Competition – Win a bottle of Pinkster!

Are you a Pinkster fan? Hopefully so. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a lovely gin and very well established, taking it’s place in the market long before the boom in fruity ‘pink’ gins. Made with real raspberries, it’s lovely when served with light tonic and raspberry with mint garnish. As well as pioneers of pink, Pinkster are also keen on sustainability which is a hot topic at the moment. They recycle their gin soaked raspberries into their delicious ‘boozy berries’ and ‘gin jam’ and this year they released their ‘bag in a box’ Pinkster on tap. If you’d like to see a little more of what they do then pop across to their website. Whether you’ve already tried it or not, have I got a little treat for you! Read on to see how you can win a bottle.

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Pinkster have recently carried out some fun research with etiquette authority Debrett’s. Debrett’s are a professional coaching company, publisher and authority on etiquette. Established in 1769, they’ve seen all sorts of changes in society and social behaviour. Along with Pinkster, they have produced a fun guide which highlights the challenges of organising a girls’ night out and gives 10 top tips for avoiding etiquette pitfalls. Now I, for one, am not a one to be told what to do. However, I am also very much a one who suffers from foot in mouth. And, at times, a little social anxiety. So, I’d be very interested in seeing what tips it has to offer. So, to celebrate this helpful little thing, I’m running a competition across my social media to win a copy, along with a 70cl bottle of Pinkster gin.

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TEN GOLDEN RULES FOR A GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT, ACCORDING TO DEBRETT’S AND PINKSTER GIN

Phone amnesty, next day social sharing and other etiquette tips

Research commissioned by Pinkster Gin reveals that 83% of British women aged 25-55 find it stressful arranging a group night out. Nearly two thirds (63%) cited finding a date that suits everyone as the most common cause of stress, followed by getting friends to actually commit to the evening (46%).

People constantly on their phones (28%), friends suggesting somewhere too expensive (27%), and disputes over the bill (26%), were revealed as the biggest annoyances on the night itself, together with embarrassing photos being uploaded on social media (20%), too many selfies being taken (15%), and pals bragging about their children (14%).

These research findings have prompted Pinkster Gin join forces with etiquette authority Debrett’s and publish a handbook for taking the stress out of group gatherings.

The Girls’ Guide To Having Fun (In an Orderly Fashion) identifies the top ten party pitfalls and provides advice on how to avoid them.

Will Holt, director of Pinkster Gin, said: “We might be communicating with each other more than ever, but actually corralling and controlling a group of friends seems to be a minefield of social dilemmas.

“In a sign of the times, our research showed that the biggest bugbear on an evening out is friends being glued to their phones, ahead of disputes over splitting thebill.

“As the pink gin pioneer, we’ve fuelled many a girl’s night out and hopefully our practical tips will help ensure that your next get-together is the spirited success it deserves to be.”

Renée Kuo, managing director of Debrett’s said: “The Pinkster poll reveals that arranging a night out with friends can be fraught with challenges and that far from improving communication, our digital devices often hinder it instead.

“We were delighted to work with Pinkster on this new ten-point guide, which offers advice for overcoming a range of etiquette obstacles, including a meandering WhatsApp group, friends paying more attention to their phones than the conversation, and an unwelcome exposé of the night’s events on social media. This all goes to show that etiquette is as relevant now as it’s ever been.”

The guide light-heartedly highlights ten scenarios and how to tackle them:

The Whatsapp Planning Committee – go bold with dates and venues, and spare anyone who couldn’t make the evening a running commentary.

The Contagious Phone-Reach – agree a phone amnesty with devices out of sight at least for the meal, if not the whole evening.

The Unsplittable Bill – if you know certain pals are watching their spending, offer to knock a bit of their share, they can always turn you down if they prefer to keep it equal.

The Not-So Humble Brag – tempting as it may be to engage in one-up(wo)manship if someone starts waxing lyrical about her eldest’s glittering SAT results, simply smile and offer your congratulations.

How do you win? Well, I’ll be sharing this post across my social media platforms. All you need to do is comment underneath, tagging the 3 friends you’d like to enjoy a night with. I’ll be selecting one person to win a 70cl bottle of Pinkster, to get your night started and a copy of the guide to help you plan it.

