Do you fancy going to gin class, and making a bottle of gin, to your own exclusive recipe?
It sounds like a great evening out for anyone from serious alcohol connoisseurs to enthusiastic pre-wedding parties.
But that’s the opportunity on offer at the Union Distillery in Market Harborough, home of the Two Birds brand.
The small distillery - which nevertheless produced 50,000 bottles of own brand spirits last year - is offering gin workshops from next month.
Pupils will work in an attractive “gin classroom” featuring 10 specially-made desktop mini stills and attractive lighting, like a cross between a trendy bar and a chemistry lab.
On the three-and-a-half hour course, you get to:
* Hear about the history of gin, including the Two Birds brand.
* Learn the basics of gin creation.
* Invent your own gin recipe from 50 different basic blends and hundreds of possible permutations, and distil it on your own mini-still.
* Name your unique gin and bottle it, to take home. It’s ready to drink in 10-14 days - if you can wait that long!
* Get a taxi home, because quite a bit of gin will have been drunk in class.
What makes the course possible - and what many people don’t realise - is that distilling gin can be a comparatively quick process.
“Distilling the gin only takes about 30 to 40 minutes in our mini-stills” said Two Birds “ginstructor” Simon Brannon (27).
“The flavours and the smoothness will then develop in the bottle over the course of the next 10 to 14 days.”
The cost of the course is £110, or £125 if you work as a pair on your 70cl bottle.
“The only legal requirement of gin is juniper berries” said Simon. “Most gins also have coriander, but that’s not a legal specification.
“After that, I’ll advise, but it’s pretty much up to the class what they use from our wide range of botanicals.”
The Two Birds Spirits company was originally created by engineer and gin buff Mark Gamble, initially on a home-made still at his home in Market Harborough.
The company now has a small distillery (and classroom) on Welland Business Park, off Rockingham Road.
At first all their gin, vodka and absinthe was produced on that original still, called Gerard, after Mark’s father.
“We’ve bought another one since” said Simon. “And we’re getting another four during the course of the year.
“We need six stills to keep up with demand. Last year sales were 400 per cent up on the year before.”
Two months after launching in 2013, the company’s London Dry Gin was awarded Top Gold Award at the Craft Distillers Alliance.
“We’ve got a quality product, and as soon as people taste it, they buy it” said Simon.
Find out more about the Two Birds gin workshops at www.twobirdsspirits.co.uk
The gin workshops are at the bottom of the home page.
Gin tastings and cocktail tastings will also be available soon.