Gin Tasting Afternoon at the Sefton
A giggly & girlie gin-infused tea party. Highly recommended!
None of us knew quite what to expect with the Gin Tasting Afternoon we booked at the Sefton. Sure, most of us enjoy a gin and tonic from time to time but an entire afternoon dedicated to it?
The two hours we spent learning about different gins, infusing them with edible flowers, herbs, and spices, and nibbling on cucumber sandwiches and macarons turned out to be one of the best girls bonding experiences ever. Our giggles and chatter filled the dining room and by the end we were all eager to book another session.
When we arrived our gin tour-guide, Ben, settled us in at a long table decorated with delicate tea cups, vintage glasses, and fresh fruit.
At each setting was also a champagne flute half-filled with clear drink and edible flowers. We found out shortly that of course there was gin in the glasses but it was also infusing with elderflower and star anise.
Ben topped up the glasses with Prosecco and to begin our re-introduction to gin. Even if you think you don’t like gin you’d have been converted by that first refreshing bubbly cocktail.
Gin, we found out, is not much different from vodka except that it’s infused with spices like juniper berries.
It’s a clean and clear liquor that can be smooth, sharp, or even spicy depending on the manufacturer. Different gins can be complimented with different fruits to make it more palatable to an individual’s taste.
After our cocktail we formed into two teams of three girls to learn about how to infuse gin using the cold-compound method.
Each team was presented with a tea pot filled with frozen-slushy gin and a box of dried herbs and flowers and invited to create our own signature blend.
It was so much fun smelling the herbs and choosing which flavours to add to our gin. We three chose fresh strawberry, rose petals, elderflower, lime, orange, and a split vanilla pod. The other team opted for a spicier mix of ginger, cardamon, and pepper. The pots were taken away to complete their infusion behind the scenes.
My favourite gin of the day was Hendricks
During the afternoon we introduced to quite a few different types of gin but I’m now sold on Hendricks. It’s smooth and created using mainly juniper berries, elderflower, and cucumber but the story behind its production is just as memorable.
There are only three people involved in the production side of making Hendricks including the master distiller, 70-some year old Lesley Gracie. She’s the only one who knows the complete recipe and also serves as master taster. What a job!
The food served on the day was beautiful and absolutely delicious
Before long we were served up with even more gin but also the most beautiful collection of sandwiches and prawn cocktail. Since I’d not had lunch beforehand I was a bit worried that there wouldn’t be enough in the nibbles to keep me from getting too tipsy. The amount was perfect though and we were all satisfied by the end.
Just when I thought that I probably couldn’t eat anymore the dessert arrived. A towering display of chocolate mousse, lemon meringue, creme brulee, macaroons, and warm scones and cream. Every single bite was pure bliss.
Keep in mind that the photo below was just for three people – two of these were set on our table. If I had to choose my favourites were the chocolate mousse and then the creme brulee. It was all amazing though!
The grand finale was being presented with our signature blended gins
As the hours progressed we got louder and more giggly but never too drunk in case you’re wondering. Just tipsy enough to have a lot of fun. The drinks were spaced out perfectly and each was unique and memorable. It was such a lovely place to have an afternoon like this too – the sea just outside the window and the elegant atmosphere of Harbour Lights set the mood for a vintage tea[gin]-party.
The grand finale was being presented with the gin we’d infused earlier in the session. Ben poured a taster each into tea cups and we shared with other team to see just how different the flavours can be. My own team decided to name ours ‘Lovely Greens’ as an homage to my blog and we were pretty pleased with how sweet and fruity it turned out.
If you’re on the Isle of Man and looking for a unique and fun girlie afternoon I’d highly recommend making your own booking. I can imagine that it would be perfect for a birthday, a hen-do, or just because you want to spend some quality time with your friends. Cheers!
The Gin Tasting Afternoon is offered by Harbour Lights at the Sefton and offers a chance to try out four different gins and to learn how to compliment and infuse each with herbs, spices, and fresh fruit and veg. It is catered for groups of six or more people, lasts two hours, and costs £30 per person – a great deal in my humble opinion. Check availability and book your own experience through their website.