The gin adventure takes place every Saturday at Royal Albert Dock
“I like rum. What sort of gin would a rum guy usually go for?” says Jake. This must be the kind of off-the-wall question that Ada Kierojczyk gets asked all the time while she is working.
Turncoat has become one of the most-respected gin distillers in the country
Team Confidentials is enjoying a gin-tasting experience at Turncoat Bar in Liverpool’s Royal Albert Dock and Ada is our expert host, answering every question like a true pro, while guiding us through our gin adventure.
“I like rum too,” says Ada, happy to help us with our thirst for knowledge - and more gin.
“If you like a spiced rum, then probably the Bold Street Chai. It’s a spiced gin so there’s star anise, ginger, and cinnamon in there and it packs a citrusy but spicy punch.”
Once upon a time in Liverpool, there was only really one type of gin around these parts and that was quite simply, Liverpool Gin. Today, Merseyside is home to some of the very best distilleries and gin-makers, and Turncoat has become one of the most-respected gin distillers in the country.
A family business headed up by legendary brewer-turned-distiller Terry Langton, Turncoat has grown from experimenting with recipes and ingredients in a garage in Kirkby to a purpose-built distillery in the Baltic that produces an ever-expanding range of glorious gins, bitters and vodka.
Six years on from those humble beginnings and Terry’s wife, Joanne, is now head distiller, while their daughter, Ada, is the newest addition to this gin-vincible line-up, having earned her gin stripes working at festivals and markets around the country.
When Ada isn’t hosting the gin experiences, you’ll find her honing her craft behind the scenes or working out front on the bar. In an industry that’s still seen as traditionally male, it’s refreshing to see that both Ada and Joanne are fast becoming two of the distilling world’s leading ladies.
Two years ago, Turncoat opened its bar at Edward Pavilion and it’s now one of the coolest places to eat and drink in the city. As well as unique Turncoat gins, you’ll discover new cocktails and a wide range of beers from local breweries, amazing wood-fired Voltagabbana Pizza, plus live music and comedy nights.
Once the bar’s gin-flight menu had proved successful, a gin-tasting experience was the logical next step for punters wanting to try something new and learn a bit more about the process.
“Turncoat started with two gins, a London Dry and the Cascade Gin, to show off its versatility,” says Ada, as she steers us back from rum to the important stuff.
“We now have ten gins, and a vodka. My Dad says that London Dry Gin is the pinnacle of what makes a good distillery.”
Terry’s right, of course.
Ada explains how London Dry gets its name (nothing to do with its geographical location, I’m surprised to learn) and we have a neat sip of gin before mixing it with a splash of Fever Tree tonic.
This particular gin features 11 botanicals including lemongrass, coriander, lemon and orange peel and walnut leaf. If you're used to drinking boring old supermarket gin (guilty) this is a revolution for the senses.
Each gin that we try has a title as intriguing as the last, all of them named after a dominant element of its own unique recipe and identity.
Our Man in Sicily gin is distilled with Sicilian lemons; Dragon Tears gin is infused with the dragon tear buds that blossom on a Jasmine flower; and Bold Street Chai gin is laced with a distillation of chai tea blend in collaboration with the beloved Bold Street cafe and restaurant, LEAF.
Cascade Gin gets its name from one of its most prominent ingredients, Cascade Hops - the original Turncoat Hop. At 43% ABV, it’s the strongest of all the gins that we taste, but my favourite for flavour.
To keep us grounded, there's a nibbles board included in our session with a moorish selection of meat, cheese, olives, pickles, nuts and breads.
We pepper our gin-tasting journey with a fair few questions, finding out about brewing techniques, juniper, and herbaceous palates. But the focus is on fun and there are no tests.
Ada is an absolute star from start to finish and by the end of the one-hour session I feel like we’ve really been on a gin-spired journey together.
In total, the tasting experience includes a welcome gin and tonic followed by a taster and talk through five Turncoat gins with a selection of tonics. To finish, you also get to choose a choice of cocktail or G&T from your favourite sample.
Want to take some gin home with you? Every guest gets a 20% discount for any bottle or gift pack, or any food that you order on the day.
It’s an experience that would make a great gift for gin-lovers or something a bit different for a group celebration. Whether you know your London Dry from your Old Tom, or whether you just like drinking gin, everyone is welcome.
Turncoat’s gin-tasting experience is priced at £30 per person and takes place every Saturday at 12pm and 2pm. Advance booking essential via Turncoat Distillery.
Read again: An insider’s guide to the Baltic Triangle
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