Ginvent began one cold, dark winter night when we realised that no one made a gin-filled Advent calendar. No matter how hard we wished Santa would bring us one, it never arrived. We were so good all year, too. Well, all of November at least…
To resolve the deplorable absence of our precious juniper spirit during the season of festivities, we designed, crafted and installed a 2 x 2 metre calendar in a central London bar and each day opened a new door. We celebrated the gin inside by serving up G&Ts and cocktails, as well as hosting tastings and generally sharing the gin love.
The calendar was an instant hit and we were flooded with requests to miniaturise it in order to spread the festive cheer and make it available for all to enjoy in their homes. Not everyone can get to London, apparently, and this was an idea that needed to be democratised. The rest, as they say, is history and five years on the Ginvent Calendars have gone global…
While there are now copycat products, none are being made with the same end goal as Ginvent calendars, which are representative of Gin Foundry’s core mission: to celebrate Gin and help drinkers find their perfect tipple. Ginvent is a central pillar on which we further this aim, and to accomplish this we dedicate three months of each year to sourcing the exact right gins and bringing the calendars to life.
So what’s inside? Each year, we select 24 Gins that provide a snapshot of the category’s depth, diversity and global reach. We scour countries in search of the very best, the most unusual, the most progressive and most of all – the most sublimely delicious gins. The contents of the Ginvent calendars are carefully curated and painstakingly considered so that all styles of gins are included, from London Dry to Old Tom, to Navy strength, Fruit infused and so on…
We also make an effort to showcase all types of producers, celebrating the artisanal, craft makers while providing a unique chance to compare them in context to some of the familiar, larger names. It’s a chance to really discover the very best the category has to offer and will challenge your preconceptions while it titillates your tastebuds.
We take great pride in presenting a new line up each year so for those of you who have already enjoyed a Ginvent calendar, 2016 promises a different selection. As always, there will be calendar exclusives and new gin launches making their debut behind certain doors, as well as a return of some older gins that are starting to make their way back into the limelight.
Ginvent is a shared experience – to coincide with the unveiling of each day, we run live tastings via our social media platforms, host tastings across the UK and publish articles, interviews and features on the gins included. We hope that by doing this, anyone who wants to peel back the layers and discover a little about the people involved in the spirits can find a perfect platform to learn more. Moreover, we will publish a schedule with tasting notes and G&T suggested serves here, so all the information needed is gathered in one place.
Here is a list of some of the retailers stocking the Ginvent Calendar 2016:
There’s also a Ginvent Pop-Up happening this December (16th / 17th / 18th) at the Vinyl Factory in Soho. For one weekend only, we will be decking the halls with boughs of holly and playing host to a pop-up Gin Bar, which will serve all 24 Ginvent gins alongside masterclasses and tasting sessions.
We’ll be doing speed tastings, cocktail slurping and a ’12 Days of Christmas’ Ginvent Odyssey, chucking quite a bit of booze your way for a very wallet-friendly price. ‘Tis the season, after all…
Grab a ticket today before they all disappear!
What is a Ginvent Calendar?
The Original gin fuelled Advent Calendar, filled with 24 mini drams of different brands of Gins, selected from all over the world
Where is Ginvent Available from?
You can get hold of Ginvent calendars via Gin Kiosk, Amazon, Master of Malt, Not on the High Street and in store at Booths.
What do others say about it?
"Is it too early to be getting excited about the countdown to Christmas? Not when it includes a gin advent calendar..." METRO
Half Hitch Gin
Produced in the former warehouse vaults of Camden Lock, Half Hitch Gin is made using a gin base that is blended with tinctures of black tea, pepper, hay, English wood and bergamot.
Half Hitch has distinct aromas of sticky, waxy pine and zesty lemons. To taste black tea is much more prominent, so too is the bergamot and cracked pepper. Both flavours combine to form a rich caramel, slightly sweet and viscous feeling. There is a prolonged finish with tea and dry pepper lingering behind.
Strane Merchant's Strength Gin
With three gins and an unusual approach, Strane Gin is the latest to emerge from the burgeoning Swedish Craft distilling scene.
The small Swedish distillery it calls home, Smögen Whisky, which is located in Hunnebostrand, approximately 130km north of Gothenburg, was first established in 2009 by former lawyer Pär Caldenby and his family members.
To taste it is led entirely by juniper all the way, with coriander seeds bursting to the fore, alongside the herbal contents that quickly follow, in particular mint. It has a long almost woody finish that balances cinnamon, sage and lemon in a carefully nuanced flavour.
