We’re pretty big on gin in my family, so to celebrate my Mum’s birthday we enjoyed an afternoon at The Grange Hotel involving a gin masterclass followed by a traditional afternoon tea.

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The Grange Hotel, Bootham, York

The Grange Hotel is a luxury, boutique-style 4* hotel located in the affluent ‘Bootham’ area of York. Built in 1830, the Grade II listed building features 41 ensuite rooms, welcoming guests with period antiques and luxurious Regency style décor.

Arriving at 1:30pm we were asked to go up to the library for our gin masterclass and tasting, run by highly professional duo Still & Heart. Offering bespoke experiences to help the ‘gin curious’ learn and discover more about their favourite drink, local gin experts Still & Heart were there to guide us through a number of different gins, garnishes and mixers.

Greeted with a delicious complimentary gin cocktail (a twist on a classic bramble – Bombay sapphire gin, sloe gin with a hint of vanilla and fresh blackberries) around 16 of us were quickly seated in the circle of chairs around the room. The theme of the masterclass was “blue bottle gin” – any gin that comes in a blue bottle (surprise surprise)!

After a brief introduction on the history of gin our knowledge was being put to the test with a quiz – we didn’t do very well; clearly we need to drink more gin..?! We were then introduced to a selection of crafted, local distillery spirits which we were encouraged to try neat, with a garnish, and finally with a tonic. My favourite one was called Silent Pool which I had never heard of, garnished with coriander and topped up with elderflower tonic. This was something I would never think would work well together, but it was lovely!

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Blue bottle gins

It was really interesting to learn all about different gins and their backstories, where they come from and how they are made. At the end of our masterclass we were given a long G&T to take down to the restaurant and have with our afternoon tea. My only wish was that the class could have been more hands-on and we could have a go at making our own cocktails!

After the class we were shown to the Ivy Restaurant where we devoured (we were pretty hungry after all the gin) everything you would expect to find at a traditional afternoon tea – finger sandwiches (ham & tomato, smoked salmon, egg mayonnaise and cucumber & cream cheese), plain scones with jam & clotted cream, and a selection of cakes including ginger loaf with a gorgeous tangy lemon preserve, a chocolate cake and a vanilla & raspberry cake. The food itself wasn’t as tasty as other afternoon teas I’ve had in the past, but was well presented with fast service.

If you’re looking for a relaxing but boozy afternoon filled with gin & cake I’d definitely recommend trying this masterclass. You can also stay for lunch if afternoon tea isn’t your thing.

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The next gin masterclass afternoons are held on:

July 1st

October 7th

December 16th

Priced at only £37.50 per person this experience is a great gift idea for any gin-thusiast!

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