The Gin Lab: My Recap

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event called The Gin Lab. Being that I don’t have much knowledge about gin compared to other spirits, I figured it would be a great event for me to attend and learn a thing or two.

This event was held at Sbraga in Philadelphia. I had never been there before, but I’ve heard great things about the venue so I was even more excited to attend this event. When I arrived, I was late, but I don’t think I missed too much from the start of the event. I seemed to arrive when the brand rep was explaining the history and process of making gin.

I learned a lot that I never knew about gin, especially about how essential Juniper is in making Gin. I think its fair to say that its as important as when making whiskey and they types and treatment of the casks that make the spirit as great as it is. I also learned that in making gin your own, there are endless combinations of Juniper and herbs and fruits, in terms of what can be added to it in order to make it something supremely unique.

To start with our hands-on portion of the educational process, we sampled 3 different types of gin by Tanqueray. Among the 3 were Tanqueray London Dry (original), Tanqueray 10, and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin (pictured above). If you can’t see in the picture, (I listed the tasting notes in each) It was a bit hard for me to distinguish exactly what I was tasting in each so I just went with what it felt like to me or what it reminded me of. Tanqueray London Dry, I tasted woody/oak notes and various types of sour/tart fruits. In Tanqueray 10 I picked up scents of floral notes and tasted light hints of juniper, and an essence of some sweet that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. In the Nolet Silver I kept tasting a lot of floral notes and citrus. the scent smelled a biton the sweet side kinda similar to candy and at the same time was “perfumey”. (yes I know that is not a word)

After tasting the 3 I can say that I preferred the Nolet’s Silver overall mainly because it felt like it finished smoother and seemed to have a fruitier/sweetness to it instead of the spicy notes that I was picking up in the original Tanqueray. Next fav out of the 3 would be the Tanqueray 10 because of the scent that I picked up before it touched my lips. The scent was very floral and almost minty. It was very refreshing and more palatable than the other Tanqueray.

After that exercise of the tasting I could more so see what it is about each gin that I liked. I obviously prefer the fruit notes of gin, and with our next exercise in the lab, we were able to make our own gin via a whipped cream dispenser.

yep….a whipped cream dispenser

So, with the whipped cream dispenser it was totally new to me, but apparently not to a lot of other people, that you could use it for infusing gin with whatever botanicals, fruits, herbs, etc. (mind blown). To do this we were paired with the person that sat across from us and we picked 2 ingredients that we wanted to make our gin with. I selected Jasmine and Lime and my partner selected Thai Chili and Sage (sounds interesting right?!)

So we went to the foraging table (pictured above) and selected our items and Juniper. Came back to our table to add in our distilled spirit and charged it in our whipped cream dispenser and after straining it into a wine glass… viola!

Behold, our one of a kind custom made in the the Gin Lab, GIN!

I loved the way it tastes. Before sipping it, you could smell the Jasmine and the lime. Upon tasting it you could really taste the earthy-ness of the sage and the citrus of the lime. The Thai Chili showed up as a nice spicy finish that made for a more developed taste in my opinion.

Once we finished sampling our Gin, the true test came when it was included in a gin and tonic cocktail and honestly, I think it held up great. Unfortunately, when added it with ice and tonic, the jasmine scent went away, and the earthy notes from the sage seemed to be less noticeable, but the lime and the chili stayed and made an awesome flavor profile.

And that was the event in a nutshell!

Would I consider myself a fan of gin now? No, but I definitely have gained a new appreciation and a lot of knowledge for it. I feel like I can now offer more recommendations to clients of Pour Models and friends who are looking for something new to drink or something with a bit more customization and uniqueness to it compared to the popular spirits. Im currently, in the process of learning more about these whipped cream dispensers so I can get one of my own and start doing some things with other flavor ideas I have for gin. Who knows, I might have to start the process of making my own gin one day!

Cheers!