City of London Christopher Wren Gin
Located on Fleet Street, the COLD site is at the heart of the area where many of the now famous gin distilleries had their humble beginnings (and equally, where the depravity of the last Gin Craze was at its most obscene).
Using 5 botanicals (juniper, coriander seed, angelica, liquorice root and sweet orange) and bottled at 45.3% ABV. Soft on the nose, there is a big caramelised orange upfront, giving way to earthier juniper and angelica. The Liquorice root works miracles extending the depth of flavour and length of finish too. Serve it in a G&T with either a sliver of Melon or a grapefruit peel.
Strathearn Heather Rose Gin
This beautiful Scottish gin is flavoured with a two step process - the first sees the botanicals vapour infused during distillation and the second sees the gin compounded with the more delicate botanicals, creating a warm amber colour which changes to pink when topped up with tonic.
Rose is perhaps the most discernible botanical to nose, but only in its typically mollifying capacity, adding a thin, delicate film of calm to the overall spirit. Rose once again rubs its fingers over the other botanicals to taste, blurring them on the mouth as it does on the nose, though orange and lemon peel bring a discernible brightness, whilst liquorice root sweetens the spirit and brings a rich, oily mouthfeel, helped along by the oils from the compounded botanicals – rose and heather.
This is a Yorkshire gin with a whopping 24 botanicals, designed to celebrate the town of Harrogate and its restorative, spa qualities.
A soft, caramel smell greets the nose, with a stewed fruit sweetness leaping forth. Strong grapefruit leads a citrus charge, while the primrose, hyssop and sweet cicely lend a delicate air. Rosemary and thyme combine to bring a herbal twang, adding a somewhat savoury tone to the subtle juniper.
To taste sweetness laps at the tongue – with liquorice, angelica and orris bringing an underlying earthiness and a rich, almost gloopy mouthfeel. The sweetness gives way to the more citrussy herbal botanicals, which allows a soft and pleasant juniper to land slap bang in the middle of the taste. Rhubarb – as it has a habit of doing – dominates the finish. It’s fresh and sweet, redolent of an English country garden.
nginious! Smoked and Salted Gin
Since its birth in July 2014, nginious! has continuously developed innovative gin products. The original idea was to create a Swiss gin of the highest quality (their ‘Swiss Blended Gin’) and since, they have been busy developing new and exciting concepts.
With flavours of Bitter oranges, ginger, smoked chestnuts and their signature special ingredient of rare smoked stone salt from the Swiss Alps - Smoked and Salted hit the market with a tremendous impact! One of a kind - it's the type of gin that will have you (perhaps ironically) transported to a bonfire happening at dusk on a windswept seashore.
Ballyvolane's Bertha's Revenge Irish Milk Gin
Bertha’s Revenge is a unique endeavour of a gin that takes its base spirit from whey and its name from a legendary cow – Big Bertha. Bertha reached the grand old age of 48 and had birthed 39 calves by the time she died in 1993, earning herself the title of world’s oldest cow (and most productive mother, to boot). Bertha’s Revenge Gin, distilled at Ballyvolane House Spirits, is a tribute to both her longevity and her maternal instincts.
Tarquin's Seadog Navy Strength Gin
The idea for Seadog began as a run of 771 bottles which were created to mark the disbanding of the 771 Naval Air Squadron. The opportunity to create Navy Gin for the Royal Navy was too great to pass up, so the team set to work creating a higher proof bottling. Once word spread of the release, with such positive enthusiasm surrounding it, Southwest Distillery decided to make it a permanent fixture, though with a new name and bottle so as to honour the limited nature of the 771 run.
Elephant Sloe Gin
Sloe berries are left to stew in Elephant's London Dry Gin for several months. The Elephant team have kept this as close to gin territory as they can - limited use of sugar only drops the ABV to 35%.
Sweet and tart notes vie for dominance, whilst the underlying gin still makes itself known. This is delicious neat, but its complexities make it equally at home in a cocktail.
Makar Glasgow Old Tom Gin
The botanical line up for Makar Old Tom Gin consists of almond, angelica, black pepper, coriander seeds, liquorice, lemon peel, orange peel and – of course – juniper.
Without that information to hand, you’d still be able to confidently place pepper as an ingredient. It wafts up to the nose, not sharp or unpleasant, but spiced and dusty. There is an aroma of green juniper and a hint of freshly chopped coriander, as opposed to seeds.
Kyrö Napue Gin
“Five Finnish men are talking in a sauna” may well be the start of many a Nordic joke, and while that’s how the story of lifelong friends Miika, Miko, Mikka, Kalle and Jouni establishing a micro distillery starts, the result of their endeavour is certainly no farce.
