Newsletter – Upcycle Day

Newsletter – Wednesday 24th June 

Happy Wednesday Team

How are we doing this week? Hope you’re all keeping well out there! This week we’re doing something slightly different. We will still have some drinks for you to try, but today it is Upcycle Day, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to share some brilliant ideas of what to do with those used bottles of yours. And, this is also a great opportunity to talk about sustainability in the distilling industry.

Sustainability is a buzz word in the distilling industry right now. As we become more environmentally conscious, being sustainable has not only become something desirable to a distillery for its efficiency, it’s also become a great selling point as more and more customers become more aware and look for sustainable processes in their products.

I recently investigated sustainability for an article in Gin Magazine and it was quite amazing to see the creative solutions that were being implemented into distilling processes. Once improvements are recognised and made to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, the remaining can be offset by contributions to factories that remove carbon dioxide from the air by a process called direct air capture, making certain distilleries carbon neutral and even carbon negative, meaning that with their continuing production, their impact on the environment is that carbon is removed from the air. Not everyone can afford to do this and for those smaller craft distilleries getting onto their feet, there are lots of little things that can be done, from eco friendly packaging, to sending gin in recyclable pouches as opposed to bottles.

But we do like a bottle. It’s the collectors trophy, something to keep once the spirit has gone. There are some wonderful ‘shelfies’ about, showcasing a collector’s pride and joy. There are some enormous collections out there. Not all of us want a collection of empty bottles, and there are some that are just too beautiful for a bottle bank. I find they work well as bookends to fill gaps in bookcases and I don’t even need to do anything crafty for that. However, people go mad for a bit of upcycling. So, if you’ve got a creative streak, or know someone who has, here are some great little ideas for upcycling your bottles into something fantastic.

Let’s start with the simple, keep it easy. Here are 10 great ideas for upcycling gin bottles.

And for something a little more involved. Here’s an article that doesn’t just include gin, but wine and beer bottles as well.

Cor, that all looks like thirsty work. And I’ve not even shared a cocktail yet, how rude of me! Well, rest easy, I don’t like to let people dry out. And, it’s also Praline Day today, so let’s get fixed up with a few delicious praline based cocktail, centred around the delicious confectionery. Yes, praline is a confectionary. Confession, I didn’t know this until I did some research. So, thought perhaps we could start with a recipe for making praline. It could be an excellent side to your cocktail.

Delicious! And now we’ve got a good handle on what praline is, how about we get onto some praline cocktails. Now, I’m normally very careful to share gin and rum cocktails as that’s what we like, right? However, gin and rum seem to sit back and let other liqueurs do the work with praline. I’ve shared some recipes I find interesting, I would also be really curious as to what would happen if we replaced some of these spirits with rum. 

Tequila and praline? Are you mad? Absolutely not, this drink is a real game changer.

What an extraordinary cocktail. And I’m sure it will taste incredible.

And what rum would you try with these? There’s one in particular that really stands out to me.

Queen Cleo Spiced Rum: Queen Cleo Spiced Rum begins it’s journey as a smooth dark rum, run in from the Caribbean. It is then fearlessly spiced in the UK using a bold mix of botanicals; a luscious blend of caramel, pecan, vanilla, hidden spices and refreshing lime. Buy it here

And there we have it! Lots for you to do this week. Hope you enjoy it and see you next Wednesday!

Newsletter – Summer G&R Cocktails

Newsletter – 27th May 2020

Happy Wednesday Team!

How are we all doing? Did we have a good bank holiday Monday? I hope you managed to get a little bit of sunshine wherever you are, even if through an open window. Sitting in a chair in a sunny nook is a lovely thing. Now, today it’s sunscreen day today, so we’re celebrating everything sunshine. Plus, last week I took a ‘faux holiday’ at home (should have been Lisbon but hey, we’re all in the same boat there, huh?) And, on that first day away, I forgot my sun cream and burnt like a piece of bacon which definitely made the rest of the holiday a little trickier. So, with this in mind, I thought not only could I use this as a great opportunity to remind you all to cream up if you’re going outside. I could give you some hints on ‘faux holidaying’ at home, and deliver some bright flavoured gins and a suitable sunshine cocktail or two.

