Browsing Tag:


Garden Gin Tasting Bar

Posted in Gather by
Garden Gin Tasting Bar

When we moved into our house in January, a ‘selling’ point is the proximity to the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery.  This is something we learnt after we bought the house, and at a mile and a half down the road, it is great to be able to send people off to sample the local gin.  For some of our friends, we are not sure if they were coming to see the house or to get a sneaky trip in to the distillery!

A few weeks back we had a group of friends come and visit.  This group fit into the ‘nice house, where’s the gin?’ category and came to visit the distillery (as well as us!).  We thought it would be a good idea to carry on the gin when they returned and decided our garden also needed it’s own gin tasting bar, so we started getting creative.  Who doesn’t want a gin tasting bar in the garden?

Garden Gin Bar

Bar Basics

We recently bought a potting table from Clas Olsen that makes for a great decorative counter and a good start for a bar, along with its practical purpose of a potting table.  A few herbs, plenty of glasses and clear signage gave us the start of the bar.  For bar supplies try Ikea, H&M Home or TK Maxx.

Garden Gin Bar


To make the perfect gin, you do need a good tonic.  We tend to like the FeverTree tonic over the others as it has a more subtle flavour.  Plus it comes in glass bottles that look good and are easier to recycle.

Garden Gin Bar


We learnt about garnish for cocktails at the London Gin Club.  Garnished definitely help make a good G&T, bringing out the flavours in the gin.  For the gins we selected, we had a range of garnishes from ginger and thyme to strawberry and lime.  The herbs weren’t there just for decoration!

Tasting Notes

Each gin has its own history, botanicals and distillery method.  One of the great parts about tasting notes is learning the history.  The best part is tasting the gin and knowing what to look out for when you taste the gin are given to you in the notes.  It is important to taste the gin at its absolute best, the tasting notes give you the hints to ensure that!

Garden Gin Bar

The Gin

As Bombay Sapphire had already been sampled that day, we decided to go for a few other gins.  Some choices were made and we found – okay we raided our bar – a bottle of Ophir, Gin Mare and Bloom.  On a trip to Lidl we found their own gin – Hortus.  All great gins and a great selection of gin that is currently available.

Garden Gin Tasting Bar

We can say, with certainty, that every house should have a garden gin tasting bar.  We have had a number of bars in the past and they make for a great focal point.  What do you think? What else would you add to the gin bar?

Where to Buy


Garden Gin Bar


13th August 2017

Cocktail of the Week | Bramble

Bramble Cocktail

As Autumn continues we are enjoying the best that the season has to offer.  Rummaging through our drinks cabinet we found the key ingredients for this week’s cocktail, The Bramble.

The Bramble is a newcomer to the cocktail scene having been first created in 1984 by Dick Bradsell, who was credited with changing the face of the scene in the 80s.  The drink is based on the gin fizz (a new one to try in future!).  It is described as a spring drink, but with the blackberry used in it, if feels more like an autumnal one to us.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • 2 measures of gin
  • 1 measure of lemon juice
  • 1 measure of sugar syrup
  • 1 measure of creme du mure (blackberry liqueur)
  • Lemon slice and blackberry to garnish
  • Crushed ice

To make the drink, add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Once mixed, fill a glass of choice with the crushed ice and pour over the cocktail. Add the lemon and blackberry and there you have this week’s cocktail, The Bramble.

The drink resembles a slushy but is still an enjoyable drink to have on an early autumnal day. Do you have a favourite autumn cocktail, let us know it the comments?

Bramble CocktailBramble Cocktail

Bramble Cocktail
13th October 2016

Cocktail of the Week | The Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees

On a recent trip to the Cinema, we stopped off at Bill’s beforehand to have some dinner.  Whilst perusing their cocktail menu to gain a few ideas for the future cocktail of the week, we came across a cocktail called the Bee’s Knees.  We were interested in this as every drink ordered; 25p is donated to the Royal Botanical Gardens campaign to highlight the importance of bees.   Whilst we were not in a cocktail mood that night, we did want to try it and took a sneaky pic.  To be fair to the Kew Gardens and Bill’s collaboration project, we will still be donating to the Kew Gardens Hive project.

The bees knees cocktail is a gin based cocktail that dates back to the prohibition era in the 1920’s and 30’s where a ban on alcohol was in place.  The phrase ‘bee’s knees’ was a colloquial term at the time for ‘the best’.  The poor quality bathtub gin was mixed with citrus, honey and other mixes to improve the taste and hide the smell of the gin.  The cocktail comes in various measures and combinations depending on where you ordered the drink, for ours, we stuck with the cocktail that came from Bill’s.

For this week’s cocktail, you will need;

  • 1 measure of gin (bath tub gin is still available if you wish to have the authentic mix!)
  • 2 tablespoons honey syrup
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Pink lemonade
  • Sprig of thyme

Firstly, to make the honey syrup, use the sugar syrup I describe before on the Raspberry Collins.  Replace the sugar with the same quantity of honey.  In a tumbler glass, add the gin, honey syrup and lemon over ice and stir.  Fill the remainder of the glass with the pink lemonade.  Add the sprig of thyme and you have the bee’s knees of our cocktail of the week the Bee’s Knees!