Rules

  • Competition runs from 7pm Friday 20th September 2019 and closes 7pm Sunday 22nd September 2019.
  • Competition is open to UK residents, 18+ only.
  • Sorry, only one entry per person. If you’re found to be using a duplicate account, your entry will be void, so play fairly please!
  • No purchase required to win this. Simply tag 3 friends on either the Twitte, Facebook or Instagram post sharing this article.
  • Please be aware if you have been tagged, this doesn’t mean you’ve been entered. You’ll need to then tag 3 friends to be entered yourself.
  • Once the competition closes, I’ll select one winner at random. The winner will be announced on Monday 23rd September and I’ll get in touch to request an address for postage.

So, what are you waiting for? Get tagging!

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Sloemotion Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberry – Modern Pink Gin Done Right

I first discovered Sloemotion at a Gin Festival. The stand was manned by the lovely Adam Cook, who had previously worked for Masons. I was immediately intrigued. One of the many gin companies to explode out of Yorkshire in the last few years, their essence is not just whimsical, it’s really rather charming.

Sloemotion are a family business, run by Brothers  Joff and Jules Curtoys. Based at Greens Farm, Barton-le-Willows in North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire countryside is the fertile soil in which their ideas are grown, as well as the sloes and hedgerow fruit that embody the concept of their gins. Beginning with liqueurs over a decade ago, in 2017 they put this idyllic thought into a gin, utilising local botanicals such as rosehips, crab apples and sloe stones to give a rich fruit and elderflower, nettle leaf and wildflower, to add a floral element to the classic London Dry ingredients. Hedgerow Gin was born.

I love their integrity and the romanticism in the inspiration. I could liken it to Cotswolds Distillery. I visited them a couple of years ago and fell for them rather heavy indeed. You can read about that here, although I will add they have done an extraordinary amount in the last couple of years that was still a glimmer in their eyes when I visited.

Sloemotion have a lot to boast. They’ve won 11 Great Taste gold stars, one for each year in business, which is a great achievement. There are also medals from World Gin Awards, Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards and the International Spirits Challenge. So, now I’ve laid that out, I’m sure you can appreciate my excitement at receiving their latest creation and second gin in their collection of products. Now, please remain calm, quiet at the back. It’s pink. It’s 40%. It’s Sloemotion Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberries.

We were keen to champion this iconic Yorkshire product; so a gin with rhubarb was an obvious step forward following the success of our Hedgerow Gin” said Joff Curtoys – “We have been careful not to overshadow the gentle flavours of our Hedgerow Gin with the rhubarb; the result is a delightfully light taste, with a pleasant  fruitiness – just perfect with an elderflower tonic.”

The design of the bottle is exquisite, drawing a lovely response when posted on my Instagram. Designed by Leeds based team Zeppo Creative, it comprises a hand drawn sketch of the Blackthorn blossom that lines the lanes and fields in early April and a 6 pointed label that reflects the original 6 hedgerow botanicals in the Hedgerow Gin.

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I have high hopes for this. Everything that comprises a good gin to me is singing from their page. Integrity of concept, transparency of process, and gosh, the appeal. The boom in pink gin has been troublesome to some. Originally pink gin was gin (often Navy Strength), with bitters, which gave it the pink hue. So, this newly evolved sweet and colourful cousin that has been flying off the shelves to all those that love a bit of pink, has seemed a cheap idea based around profit to some of the more traditionalist drinkers. This gin, to me, has real potential to take this and turn it into something real, something sincere. As I write this, my fingers tremble at the thought of the industry turning away and narrowly avoiding the iceberg of gimmick that it was heading towards. They may also be trembling because I’m excited about trying what could be a wonderful gin.

I always start neat. As a spirits judge that’s my go to, to get to the heart of the spirit before anything else is added. Pouring it out into the glass I am really rather taken aback by the colour. It’s very delicate, loyal to the flavour. On the nose there is the gentlest whisper on the breeze, a suggestion of the flavours that exist under the surface. Subtle juniper notes, sweet fruit and delicate floral. On the palate the flavour pops open in the mouth. A budding flower unfolds it’s petals to reveal fresh rhubarb moving into a tart raspberry, playing footsie with juniper as it lingers on the tongue. The deliciousness eventually dissipates away with the gentle fizz of sherbert.

So lets try it with some tonic. The recommended serve is with elderflower tonic, raspberry and mint. Lordy. I would probably suggest adding the tonic slowly and testing it to make sure you get the right balance. When a gin is this delicate it can be lost if not careful. I went with apple garnish and it worked great. I can see this in a big pitcher with apple, raspberry, mint, topped up with sparkling water. Bring on the summer.

