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The Pen & Pencil’s boozy blind tasting event saw three leading gins go head to head…

THE climax of Battle of The Gins at Pen & Pencil was a bit like City or United winning the Champions League. Foreign opposition vanquished by a local team, showing real spirit. A beautiful, clean spirit distilled in the city, using botanicals such as burdock and dandelion, its logo a homage to the emblematic worker bee of Manchester. What’s not to like?

Gins and cocktails together

And what a buzz in the Northern Quarter bar when the result was announced. In truth Manchester Gin’s victory was never in doubt as the numbered tasting cups were stacked on the bar, the small batch gem gaining well over 50% of the blind tasting vote. Trailing in its juniper-scented wake were the European opposition in this fun-filled gin shoot-out – Gin Mare from near Barcelona and Belgium’s Copperhead.

MG’s creators Jennie Wiggins and Seb Heeley only launched the brand last May, creating it in a copper called Wendy; a tribute to Jennie's late red-haired mother. Their prize for winning the ‘Gin-eral’ election in the packed bar? A listed cocktail on the new menu.

Winners Jennie and Seb

They and their rival brand ambassadors each did a presentation on the night and provided a bespoke cocktail showcasing their particular gin. In Ginfatuation Manchester Gin was augmented with triple sec, lemon, egg white, gomme, muddled raspberries and bruised mint leaf to create a refreshing opener. 

Manchester Gin
Manchester Gin bottles

In contrast, Mediterranean standard bearer Gin Mare went down a decidedly citrus route for its The Triple Orange via orange marmalade, orange bitters, Fever Tree Mediterranean and orange zest; companions to its basil and thyme botanicals.

Random shot of our Gin-fatiuations

Copperhead, created by a famous Belgian pharmacist fascinated by the healing aspects of gin (Man Con is with him there) was blended with lemon, orange bitters, double cream, egg and soda to create A Golden Fizz. Then came the blind tasting of the neat gins.

Tastng Cups
The numbered cups

Punters paid £15 a head to be part of the judging panel and in addition to the three cocktail got further drinks discounts on the (very jolly) night.

Gin Mare
Gin Mare

It won’t be the last as Pen & Pencil extends its combination of quality spirits brands and the competitive spirit (sic) to rum. Co-owners Dan Pollard and Kevin Connor have stuck Wednesday, April 26, in the diary for The Battle of The Rums.

Book your place at the Battle of the Rums here

Pen And Pencil Mural
Pen and Pencil interior