When you are at that age when lots of friends are celebrating milestone birthdays. Back in the first lockdown way back when, our very good friend Jo celebrated her 50th birthday. Lockdown down meant it wasn’t the celebration she had planned. So our gift to her was a “make your own Bathtub gin” with the nice folk at Shed 1 Gin in Ulverston, Cumbria.
We had planned to go in November, booked in only for restrictions meaning to take a gin check. As restrictions were looking like they were going to lift we booked in. This time Covid wasn’t going to stop us and a date was set.
As lots of gin was going to be the order of the day, we organised a chaffeur aka my other half. For those who haven’t heard of Shed 1 let me give you a brief history.
Launched in October 2016 by husband and wife team Andy & Zoe Arnold-Bennett in the market town of Ulverston, Cumbria. Shed 1 Distillery produces award-winning, small batch, classically distilled craft gin with a contemporary-style. They started in their Garden Shed and moved to The Old Calf Shed in 2019. where they opened a Visitor Attraction. Their gins are so smooth that they don’t really need the accompanying tonic.
I had bought an experience for me too, couldn’t have Jo having all the fun. The Calf Shed is such a lovely place matched with the beaming welcome from Zoe and Andy. Right girls you need a gin, it was only 11am but as the saying goes it is after the yard arm somewhere int he world. A relax with a gin then we went through to where the magic happens into the distillery.
It is fascinating and a real alchemy. Now our turn. Before we could create our brew we had to work out what botanicals we would like to include in our gin. Juniper was obviously the star of the show as it can’t be called a gin without these magic berries. Before us were over 30 different botanicicals, here we sniffed and chose our favourites, the rest were discarded in the NO pile. There were no right or wrong as it was what we liked and what flavours we wanted in our bespoke gin.
Botanicals selected it was now tine to see if they worked harmoniously with the juniper. With our note book we had to weigh out the botancicals, and smell with the juniper to see if we were happy. If we were, they were tipped into the container, noted how much and then onto to the next one.
Once everything was weighed out it was time to add the base alcohol, add out botanicals and let the magic commence.
We were instructed to shake the bottle a couple of times over the next 24 hours, taste and if happy with the result to decant through a sieve into a bottle which they provided.
We were asked to name our Gin and Zoe would create our unique label.
Interspearsed with gin was a cup of Penningtons finest coffee and some juniper glazed scones fresh out of the oven. They were utterly delicious with the accompanying fresh cream and Zoe’s gin marmalade. We both noted that we must return for the famous afternoon tea.
A great experience and the gin we created is pretty fine too. I named mine “Black Dog” gin well it was a given to name it after my gorgeous labrador Lucy. If you love Gin they you should definitely try this experience out!