Great Date Night Ideas - The Ginstitute

What do you normally do for a First Date, a 2nd or 3rd date? First dates for me are normally best kept short and done in a relatively busy, dark bar where you can hear each other talk and get to know each other. The Portobello Star Pub in Notting Hill is just that, as decent bar selling every kind of gin possible in nice big copa glasses. Move on to a second or third date...or even a date night with your girlfriend and head upstairs to join the Ginstitute masterclass.

The Ginstitute experience starts off with arriving at the Portobello Star pub for a meet and great and of course a Portobello Road Gin & Tonic! Simply introduce yourself to the knowledgable and friendly staff and once everyone has arrived, you'll head upstairs for the masterclass to begin.

Now you are upstairs in the smaller, more intimate bar, you better have finished the first G 'n' T because you'll have to be ready for a Tom Collins cocktail. If you are unaware of what a Tom Collins is, it is Gin mixed with lemon juice and sugar syrup in a tall glass with ice, topped with soda water. Now you are settled with your gin cocktail, the host takes you through a very interesting and very detailed history of gin which gripped Britain for over 200 years.

After a quick toilet break we then headed into the the Gin Lab, a place where the magic really happens. Here you'll learn how gin is made, what makes a gin 'London Dry', about botanicals and the chemistry of distillation. Much like fragrance you have different levels or notes in gin and we smelt, tried and tested many different floral, citrus, spice like botanicals to choose what you would like in your gin.

At the end of the lesson, you take all off your chosen botanicals and mix together and name your own gin. This gin is then bottled up ready for you to take home and drink. You'll be given a unique code for your gin which is kept on record if you wish to purchase some more in the future. Here is what I put into my gin:

Juniper Berries, coriander, angelica & orris root.

Lavender, bergamot, Lemon Peel, Cardamon & cassia bark.