So, let’s start with the important thing. As you cool kids (the class of 95) will know, Baz Luhrmann once said “If I could offer you one piece of advice for the future, sunscreen would be it.” It’s important stuff and can save your life down the line so if you’re getting out in the sun give yourselves a good slathering of the white stuff first. I’ve taken to using factor 50 as once it’s on I know I’m alright for a bit.

Now we’ve got that important public announcement out of the way, let’s move onto the fun part huh? Firstly, if you have been affected by a holiday cancellation but are still taking that holiday, here are some top tips for recreating that holiday vibe at home. Yes, this is what we did last week, and I loved every second of it.

  1. Get up early for airport drinks. Treat yourself to something nice. At least you can saunter downstairs rather than undertake a two hour journey to your local airport. Mine’s Gatwick.
  2. Move. We were lucky and moved into the spare room. If you’re in a smaller pad, then set up a den in the lounge or move your room around. Or if you’re in a family, swap rooms for the week, whatever gives you that feeling of waking up somewhere different. This is a great substitute for the flight and finding your hotel. And add the little touches. We made up a minibar that wouldn’t lump us with a heavy surcharge at the end and it was fabulous.
  3. Recreate the surroundings. We treated ourselves to some sun loungers and a kiddy paddling pool and pretended we were at the beach. We also made a large glass drinks dispenser of rum punch which we sat on a table as a ‘poolside bar.
  4. Take in a bit of culture. We found a walking tour video on youtube, and sat and watched it in bed. Obviously not as good as being there, but it felt really good as it was raining in the video and we were all cozy and warm with tea and biscuits.
  5. Sample the local cuisine. Unfortunately we had no local take-away to try Portugese food. If you like to cook, and fancy a bit of self catering then hunt out some recipes to try. If you’re doing the whole lazy holiday thing then treat yourself to a takeaway, sit at the table and stick on some local music.
  6. Take holiday snaps. We had so much fun recreating typical holiday photos! Washing machine doors make great plane windows. Who knows what pool that blue is in the background. The imagination of the photos makes all the difference.
  7. Admire the architecture. We went for a quick walk around the block and went to the local park for an hour. We got some good holiday snaps of local architecture and countryside.
  8. Send postcards. Trying to sniff out a pack of Lisbon postcards was not easy. So, I got a pack of blank ones and drew our own. It was a nice little activity, it was an enjoyable walk to post them and the family appreciated it a lot.

I know some of those sound silly. But I found a bit of imagination really did help. No, we weren’t actually there, but all these little things helped create an experience that we really enjoyed and we definitely spent more time having fun than wishing we were there. 

Well hey, so far in and still no spirits This needs rectifying immediately! With a rather special little cocktail recently that I discovered via Cookin Canuk. I was draw to this receipt immediately by its use of one of one of my favourite citrus fruits, clementine along with the use of tarragon. An unusual but fabulous herb.

Then, we have this rather gorgeous little thing, care of the Spruce Eats. The colour of this drink, the straight up martini serve and the mingling flavours of gin and apricot brandy are something a little special. No wonder it’s call a Paradise Cocktail.

And lastly. A simple twist on a stone cold classic. The Tequila Sunrise must be one of the most classic sunshine cocktails there is. And surprise, it’s super easy to make a gin version. Check out this recipe from Nutmeg Nanny and get cracking.

And as always, here’s my recommendations of  bright gins from our range. To be honest, with this sort of cocktail you could use a dry as you get so much lush sweetness from the clementine. But hey, if you like those bright notes then these will be for you!

Rascal: Although not citrus, I think Rascal makes the cut when it comes to what I’d call a sunshine gin. Light bright flavours reminiscent of a summer’s day. Passion fruit and raspberry take classic citrus to another level. Premium strength, no added sugar and a must try for pornstar martini fans. Buy it here

Fines Master London Dry: A gin created by professional rugby players Pat Cillers and Mike Rhodes. A classic gin with a hearty helping of citrus deliciousness namely orange, lime and grapefruit. The bottle even comes in a wrap reminiscent of a rugby jersey. It’s the big blast of citrus here that gives that lovely bright idea of sunshine. Love it. Buy it here

Mumbai: It doesn’t get much sunnier than the lush sweet flavours of mango. India’s greatest gift to the world is its native mango. Also known as the king of fruits, Mumbai gin is brimming with this tropical flavour and a burst of pomegranate. Buy it here

And there we go! A little bit of sunshine for you all. I hope you enjoy having a go at the drinks and do check out our shop for some of the recommendations. Hope you have an amazing few days in the sun. Have fun and get that sun cream on!

