Merry Gin-mas everybody: 12 tips for a tipsy holiday!

He’s been getting ready since January and his big moment is coming soon. The Jolly Old Elf (AKA Santa Claus) is already preparing to sprinkle holiday cheer around the world from his festive fleet of flying reindeer.

Christmas is almost here and we’re all looking forward to welcoming Santa down the chimney as we celebrate all that is good in the world.

So, in the spirit of Christmas, we thought we’d help you to get the party going.
Here are our 12 tips for a tipsy Christmas to ensure that all your (gin-based) dreams come true. Read on to find out more about how gin can help to renew the festive spirit for 2021. We’ll drink to that! Christmas Eve cocktails: get the party started with a festive gin Cosmo!

Christmas Cosmos…

Every house is different and has a different tradition. In our house, we always start the holiday off with a Gin Cosmopolitan. This cranberry classic is easy to make, has a hefty kick and it looks really Christmassy! It’s the perfect drink to get the party started! Luckily, it’s really simple to make and only requires a few readily available ingredients. So, this Christmas, ditch the vodka and head into a winter wonderland of gin. Starting with a Christmas Eve Cosmo!

Something special for Santa: he’ll love these boozy sloe gin mince pies!

Don’t forget to look after the jolly old elf! He always remembers who’s been naughty or nice. But you can get in his good books every year by leaving him something tasty to nibble on as he slides down your chimney to deliver his presents.  In America, it’s generally milk and cookies. In Spain it’s Turron. And in the UK (at least in our house) he seems to enjoy mince pies and a little dram of whiskey.  But rumour has it that he’s also partial to a drop of gin.  We reckon if you really want to be remembered by the man himself, make sure you stand out from the crowd. 

Here’s an easy recipe for some sloe ginfused mince pies, which we think he’ll love. Packed with our favourite Christmas spirit, these are absolutely delicious. And we think he might enjoy washing them down with a little glass of something special.  How about treating him to a glass of Himbrimi gin, made for sipping. It might be a nice transition from whiskey. Apparently, he’s also partial to a little gin liqueur. Here’s a little Christmas gin that we think might already be on his list – Tarquins Figgy Pudding gin

A Cocktail Christmas: 5 “must have” bartending tools for the festive season

Most of the year, if we need a fancy cocktail mixed up, we go to the nearest pub or bar and prevail upon the skills of an expert mixologist who has studied and practiced his art for many years. Not all of us are that lucky. That’s why it can be a bit challenging when we suddenly become head bartender at home over Christmas. But like everything in life, the more prepared you are the better.

And we all know that without the right tools, simple things can become quite complicated. Christmas can be a real test of our bartending skills. That’s why we recommend that your festive bartending kit contains the following five essential tools for a  flawless fiesta of festive cocktails! Don’t forget to visit our website to download our recent guide to the Top 10 bartending tools to make drinks like a rockstar. Until then, here are your bartender basics.

  1. A clean cutting board (so you don’t ruin the sideboard!)
  2. A sharp paring knife (to slice and dice all those garnishes)
  3. A cocktail shaker (a jam jar with a lid will work just as well)
  4. A muddling spoon (to get every last bit of flavour from your ingredients)
  5. A cocktail strainer (to keep your cocktails clear and free of floaty things!)

Christmas advent calendars: your daily dose of Vitamin Gin

Gin advent calendars are a real thing and we don’t understand why it’s taken this long to invent them. Why spend an entire month getting excited about individual chocolates when you could swap them for gin? There are now a multitude of ways in which we can access gin over the coming months. Some people will be going for gin-filled Christmas baubles. Others will be seeking out gin filled Christmas crackers. But they’re both for one day only. To make sure the spirit of Christmas lasts right up until the big day itself, we recommend Aldi’s gin advent calendar.

Packed full of a fabulous selection of 24 x miniature Haysmith’s gins, there is something for everybody in this lineup. From a traditional London Dry to rhubarb and ginger, from sloe gin to raspberry and redcurrant and from Seville orange and Persian lime to spiced plum and clementine, there really is something for everyone. This will brighten up your holidays for sure. Once again, Aldi leads the way for delicious, great value gins. 

Drink to your health: can the hair of the dog cure your Christmas hangover?

We all know that Christmas is a time for general gin-related shenanigans, festive fun and general frivolity. But, just in case you haven’t been as moderate over the party season as you should have been, fear not.  Here’s a proper article from the folks at Harvard who take a science-based look at the best way to rebound from a holiday hangover. Of course, the best course of action is not to drink so much that you get a hangover in the first place. But just in case that festive spirit gets the better of you, have a little read of this article on the best science-based hangover cures to get you back on track for a big Christmas rebound, just when you need it the most!

