Spitfire Heritage Gin leads sky-high nationwide toast on Armed Forces Day

Spitfire Heritage Gin Rhubarb Patrol Armed Forces Day Liverpool

This time last year I shared news of a new gin, Spitfire Heritage Gin in an exclusive “look out for this” kind of way just before it went on sale in Wine Rack. I mention it again because two things have happened.

Number 1 Thing: Spitfire’s distillers have now brought out a new vodka – Supermarine Vodka (RRP £45, www.spitfireheritagedistillers.com) which is named after the company that created the Spitfire. The vodka – which is the base of the gin before the botanicals are added –  is getting rave reviews.

My exclusive tasting revealed a vodka which is soft, lusciously creamy, rich, balanced and laced with vanilla. I sipped on its own with chunks of ice. You don’t need anything else.

Number 2 Thing: Spitfire Heritage Gin (also RRP £45 from Wine Rack shops – and now in-store and online at Harrods) supports the Spitfire Heritage Trust and I was invited to a cross-country Armed Forces Day toast on June 24 as tribute to our servicemen and women.

The historic Sky Toast began at the 34th floor of a restaurant in Liverpool, the Panoramic, when Susan Morgan MBE, the Royal Navy’s longest-serving female sailor,  raised a glass with guests. It was a special day for Liverpool, with the city hosting The National Event.

Susan Morgan and David Beaufort-Dysart Spitfire Heritage sky toast
Susan Morgan and Panoramic34’s general manager David Beaufort-Dysart

The toast then rolled down to Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse and Bar in Birmingham where Bridget Donaldson, who has won the RAF Cadets’ most prestigious award, the Dacre Brooch, picked up the celebratory baton.

Finally, at the Coca Cola London Eye, Ian Hewitt, Spitfire Heritage Gin co-owner and founder, introduced Dame Mary Richardson. Dame Mary is patron of The Spitfire Heritage Trust and she raised the toast as a London Eye capsule soared upwards.

Across the country people raised a glass and in Liverpool we were lucky enough to enjoy a gin cocktail (or two).  The Panoramic had created a special cocktail to mark the occasion – The Rhubarb Patrol. This is so named for the strafing sorties carried out by Spitfires over France in the war.

Very nice it was too; a special creation using rhubarb puree,  rhubarb bitters, egg white, Grenadine, sours, sugar and Spitfire Hertage Gin.   It was amazing to sip this cocktail and look out at the wonderful city of Liverpool and the World Heritage Three Graces beneath us. The gin itself uses botanicals as a tribute to wartime pilots; borage (for courage), rosemary (for remembrance), English rose petals (for the flowers of Britain who flew so bravely) and blood orange.

Over at Marco Pierre White’s another special cocktail had been created – The Spitfire Clover Club – using 25ml Spitfire Heritage Gin, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml raspberry syrup and an egg white.

It was a spirit-raising day in more ways than one.

FLASHBACK: Spitfire Heritage Gin takes British icon to new heights

Win two tickets to the Love Wine 2015 festival in Birmingham

Love WIne 2015 festival

If you love wine, here’s a heads-up … there’s a brand-new wine experience coming to Birmingham and I have a pair of tickets to give away!!

Love Wine 2015 festival, Birmingham
The Love Wine 2015 festival takes place in Birmingham

What’s not to love. Well, there’s all this to love …

LOVE WINE 2015 takes place on November 7th at the Hotel du Vin in Birmingham and there’ll be at least 200 wines to taste, PLUS a chance to meet amazing wine blogger Helen McGinn (Knackered Mother’s Wine Club) and Joe Wadsack, the TV pundit on  BBC’s Food and Drink show.

If that’s not enough, and you love wine, there are also free Love-In sessions to learn about our favourite drink, some presented by Master of Wine Richard Bampfield.

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The event was created by wine professional Laura Clay and the team at BYWine. Laura was frustrated that that no wine event of any significance ever takes place in Birmingham.  LOVE WINE 2015 is the result … you can read more about the event on Laura’s blog here.

Oh, I should mention that everyone who visits the festival gets to take away a Riedel wine glass  AND a free goody bag, worth more than £13.

All this for £20 (or less if you buy group tickets). For more information and to buy a ticket go to www.lovewinefest.co.uk

When to LOVE WINE

Saturday 7th November 2015
Session One: 11.30am – 3pm
Session Two: 4pm – 7.30pm


How to win a pair of Love Wine 2015 tickets

All you have to do is follow @lovewine_fest and @claretsgirl (that’s me) on Twitter and then tweet ….
Hey @claretsgirl I love #wine too and I’d love to win tickets for @lovewine_fest  #birmingham
It’s not too difficult is it? Good luck – and closing date for entries is 10pm, Sunday November 1st.
PS – The prize would be for Session One.