Being a huge fan of the Gin Garden, I couldn’t believe my luck when they announced a pop-up at Kew Gardens Orchid House, a mere stone’s throw from my front door.
Coinciding with the “alluring orchids” festival, the Gin Garden chose Kew’s UNESCO World Heritage Site with pinpoint precision. It really is the perfect marriage of colour, scent and ambiance, especially when it’s experienced with a lovely gin cocktail in your hand.
I must confess a sense of anticipation as we were dropped off at the remote gate at the top of the gardens and started the solitary walk through the dark to the Princess of Wales Conservatory. How’s it going to work, what will it be like, will it be busy, will I see any fellow food bloggers?
Once inside a friendly Gin Garden rep explained the set-up and directed us to the first of two bars. As for the cocktails, there are four on offer, two at each bar, one “hot”, one “cold”, all made with No. 3 London Gin.
To start we opted for the citrus comment, a blend of gin, triple sec, dry orange liqueur, shaken with pressed pineapple juice, sweetened with vanilla syrup, served over crushed ice and as if that wasn’t enough, scented with orange, pink grapefruit and lemon grass. Suffice to say this was a dangerously refreshing and tasty cocktail.
Wandering around Kew’s visually arresting mini-maze of tropical ecosystems you can’t help feeling separated from your daily toil and it’s fun to see easels, origami classes, lectures and a wandering magician dotted around the mock-rainforests and mangrove swamps.
After our ‘cold’ cocktail, we naturally opted for the ‘hot’ option, a Hooker Hot Cup, apparently inspired by the Hooker Orchid. This cocktail mixed gin with gold needle tea, pressed blood orange, lemon juice, sweetened with Bhutanese spice infused with honey, rhubarb syrup served warm and finished with a flame of toasted winter spices. A heavier option, but it fit perfectly with the cooler temperatures of that part of the orchid house.
To quote the Gin Garden’s own site, they create “visually stunning garden environments – transforming any space into a lush oasis, full of seasonal colour and scents”. And without a shadow of a doubt they did that at Kew, and I for one, can’t wait for the next Gin Garden experience!