Christmas treats: no tricks!

By now, you will have already been deluged with Christmas offers as marketers try different ways to tempt you to put their products in your Christmas stocking. But don’t be fooled. There’s a lot of tat out there and prices at Christmas do not always reflect what’s inside your package. So, don’t fork out £10 for 5 chocolate truffles with a picture of a Christmas tree on the front.  Here are a few Christmas themed presents that will make your loved ones smile without breaking the bank:

  • Marks and Spencer Snow Globe – snow globes have become the must have gin treat for the last few Christmases.  We think this one from M&S is one of the best.  But they won’t last forever
  • Gin and tonic truffles – everybody loves a bit of chocolate, especially at Christmas.  But these days a foil-wrapped chocolate Santa just doesn’t cut it any more.  Here’s a fab recipe for some G&T truffles you can make at home. Guaranteed to give you the best of both worlds this Christmas
  • Gin tours – we spend our lives drinking gin and talking gin. But to really immerse yourselves in this great drink of ours, talk to the experts.  There are dozens of great gin tours now available from small batch artisans to big distillers.  You can either book one at your local gin distillery or check out our list of bespoke gin experiences.  Just book your slot online and turn up.
  • Make your own gin at home – there’s no longer any need to make your gin in the bathtub. Check out this neat little gin-making kit and create your own personalised gin from the comfort of your own kitchen. Taste is a very personal thing, and this kit gives you the chance to mix up the perfect blend and turn plain old vodka into your own, magical gin in as little as 36 hours.

Christmas gin liqueurs: boost your bubbly this Christmas

These days, there are a raft of gin liqueurs available that are perfect for the holiday season. In the end, what you like most is all a matter of personal taste. But the range is increasing every day, so we’re now spoiled for choice. They range from novelty flavours (such as peppermint candy cane and mint humbug) all the way through to more traditional Christmas flavours such as orange, cranberry and even ginger.  But you might want to check out the range from jam makers Tiptree, who have a delightful range of liqueurs made from English fruit. 

The range includes raspberry, strawberry, damson, rhubarb and quince. Sweet, comforting and full of the taste and smell of Christmas, there’ll be a bottle of this in my kitchen this year. Remember, these are not gins, but gin liqueurs. This generally means they are thicker, sweeter and lower in alcohol than proper gin. They make a nice change if you’re looking for something different from your traditional sherry or port.

They also work really well as a cocktail ingredient or even to add a little flavour to a standard G&T. And a little drop in the bottom of a glass of bubbly can change the game forever. We’ve heard that Santa is a bit partial to a little glass alongside his mince pies. It’s the perfect Christmas combo! 

Gin-filled baubles: will they survive to Christmas?

We wait all year for Christmas to come around again. And we all love the idea of gathering the family around to decorate our trees with tinsel, glitter and shiny baubles. But what if those baubles were filled with gin? Well your dreams have come true.  These days, you can buy gin-filled baubles from all your favourite brands. From personal experience, I can confirm that this simple idea really adds the festive element that we all desire at this time of year. And if you prefer, you can always opt for refillable balls that you can top up with your personal favourites.

We’ve had enough of cheap chocolates and tacky trinkets. They do nothing for us.  Gin baubles, on the other hand, is an idea we love.  Once again, they’re going fast, so make sure you get them while you can. 

Indoor fireworks: light your Christmas pudding with Navy Strength gin

For those of us who like a little Christmas pudding, there’s nothing like the thrill (and nervousness) surrounding the lighting of the pudding and the precarious march toward the table desperately hoping that the flaming blue brandy will not spill onto the kitchen floor and burn the house down. As anybody who’s tried to light their own Christmas pudding, it can be a bit tricky to get the thing to burn.

So, here’s an idea. Switch from brandy to Navy Strength gin. We recommend Winchester Distillery’s Navy Strength gin. With a higher proof of 57% ABV, it is much easier to light. But remember to be careful. Top tip: warm the gin up slightly in a saucepan before pouring it on to the pudding and lighting it. The fumes help it to catch light and the show can begin. 

The King of Gin: splash the cash on the world’s most expensive gin

If you’re really into the ultimate gin for Christmas, you could really splash out.  If you’ve won the lottery and have the cash to splash, you could try a bottle of the world’s most expensive gin. Why not treat yourself to a bottle of Morus LXIV.  This English gin is distilled from the leaves of a single ancient Mulberry tree and is made in very small batches.  It takes more than two years to produce this little beauty and it’s packaged in a beautiful hand made white porcelain jar with a matching stirrup cup with a hand embossed leather hide. 

