GIN SOCIETY MEMBER
Gin Society chats to inaugural member, Diana Robertson. A Scottish native who adores the diversity of gin styles, Diana shares with us some unique insights into her history with this beloved spirit.
What do you love about gin as a spirit?
Its remarkable versatility! I can rustle up almost anything tasty with gin in the house. As long as the ice is plentiful and the garnish gives a zing, it’s the most refreshing and lovely opener to my evening.
What draws you to gin?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say the look of the bottle. The explosion of gin’s popularity means there is such a wealth to choose from – and some really beautiful bottles like Tanglin Orchid Gin and Generous Gin that entice me. Glaswegin’s bottle made me laugh, so I had to have it.
Any particular gins you’re enjoying at the moment?
I haven’t found a better gin this year than Gothic – currently well-stocked and ready for entertaining this festive season. Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz and Malfy Con Arancia are such fun but I cannot go past Gothic for a classic G&T at the moment.
What does your personal gin collection look like?
It is heavily weighted to the Scottish Isles. Most trips back to my homeland involve a visit to Islay, which is well-known as the ‘whisky isle’. One day, though, the Bruichladdich Distillery decided to diversify and now the world knows more about Islay via The Botanist, which is hugely popular and rightly so. Did you know a bloke called James hand-forages the wild botanicals whenever he fancies while he’s out with the dog? Islay is a truly magical place.
Do you have a go-to garnish or mixer?
I feel like tonics do all the heavy lifting these days. You don’t need to be too flashy with garnishing when you can pour a StrangeLove Dirty Tonic in the glass and the job is done. I am a big fan of low maintenance, so freezing a punnet of blackberries or some sliced grapefruit is great to have at the ready with an aromatic tonic.
Any memorable gin experiences you’d like to share?
My first gin and tonic was at about 12 years old when my dad left the room during an ad break. Most underage drinking in Scotland involved a two-litre bottle of cider passed around the park bench in the pouring rain, but I had formed my palate much earlier! I was a G&T fan from the get-go.
I often wondered why Mum was always so giddy after her first gin. It wasn’t until I was much older and drinking legally with my parents that I realised my dad’s G&Ts were the equivalent of four standard drinks per sip. While I haven’t taken his style of free-pour on, I did learn to always use plenty of ice, and juice some lemon round the rim like a margarita – every sip is guaranteed to delight.
What are your three desert-island gins?
The island would be the beautiful white sands of Harris in the Outer Hebrides and I wouldn’t have to take the gin with me. Isle of Harris Gin is outstanding; I wouldn’t need another.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to sample gin, where would it be?
Barcelona. It’s not far from another one of my favourites – Gin Mare, which is distilled in the small town of Vilanova on the Costa Dorada. Barcelona is literally asleep until 4pm and then there’s an explosion of people, scooters, music and heavenly foody smells – it comes to life! A crisp, cold G&T in the labyrinthine alleys of the Gothic Quarter would be perfect.
What do you like most about the Gin Society?
My Gin Society delivery is such a highlight of the month – it’s so exciting to open and find this new bottle with all the provenance and notes to accompany. It makes the experience of trying a new gin so much more of an event. I love the little extras we get, like a mixer to try or a small-batch gin taster. It’s always a surprise.