In the heart of Leamington Spa, The Warwickshire Gin Company, founded by Dave Blick, welcomed me for a very boozy tasting experience. There’s no wonder that it’s rated as the top experience in the area on Trip Advisor. Guided by our hosts, Olivia and Finley, we delved into the history of each spirit - and the local heroes each one celebrates!
Using a small-batch method in a traditional copper pot, the distillery crafts spirits that pay homage to the classics with a historical twist. The inspiration behind their gin collection is rooted in local history, weaving the county's unique narrative into each hand-crafted flavour.
Located in a railway arch, just outside of the town centre, we were led by knowledgeable guides through the production process and the inspiration behind each product.
The focal point of the experience was the tasting session, featuring pairs of gins that showcased the company's dedication to quality. The final round introduced a trio of spirits – gin, rum, and vodka.
But to kick us off, we all received a welcome drink, a Leamington on Parade paired with aromatic tonic and berries.
Image credit: Alice Hargreaves
The first pair we tried were Leamington on Parade and Pelota.
Leamington on Parade is their flagship gin, based on the story of a local eccentric who bought real elephants to Leamington Spa. The flavour profile was as exotic as the elephants including tea and cinnamon.
Pelota focussed on the history of lawn tennis in Leamington and had strong citrus tones.
Interestingly - I chose Leamington on Parade while my guest chose Pelota for our first gin and tonics of the night.
The next pair were the Kingmaker and the Philosopher’s Daughter.
The Kingmaker was a regal concoction paying homage to Richard Neville. The fruits of the forest, including blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, and raspberry leaf, alongside the addition of frankincense, created a unique and memorable gin. All the ingredients (bar the frankincense, were growing freely in the hedgerows during the time of his power.
The Philosopher’s Daughter is their happy accident and the only gin that was created before they found a link to a historical event. This was created while Kingmaker was being developed but was too heavy on the rose for a mighty Kingmaker. Instead, this award-winning gin is now linked to the history of Kenilworth Castle and the daughter of one of the most revered philosophers of the Elizabethan age.
Image credit: Alice Hargreaves
Again, me and my guest decided to be different to each other. I went for the Kingmaker with an Indian Tonic while my guest opted for the Philosopher’s Daughter.
Finally - the extra fun round. This time, we tried the Kingmaker vodka (with lemonade), the Peeping Tom Gin (with Coke!) and the Pugilist Spice Blended Rum (with Coke or ginger ale). This time, we could choose any drink from the lineup for our final tipple.
I enjoyed all three of these, while my guest found the power of the star anise in Peeping Tom way too much for her. For my final drink, I opted for the rum and ginger ale, and my guest went for a vodka and lemonade.
Image credit: Warwickshire Gin Company
By the end, it’s safe to say we were both a bit tipsy. Four full drinks and seven samples is a lot to fit into 90 minutes.
The straightforward approach to the tasting, combined with the freedom to choose drinks in each round, made the experience both accessible and enjoyable. The Warwickshire Gin Company has successfully blended history, innovation, and enjoyment into this bargain event (it’s only £20!) that I really recommend.
Want to give this tasting a go? You can book your experience on this site here.
Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team.
Chatting Food Contributor: Alice Hargreaves
For Alice, the thrill isn’t just in the eating but also in the creating, cooking, baking, pickling, and preparing of food. Having lived in Sydney, Australia and London, UK for a number of years, Alice is now based in the West Midlands.
Follow Alice @alice_ate_here