58 Gin - MAKE YOUR OWN GIN CLASS
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
This review has not been influenced by anyone at 58 Gin, all the views in this write up are our own.
Over the weekend, Mr Bandit and his friend Ian visited the new home of Mark Marmont’s 58 Gin to create our own bottle at the 58 Gin School. Their shiny, new distillery is based just a short journey from Shoreditch, in Haggerston, and is situated under the arches of a railway bridge. The new distillery is absolutely beautiful and reminded Mr Bandit of our first apartment before we had the Mini Bandits which was based in an old railway depot.
The brickwork in the distillery has been reclaimed, cleaned and sand blasted and on the left of the room you had 10-12 two litre stills which are used for the Gin School, and on the right a fully stocked bar. At the end of the room, sits a thing of beauty, shining in her full glory, stands Beryl (a 450 Litre Holstein still). Installed back in March, Beryl is the newest addition to 58 Gin and she’s a far cry from the trusted 60 litre Alembic pot still that was used in their old home in Hackney Downs. This original stills are also on view and you can see the difference in their operation.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Hannah who runs the tours and gin experiences at 58 Gin (prior to this she also worked in the distillery as a distiller so we knew that we were in good hands). We were then shown to the bar and introduced to Monika who would be making our drinks throughout the experience. As part of the Gin School experience, you get 4 drinks included in the price.
First up was a gin and tonic using their navy strength gin which was served with Fevertree Mediterranean tonic, a slice of grapefruit and fresh rosemary. Hannah then went on to explain the history behind navy strength gin and how the name came about. For those who don’t know Navy Strength gin is typically measured at 57% ABV. Back in the olden days the Navy would store gin and rum in wooden barrels below deck alongside their gunpowder. If ever the barrels started to leak and soak into the gunpowder, the contents of the alcohol had to be at least 57.15%, otherwise the gunpowder would not burn. We then tried some gin neat to understand the flavours/botanicals used in 58 Gin.
We were then taken over to a table upon which various different ingredients were laid out and we were given an explanation of the common botanicals used in gin to help us make our choices for our own gin. The our next gin arrived, this time it was a beautiful cocktail using Apple and Hibiscus 58 Gin. This gin is bright pink, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is one of those sickly sweet gins, as it’s a proper London dry gin, no gimmicks. The cocktail was fantastic. Monika had used a shot of the Apple and Hibiscus gin with a homemade Hibiscus syrup, topped with Fever-Tree Aromatic tonic and garnished with a dehydrated pink lady apple. We just had to bring a bottle home to the Gin Bandits HQ. While we enjoyed the cocktail, a sheet was given to us listing 25-30 botanicals split into groups of citrus, floral and spices and next to these were suggested weights to use for each botanical.
We then checked out the ingredients on offer and went on to pick our choices for our own gin. For our Gin Bandits 58 Gin edition, we opted for 9 botanicals which included juniper, yellow grapefruit, vanilla, lavender, orris, angelica, coriander seed and Sichuan pepper. We took a seat at our own 2 litre copper pot still; ours was called Amy and then measured out each of the nine botanicals we had chosen. The still was filled with a neutral grain spirit which had been diluted down to 50% ABV. We then placed our botanicals in the mini still and waited for it to heat up to around 78 degrees.
While we waited for the distillation to happen, we were told a story about gin and given another cocktail which used 58 Gin’s Limited Edition Distilled Sloe gin.
Unlike most sloe gins, this one is clear in colour which is due to the sloe berries being distilled. Usually, a Sloe Gin is made by steeping the sloe berries in the gin along with sugar after the gin has been distilled. This cocktail was like a relation to the Negroni. It contained their Sloe Distilled Gin, Campari, Orange and Rosemary Syrup and a Sicilian Lemonade top – YUM! We were also treated to some charcuterie boards with a great selection of cheeses, meats, bread and humus. After a few gin cocktails, these definitely hit the spot. After 45 mins or so, the head and tails had been removed, leaving us with the hearts (the good stuff!) and our gin was ready to be bottled and wax sealed. With the remaining hearts from our batch, we got the chance to try our newly created gin as our final drink which was of course a G&T with our own gin. We were really pleased with the taste of the gin we created; it was exactly the taste we were going for. We then had the opportunity to have a G&T at the bar and to buy some 58 Gin at a discounted price to take home. We opted for the Apple and Hibiscus and also the Limited Edition Distilled Sloe gin.
A big thank you to Hannah and Monika for hosting us this weekend, it was a fantastic day out and one Mr Bandit really enjoyed. The only sad part is that Mrs Bandit couldn’t come because of commitments with the Mini Bandits. We will be booking up to come back to 58 Gin so Mrs Bandit can enjoy the experience too. The new distillery is an amazing space and would make a great venue for private hire for parties or celebrations. We wish Mark and the team all the best with the new distillery, and if you’re looking for a gin school in London, be sure to check them out. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.
You can book your on experience with 58 Gin - Here
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Georgia and Michael
The Gin Bandits