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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A macaronesian gin bottle at the sea's shore

Macaronesian Gin: crafted from earth, wind and fire

If you haven’t tried it yet, give Macaronesian Gin a whirl. Gin is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Tenerife, but this unique and delicious spirit could rightly be called the essence of the Canary Islands.
Made with volcanic water, these guys have already won 3 International Wine and Spirits Council awards and one San Francisco World Spirits Competition award since they cracked open their first bottle of this special gin a few years ago.

For anybody who hasn’t been there, Tenerife is one of Spain’s most dramatic islands.
The island has a hot subtropical climate. It’s closest mainland land mass is the Sahara desert. But Tenerife’s island status, surrounded by sea and strong trade winds, mitigates the worst of the heat.
In addition, the dramatic, volcanic nature of the island means that fresh water sources have been filtered through the island’s volcanic rocks to give it a distinctive pure, natural taste.
Apparently, Tenerife also has subtropical forests within its interior which host as many as 20 different species of trees and flora – including juniper, which is the dominant botanical in this gin.

A unique taste, true to its island roots

This unique gin is packaged in a classic, traditional white clay bottle with a solid cork stopper, which will definitely stand right out on your gin shelf.
But with all this exotic geography and geology, what does the gin actually taste like?
Well, the first thing to say is that it weighs in at a decent 40% ABV, so it retains a bit of its alcohol taste up front. Once in your mouth, you’ll pick up notes of juniper alongside an exotic mix of botanicals that include cardamom, Angelica roots, licorice and lemon peel. This results in a rich, fresh tasting gin where the citrus notes come through like a blast of Canary Island sunshine. This really is sunshine in a glass.

Filtered through volcanic rocks

The water in this gin is filtered naturally through the volcanic slopes of the island. The result of this natural process is the purest natural water, that has never been exposed to light and whose natural properties remain completely unaltered. This water, alongside the unique locally sourced botanicals, results in a pure, clean, juniper forward gin that’s simply bursting with citrus notes.
The final part of the process is when the gin is decanted into its distinctive white clay bottles, whose opacity serves to protect the properties of the gin from excess temperature and sunlight.

The perfect pour:
We think this unique gin is best served tall, in a Tom Collins glass.
A decent slug of Macaronesian gin goes in first, followed by loads of ice.
Wipe the rim of your glass with a slice of fresh lemon then fill up to the top with a premium Indian Tonic Water such as Schweppes premium or Fever Tree.
Garnish with a generous slice of fresh lemon, give it a gentle stir and sip.
This winter, when the cold weather gets too much and you want to remind yourself of better weather and island sunsets, reach for the Macaronesian gin and dream…


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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Matt Preston’s boozy Christmas trifle: it’s gin time!

Matt Preston was for many years the flamboyant, charismatic and unmistakable face of MasterChef Australia. But Matt Preston is a true Brit. I know, because I went to school with him many years ago. Since then, we have ended up in different places. I ended up in beautiful Barcelona, where, amongst other things, I started writing a gin blog. Matt moved to Australia, built up a brilliant reputation as a respected food critic, wrote a weekly column in some of Australia’s most popular newspapers and then became the star of one of the most popular cooking shows in the world.

Cravats and cooking

Matt is also a senior editor for Delicious and Taste Magazine and has written four best-selling cookbooks. Along the way, he’s picked up a cult following from loyal international fans who love his flamboyant style and exuberant, refreshing and spirited approach to cooking. His oversized personality is typified by his trademark cravat: a 19th century-style statement that helped him to stand out at school, all those years ago.

So, when we spotted that Matt had created a delicious cherry trifle, perfect for Christmas and Boxing Day, we couldn’t keep the recipe to ourselves. Especially since the key ingredient here appears to be gin.

So, what exactly is a trifle and where did it come from?

The story of trifle

Traditionally, a trifle is a cold dessert made in a large bowl from layers of fruit, sponge fingers (traditionally soaked in sherry), fruit-flavoured jelly and custard, topped with cream. Usually it consists of three or four creamy, fruity, delicious layers. Trifles have been around for years. In fact, the term was first used way back in the 16th century, but a more recognisable version, including the jelly and the sponge, started to appear in the 18th century. Traditionally, trifles contain a little bit of booze and I’m pleased to say that Matt Preston’s boozy Christmas trifle takes it up a notch by substituting a decent slug of gin for the traditional sherry. And that suits us just fine.

