A Visit to: Two Birds Gin Making Workshop

26 May 2017

Earlier this month I visited the Two Birds Workshop in Market Harborough.
Two Birds Spirits is a local British spirits brand who distill gin and vodka in the local area. They recently invited me down to Two Birds HQ to take part in the popular gin making workshop hosted by their very own Spiritsmith and Ginstructor, Simon Brannon.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)

I've been a huge fan of gin for many years and the idea of the workshop got me very excited - and so it should have.

Simon has all the knowledge you could possibly need on gin and begins his workshop with an introduction to the popular spirit and the history of the creation of gin itself. All was super interesting and I left with a great understand of my favourite tipple.

Our Ginstrctor, Simon.
(Photo Credit: 
Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
We sampled Two Birds three gins; Old Tom, Speciality Cocktail and of course, the London Dry.
Simon talked us through each of the gins, explaining the botanicals used and the difference between them. He also recommends which garnishes and tonic waters he favours to go with each, so we all had a new understanding of gin before we went on to create our own.

Rutland Living's Rachael enjoying the workshop.
(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
We began preparing our mini stills, ready to create our own personalised bottle of gin.
Given a list of all the botanicals we had available to choose from to create our gin, with everything from bee pollen and lavender, to nettle root and rosemary.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
Possibly the most difficult part of the workshop, is choosing between all the different botanicals and deciding which ones we wanted to put together with one another which would hopefully compliment to create a delicious gin.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
Luckily we had Simon there for advice, should we wanted to ask him what he recommends or where to go from choosing our main botanicals, other than the must-have juniper berries.

It's recommended you choose between 4-12 different botanicals to include in your gin, but obviously one of those has to be juniper berries. Which only legal requirement when making gin is to include the all important juniper berries.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
After some thought, I decided the botanicals for my gin were going to be the following:
18g of Juniper Berries
3g of Ginger Root
2.7g of Coriander Seeds
2g of Orris Root
1.5g of Lime Peel
0.5g of Basil
0.4g of Lavender
3.5g of crushed Kaffir Lime Leaf

Simon was on hand to recommend the weights of botanticals based on his experience of gin-making, to ensure we didn't ruin our gins with our lack of knowledge regarding botanicals.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
After we added our botanicals to the pure alcohol already inside our mini distillers, we began the anticipating waiting game, for our gins to get to the perfect temperature before it made its way through the distilling process and out the other side.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
Once distilled, taking 400ml of our Gin to add a further 400ml (approx) of water into the bottle, a process called 'cutting'. Shook them together to finalise our unique gins before we tested their ABV alc/vol.

The cutting process.
(Photo Credit: 
Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
My gin was actually 41.8% which we tested, by which gin should be measured by law with the process called 'proofing', which was absolutely fascinating! 

The proofing process.
(Photo Credit: 
Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
We sampled each others gins, which will taste different until around 10 days time once settled. As we had all chosen different botanicals so we all had unique gins, personal to the choices we had made earlier in the day.

We asked Two Birds spiritsmith Simon a few questions we couldn't wait to ask him about the workshop, Two Birds and a few about our favourite spirit, Gin. Here's what he had to say:

We had so much fun visiting the Two Birds Workshop, we’re proud of the gin we created. If our readers would like to take part in the Gin Masterclass how do they go about it and what does it cost?

Simon: The full distilling workshop can be purchased through our website www.twobirdsworkshop.co.uk or through www.twobirdsspirits.co.uk.

Two Birds don’t just distill gin though, you also have a huge collection of Vodkas. Please tell us more about them and why you’ve chosen the flavours you have.

Simon: We have a wide range of different vodkas, from Salted Caramel to passion fruit. We started to produce the vodkas after experimenting for enjoyment as well as development when we realised how good the results were we had to share them.

Simon, what is your favourite G&T combination?

Simon: I tend to jump between our gins, I will only drink one for stint and then fancy a change. I am currently really loving the Old Tom Gin with lots of ice, fresh grapefruit peel and a splash of the bottle green classic Indian tonic water.

We learnt so much about the history of Gin on the day. What is your favourite gin related fact or historic story you enjoy telling your masterclass students

Simon: My favourite part of the history is probably when I tell them about the Hogarth proper gander posters, Gin Lane and Beer Street. Though I do also love telling people that Gin is just flavoured vodka so many people do not realise that And are so shocked.

Two Birds’ gin and vodkas are very popular, where in Rutland can our readers visit to enjoy a Two Birds tipple (or two)?

Simon: We are in plenty of bars and restaurants around the county, all of the Knead pubs; The Lord Nelson in Oakham, Tobie Norris and The Crown Hotel in Stamford. As well as, The Grainstore brewery tap, Bill's Bar and the Freemasons. Just to list a few!

Thank you so much for inviting us down, where can our readers find out more about your Gin Workshop and where can they buy Two Birds spirits?

Simon: The workshop prices start at £110, and make the perfect gift. Booking can be made through our website www.twobirdsworkshop.co.uk. We will be introducing other workshops in the near future.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
We named our gins, sealed the lids and enjoyed a Two Birds G&T made by the ginstructor himself, the classic London Dry with lime and cucumber garnish - Delicious

I decided to name my gin, 'Ginger Street' as ginger was one of the main botanical along with lime which gives a warm but citrus and refreshing taste and is lovely - if I do say so myself.

(Photo Credit: Rutland Creative / The Rutland Blogger)
The Two Birds Workshop is a fabulous location should you want to visit to create your own gin, buy an amazing gift for a gin-loving friend or family members or if you'd love to learn more about the history behind your favourite spirit.

The day overall was one I will certainly remember for many, many years to come. One I will recommend to friends and as gifts. I took away not only a tasty gin that's completely unique to me, but a whole lot of knowledge and understanding I probably would never have learnt otherwise.

You can find out more about Two Birds Gin Workshop here, which approximately run for 3 hours for up to 10 people.

Follow Two Birds:
The Workshop:

Two Birds Spirits:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/twobirdsspirits/

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