If you’re still feeling generous, I still have some room in my Christmas stocking. Just saying.  There’s still some stock left at Harvey Nicholsfor  around £4000 for a bottle, I’ve never tried it (and at that price I probably never will) But for the person who has everything, this could be the perfect gift.  Maybe next year, Santa?

Go crackers this Christmas: a Christmas tradition to get your party off with a bang

Non-Brits might be a bit confused by the concept of Christmas crackers. Traditionally, these Christmas surprises appear at the Christmas table. They’re basically paper-covered cardboard tubes colorfully wrapped in the shape of a giant bonbon. The idea is that you and the person next to you each pull on the ends of the cracker until it breaks, with a small bang. Inside, tradition dictates that there is a colorful paper crown that you wear at the table; a very bad joke that you read out at the table (to accompanying groans!); and some sort of gift that can range from a bottle opener (in the cheaper ones) to diamonds (in the very expensive ones!).

Somewhere in between, they invented the best ones of all – gin Christmas crackers. And now everybody’s doing them. So, to help you decide which one’s best for you, here’s a handy guide to the best gin Christmas crackers for 2021. A few non-gin ones seem to have snuck into the list. But they are rum and Bailey’s, so what’s not to like!

Gorgeous gin glasses: look good, taste good, feel good

Why is it that gin tastes different in different glasses? We’re not exactly sure if it’s psychological or real, but it always seems to taste better from a pretty glass. While most gin brands offer branded glasses for sale, not everybody wants a big logo on the side of their copa. There are some stunning branded gin glasses out there (think Silent Pool for example).

But for those who’d rather not become a brand advocate, there are some stunning gin glasses available on Amazon (and elsewhere) that will help you to stand out from the crowd. We love these beautiful hand-painted copa glasses. But for a little extra sophistication, check out these little beauties – classic style in an elegant gin glass. Plenty of room in the stocking for a couple of these. Just saying…

Merry Gin-mas everyone!

Make the most of your time with friends, family and loved ones this Christmas. And thanks for all your support in 2021!  Here’s to a brighter, gin-filled 2022!

The Barcelona Gin team

Steve, Marta, Jason (and Ruddles!)


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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gin entropia

Entropia Gin: lift your spirits with a little ginseng and guarana

Entropia Gin is back in my life. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. Looking back, it was probably always inevitable that I would fall in love with gin and tonic. I was born in post-colonial Malaysia, where G&Ts were sipped on whitewashed verandahs by men in Panama hats and linen suits. Later on, as a child in Calcutta, I have vivid memories of my Dad downing a few well-made G&Ts at the legendary 220 year old Tollygunge Club – a throwback to the days of the Raj and a place that was just wreaking of atmosphere.  

A fall from grace

Later in life, I discovered that back home, the traditional English G&T had fallen so far from grace that it had been relegated to the ranks of old ladies. In America, however, it had been elevated to include upscale brands such as Tanqueray, that were barely known in the land of Gordons. Gin in the States was poured in large measures, into large glasses and served with lots of ice.

Reinventing gin

But it wasn’t until I moved to Barcelona that I finally got it. In those in between years, the humble G&T had been completely reinvented. The industry was starting to spawn a legion of new, artisan craft gin distilleries.  These new gin makers were not afraid to challenge preconceptions and to apply creativity and natural ingredients to their gins. It was here that the love affair really began.

Rediscovering an old friend

Today, I stumbled across one of the first gins that I bought after moving to Barcelona, Entropia Gin.  It caught my attention all those years ago because of its distinctive bottle and it’s hero ingredients – guarana and ginseng.  Up until then, this gin was about as far removed from a traditional Gordons and tonic as I could imagine. I was intrigued. These two unusual ingredients were most commonly seen marked up on the outside of a can of Red Bull, so I was curious to find out more. Where was it made? What did it taste like? What on earth did guarana and ginseng bring to the party? And here’s what I found out…

A wild gin from rugged Galicia

Entropia Gin is made with a wheat grain base in the wild region of Galicia in Northern Spain.  It’s triple distilled in small batches using artisan techniques in Allariz, Ourense. This is where the unique botanicals and spices are sourced and distilled to create this complex and unusual Spanish gin. And then, at the end of the process, it is triple filtered to protect the pure essence of the gins complex aromas and clear golden colour.

Tall, round and handsome

The first thing you notice is the bottle. Tall, with a short neck and a round black top, this bottle stands out from the crowd.  And the second thing you notice is the pale golden colour of the gin within. This is not due to  subtle infusion of saffron or years of ageing within an oak soaked whiskey barrel.  Instead, this is a result of the post-distilling infusion of the guarana and ginseng that give this gin its distinctive flavour.

