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Slingsby Gin Harrogate Master Distiller Experience Review
Have you ever sat down to a cool, crisp G&T after a long day, taken a long sip, a deep breath, and felt yourself relax? Ever thought that was precisely what you needed in that moment?
Or maybe you thought, heck, gin and tonic is a genius drink, but what if I could tweak this taste to exactly the blend of flavours I want?
The answer? Slingsby Gin Harrogate and an afternoon or evening distilling your very own gin.
We arrived at Slingsby’s beautiful Harrogate shop to a waft of fruity smells and tempting bottles of different gins and tonics on the shelves. But as inviting as the shop was, our afternoon was about to get a whole lot more exciting. Visiting for their new Master Distiller Experience, we were led downstairs into a gorgeously cosy little room, complete with exposed beams, quirky plants and stylish armchairs. Without a moment’s hesitation, we found the first glass of G&T in our hands, Slingsby’s traditional London Dry. This drink was perfect to start off the afternoon. It’s crafted with botanicals that reflect the area local to Harrogate, including rhubarb and primrose for a fresh, crisp flavour.
While we waited for everyone to arrive there was time to sample the selection of breads, cheeses and nibbles available, and to chat to the friendly staff. To get started, we were each given a wooden board complete with six shot glasses of different variations of gin flavours and makes, such as citrusy Tanqueray and fruity Manchester Raspberry. Whether you’re a gin connoisseur or a regular Joe, this part was really fun! We started by giving each shot a swirl and a smell to determine which our initial favourites were. I was keen on the fruity sweetness of the Manchester Raspberry and the earthiness of the herbal gin, although with Christmas approaching the spice gin was temptingly festive! As we were talked through the types of botanicals, spices and herbs each flavour category contained, it was clear that the staff had a good knowledge of everything gin-related. Then, of course, we got onto tasting the gin samples to decide the base flavours of the gin we would create for ourselves. I chose the herbal gin as my main flavour but wanted to add a little of the sweetness from the fruity gin.
After choosing our base flavours, we head back upstairs and into a room filled with intriguing copper science equipment, iPads and jars filled with every kind of flavour you could want. Suddenly this was no regular sampling experience, but a gin experience with a difference. We head over to the shelves containing the jars of flavours, following the recipes we had chosen. My recipe included sage, thyme and other herbs which I weighed out myself, going off-piste a little to cater to my tastes. Then with the knowledge and guidance of the staff, we added our own flavour combinations. To add the sweetness I wanted, I chose a couple of fruit teas and was helpfully advised on amounts and exact flavours to add. Taking a sniff at this point, it smelt pretty good (if I say so myself!) The drinks kept flowing and I tried the limited-edition gooseberry Slingsby gin. Things got science-y after this, with heaters being turned on and the distillation process beginning. The oils from our spices and botanicals blended with the single grain spirit in the copper pots, and low and behold, out came our unique gin blends! Bottled, labelled and put in a fancy box, they looked pretty good.
All in all, the Master Distiller Experience was relaxed and friendly with a good atmosphere and lots of high-quality G&Ts. This would make the perfect treat for a laid-back birthday or celebration, or even for when you feel in need of a little pampering but don’t feel like going to the spa again! The staff couldn’t have been more helpful or informative, and their informal and chatty personalities helped the experience feel relaxed. For gin lovers everywhere, now you really can enjoy that perfect gin and tonic!
The Master Distiller Experience is held at Slingsby Gin Harrogate – The Spirit of Harrogate, 5-7 Montpellier Parade, Harrogate. Sessions are currently running from Wednesday – Sunday at 14:00 and 18:30.
Find out more and book your experience – www.spiritofharrogate.co.uk
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