A festive family favourite

The result is a firm family favourite with everybody waiting to dive in at the first available moment. Youngsters love Christmas trifle, grannies love it and so does everybody in between. It’s sweet, fruity, comforting and colourful. But most of all, it is absolutely delicious. In our household, we’re usually too full of Christmas pudding to even consider this on Christmas day. But it always plays a starring role in our Boxing Day celebrations and the trifle lives on in the fridge until New Year, so dig in while it lasts.

Ditch the sherry. It’s gin time!

Matt Preston’s boozy Christmas trifle is a little special. He chooses cherries as the main fruit, substitutes gin for sherry, adds a few exotic elements such as toasted coriander seeds and crushed juniper berries, and builds it all around layers of succulent panettone.

Matt, thank you for this great recipe and for your services to gin. And if you read this and ever find yourself passing through Barcelona… I’ll provide the gin if you make the trifle!

You can follow Matt Preston on Twitter or check out his website.

Recommended gin: a decent Old Tom, such as Haymans Old Tom will work well in this boozy dessert. And if you want to dial up the flavour even further, you could even try a lemon gin such as Malfi Gin con Limone, which should boost the citrus flavours.

Christmas trifle recipe

Ingredients:

Christmas trifle
  • 1.5 kg of pitted cherries (fresh or frozen) plus 500 g fresh cherries, halved and pitted
  • 460 g of caster sugar
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
  • 1 tsp juniper berries, lightly crushed
  • 20 g gelatine leaves
  • 1 cup (250 ml) gin, plus 2 tbs extra
  • Juice of two lemons (strained)
  • 2 cups (500 ml) thickened cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) cornflour
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) hazelnuts
  • 1 cup (320 g) lemon curd
  • 450 g panettone, crusts removed, sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) elderflower cordial
  • 2 cups (500 ml) double cream
  • Elderflowers (optional)

Method:

Christmas trifle
  1. Place cherries, 200 g sugar, coriander seeds, juniper berries and 600 ml water in a pan. Bring to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, soak gelatin in cold water to soften. Pass cherry mixture through a fine sieve into a large jug, gently pressing cherries to release juice (discard solids). Measure 1 litre (4 cups) of liquid for jelly, reserving separately. Squeeze excess water from gelatin, add to hot cherry liquid and stir until dissolved. Stir in gin (we recommend trying this with an Old Tom gin, such as Haymans Old Tom) and lemon juice. Pour into a 3.5-litre trifle dish. Chill for 2 hours to set.
  2. To make custard, place milk, thickened cream, vanilla and mixed spice into a heavy-based pan over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, bring to boil just below boiling point. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks, cornflour and 110 g sugar until thick and pale. Whisking continuously, slowly pour cream mixture into egg mixture. Return mixture to the pan and whisk over medium-low heat for 3 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a stand mixer and whisk on medium for 15 minutes or until cool. Cover and chill.

3. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place hazelnuts, 75 g sugar and 1/3 cup (80 ml) water in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring continuously for 8-10 minutes until sugar crystallises. Pour onto tray, cool, then roughly chop.
4. Spread lemon curd on one side of each slice of panettone and sandwich slices together, curd-side in. Cut each into 6 squares.
5. Place reserved cherry liquid, extra gin (yay!), 1/4 cup (60 ml) cordial and remaining 1/3 cup (75 g) of caster sugar in a small saucepan, bring to boil and cook for 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Place fresh cherries in a bowl, pour hot liquid on top and chill until completely cool.
6. Beat double cream and remaining cordial in a stand mixer to soft peaks.
7. To assemble: pour chilled custard over jelly. Scatter panettone over and spoon cherries and syrup on top. Finish with elderflower cream, then scatter with frosted hazelnuts and elderflowers.
8. Pour yourself an extra glass of that gin and wait for Christmas (if you can….).


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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