Home is where the heart (of England) is

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART (OF ENGLAND) IS

SIT DOWN, RELAX, AND LET US TELL YOU ABOUT OUR ORI-GIN.

As fiercely loyal to the Lestah countryside and, we suspect, pretty set in their ways, it was nothing out of the ordinary for A’s parents to dine at the local village pub, The Griffin Inn, on a typical Thursday evening. We imagine it went something like ‘one ham, egg and chips, and a steak baguette please’ – pretty predictable. One of the reasons that we visit this pub regularly, besides the consistently good quality of food served, is the faultless service and wit that is offered by the waiting staff.

The Turkish restaurant manager, who my parents adore and have lovingly nicknamed Manuel, regularly tries to plug tickets to them for various events but often to no avail. We guess he didn’t know that his luck was in with this event and was probably quite astounded when the word ‘gin’ evoked A’s mother (a normally pretty relaxed lady) to have slapped her money on the table ready to buy four tickets before he could even start his usual salesman’s patter. And that is how we came to be presented with tickets to this event – which was a rather nice alternative to the usual food-envy we feel on those occasions when they return from dining and our invite to join them must have been ‘lost in the post’…

Thursday 31st August was the chosen evening for The Old Stables (The Griffin Inn’s beautifully rustic function venue) to collaborate with Burleighs Gin and invite attendees to an event that would explain the interesting art of distilling, and then afford them the opportunity enjoy all five of the gins produced at the local distillery. In fact, the thought of being able to languish in a countryside setting to the dulcet tones of a jazz band whilst drinking our favourite tipple on a stressful ‘school night’ was not the only appealing factor. Burleighs’ matte bottles are often a staple on the gin shelves in the majority of our local pubs – that fierce regional loyalty again – and we often find ourselves having to decide which of the distinct colours to have with our tonic.

Therefore, the idea of being able to compare them all side by side was an exciting one to say the least.

Burleig's bathtub

On arrival, we were able to exchange our tickets for a gin cocktail of our choice (options are listed below) which we were able to savour whilst appreciating the venues’ decor. The room was subtly yet perfectly decorated to reflect the theme of the evening and the liquid phenomenon that we all had come together to celebrate. The brands’ distinct matte bottles were attractively positioned around the room but without a doubt, the star of the show was the ‘bath of dreams’. A roll-top tub, filled with bottles of Burleighs’ Signature Gin, Pimms, elderflower cordial and Fever-Tree tonic water, is certainly one that we’d like to have bubbles in…

Shortly after arriving, Burleighs’ master distiller, Jamie Baxter, welcomed us all to the evening and gave us a brief introduction about how the brand began. Now, any managers struggling to engage with employees during business meetings, drop us a line and we’ll send you the recipe of their gin cocktails because, without a doubt, sipping on Burleighs Export Strength Gin, mixed with mediterranean tonic and fruit juice, definitely improved our listening skills. Not that we actually needed anything to lock our attention onto the interesting history of the brand!

Baxter

The whole idea behind Burleighs Gin was inspired when Baxter was walking in Burleigh Wood, Leicestershire. Co-incidentally, to make this story even more about staying true to your roots, the beautiful woodland and Burleighs’ distillery is very close to A’s home. On that defining walk, Baxter stumbled across four unusual plants whose fragrances seemed to compliment each other in that piney setting: silver birch, dandelion, burdock, and elderberries. After trialing numerous recipes – admittedly through a cloud of doubt – Baxter decided that these foraged ingredients, combined with another 7, would be the perfect botanicals for his juniper spirit. And so, Burleighs Gin was born. The taste of these wholesome, earthy gins are a perfect tribute to the Leicestershire countryside where its’ botanicals flourish.

The five gins in Burleighs’ range are:

This is Burleighs’ signature gin, their trademark. It was created to be the simple foundation of a good, traditional gin and tonic. It’s not as bold or as ‘in your face’ as some of the others , and is more geared up to be something that you could sip casually on a weekday evening.

This gin is distilled using the same recipe as their signature gin but is bottled at a higher strength. The postbox-red tipped bottle is definitely the one we’d recommend for a powerful cocktail or a ‘knock your socks off’ G&T.

The recipe for the Distillers Cut incorporates all of the same botanicals, but the ratios are just a little shaken up. It is true to its’ roots with the juniper notes, but it also boasts citrus, floral, menthol and spicy notes. It smells like you are walking through a country woodland, which keeps the romantic story of Baxter’s foraged botanicals in mind with every sip.

Master Distiller, Baxter, was inspired by a trip to the Orient to create a gin that would showcase the wonderful Japanese aromas. Cherry blossom, hibiscus, rose and pink grapefruit were combined to create a recipe that would satisfy even the sweetest of teeth. The brands’ distinct matte bottles also had a bit of a babe makeover, and the colour theme was fully committed to with the addition of this pink bottle to the Burleighs’ family.

As passionate Leicester City fans, would it be biased to say this is our favourite in the Burleighs’ range? Nope, we’re not those people who are fiercely loyal to their hometown, not at all… To commemorate Leicester’s globally famous fairytale, Baxter created a gin that is infused with flavours that are synonymous to the city – thyme, sage, nutmeg and mace. We challenge you to find a foxier gin.

GIN AND FOOD - NAME A MORE ICONIC DUO?

Burleighs Pink

And education about the juniper-based spirit certainly did not stop Master Distiller Jamie Baxter’s speech. We were treated one step further by waiters serving canapes that were either infused with or had flavours that complemented the spirit itself. We’re talking smoked duck, spiced pickled pear with a raisin puree, followed by a gin & lemon souffle dipped in chocolate or quintessential cheese and biscuits with a spiced tomato puree – we know right?! Guests were encouraged to relax the evening and enjoy the food, the jazz, and of course, a few cheeky G&Ts.

Looking back at the event, it truly was the little touches, such as the food pairing and decor, that made the event particularly memorable. Anyone can put a couple of attractive bottles of gin behind a bar, hire some ornate glassware and promote a gin event – but most will not be able to achieve the attention to detail and finesse/polish that Burleighs Gin and The Griffin Inn presented.

Burleighs’ describe themselves as creators ‘true artisan gins handcrafted from botanical to bottle in the heart of England’. They say that home is where the heart is, and Burleighs has shaped a brand that we are honestly proud to say derives from the county that will always be our home, and the county that will always have our heart.

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After a few months of passive aggressive wall-knocking and sliding notes under the door, it took a first date – that turned into an eleven drink-long bar crawl – to realise we had a lot in common. Travel, food, and gin.

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So, until next time - Bottoms up!

Written by A

28th November 2017

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