If you've been out and about during the holidays, it may not have escaped your notice that there has been an explosion of new gins into the market. There are at least 4 new gin producers within a 5 mile radius of my home (I haven't tried quite all of them yet), only one of which has been available for more than a year.
Hot on the heels of the growth of craft beers and locally produced wine, comes the artisan gin. Fans of Radio 4's Archers will know that the production time is not nearly as long as it is for whisky or wine, which helps to shorten the cash flow. I remember taking a school Business Studies group to visit Chase Vodka a few years ago - one of our more popular outings - and finding their Chief Distiller experimenting with a new prototype line in gin, adding different mixes of herbs and botanicals to find the best recipe - that has become Williams Gin. The price point is typically around £33 to £35, and the gins might be flavoured with almost anything including pink peppercorns, seaweed or tea.
With this booming market, it is not surprising that food producers are tapping into the demand from consumers in their 20's and 30's, who are looking for quirky new products, to extend their product range by incorporating gin into their foods. From yogurt and ice cream to smoked salmon and popcorn, gin is popping up in all sorts of different supermarket aisles, although the alcoholic content of a gin and lemon yogurt is only 0.25%, and in a BBC report, Nick King, a spirits teacher at the Wine and Spirit Education Trust, says "you'd have to be some kind of god-like taster" to detect gin flavours in many of these foods.
But if you feel inspired by a combination of artisan gin and the Great British Bakeoff season, there's a link to a recipe for Gin and Tonic cake in the BBC report!
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