Newsletter – Gin Liqueurs & Sweet Treats

Newsletter – Friday 31st January

Happy Friday All!!

And this isn’t just any Friday. This is a super special Friday! This is the last day of January! So hats off to all you wonderful people doing Dry January and Veganuary! You’ve won! How have you found it? Any lessons or permanent changes as a result? It feels pretty good to test the old willpower every now and again, right? If you’re celebrating tonight, have a wonderful time. In your honour, I have scoured the internet to put together a fantastic collection of cocktails that are that little bit special, because you deserve it, obviously.

And, perhaps you’re one of those who weren’t doing Dry January or Veganuary and you were just holding out until payday? I get you guys! Well here we are! I think celebrations are in order. 

Now, whether you are thinking party party, or you’re just super prepped and starting to think about Valentines Day, we’ve got a great deal for you. We’ve got a sale on Cin Cin at the moment. Have you tried it before? Pronounced ‘chin chin’, Cin Cin is a gin liqueur so at 20% ABV, it’s softer and sweeter than a full strength, traditional gin. The flavour profiles are also a step away from the more classic gin flavour, Cin Cin comes in Marshmallow and Parma Violet varieties. So, this gin liqueur is definitely for those of you with more of a sweet tooth and with that ABV and crowd pleasing party shimmer, it would be great on the rocks, as well as with a mixer. And, keep your eyes peeled as there will be reviews going up for these on our site soon. 

Sweet gin liqueurs are raging at the moment. They are EVERYWHERE. The gin boom that started a few years ago has brought gin into the limelight and everyone wants a bit. Some people aren’t so into the strong, juniper forward flavour of classic gins. They want something softer and fruiter and that’s created a huge opportunity for gin liqueurs, especially when they have that nostalgic connection to old style sweets. They’re hugely popular. It’s important to recognise the difference between the spirits. In most senses, gins and gin liqueurs are two totally different things. The old sweet nostalgia is what’s behind the set of recipes I’ve sifted out for you today. Any of you like making sweets? Well, here we go:


Care of, here’s a great little recipe for Gin and Tonic Marshmallows’. Surprisingly easy to make and super tasty too, go check out their site at the link below:


Next up, something a little bit different, a Gin and Tonic Fudge from Jane’s Patisserie. I love a boozy fudge. I’m a big fan of rum fudge and Baileys fudge is outstanding. I think this is a really interesting recipe bring together creamy fudge with zingy citrus notes:


And lastly, come the fudge on. Who doesn’t want pink gin gummy bears? Or…if it’s valentines day, maybe you could pick up a heart mould instead and make pink gummy hearts for your loved one? Or you? I’m totally making me some, I deserve it. Care of Frugral family, this is a great recipe and super easy too.

Cor, they sound amazing. I’ve always fancied a bit of sweet making and what a great opportunity to give it a crack, aye? I’ve been doing the whole eat less exercise more since New Year. Wanted to kick start my January and it’s having such a good effect, I think I’m going to carry on. Still have to have a little bit of a good stuff though. Honestly, if I told myself I wasn’t going to have anything I liked, I’d crumble within hours. All about moderation, it seems. Anyway, pass me some pink gin gummies.


Happy Friday 31st January everyone! From all of us here, have a great night tonight if you’re out. Do remember to be kind to each other and stay safe as I’ll bet a few people out there will be going bananas.


Big love, all of us at GRF

Soul Rum – Soul Salty & Soul Passion!

Soul rum liqueurs are the result of rather clever idea from a group of friends who love their rum. They spotted that the rum industry is growing into something much like the gin industry, with discerning drinkers looking to try different rums, understanding the complexity of flavour, along with a historical story or two.