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This is a very specific gin. The clever thing, is that this is a very specific gin that will appeal to a wide audience. The juniper is present, and holds its weight amongst the fruit. However, it is subtle. We must address that. There’s no big slap of pine that some gin drinkers twitch for a hit of. However, if there was, then this rather gorgeous creation wouldn’t work. The whole thing is in harmony, the levels of the flavour buzzing around like the birds and bees pottering around the flowers in a lazy sun. Everything is as it should be, subtle, gentle and natural. Those gin drinkers out there that are being led wayward into the realm of brash colours, flavours and sugar have something beautiful here that can return them to the quiet country lanes and to a place of earnest gin. In the new world of pink gin, this gin has shown what is possible. It’s set the bar. It’s a landmark for it’s style.

Sloemotion obviously knew I was going to like this before I tried it, as they’ve organised something a little special for you lovely readers, a discount code ‘GINFLUENCE10’ that gets you 10% off an entire order from their site www.sloemotion.com. The offer is running from today until 28th February. Obviously Valentine’s Day is around the corner and the pink colour would make this a great gift for any gin fan, the gin itself, more so. Bravo. Sloemotion. Bravo.

 

The Folkore Collection – Stirling Gin

One of the things that really hooked me into gin in the first instance was the enormous wealth of stories. It was all the history, the incredible tales that were being unearthed by distillers and brought to the public eye as the heart and soul of their product. Stirling gin have created a lovely little thing with their folklore collection, two delightful offerings in the form of gin liqueurs that have been born through two fantastic old stories.

The first is the Red Cap, a delicious gin liqueur made with Stirling’s own gin and Scottish raspberries.

If you meet a wicked Red Cap on your walk through the countryside you may find yourself spirited away to the fairy realm, a place of ghosts, magic and bloody mischief. We just hope you can find your way back.

The legend of the red cap comes from border folklore set around the Anglo-Scottish borders. The Red Cap was said to be a short, thick man, also said to be a goblin. He tended to inhabit castles on the border that had experienced wickedness or tyranny. The red of the cap comes from the act of soaking up blood of his victims. Apparently if you are unlucky enough to come across this creature, you can drive him away by quoting scripture and he’ll burst into flames leaving a tooth where he once stood. You can find out more about him here.

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Well the drink itself. 25.5% and a vivid red, which as you can see from the photo is not far from the red of the raspberries themselves. I kept it simple, pouring it over ice with a few raspberries for good measure. The raspberry taste is very natural and you also get a heavy hit of juniper which along with the ABV, gives the liqueur a lively punch. There is a slight viscosity to it and it’s a wonderfully rich drink over a a good amount of ice. The recommendation is over ice or in a bit of bubbly and I was most disappointed that my house is currently bubbly free, as I believe it would excel as a combination.

As for the Green Lady, this is a more unusually flavoured bramble and mint liqueur.

Often seen in the grounds of Stirling Castle, the ghost of the Green Lady likes to watch the townspeople go about their business. Once an attendant of Mary Queen of Scots, she perished in a fire while saving her Queen.

The Green Lady is a sad tale from Stirling Castle of a young highland girl who attend Mary Queen of Scots. She was a superstitious lass and became convinced that there was going to be a fire and spent the night awake for the Queens safety. The night was long and despite her efforts she succumbed to tiredness, falling asleep and setting fire to the queens curtains with her candle. Mary survived the incident but the poor girl died. It seemed her concerns had been misplaced and perhaps you can’t change fate after all. I researched the story of the Green Lady here. It’s a very interesting post that also documents the other ghostly ladies at Stirling Castle.

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As for the liqueur, it’s 24%, and a lovely deep ruby colour. Delicious bramble and mint, just the thing to make potions with. Considering the flavours, we’ve got a nice little, simple twist on a Gin Bramble on our hands. I poured mine over a lot of ice and lemon slice and gave it a little swirl. Again, the flavour has a good hit to it so I added another slice of lemon to cut through it but it was lovely. Amongst those berry flavours the mint is bold and fresh, which gives a great vibrancy to the flavour. Lots of ice and lemon and this liqueur sings a beautiful song.

Reading up on Stirling gin, they have an interesting story. You can find out more about them on their site.

The labels of the bottle are absolutely worth a mention, created by artist Ritchie Collins, based on the shores of Leith. The artwork is beautiful. There is something mysterious and almost somewhat sinister about the black line work and vivid red and green foil filling.

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The 50cl bottles cost £24.99 + £2.95 postage and are available to buy from Stirling’s online shop. They’ve got a great site and a great many products on there so do have a little forage and maybe you’ll uncover some more of the magical and the mysterious.