*invited as a guest to the event which in no way colours my view of the evening*
Following on from the review of my visit to Galgorm Resort and Spa, it was actually their Gin Club which had me there in the first place. They run a quarterly meeting with a featured gin at each event. You can sign up to become a member and avail of discounted overnight rates and of course a complimentary gin and tonic. This quarter the featured gin was Shortcross Gin which is made in Rademon Estate Distillery in Co. Down.
The format of the evening was an introduction to Shortcross Gin from Fiona and David who run it and a gin tasting paired with some incredible food prepared by the team at Galgorm Resort and Spa. Proceedings were kicked off with a French 75 on arrival and some canapés. For anyone unfamiliar with a French 75, its made with gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar.
Once we were settled in David Boyd-Armstrong took us through some of the history and heritage of Shortcross gin. A fascinating story about the passion behind the brand. It’s very much a hands on approach with the recipe taking six months to perfect. They forage their own botanicals which include juniper, elder flowers and elderberries which give the gin its distinct flavour and a long smooth finish. Each bottle is also hand labelled and wax sealed.
Throughout the story of Shortcross we tasted the gin a number of ways. First was a deconstructed gin and tonic served with wild duck ham, salt backed beetroot and blood orange. The process of tasting and tweaking the gin into its final construction was a fascinating journey in changing tastes.
The classic Negroni (gin, Vermouth, Campari) was made with a special Shortcross cask aged gin and served with Ceviche of wild sea trout, fermented cucumber and radish. For many Negroni is an acquired taste but it remains quite a popular dinner cocktail.
Next up was a gin and tonic with frozen grapefruit and basil which was served with lamb, sweet carrot and wild pea shoots. The lamb was cooked perfectly and melted in the mouth while the sweetness of the carrot was balanced by the tartness of the grapefruit in the gin. A beautiful dish from start to finish.
To play on our senses we were next served a Shortcross based Punch Romaine. It was delivered in two servings. The first a chilled glass and the second presented in a tea cup served warm. The same drink tasting completely different to our taste buds was a wonderful sensory lesson. It was paired with a buttermilk panacotta with grapefruit, basil and peppercorn. While I loved the delicateness of the panacotta the grapefruit with it was a little bitter for me.
To finish the evening we wound down with a trio of Shortcross gin based cocktails. An aged Classic Martini, a cask aged sour and a lemon and caraway gin fizz. A delightful and interesting evening where we had the pleasure of meeting the team behind the brand and shared the fruits of their labour. Details of the gin club at Galgorm Resort and Spa can be found here !