Standing out from the crowd

So, what is it about  these two ingredients that separates Entropia Gin from other gins? Well, let’s start with the guarana. I first discovered guarana in its soft drink form while travelling through Bolivia many years ago.  It was a sweet, golden carbonated drink with plenty of sugar and a unique flavour profile that was hard to define, but delicious.  It kept me going when my energy and enthusiasm dipped. I’ve been a fan ever since.

Brazilian caffeine?

Some people describe guarana as Brazilian caffeine, due to its energy giving properties and it kept me going on many a long, bumpy bus ride as we crossed Bolivia’s Altiplano. It definitely helped to give me energy when I hit a dip. And it’s been associated with other health giving benefits ranging from an appetite suppressant to a diet cure and from sharpening up your mind to improving your staying power between the sheets.

Better sex?

And then there’s the ginseng. It shares some of the same properties including (apparently) improving your sex drive, sharpening your mental awareness and even boosting your immune system.  So, imagine what might happen if both of those ingredients were added to gin?  I knew there was only one way to find out for sure.

So, what did this little beauty actually taste like and did it really have the magic qualities claimed?

On the nose…

I thought I’d start off our acquaintance with a classic taste test – a standard G&T, garnished with a twist of lemon zest. But first, what’s it like on the nose?  There’s an earthy, woody aroma that keeps this gin on the spicy side.  But there’s also a lot of sweetness, possibly from the ginseng and guarana. There’s also a distinctive, fiery alcohol taste which is offset by a complex aroma of tobacco. And somewhere in there is a little citrus and cinnamon to keep you on your toes.

In the mouth…

But the proof of the pudding is in the drinking, so what’s it like? Well the first thing you notice as you take that first sip is that this is a complex gin. That woody spiciness carries on into the palate where it mixes seamlessly with the sweetness of bergamot and cinnamon and the warm heat of ginger and nutmeg. If you look hard enough, you might even notice a spicy chai taste that you might recognise.  

The finish…

And then, on the finish, there’s a smooth warmth with floral notes of hibiscus and the warm spices of nutmeg and cinnamon combining well with the softer, creamier flavour of vanilla.  In fact, this is packed full of seasonal flavours and is not a bad gin to drink at Christmas.  All in all, this is a great gin, well worth trying. At 40% ABV and less than 20 euros a bottle, it’s not expensive and it stands out on your shelf with its striking bottle and golden colour. It could be the perfect stocking stuffer for the festivities ahead.

Entropia Gin. The perfect serve:

Entropia Gin ginseng & guarana would work well with a classic gin cocktail such as a Negroni.  But we think it also makes a very unusual and worthwhile G&T. We garnished ours with a twist of lemon rind and served it with a premium tonic water over lots of ice.  A gentle stir released the flavours nicely and there’s no doubt that this is distinctly different from a standard G&T.

Leave your expectations at the door…

But if you leave your traditional expectations at the door, you might be pleasantly surprised. That spicy taste takes over from the traditional juniper and once you get our head around that, it all begins to make sense. The premium tonic releases the flavours within and brings out the juniper.  And the finish is complex and long and leaves you tasting the citrus notes before being rounded off with a smooth vanilla and cinnamon taste that will linger long after your final sip. 

gin gifts for Christmas

5 gin gifts: beyond the Christmas stocking

You might have already seen our recent article on the best gin-related stocking stuffers for this Christmas. This week, we’re going to turn things up a notch. We’ve upped the budget just a little bit to move beyond traditional Christmas stocking territory and into the realm of proper Christmas gin gifts. The sort of stuff that is too good to be stuffed into a Christmas stocking, but possibly not quite enough to be your main gift. Here are a few last minute gin ideas that you can still have delivered to your home. Hopefully you’ll find something here for the the ones you love (and especially for the ones who love gin!) The most expensive gift on our “dialled up” list costs a little more than £35 – but there are plenty of ideas here for under a tenner too! These are the best 5 gin gifts, just selected for you.
Merry Christmas everybody!!

