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REVIEW

An Afternoon of Gin Fun at Leeds Gin Schol

By Caroline Towers – 11th April 2020
Leeds Gin School
What I loved about Leeds Gin School:

It’s an immersive experience into the world of gin. From learning to tasting to making your own.

 

Worth paying a babysitter?

Oh yes.

 

Expect:

It’s not your typical back to school experience. It’s fun, educational and there is lots of gin involved.

The centre of Leeds is the home of Leeds Gin School. A place created for the love of all things gin and a chance for you to do something fun and different over an afternoon.

When you arrive at Leeds Gin School you’re greeted at the upstairs bar with a refreshing gin and tonic. It’s no ordinary gin though, it’s Hotham’s Leeds Dry Gin made exclusively on the premises in Leeds. You are shown to your table in the bar with your name on it, these little touches can be found throughout the afternoon and make it feel even more special. You are treated as the school’s VIP guest and made to feel as such throughout your stay.

After a quick welcome and introduction, it was back downstairs to start gin school.

Back to School – Gin School

It’s no ordinary afternoon of learning when gin is involved! When you book your tickets you get to select your seat and personalised still where you will create your gin (more on that later), on this occasion, it was a smaller group of people so we were all moved to the centre of the room (while adhering to current social distancing regulations) to make it easier for the presentation that was to come. I went to Gin School with my boyfriend and together we could create a gin to share.

Each table is set out for 2 people with a copper still for distilling the gin, weighing scales so you can measure the exact amount of ingredients to craft your gin and a bottle to collect your finished masterpiece (fingers crossed). You’ve got your own botanical chest of drawers full of almost everything you can think of which can go in a bottle of gin and a helpful guide to aid your quest for the perfect flavour combination. You have all the equipment you need and there’s also various samples of gin to try as you go along.

Once gin school is in session it’s down to business which is where the fun begins – Of course it does, how could it not be fun with gin involved!

Throughout the almost 2 and half hours we were engrossed in learning and understanding the process of gin making. Hearing what Hotham’s do to craft their own gin was really interesting and it’s great to see them putting Yorkshire firmly on the map when it comes to high-quality craft gin production. There were lots of examples of other gin companies used to highlight and enhance our understanding of the wide range of Gin available across the UK. I thought this was a nice touch, as Simon (the co-founder of Leeds Gin School) shared other gins which were also good quality, although in competition with these other brands he wasn’t saying theirs was the only gin to drink. You can clearly see he runs his business with a ton of integrity which is always good to see.

Hotham’s however have won lots of prestigious awards so they could confidently claim that the gin they produce is made to exceptionally high standards, standards which are clear to see all throughout this experience.

An Award-Winning Yorkshire Experience

Hotham’s Cardamon gin has won multiple awards and last year Leeds Gin School romped home with 4 White Rose Awards for the best visitor experience in Yorkshire. Having written applications for these awards, I know they don’t just hand them out to anyone! The Gin School then went on to be awarded Silver in the Visit England awards for the best new start-up business. The Cardamon Gin also has won a silver medal at the International Wine and Spirit Competition. These guys are certainly delivering and standing out from the crowd.

Back at Gin School, we learnt about the various gin-making techniques the history of gin dating back to the 1500s. I don’t want to spoil the gin school experience and surprises by sharing everything we learnt but we did learn some cool things such as the origin of the famous phrase “dutch courage”

Whilst we were listening and learning we were going through the process of making our gin, selecting our botanicals, crafting our secret recipe and mixing it with alcohol in the still to create our very own bottle to take home, finished with a special wax seal to enhance the professional feel of this experience.

Gin School is a relaxed atmosphere with the chance to ask questions and talk freely to the experts from Hotham’s who guide you through the whole day. This would make such a good gift for a special day out, I know at least one person was celebrating their birthday – What better way to celebrate than by making your own gin!

Once your gin is ready it’s time to name it. I went with “Girl About Gin” – If you want to try what I created you can request it directly from Leeds Gin School when you’re placing an order.

Join the Gin Club

Each month, they use one of the newly created recipes made at Gin School to send out to their Gin Club members. Again, this would make a great gift or a way to treat yourself or anyone who loves gin. You can sign up to Gin Club here.

Once you have graduated from Gin School you can return to the bar area. You have VIP use of the bar until 7 pm and if you want to keep your table or book it for later in the evening then you can do, which is a great idea.

You can also do a spot of shopping whilst you’re there for any other bottles of gin, liquors or mixers you would like to take home. These are offered at a special Gin School price so I highly recommend taking advantage of the offer (we all love a discount right?).

One key message I came away with is the importance of supporting local distillers such as Hotham’s as these smaller craft distillers do business the right way. Supporting them only helps them to thrive and keep creating beautiful Gin that we can all enjoy.

COVID Secure

I visited when businesses need to be COVID secure and I can assure you Leeds Gin School has gone above and beyond. During gin school each group is socially distanced from other groups they don’t know, this is the same at the bar. The whole building is very clean and all the items you use are sterilised beforehand. They received one of the first COVID secure certifications from both the AA and Visit England.

A unique gin experience

It was nice to do something completely different on a Saturday afternoon and spending a few hours at Leeds Gin School is one you won’t forget in a hurry (depending on how much gin you consume). You get to learn while making and drinking gin, boozy and educational, that’s a win-win in my book! Whether you’re treating yourself or someone else to this fabulous experience, I’m sure a fun time will be had by whoever attends gin school.

The bar itself is also nice to call in for a drink and as I said you can book a table. It’s currently open Friday and Saturday nights from 7 pm, these times might change as the world begins to open up more in the coming months.

You can purchase your gin school experience through Uniquely Local here, they invited us to attend, they have lots of wonderful experiences across Yorkshire which make great gifts.

Alongside Leeds Gin School, Hotham’s also run Hull Gin School and you can purchase various Yorkshire made gins on their website.

For more information about Leeds Gin School visit: https://www.leedsginschool.co.uk/

For more information about Hotham’s Gin visit: https://www.hothams.co.uk/

For more gift and experience ideas visit: https://uniquelylocal.co.uk/

Enjoy!

 

Caroline x

REVIEW:

This is a Girl About review. I was invited by the management to sample Leeds Gin School free of charge in exchange for an honest and frank review. All my opinions are my own and in no way have they been swayed by their kind invite. Girl About reviews are always 100% honest. We only publish reviews that, for the most part, are positive.

Caroline Towers Bradford
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