They also spotted the growing trend in gin liqueurs in recent years. The boom in gin liqueurs has created a huge industry, with an equally large variety of different flavoured liqueurs appealing to a vast number of consumers, some of which don’t normally drink gin, but have found the liqueurs to be a nice stepping stone before getting into the harder stuff and sometimes just enough on its own.

Well then, isn’t about time for rum liqueurs? Something a little gentler on the palate, a little bit sweeter and something that can be sipped over ice? Something pleasant and tasty for those that find the heavy hit of straight rum a little too much. Well, look no further than Soul. Aimed at those that like their drink a little softer, with an image of a lioness on the label for strength and a name as deep as it gets, it’s a well thought out and well-made little drink. The guys that thought it up don’t own a distillery so they worked with a third party distillery to create the liqueur and were heavily involved in constructing the flavour profile and tastings to hone the spirit. A little birdy tells me that there may be some other varieties on the way too.


Soul Passion is a wonderful, rum punch kind of drink with mango, pineapple and passionfruit. It’s beautifully sweet and fruity on its own. It perks up fresh juice, predominantly pineapple or mango but it would work in orange to keep it simple. You could also splash some into some lemonade or soda water, and it would be fab in prosecco. It also lends itself ever so well to tiki cocktail recipes, already nursing those vibrant key flavours. With summer coming, it would be great to freeze some in sorbets or dribble over ice cream to make your own boozy Solero style desert. It’s a delicious and incredibly versatile libation.

How To Make A Soul Passion Cocktail:

50ml soul passion rum
25ml Fresh lime juice
75-100ml Pineapple juice
Drizzle of Raspberry syrup

Soul Salty is something entirely different. Flavoured with Salted Caramel, it is absolutely divine on the rocks! Rich sweetness twists with the tingle of salt and velvet caramel flavours all melding together in a beautiful fashion. How to drink it? If you’re a fan of White Russians, try replacing the Kaluha for this and you are in for a tasty treat indeed. As far as I’m concerned you can’t beat it on it’s own, or slipping it into a hot chocolate. Keep it simple and add a 25ml measure to your favourite chocolate, or if you really want to go to town then build the hot chocolate into a freakshake with all the trimmings.

How To Make A Salted Caramel Espresso Rumtini:

50ml Soul Salted Caramel Rum
25ml Coffee liqueur
Double Shot Espresso
Monin Caramel syrup to taste

I’ve got a friend who doesn’t drink very much. She finds the taste of straight spirits far too much and she’s got quite the sweet tooth. I suggested she try a little bit of the Soul Salty when she came to visit recently, and she loved it! I had to tear the bottle away from her in order to finish this write up. Soul is definitely a great starting point for people wanting to get into rum, whilst not having a palate for so much of the heavier stuff. They’re beautiful drinks and I predict they’ll be opening the door to the rum world for many a drinker indeed.


Bernie @ The G&R Team

Newsletter – How To Make Your Own Autumn Themed Drinks!

Newsletter – Friday 11th October

Happy Friday!

Well here we are! The definite change in the air is signalling cosier times. I love Autumn. I love all that stuff, the spicy drinks, the big jumpers, the naps inside on a cold day. And, hey! What a great opportunity to wrap up and get inside into the cool, crisp air! To take a dawdle somewhere beautiful, to watch the leaves cycle through their gorgeous array of colours before spinning down to land on the ground, ready for boots to come wading through the rustle piles.

How was Sheffield? I hope that you had a good time. How did the team treat you? Was there anything that you were surprised to see? Anything that you weren’t expecting?

Now then, this is the point where I would normally, tell you where we are today and give you a little history of the venue and the area. Well, today’s a little different as we have a small gap in the festivals. Yes, the team does need to take a little rest sometimes! So for the next 3 weeks we’ve got a little less to say in the newsletter.

And what day is it today? Well there are a few different options but they’re all rather difficult to relate to gin or rum! So, let’s do something completely different and look at some easy to make Autumn themed drinks:

Rum and Hot Chocolate – It doesn’t get easier than this. Put a little spiced rum in your hot chocolate. It is the ultimate in cosy comfort and it’s absolutely delicious.

Apple Cider Mojito – This is a lovely Autumn Twist on a summer classic! Fill 2 glasses with ice. Add the juice of half a lemon to each glass. Add rum, then top fill with apple cider. Top with soda stir then finish with mint, thyme and a slice of apple.