1. Gin doormat

This Christmas, make sure your all your guests know the rules before letting them in. This classic welcome doormat delivers a crystal clear message in the strongest possible terms: DON’T COME IN IF YOU DIDN’T BRING GIN. This has the advantage of making your house rules clear, thereby avoiding any unnecessary blushes once your guests are inside. This durable, heat resistant non-slip outdoor/indoor floor mat has a non-woven fabric top and a sturdy non-slip rubber back. It’s really easy to clean, machine washable and the perfect Christmas or birthday gift for the gin lovers in your circle of friends. Guaranteed to make your visitors smile before they even set foot in your house!
After all, there’s no excuse for not knowing the rules…

gin gifts

2. Gin trivia

There’s nothing better than a game of naked twister at Christmas (or so I’ve heard!). But there are some other gin-related games you could play that (we think) are just about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. This great value trivia game, the Talking Tables Gin Trivia Quiz, comes in a beautiful gift box. It’s a great way to get the conversation flowing as you open up yet another bottle of your “favourite” Christmas gin.

Test how well you really know your favourite spirit with these deviously difficult gin trivia questions that will separate the true “gin afficionados” from the “fakes”. This is the perfect party table game for gin lovers with questions that will test your knowledge on everything from gin cocktails, to garnishes to gin distilling. So, this year, ditch the Trivial Pursuit (so 2019!) and go for the Gin Trivia Quiz instead – even more fun if you add a few drinking penalties for wrong answers!!
You know you’ll love it!

gin gift

3. Gorgeous gin copa glasses

It’s been a long time since it was okay to serve gin in a smudged glass with a couple of pieces of ice and a bit of old lemon. These days, gin is the real star of the show with a huge selection of extraordinary craft gins of every size, strength and flavour on the market and tempting us on every occasion. Choosing your gin is hard enough, but never let down a great gin by serving it in an average glass.
Instead, add to your experience by gifting a set of these elegant Ginology Iris Copa glasses.
Uniquely crafted, these gorgeous glasses are the perfect gin gift for those who recognise that drinking gin requires a proper sense of occasion. These stunning, hand crafted glasses feature a pretty iris pattern that is sure to make you stand out from the crowd. There are a variety of other patterns available and these are hand wash only, but they will definitely put a smile of the faces of some lucky gin lovers this Christmas.

gin gift

4. Gin taster pack

If you’re like me and you just can’t decide, then this gin taster pack could be just the perfect gin gift for you. No more dithering in the off-licence. All the dithering has been done for you. This gin tasting set includes 10x 30cl miniature bottles of gin including: Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger; Tobermory Isle of Mull gin; Kokoro London Dry gin; Gin Lane gin; Victoria Pink Gin; Berry Bros and Rudd London Dry; Portabello Road gin; 171 Gin; Puerto de Indias Sevillan Strawberry gin and The Botanist Islay Dry gin.

This awesome collection will either be a pathway to discovery for you or a lovely reminder of exactly what gin you like and why. A great selection of distilleries and a wide range of flavours here for you to try. And enough bottles to keep trying while the holidays last!

gin gift

5. Gin Mule copper mugs

Lest year, I was in London meeting a friend for a Christmas drink at The Booking Office bar at St. Pancras Station in London. The scene was all set for an atmospheric Christmas drink. The carols were playing in the background, the tree was up and the festive atmosphere was building. I ordered one of my favourite drinks, the Gin Mule (gin, lime juice, ginger beer and ice) and was delighted when it was served to me in a small, handbeaten copper mug, overflowing with lavish garnish. It put me in the Christmas mood right away. And now, these pretty little hand beaten copper mugs can be yours .
You can get 4 nickel hammered 560ml Moscow Mule glasses (ideal for your home made Gin Mule) for less than £20.
Not only do these mugs look pretty, but they have an added secret. Apparently cold copper has a tendency to increase bubbles in the carbonated ginger beer, ensuring that your Christmas remains sparkling, from the first sip to the last drop, thus guaranteeing yourself a merry little Christmas.

gin gift

From all these gin gifts, which is the one you’d like to find in your Christmas stocking?


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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gin gifts

Gin presents: 5 stocking stuffers under £20

Santa has been following your every move all year long. He already knows who’s been naughty or nice and the great reckoning is about to begin. What gin presents could be in the offing?

I’m working on the assumption that all of our members have been nice this year and deserve a little gin happiness in their Christmas stockings. Gone are the days when we would all turn down pages of the Argos catalogue in the hope that our parents would pick up the book and take the hint. These days, we have to be a bit more assertive in our Christmas selections. And with the gin revolution now in full flow, we thought we’d give you (and Santa) a little ginspiration for gin presents in 2020. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or for someone you love, there’s plenty of good gin stuff for Santa to pack into his sack for you this year.

So, here’s part one of the Barcelona gin presents Christmas list. Today, we’ll concentrate on gin presents that might just end up in your stocking on Christmas Eve. And if you’re lucky enough to be on the “good” list, then please don’t forget to say thanks – Santa is partial to a drop of gin along with his mince pies. Nothing for the reindeers, on the other hand. They’re driving.

