artisan gin will provide to your taste buds.

Those subtle aromas that you enjoyed by smell will be there in taste but you’ll more than likely get some other characteristics coming through too. Swirl the gin around your mouth and gently breathe in as you savour the flavour. Yum!

Experiment and repeat

So you’ve tried your artisan gin neat, why not try a Gin and Tonic now or go even further and make a cocktail, like one of the stunning creations from our mixologist TJ Littlejohn here.

We would love to hear how you like to taste and enjoy your gin. Chin chin!

A good tonic is just the tonic for your NB Gin

Gin and tonic

When it comes to finding the perfect partner for your gin, a really good tonic is, well, just the tonic.

The Gin and Tonic is a match made in a juniper heaven, even the most inexperienced gin lover knows that but there’s plenty to think about when choosing the right tonic.

It’s a basic error that many people make. They spend a lot of time researching the best gins and finally make a decision (the really clever people choose NB Gin, obviously).

But when it comes to the tonic they pop into the supermarket and grab the first brightly-coloured bottle they see. No, no, no!

For NB Gin there is one golden rule that shall never be broken. Absolutely no sugar! Choose only sugar-free tonics. Why? Well, sugar is bossy and obtrusive when it comes to gin. It bullies the subtle flavours of our drink and you end up with a lesser G&T and we don’t want that!

A quality gin demands a quality tonic. It’s that simple. So here are NB Gin’s favourites:

Fever Tree Tonic Water

Fever Tree

These guys are probably our favourite of favourite tonic producers. They have an impressive range of different tonic waters to choose from but for us simple is always best. It’s important to let the gin do the talking and let the tonic do the complimenting.

For that reason, we would always plump for their Naturally Light tonic water. It’s crisp and clean and has natural quinine.

Fever Tree is widely available so there’s really no excuse for not giving it a try with your next NB Gin adventure. The shops will still be open now. Off you dash!

Q Tonic

Q Tonic

The tagline for this fabulous tonic is ‘the world’s best spirits deserve a superior tonic water’. Now, we’re not sure if we mentioned it but NB Gin is now officially the world’s best London Dry Gin, as judged by the World Drinks Awards.

That means this gin could have been made specifically for us. Of course it wasn’t but you get the idea.

It boasts hand-picked quinine from the Andes (yes, honestly) and organic agave from Mexico. Quite special, you’ll agree.

You might struggle to find this particular tonic in UK stores but it is available online so there really is no excuse. You found us because you demand quality, so you should sniff this tonic out too.

thomas-henry-tonic-water

Thomas Henry Tonic Water

This lovely tonic is German – even if it doesn’t sound it – and is quite delicious. Like all of our favourite tonics, it contains no sweetener.

It boasts a very lively yet delicate character and we think it goes fabulously well with NB Gin.

It’s not available to buy in the UK yet, but it will be shortly. As with Q, it is also available online.

So there we have it, three perfect partners for your NB Gin and Tonic. We know how much you love to share your NB Gin photos on our Facebook and Twitter so please, please don’t upset our master distiller by showing his pride and joy next to a sub-standard tonic.

Have a wonderful weekend you beautiful people. Chin chin!

Five reasons our mums are just the best

Mothers Day

With Mother’s Day this Sunday we at NB Gin thought it was the perfect time to talk about our mums and what makes them so fabulous. They really are the best, aren’t they?

They do so much for us and they’re always there. In fact, this blog could easily be ‘500 reasons why our mums are just the best’ but we picked out five of our favourites.

Remember, it’s Mother’s Day THIS SUNDAY. Still stuck for something wonderful to get her? A bottle of NB Gin would make a great gift… we’ve heard it’s rather good. For stockists, check out our webpage here.

Mum’s hands always make us feel better

We’re not entirely sure why, but mum’s hands always make us feel better. Whether it’s a gentle stroke of our hair or a comforting cuddle, they just seem to make everything feel better. Aw, we want a cuddle from mum now!

Mum always makes us laugh

This one is two-fold. Firstly, mum has a great sense of humour. She has a way of making silly little jokes funny, even if they are completely rubbish. Maybe it’s the way she tells them.

The other way that mum always makes us laugh is when she makes a little bit of a fool of herself. Mum is prone to getting mixed up from time to time.

She makes her own names up for things and tends to give movies and music new – and far more entertaining – titles. Do we take the mickey out of mum? A little bit, but because she’s mum, she takes it very well.

Mum makes us feel loved

Okay, so this one is a little unoriginal but it’s so true that it can’t be ignored. Just being in mum’s presence makes us feel loved. Going to mum’s house can cheer us up.

She doesn’t even need to say anything. Just wiling away an afternoon at mum’s with a cuppa and a movie is a lovely way to spend time with her. She doesn’t even need to say anything. Who else has the ability to do that?

When mum does the laundry

At the risk of sounding like we subscribe to the idea that mum is there for domestic chores, we’d like to add this one with a disclaimer; Mum is NOT there to cook and clean for you!

But, it has to be said, that when mum does our laundry, she does something to it that we could never achieve and we have no idea how she does it.

Mum gets the laundry so soft and smelling so incredible that you think there must be something that we’re not doing. But when asked how she does it, she never mentions any special trick. How does she do it? We don’t know.

Mum always know best… even when she doesn’t

Mum has a knack of giving the best advice, even when, perhaps at the time, you don’t agree with it.

Think back to some of the things she told you when you were growing up. At the time you probably didn’t agree with her. Now, it’s likely you’ll find yourself giving similar advice to your children.

When mum speaks, it’s wise you listen. She knows what she’s talking about!

Chin chin!

WIN A BOTTLE OF NB GIN FOR MUM! 

What makes your mum so wonderful? Tell us on Facebook here or on Twitter here and you could win a bottle of NB Gin for mum!

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!

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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!

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!