Hot Buttered Rum – I stumbled across this recipe today. What an incredibly indulgent thing it is! Firstly, you need to make the rum batter. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Whisk in some brown sugar and heat until it has been dissolved. Then, remove from the heat and add cinnamon, orange zest, ground clove and nutmeg, vanilla icecream and salt. Oohlala! Once you’ve got your batter, it’s time to make the drink! Add the rum and hot buttered rum batter to a mug, fill with hot water and wait for batter to melt, stir and add a cinnamon stick.

So, there we go! If you like these then you crack on and do some research. There are so many fantastic recipes around for cocktails. It’s a great time of year too for a little more indulgence so go on, treat yourself!

Have a great weekend!

Bernie and G&R


World Baking Day!

Today marks World Baking Day!  Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Mary Berry or a James Acaster, World Baking Day is all about rolling up your sleeves, rolling out your mix and having a bit more fun. And what’s fun? Baking with booze! I’ve been scouring the internet for a few recipes to share with you today in case you fancy having a go over the weekend. Unless of course you’re off to Leeds for this weekend’s festival, which is promising to be a gooden. Leeds is a great place and when I’ve visited festivals there before, it’s always been a blast!

A little birdy tells me they’ve got 2500+ attending at the Town Hall. Food from The Street Food Guy and a wonderful array of stalls, including: Brockmans, Rascal, Kuro, Schweppes, Soul, Agnes Arber, Old J, Empress gin, Shelleys, Nelson, Manly and Normindia! Ooderlally! With those, as well as the bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Bring it on! 

Now then, back to the baking! Let’s start off with the gin:

Gin Lemon Drizzle Cake

A Ginny Lemon Drizzle Cake is surely the starting point on any gin baking journey. Lemon drizzle cakes are a popular choice and the citrus flavours lend themselves to gin effortlessly. Whether you want to keep it simple with a recipe from the Sainsburys site:

Fancy stepping it up a gear? You can with this great recipe for Mediterranean gin and tonic drizzle cake, using oranges and limes rather than the go to lemon. The recipe can be found on the Sharkett Sisters site: you can create something that’s show stopping and delicious.

Gin Cheesecake

More of a cheesecake person? We’ve got you covered. There are plenty of recipes online for gin lemon cheesecakes. Just to try something different, you can make this lovely sloe gin cheesecake. Being more of a liqueur, you could try this with one of the various gin liqueurs out there so there is huge scope for experimentation! You can find the recipe from Good Housekeeping here:

And if you’re feeling pretty confident in the kitchen, I would suggest this recipe for one of the most beautiful gin cheesecakes I’ve ever seen. It’s a Strawberry and Lavender Gin cheesecake by Liquid Culture at:

Now for the rum fans, there are some very special treats here.

Again, let’s start simple with a Rum Cake. Rum cakes are traditional, holiday season desserts from the Caribbean. Their usually formed as a bundt cake and can contain fruit which has been soaked in rum. However this receipt is incredible simple and uses a packer of cake mix as the base, so if you’re only so skilled in the kitchen, then this is the one for you! You can find the recipe from allrecipes here: 

And those sweet, spiced rum flavours go great in chocolate, so you could use chocolate in there too. You could do this by adding cocoa powder, or as in this recipe, devils food cake mix. Phoar! Here’s a simple recipe for that from Big Oven:

Now, something really rather special for you more ambitious bakers out there. This ridiculous and incredible Pecan Caramel Rum Cake from Salted Mint. It looks absolutely divine and would be wonderful with a little coffee, or rum on the side? Maybe stick to coffee. Still, you can find the recipe here:

I hope that’s sparked off a few ideas for you! These are some of my favourites. But, there are so many recipes to be found online! If you fancy sharing any of your creations you can email them to me and I’ll include them on the blog, or for a bit of instant gratification, you can upload photos to your social media including the handle @GinFestival and the #worldbakingday.

And as for you lovely lot heading out to Leeds this weekend, I hope you have a wonderful time! Remember to share your photos and experiences! You can write to me at and tag us on your social media too. Have fun!

Hope you have a great weekend and week people! Over and out!