Burleighs Gin is produced in the heart of England, in Leicestershire. Located in Bawdon Lodge Farm, this distillery produces some of the finest gin. It is also home to a great gin school where you can make your own bottle of gin.
I was recently invited to an evening at the gin school at Burleighs.
On arrival, we were greeted with the biggest glasses of gin and tonic. These were topped up throughout the evening.
Before we made our own gin we had a tour by the head distiller Charlie. We got to meet Messy Bessy, the copper steam-powered distiller where all the magic happens. It can create around 600 bottles of gin.
They are only a team of 6 at Burleighs and a lot of the processes are done by hand. This gives the gin that extra special touch. Yes, that includes filling Messy Bessy with buckets of grain spirit, bottling, labelling and giving each bottle that rubber seal!
It was so interesting to learn about the head, heart and tail stages of making gin.
Head: This is to get rid of the methanol at the start of the distillation process because you want ethanol and not methanol. so
Heart: That is the good bit of gin that gets blended with pure water. It takes it from around 80% Alcohol to 40%.
Tail: This is the bit after the distillers cut! The produce that comes after this can be bitter because it has the taste of intense botanicals that have been boiling for quite a while. This is then reused in the next distillation proces.
I could keep going on for ages because the tour was so informative and interesting however I will leave it here so I don’t give it all away before your visit.
After the tour, we sat at tables set up with mini distillery kits. These kits can distil your gin in just 20 minutes. The trickiest bit was deciding what flavour we wanted our gin to be. There were so many ingredients available. You could even make a curry flavoured one!
We started with the base ingredients needed for gin: Juniper berries, Coriander for citrus flavour and the fixatives Orris Root & Angelica Root.
To this, my friend Sharon and I decided to add ingredients that made the base of masala chai. To add some zing we put in some orange zest and to finish off the spice and citrus tones we smoothed it all out with half a Tonquin Bean.
To the mini still, we added water, pure alcohol, and our special botanicals. As the gin was distilling, we could smell the flavours and we knew we had a good one! We had a taste of the pure (80%) gin that was coming out of the still and it was awesome! It was warming and with all the goodness and yet smelt like Christmas. I am sure the gin has great medicinal properties too especially with the ground ginger and cinnamon we used.
Once diluted with pure water, the gin was now 42%ABV and ready to bottle.
We named our gin Chai Surprise because it is just like masala chai with a surprise. It definitely will go down well for Diwali and if it lasts, it will be a hit over Christmas! May need to return to make another batch because as long as you have the recipe card, Burleighs can make it again.
The evening was so much fun and the gin making experience was interactive. It would make a perfect gift or even be great as team building.
Thank you to the fabulous team at Burleigh’s.
For more information about the Gin and the experience, click here. If you have never tried Burleighs gin, you can buy it online. Keep an eye out for their new Christmas Gin.. it’s in the process of being made! I am super excited about the new release especially after making our Chai Surprise.
Disclaimer [AD]: I was invited to Burleighs Gin to experience the Gin School. All photos and opinions are my own.