Gin. It’s a wonderful drink. Complex, bitter, fresh, botanical. But not necessarily one I’d choose as the ideal match for food.
I met up with Laura from Bite Your Brum, Paul Fulford, Luke from Birmingham Updates and a group of other guests, plus our hosts for the evening Tara from East Village Agency and Olly. The staff at Moor Hall welcomed us in warmly, before we were introduced to Robert and given a demonstration of each cocktail we’d be enjoying at dinner.
Our first drink was the Edinburgh Maid: Edinburgh Seaside Gin, paired with cucumber syrup, lime and fresh mint.
Next was Edinburgh Elderflower Liqueur, served with a nettle espuma.
The drink for our main course, the Chateau Smultronstalle, was rather special. More on that later. Then Robert prepared our last cocktail, the Rhubarb Reviver: a take on the Corpse Reviver using Edinburgh Rhubarb and Ginger liqueur.
After our demonstration, we got our first taste of the night: the Moor Hall Bees Knees, made with Edinburgh Gin and Moor Hall Hotel’s very own honey.
This was a beautiful drink, in both colour and flavour, with a delicious honey sweetness that really came through. It went down very easily!
We also got to try a classic Edinburgh G&T as we headed to our tables in the immaculate dining room before dinner was served.
Our first course was smoked trout rillette, wrapped in smoked salmon and served with walnut bread, samphire, lime jelly and pickled cucumber.
The presentation was beautiful, with the blushing pink of the salmon contrasting with the vibrant greens of the samphire and pickled cucumber. The salmon was silky soft, the rillette was creamy with a subtle smoky flavour, and the salty samphire rounded everything off.
The Edinburgh Maid cocktail was served with fresh mint leaves added to the glass just before pouring to retain its freshness. The shoreline botanicals in the Seaside gin gave this drink a gorgeous freshness, and the scent of a cool sea breeze.
The elderflower liqueur and nettle espuma was served as a palette cleanser in between courses. Robert piped the espuma into our glasses at the table for a bit of drama. The flavour was delightfully floral, with a sorbet-like quality from the espuma which was particularly refreshing ahead of our indulgent main.
We were served a beautiful dish of two bone rack of lamb, braised lamb faggot and potato gratin with a juniper and chorizo jus. The lamb was truly delicious, tender, cooked pink, with a lip smacking layer of fat that gave it an amazing flavour. The lamb faggot was almost like a bon bon, a lovely little mouthful unlike any faggot I’ve had before, while the smoky chorizo jus with just a hint of tartness from the juniper cut through the richness.
The real star of the show, though, was the Chateau Smultronstalle. For the uninitiated, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a good glass of red wine. It was, in fact, Edinburgh Cannonball (navy strength) gin, plum & vanilla liqueur, Dubonnet, cassis, tannin and oak, which mimicked the flavour profile and mouthfeel of red wine and complimented the lamb wonderfully.
For dessert, we had a plum and ginger pudding with cinnamon scented custard. The sweet, sticky pudding and rich creamy custard was everything I want in a pudding, and combined with the deliciously fruity Rhubarb Reviver, this was a really grown up sweet treat.
We finished our meal with a shot of frozen Edinburgh raspberry liqueur, sharp Staffordshire Cheddar, juniper chutney and fragrant cardamom bread.
After the meal, Claire and Finlay from Edinburgh Gin took to the floor to talk about the brand and take some questions from the audience. I put Fin on the spot by asking what his favourite gin cocktail was, but his answer of a classic Negroni was met with much approval.
After spending the rest of the evening talking wedding preparations with Laura, and all things gin, whisky and Scotland with Fin, I got to bed at an ungodly hour, but had a truly wonderful evening.
I’m definitely going to try pairing gin with food at home, and with such a broad selection of flavours, including an Amazon number one bestseller, I’ll be stocking up on Edinburgh Gin too!
Huge thanks to East Village Agency, Moor Hall Hotel & Spa and Edinburgh Gin for inviting me as their guest for the evening, and special thanks to Robert for providing such wonderful and innovative cocktails to go with our meal.
If you’re a gin lover, read what I thought of the Gin Tasting Menu at the Jekyll and Hyde in Birmingham.