You can have this as a virgin cocktail and tastes the same without the gin, which is useful as it was designed to hide the taste of the gin!  It is a good, flavoured cocktail and definitely one to try if you don’t like gin.

The Bee’s KneesThe Bee’s Knees

The Bee’s Knees
1st September 2016

Cocktail of the Week | French 75

During our recent trip to France we took the opportunity to immerse ourselves in some of the delights that comes from France, mainly the food and drink.   We indulged in the delights of fresh croissants, cheese, daily baguettes, ratatouille and the many wines! In one of the towns we visited, Saumur, they produce a sparking wine known as Cremant du Loire. They also have a sparking red sparkling that is a very interesting and, if you ever get the chance, you should try it! We found a particular favourite Cremant du Loire from the Ackerman Winery on a previous trip and got the opportunity to visit their caves (pronounced like calves). The winery started in 1811 by a self-taught Belgian man called Jean-Baptise Ackerman, who found that the soil in the area great for growing grapes and the caves carved out for the building stone to be perfect for making and storing the sparkling wine.

Given we were experiencing all things French, we decided that our cocktail of the week should be inspired by this trip and settled on a French 75, or in French; a Soixante Quinze! (Yes, the French have a very odd numbering system!). The drink is known to date back to World War I and was created at the New York Bar in Paris. It was further developed into the drink we know today over the 1920s. The drinks original combination included calvados, gin, grenadine and absinthe, as well as the champagne, and was said to have such a kick that it felt like you had been shelled by the French 75 field gun! I think I will give that experience a miss! It became popular in the 1940s after appearing in in a few films, most notably Casablanca.

For this weeks cocktail, you will need:

  • Champagne Flute
  • Measure of gin
  • ½ measure of lemon juice
  • Your choice of sparking white/champagne
  • Tsp of sugar

To prepare the cocktail, place the glasses in the fridge to cool them down. Take the gin, lemon juice and teaspoon of sugar and put them in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well before straining the mix into the cooled champagne glasses. Fill the rest of the glass with the sparkling wine and stir gently.

There you have the soixante qunize! A simple and refreshing drink that is perfect as an aperitif!

French 75

Orchard Blog | French 75
23rd June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Elderflower Martini

Inspiration for cocktail of the week comes from a few places. At the minute it is mainly the garden. In Rich’s parents garden there is a fantastic elder tree that has recently gone into flower and it now covered in white elderflowers. We tend to use elderflower in a few things, oh alright, mainly drinks! We wanted to try something that would give us a good flavour of the elderflower and little else. The best thing for that was to have an Elderflower Martini!

There is no record of where a martini first came to life, but there are a fair few versions that are similar to what we know as a martini. It is thought that the brand Martini did some successful marketing in the 1860s and ended up with the drink named after them. I think I prefer the theory that the cocktail was first created by a bartender in the town of Martinez and the drink named after the town. Regardless of the source, it became a very popular drink in the USA during the 1920s prohibition due to the ease of manufacturing illegal gin. To settle any argument, a classic martini contains gin! The vodka martini first appeared in the 1930s and were popularised by James Bond.  Also, on no account should a gin martini be shaken!

For this week’s cocktail, you will need:

  • ½ Measure of Elderflower Liqueur
  • Teaspoon of dry vermouth
  • 2 measures of gin

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the vermouth. Shake to cool the vermouth and pour into the glass. If you prefer a drier martini, you can do what Winston Churchill did and face France and bow before adding the gin. Swirl the vermouth in the glass to coat the surfaces. Add the elderflower liqueur. Then and some ice to a clean cocktail shaker pour in the gin and stir. Once the gin is sufficiently cooled, pour it into the glass.  You can then garnish how you like, as we used elderflower, we chose not to add a garnish.

There you have it, the elderflower martini. Now sit back, enjoy and if you need it drier, do what Winston would have done and tip the glass to France.

Elderflower Martini



Orchard Blog | Elderflower Martini</>div

16th June 2016

Cocktail of the Week | Classic Gin & Tonic

Let’s be honest a G&T is only borderline a cocktail. Having said that we both have strong feelings about what makes the perfect gin and tonic so we thought we’d include it:

  • 1 measure Gin
  • 3 measure Tonic
  • Lemon to garnish
  • Ice

So let’s start with the basics. First things first, the gin. Gin has had a renaissance recently, and there are hundreds to choose from all with slightly different tastes depending on the botanicals they use. Everyone will have their favourite brand, ours is Tanquerey.  To our minds this is a most gin-y of the gins, the juniper flavour being suitable strong and it having a bit of citrus edge.

Secondly you need to have good tonic, there is nothing worse than a G&T with flat tonic water.  Our Tonic of choice is Fevertree, but failing that schweppes is fine. Buy your tonic in individual bottles or cans, that way you get the freshest, sparkliest tonic for your drink.

You need lots of ice, at least 4 ice cubes, and we opt of the classic lemon as a garnish as lime can be a bit overpowering in it’s flavour.

And there we have it, our perfect Gin & Tonic.

Cocktail of the Week | Gin & Tonic

Orchard Blog | Gin & Tonic
19th May 2016