Waitrose gin tasting? We’re in!
Brand new, this service from Waitrose combines our favourite things - gin, friends and hanging out at home. See how Muddy's Ed-in-Chief, Hero Brown, got on and book up pronto this summer, it's a blast!
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A Waitrose gin-tasting event in your own home? Oh, HELLO! This newly launched service is still under the radar for most Waitrose customers, but OMG what a perfectly pitched idea it is. Because if there’s one thing we love more than gin, it’s gin without having to lift a finger or leave the house, right? And this being Waitrose, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be en pointe.
We recommend you whizz off immediately and check out their various packages here (they do wine and fizz too) but first things first – wanna see how we got on?
At Muddy as you know, we always review things ourselves before we recommend to readers so at 6pm sharp on a balmy Thursday night a few weeks ago, Waitrose’s gin expert Nic rocked up at my house with spirit measures, five gins, gin glasses, olives, botanicals, a spittoon (as if) and a pestle and mortar and the innocent look of a man who had no prior knowledge of how much Mother’s Ruin the Muddy team can put away in two hours.
All I had to provide was ice, bowls for the olives, a table and chairs and some guests. Even I could manage that without too much difficulty.
From here it was a simple case of two sweet hours of mixing and tasting. We gave our consideration to five brands – Pink Pepper, Sipsmith, Haymans Sloe Gin (a big yes from me on this one, I’d even drink it straight as a liqueur), Hendricks, Warner Edwards Rhubarb Gin and, for the drivers, Seedlip, all paired with Fever Tree tonics.
I’d always thought the new trendiness of tonic to be a bit of a marketing wheeze, but I’m now sold on them, they make such a difference. (Top tip from Nic: make your ice with tonic water, so you don’t dilute your drink!).
There was some cursory crushing and sniffing of various botanicals like juniper, orange peel and liquorice, a spin through the history of gin which I found really interesting (check out Hogarth’s 18th century print of the inhabitants of Gin Street – it was a massive social problem), and there’s no doubt you can delve deep into processes and infusings should you wish to. But it’s also fine, as we did, to keep it mostly social.
At £400 for up to 10 people it’s brilliant value when you consider that not only do you get everything set up for you, all those gins to try and an expert on hand, you are also left with the open bottles at the end of the night – my drinks trolley has never looked so replete. And you get to keep the gin glasses too.
Best of all there’s no pushing of product – refreshingly, these events are not used as a way to push sales, though truth be told I’m hooked on that Sloe Gin, I’ll definitely put that in the trolley next time I shop.
Not a gin fan? Pah, no problem! Waitrose also offers brand new white wine and fizz tastings in a similar format (the wine tasting at £35 per person also includes an enticing cheese platter, charcuterie and crackers) but whichever way your tipple takes you, it’s a no-brainer to let Waitrose do the heavy lifting this summer while you work on the fun bit of entertaining. Cheers!
For all the details on six different packages from £30pp, plus bespoke events, see waitrosewinetasting.com