PS: At the time of publication, everything on this list was available for under £20. Our next gin presents list will be raising the budget a little more!

1. Boozy gin baubles: gin presents filled with Christmas spirit

We know these are a bit obvious, but these days no gin lover should put up their Christmas tree without a decent selection of gin baubles spread out across the branches. There are a whole load of different ways to load your tree with gin and apparently baubles are now all the rage. Some baubles come empty and you can fill them as you please. Others come already filled to the brim with gin, so you’ll need to choose the right product if you’re going to get what you want.

We think this 12 pack of refillable gin baubles could be just the thing to get that Christmas spirit flowing. The pack includes 12 refillable booze balls, a sheet of Christmas gin stickers to decorate them with and (crucially) a small plastic funnel so that you don’t spill any gin when you’re filling them up. They’ve thought of everything – and since you’re filling them yourself, you’ll never be disappointed.

Each bauble is big enough to hold a decent slug of gin (90ml). The trick is making them last until Christmas. But since these are refillable, it doesn’t really matter – when one’s empty you can always fill it up again!

Nobody will ever know.

2. Gin art: turn your empty bottles into little glass lights

If you’re an avid gin collector, you’ll already know just how easy it is to empty a bottle of gin. But what do you do with the bottles once you’re done with them? With so many stunning bottles around now (many of which could almost be works of art in themselves) why consign them to the recycling bin and have them ground down when you could always recycle them yourself into something delightful.

These lovely (and easy) gin lights will turn any empty, clear bottle into a stunning bar feature. Simply feed the micro thin wire into the bottle of your choice, put the plastic cork in the top and switch on. They’ll twinkle and shine for ages, adding a touch of gin style to anybody’s Christmas decorations. They’re also great outdoors for barbecues when the weather gets a bit warmer. They look gorgeous shimmering from inside a bottle of Silent Pool, they’ll dazzle you from behind the glass of an empty Gin Mare bottle and they’ll add some sparkle once you’re all done with your Drumshambo Gunpowder gin.

But we’re sure you’ll have a wide selection of your own empty bottles to choose from come the end of the year. Whatever works best for you…

A really simple idea that will light up the room with festive sparkle for Christmas and beyond.

3. GIN: The Manual

We all love our gin – I guess if we didn’t we’d all be on a different site right now. But how much do we all know about the drink we love? Introducing GIN: The Manual. This fabulous book, written by award-winning drinks writer Dave Broom is the perfect book to bring you up to speed quickly with the things you need to know about the drink you love.

In 224 fun, fact-packed pages, he takes you on a journey through the world of gin, starting with a fascinating look into its (often dark) history. He also provides simple, details of the production process, introduces the most common flavour profiles, takes a look at the world of mixers and offers some easy recipes for classic gin cocktails.

Then, there’s a whole section on gins of the world including ratings, botanicals, flavour camps and pairing/cocktail recommendations. He then round this all off with a selection of gin-based cocktail recipes. Basically, this book will make you look like an expert in minutes – and if you read it properly and follow the advice, you’ll be a gin pro before you know it. This is the perfect stocking filler for gin lovers who want to learn more, but in a fun and enjoyable format.

4. Metal gin straws: ban the plastic

With climate change on the tip of everybody’s tongues and recycling finally becoming a standard part of 21st century life, most of us understand the vital importance of recycling our waste. And this year, the spotlight shone brightly on the scourge of plastic straws. The UK alone uses (and throws away) more than 8.5 billion plastic straws each year – and we barely give it a second thought. But now we know the truth.

Once we throw them away, plastic straws break down into ever smaller particles, releasing toxic chemicals into the soil, water and air. These chemicals are harmful to animals, plants, people and the environment. In fact, shockingly, over one million seabirds and more than 100,000 mammals are killed annually from plastic in our oceans. But there’s an easy solution.

If straws are your thing and you can’t make your favourite cocktail without them, then check out these reusable, plastic free, eco-friendly metal drinking straws from AUNEK. This 16 piece stainless steel set includes straight metal straws and bendy metal straws in both large and small versions.

These stainless steel straws are the perfect solution to the gin drinker’s eco challenge. They even come with 4 cleaning brushes. Perfect for your G&T, cocktail, or fruit smoothie, these straws will not only do good, but they’ll make you feel good as well. One less thing to feel guilty about this Christmas.