Perhaps more ironic is that the story about award winning Napue Gin begins with whiskey. Rye Whiskey to be precise.
Pinkster is an agreeably British Gin with a lot of character and a lot of raspberries. At first glance you might think that Pinkster Gin is a pure marketing ploy by the geniuses at big advertising agencies, but when you look and meet the team behind the gin, a slightly different and much more British kind of story unfolds.
This is a gin made by bartenders, in a bar, for a bar, so it's no surprise that it's really quite excellent. Lashings of juniper imbue the spirit with it's typically piny taste, whilst a bouquet of spices warm the mouth up.
This is great in a G&T and superb in a Red Snapper.
Sharish Blue Magic Gin
Blue Magic Gin is an impossible product to ignore, featuring an all-natural flower extract that transforms it from an almost chemical blue to a light, dusky pink when mixed with tonic.
It's not just magic to look at it - rich with a fresh fruit taste, this is a delicious and refreshing gin and outsold most at Junipalooza this year.
Pothecary is undoubtedly one of the most exciting launches of 2016, selling just as fast as our sister company, Gin Kiosk, can stock it.
It's a unique gin, with a strong floral presence and a sweet, honeyed feel. It's strong and savoury, with lavender and juniper providing a strong back herbal backbone.
Ponet Spirits Bishop's Gin
Inspired by a 16th century bishop who never really strove to conform, Bishops Gin is a celebration of the unexpected.
The makers behind this gin were tired of the lack of juniper making itself known to the tongue in modern gins, and have made this to strict London Dry style guide.
Audemus Pink Pepper Gin
Pink Pepper Gin, quite unsurprisingly, takes its name from the punchy, crunchy pink peppercorn – a berry which is plucked from the Brazilian pepper tree at the height of its ripeness and which lends an exotic, light peppery taste to proceedings.
It's a rich, loud drink with a vanilla that achieves ice cream float status when mixed with tonic. Divine!
Hernö Sloe Gin
Hernö Gin is flavoured with sloe's and honey to make a super sweet, super rich liqueur.
Still punchy at 30%, this is just excellent when poured into a flute and topped up with the fizz of your choice.
Creamy vanilla dominates the palate on this gin, which is sweet and sippable.
Made by four very young siblings - so young, in fact, that they were banned from advertising their own product - the gin is scooping up awards for it's unique - yet ginny - taste.
Berliner Brandstifter Dry Gin
Vincent Honrodt established Berliner Brandstifter (Berlin Arsonist, for those not in possession of a German dictionary) in 2009 after realising that none of the spirits available to him came close to resembling those made by his great-grandfather, Ernst Honrodt. Today, the company has two products in its repertoire – Premium Kornbrand and Berlin Dry Gin.
Fishers London Dry Gin is a coastal spirit with an adventurous heart. Made at Adnams’ Southwold distillery, the producers use English seaside botanicals like spignel and rock samphire to imbue their drink with a strong sense of place.
Fishers Gin was founded by Andrew Heald, a drinks industry veteran who was struck with the inspiration to make a gin when wandering around Suffolk.
Fifty Eight Gin is a one man band operation, the gin distilled under a railway arch in Hackney Downs by Australian founder Mark Marmont, a former dive instructor and boat skipper, who fell in love with the cocktail industry and gin, particularly, when he moved to London in early 2007.
Ancient Mariner Gin
This is a Hebridean gin with a juniper lead. Spices and citrus come through to, making it a pretty perfect rendition of a classic.
The recommended garnish is a handful of rocket leaves, which will pack a peppery fresh green feel into a G&T.
For any media enquires about Ginvent, image requests or other information that you may need for editorial purposes - please contact Olivier@GinFoundry.com
Where to buy Ginvent?
Master of Malt
Is there another Gin advent calendar?
Yes, as of this year, Master of Malt also make a different gin advent calendar. It is not the same thing in a different looking box.
So what's the difference? The are quite a few smaller differences but the most obvious (and the ones which will help you choose which you might prefer) are:
The 24 gins inside each calendar are totally different. There are no cross overs, no two distilleries are included both calendar, even with sister bottlings.
Ginvent is not just an awesome gin filled calendar in that there are articles, twitter tastings a pop up bar (as well as numerous other bars involved in activities each day) and other events happening across the world that you can take part in. If you think you might want to go a little deeper down the juniper-laced rabbit hole and might want to learn more about what you are tasting, Ginvent has a world of opportunities (and a community) to host you. It is designed to facilitate access to as much gin loving geekery as possible - via every possible platform.
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