Steph Whalley gets a taste of the 200-strong gin-dex in the heart of Heswall
Seriously, who put 50p in gin? I can remember a time, not that long ago, when gin was reserved purely for nans or shady after parties. A time when Gordon’s was the go-to and the only gin 'n' juice anyone had in their mouths was when babbling along to Snoop Dogg after one too many Bacardis (formerly the far more highbrow spirit). These days, it's everywhere you go. Gin was a trend, now it's a lifestyle.
In the 18th century gin was dirt cheap and catalysed a hike in crime, death and prostitution
"Mother's ruin". "Opium of the people". Lyrical legacies of the name gin got for itself during the 18th century when the spirit was dirt cheap and catalysed a hike in crime, death and prostitution. Back then, gin-guzzlers were sinking more than 14 gallons of the stuff each every year so The Gin Act was introduced to put the kibosh on the debauchery and restore some law and order.
Fast forward a few centuries though and I'd be willing to bet a similar number of gallons goes past the lips of spirit-slingers today. Fortunately, though, gin has polished up its reputation since them olden days.
One place truly grabbing the golden gin era by its horns is popular Wirral cocktail bar, Blind Pig - a trendy, intimate watering hole on the Heswall high street, regularly packed to rafters (perhaps testament to it's daily 2-4-1 offering).
These guys have equipped their small but mighty bar with more than 200 different distills and in a bid to showcase the well-endowed gin-dex, offer gin tasting experiences for the rather reasonable price of £15 for three G&Ts.
Myself and a gin-vincible friend pitched up at our booth near the window, glad to be warm, dry and thirsty on a stormy Thursday evening, in the dimly lit den of gin-drinking dreams.
There is, of course, a whole raft of other options on the drinks lists and even some bar food if you’re feeling peckish but we were there with our gin-tasting blinkers on, ready to be shown the ropes by resident connoisseur, Matt.
We started with a Gravity Gin from the Big Bang Brewery down the road in New Brighton, served with a fragrant cranberry and ginger tonic. Then we had a John Tony's, distilled in Amsterdam, with a plain tonic so as not to outshine the dry, liquorice notes of the gin.
We finished off with a Tom Cat blueberry gin, derived from Sussex and renowned for its sweet, juicy botanicals, served with a refreshing elderflower tonic - the purrfect pairing (urgh, sorry). Each came served with finesse in a gorgeous, decorative, Gatsby-style gin glass with thoughtfully curated garnishes.
Each G and its respective T was expertly hand-selected and introduced to us by our host whose knowledge of each was pretty damn impressive. The first showcasing local produce, the second with a cool story behind the brand and the third, picked based on our preference for fruit-based tipples. No Gordon’s with ice 'n' a slice here, my friends.
So, if you like your gins or you're looking to expand your horizons beyond the parameters of the pink gin obsession, you’ll be in great hands here - and you'll pay a pretty fair price for it too.
If you're going to make like us and stick around for a few cocktails after though, take my advice and leave a couple of paracetamol and a bottle of water by your bed.
Gin tastings at Blind Pig cost £15pp. Stephanie Whalley was invited to experience the gin tasting free of charge on behalf of Liverpool Confidential, but all words and opinions here are as real and unabridged as the hangover that ensued the next day...
Blind Pig, 168 Telegraph Rd, Heswall, Wirral CH60 0AH
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