Set in Bordon, Hampshire and just a stones throw from work- handy!
“I know vow to never judge wax sealed bottles which I previously described as ‘must having been done by a child’ or ‘with eyes closed’.”
Heading back to school to study gin is something dreams are made of. Learning how stills work, understanding how to balance botanicals, seeing the gin pour out, bottling, labelling and waxing. Myself and gin pal Andrew found the experience incredible!
So, like all good nights, we started off with a gin. The range includes a classic London Dry, a Nuthatch London Dry, a Mermaid Shimmer Gin Liqueur (honestly there is a market for sparkly gin!) and finally a Hibiscus Gin created for Valentines.
Unusually, I started out with the Nuthatch (usually go for the flagship) because I am a citrus lover. The Nuthatch is a cute little bird and this gin does not contain nuts! For me, the Nuthatch still has that juniper backbone that you want in your London Dry, with a citrus kick that lingers. But what’s really pleasant is the individual aromas that still make their way through, such as warming tanka bean (almost cinnamon like) and sweet vanilla.
We then had the pleasure of trying out their classic London Dry as Anthony and Miaread introduced themselves. Anthony, an ex postman, recently retired and began testing out some distilling in his shed. Before he knew it, Miaread approached him with a proposition and the rest is history! They’ve already produced a diverse range and set up a gin school.
Next, Anthony showed us the copper still which produced Hogmoor Gin, followed by the botanical selection. I must admit, I was really blown away but just how many choice we had! We all did the sniff test and cam up with our very own recipes. To get you a ‘flavour’ (pardon the pun) some went for hot chilli, some for earl grey and some for lavender. Whatever was chosen, patience is needed when weighing! I did however finally get there and I was very happy with the aromas. So, into the still they went.
We were greeted with another drink whilst we waiting for the magic to happen. This time a delicious passionfruit martini, which went down a treat. Plus some delicious food, catered by one of the local cafes. Before we knew it, the spirit was here but at a staggering 77.6. Nevertheless, I just had to try it and actually we all took the opportunity to try everyones.
Next up we poured our high ABV spirit into our bottles…
…and topped up with fresh spring water. Mine cut down to 44.8 ABV, actually one of the lower ABVs of the group.
We then labelled the bottles, which is really just a competition for who has the neatest handwriting! My favourite part came next, waxing, and not the painful kind! I have never had the opportunity to do this before. I went for silver. It was a lot harder that I thought, so I had a few goes before being cooled off in water. I know vow to never judge wax sealed bottles which I previously described as ‘must having been done by a child’ or ‘with eyes closed’.
Voilà! My very own gin!
The night continued with more amazing drinks and a valentines goody bag to go, containing a heart shaped hibiscus gin, gin chocolates and red roses. The perfect way to end a perfect night. Myself and Andrew had to make some purchases on the way out. I went for the Nuthatch and Andrew the Classic.
A huge thank you to Anthony, Miaread, Ellie and the rest of the lovely team at Hogmoor, you are all wonderful and I look forward to continuing to work with you in the near future.
What’s next? They have another spirit in the pipeline. Watch this space!