5. Gin truffles: gin presents with a lemon twist

So, for the ultimate sweet gin indulgence, how about a gorgeous mix of PRESTAT London Gin Truffles. These guys were officially appointed chocolate makers to the Queen way back in 1909 – and we know that Her Maj is partial to a gin and tonic. But we weren’t aware of her other apparent love – chocolate. PRESTAT of London have taken a rich dark chocolate ganache, flavoured it with gin and infused it with lemon and juniper berries before enrobing it in creamy white chocolate.

The regal green and gold box features instantly recognisable London icons such as Big Ben and the Tower of London’s Beefeaters, so you’ll be in no doubt about where they’re from. But the real kicker here is that these delectable truffles have been made as a tribute to a London gin and lemon fizz cocktail – with a secret ingredient that gives these chocolates a gentle gin “fizz”.

Note: please check allergy advice before purchasing this product


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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Fill your stocking: the 5 gins of Christmas

Well, it’s almost here. The festive lights have been strung out across the streets of Barcelona. London is bedecked in all its Christmas splendour. Cities, towns and villages across the world are about to celebrate Christmas in what are the strangest of circumstances.
Who would have thought this time last year, that an unknown virus would turn our world upside down. Hopefully, most of us will find a way of spending these precious days with the ones we love the most. But many of us won’t be able to.
The thing about Christmas is that it goes on, whatever the circumstances and wherever you are. The festive spirit cannot be beaten and (in one way or another), I’m sure we’ll all be raising a glass of Christmas cheer. Whether it’s toasting the ones closest to us, or raising a glass to absent friends, nothing will stop us from celebrating the best festival of the year.
If you’re a gin lover, you’ll probably be looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. Something different. Something seasonal. So, we thought we’d make it easy for you by sharing some of the festive gins that we think might add a little Christmas sparkle to your celebrations. Check our 5 gins of Christmas out and let us know what you think.

M&S Snow Globe: 20% ABV

The M&S Snow Globe is fast becoming a Christmas classic. This gorgeous bottle contains a blizzard of 23 karat gold leaf flakes which fall gently through the gin to give the effect of falling snow. But this year, they’ve given their globe an upgrade – it’s now illuminated. Yes, that’s correct. The team at M&S have added an LED light which brings the scene to life in the most delightful way.

So, we know the packaging is going to knock you out, but what does it taste like? Well there are two types available this year. We’ve tried the clementine version, which comes in at a modest 20% ABV, (typical for a gin liqueur) and it’s pretty good. Sweet, thick and syrupy, it has a subtle warmth from the alcohol and a lovely, sweet orange flavour. It’s not just fancy packaging – this liqueur is surprisingly nice. It could be the perfect tipple for the Christmas season.

The perfect pour:

  1. Serve neat in a liqueur glass or pour straight over ice in a brandy snifter.
  2. Alternatively, try it long with ice and premium tonic and a slice of orange or cinnamon.
  3. For the full festive treatment, pour just a little into a champagne flute and top up with some delicious Christmas cava.
5 gins of Christmas

Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger: 43% ABV

This gorgeous, winter gin will give you a glow that’s warmer than a log fire. The sweetness of the rhubarb combines with the pepperiness of the ginger to create a gorgeous drink which will make you smile on even the coldest winter day. When those logs are crackling in the grate and it’s dark outside, this is the perfect way to beat those winter blues. Comforting, warm, sweet, fruity and spicy all in one go, Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger (paid link) gin is definitely one you want safely stored in your gin bar to be taken out and enjoyed when the time is right. Some people find this a bit sweet for their tastes, but I love it – especially with lashings of ginger beer to top it up. The guys at Whitley Neil don’t usually get it wrong. This is truly the spirit of Christmas.

The perfect pour:

  1. Fill a large copa glass with large ice cubes.
  2. Pour in a decent measure of gin and fill it to the top with Fever Tree Ginger Beer.
  3. Garnish it with a slice of lemon or a sprig of rosemary.
  4. Throw another log on the fire, sit back and sip.
5 gins of Christmas

Sacred Christmas Pudding gin: 40% ABV

We know everyone has their own tastes and preferences and that’s good – each to their own. We certainly aren’t here to judge. But we’ll go on the record by saying that we’re not big fans of confectionery based gins. That’s why you won’t see many reviews of Candy Cane gin, Chocolate Orange gin, Kola Kubes gin or other crazy, sweet gin-based concoctions.

But we are big fans of truly creative combinations that stand on their own two feet without being diminished with Tizer top-ups or cans of cream soda. We put Sacred Christmas gin (paid link) firmly into that category. Over the years, the guys at Sacred have built a solid reputation for unusual, well priced creative gin styles and we can highly recommend them at any time of year. So, this Christmas, why not treat yourself to a bottle of Sacred Christmas Pudding gin.