Women & Whiskey: My Recap (@stbenjaminbrew & @bulleitus)

Recently, I had the opportunity to be invited to an event called “Women and Whiskey”

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The event was held at South Restaurant in Philly and it was my first time there. I had heard things about the place, and it was exactly what I expected it to be. A very classic atmosphere with high quality food and great presentation in the food, drinks, and the staff.

For the Women and Whiskey event, I attended it alone because all of my Whiskey loving friends had to work that day. 🙁 None the less, even though I don’t really like going to events alone, I thought it would be a great way for me to break out of my shy shell and speak to people and network at least with the special featured guest and others who came out to enjoy it.

The event took place from 4p to 6pm. I arrived around 5 after battling a bit of light traffic coming from NJ. When I arrived I saw a familiar face that I knew so I sat at the bar with them the whole entire time, and lo and behold, I was also sitting next to the owner/featured guest of the night, the owner and brewer of Saint Benjamin Brewing Company, Christina Burris.

One of the reasons that I attended the event was that I loved the name. It meant something to me, because throughout my experience within the beverage world I have noticed that there is a huge gap in the ratio of men to women within the industry in various positions in everything from the sales team to the production. It was very refreshing to me to see a female brewer who has an AMAZING product and making strides in the Philly beer scene! Can I tell you how much more motivated that made me to keep pushing in my business?!

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Any whooo, lets get to the drinks I got to sample! 😀

There were 3 beers that were available to sample as well as a bourbon whiskey (not by St. Benjamin). I was excited to sample everything there was to offer but I made sure not to do it on an empty stomach. I ordered the Crispy Rock Shrimp appetizer just to make sure I had something in my system. It was delicious!!! It was basically fried shrimp with tartar sauce 8.0 lol (but not really tartar sauce!!! Lol I don’t know what kind of sauce that was on it but it was tasty, I kinda want to put it on my fries and stuff.)

 

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The First beer that I tried was suggested by Christina herself called Liaison Saison, the website describes it as A lightly hopped, dry saison with notes of peppercorn and a slight lavender finish. This floral beer appeals to saison aficionados as well as casual beer drinkers. It definitely had a floral scent to it, I could smell it before I took my first sip. The color was a light golden color and the flavor was crisp. I liked it and thought it was very smooth tasting for a beer that is 8% alcohol. The lavender added something to the overall taste that I think makes it leave a nice finish that isn’t bitter or linger longer than it needs to.

The 2nd beer that I had was Little Peat from St. Benjamin. It was darker in color, somewhat reminiscent of a Guinness or other stout. Although, it didn’t have the stout scent to me, It smelled less malty than most stouts but still had a tart taste in the beginning but finished with a smoky taste, VERY similar to a peaty scotch whisky. I can see how this is going to be a hit in the fall and winter months for this brand.

There was another beer that was available to try but I didn’t try it. I wanted to save room for the Bourbon. *cue happy music*

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I was able to try the Bulleit Bourbon 10 year, of which I loooooved! It was very smooth and easy to drink. It did have a peaty (smokey) taste but it wasn’t overpowering and the after taste was very pleasant. It wasn’t bitter or sweet, it was very light finish. According to the brand – “Bulleit 10 is the brand’s selected reserve, delicious bourbon that, at 91.2 proof, is consistently smooth, russet in color, rich with oaky aromas and hints of vanilla and dried fruit with a long smoky finish.” I CERTAINLY didn’t get the 91.2 proof feeling but I guess that’s a good thing, it definitely goes down smooth.

Overall, I had a good time, got to know some great new drinks and a new way to eat shrimp, and I may have a new spot to stop in and catch some entertainment when I’m in the city.

To learn more about the brands I mentioned, be sure to check them out:

Saint Benjamin

Twitter – @stbenjaminbrew

Instagram – @stbenjaminbrew

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/stbenjaminbrew

Website – http://stbenjaminbrewing.com

Bulleit Bourbon

Instagram – @BulleitUS

And be sure to follow me on Instagram – @topmodelwithbottles 🙂