Made from distilling real Christmas Puddings steamed for 8 hours according to Great Aunt Nellie’s Victorian recipe (yes, really!) this gin is brimming with familiar Christmas smells. Think raisins, candied peel and a cake-like feel that will take you right back to Christmas lunch, whenever you drink it. This rich and unusual drink works best on its own but also combines well with a G&T, Martini or a Negroni.

The perfect pour:

  1. Best served in a small glass, straight out of the freezer after a meal. Seemples!
5 gins of Christmas

Two Birds Winter Fruits: 37.5% ABV

Sweet, fruity and built around the aromas of winter, this is a beautifully unusual Christmas gin, made with style and panache by the guys at Two Birds. In addition to those lovely Christmas notes on the nose, there’s also plenty of juniper to be found here, reminding you that this is a real gin, not simply a sweet gin liqueur. With its natural sweetness balanced by the warming spices, this is most definitely one for pouring in front of a warm fire, while settling back in your favourite chair.

The perfect pour:

  1. Pour 50ml of Two Birds Winter Fruits gin into a highball glass.
  2. Fill the glass up with large ice cubes, an orange slice and a cinnamon stick to bring out those winter aromas.
  3. Top it up with ginger ale for an extra blast of warmth and you’ve got the perfect fireplace drink.
5 gins of Christmas

Haysmith’s Spiced Plum and Clementine: 37.5% ABV

Haysmith’s Spiced Plum and Clementine gin is one of my personal favourites and the gin buyers at Aldi rarely let us down.

This full strength gin is packed with winter flavours such as plum and clementine.

The result, a gorgeous mixing gin, clean, refreshing and with a warm, rich fruitiness. The ripe plum flavour shines right through this intriguing blend of warm winter spice before succumbing to a seasonal blast of fresh clementine. This gin is delicious at any time of year, but fits the winter season nicely. A full strength gin, in a really pretty bottle, this clocks in at 37.5% ABV. But the good news is that you can check out with one from Aldi for less than £15.

Definitely stick one of these of your Santa’s list this year – it goes perfectly with his favourite mince pies. Don’t give any to Rudolph though – he’s driving!

The perfect pour:

  1. Serve in a copa glass, filled with large ice cubes
  2. Fill to the rim with Fevertree Indian Tonic Water
  3. Or if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, pair it with ginger beer or Fevertree Clementine tonic water
  4. Garnish with a slice of orange or a cinnamon stick and you’re all set to get into the Christmas spirit.
5 gins of Christmas

Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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5 beautiful gin bottles

We all know that gin is a thing of beauty, but beauty exists not only on the inside but the outside too.
Packaging is increasingly important as the gin revolution gathers pace, so here are our top 5 gins that both look good and taste good.
Let us know what you think are the most beautiful bottles out there and send us some pictures.
Here’s our personal top 5 beautiful gin bottles.

1. Silent Pool gin

A  true work of art, it reflects the colours of the legendary pool itself, nestled in the Surrey Hills in the south of England.
A pale blue wash on the bottle and a stunningly embossed exterior etched with bronze Autumn leaves (like the pool itself), it’s a real stunner. Plus, they do beautiful copa glasses to match!


2. GINRAW

As befits a city with Barcelona’s design heritage, GINRAW bottle breaks the rules with its elegant shape, subtly frosted exterior, hand-made ash wood stopper and aluminium ring to top it all.
This is a modern design classic and will stand out on any gin bar.

gin bottles


3. Opihr 

A bulbous, squat, rounded bottle with a richly coloured exterior with gold and purple and a gold cord around the top, there’s something “fez like” about this presentation.
Eye-catching, exotic and bold, it makes a statement, and that statement is “drink me”.

gin bottles


4. Beefeater 24

Its confident straight lines, heavy glass base and big blob of red glass anchoring its bottom, this is a gin bottle that looks stunning.
With a little light shining from behind and that red blob, it always reminds me of a lava lamp from the 60s.
A bottle fit for a cocktail bar (and a great gin as well).

gin bottles


5. Saffron 

A classic French bottle that feels like it’s been made for an 18th century pharmacy.
But the real star of the show is the golden orange saffron colour of the gin itself. Liquid gold, this one lets the gin do all the talking.


From all the beautiful gin bottles you’ve ever seen, which is your favourite one?
Drop us a line or even better, post a photo in Instagram tagging @barcelonagincommunity and mentioning #myfavouriteginbottle.


Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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  • UKIYO Japanese Blossom gin: is this my favourite gin ever?
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  • UKIYO Japanese Blossom gin: is this my favourite gin ever?
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