How to try 36 different gins without breaking the bank


Distill your own gin at 45 Gin School, the best lesson I've been to in years. Perfect gift for a gin lover


I do love my gin, and always have that battle between returning to an old favourite, and trying something new. And, despite writing and opinions to the contrary, I don’t get through that much so a bottle lasts quite some time.

So, how to get through a great variety of great gins without causing the bank manager to pass out? Well, here’s two gift ideas for you, that would give 36 different gins for about £170.

Of course, that’s still a lot of money, but when you figure that good gin is about £30 a bottle, so would only give you just over 5 bottles for the same amount. And when you figure on trying 36 different ones then that would be over £1,000. Possibly with a pickled liver on the side.


Ginvent 2016 Advent Calendar


First off, you can count down December with the Ginvent Advent Calendar, which will be released for pre-order shortly from Gin Foundry, and shipping next month. They say there will be calendar exclusives and new gin launches making their debut behind certain doors, as well as a return of some older gins that are starting to make their way back into the limelight.

Now, that sounds like a good way to get through to Christmas Eve. But what to do after that?


Eden Mill 12 gins of Christmas


Thankfully the team at Eden Mill are giving us the 12 Gins of Christmas, so keeping the theme going. With 12 flavoured gins, this will refresh your palate after the excesses of the Christmas table each day. Apple and Cinnamon sounds perfectly festive, along with Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Apologies for the Nat King Cole ear worm you’ve now got going on.

Unlike the advent calendar, this is a perfect gift to be given on Christmas Day, as it also contains two glasses and a voucher for one tour of the Eden Mill gin experience. But I don’t see why you couldn’t gift it to yourself either.

I can’t see a price yet on the Ginvent Advent Calendar, but will update when it goes live. The Eden Mill 12 Gins of Christmas is available now for pre-order, priced at £69.

Limited numbers of both will be available, so best to get pre-orders in sharpish.


The best Advent Calendars for food and drink lovers


I love how Advent calendars have really evolved over the last few years, and the grown ups have really been the ones to benefit. Here’s my favourites that you’ve still got time to order for this year:

24 days of gin


Ginvent - my perfect Advent Calendar. Twenty four days of fabulous gin


I know, I already wrote about this one. But it still sounds like my idea of heaven and the Ginvent calendar would be top of my list.


Get a brew on every day up to Christmas


Tea Advent Calendar - get the kettle on


I love my tea, and so don’t really need much encouragement to have a cup every day. But a cup of something different every day? That’ll keep it interesting in the run up to the big day.


Ale right on the night


Craft Beer Advent Calendar


Brewing of a different kind with this one, with a bottle of good craft beer behind every door. Although a bit like with the gin one, possibly not for consuming at the breakfast table!


A biscuit a day

Biscuiteers Advent Biscuit Tin

Probably doesn’t keep the doctor away, but when biscuits are this beautiful you’re going to feel great. I know Biscuiteers are not cheap, but they are lovely.


Sweet treats for this year and every year


A sweet treat a day for this year and every year from Fortnum & Mason


Whilst this might be expensive for year one, this beautiful wooden advent calendar from Fortnum & Mason can be refilled year after year. In fact Fortnum’s even sell a refill pack, but nothing to stop you doing it yourself in the future.


A drop of the pure stuff, every day


The Whisky Advent Calendar

If whisky is their thing, then this one is probably right up their street. I appreciate it’s not cheap, and maybe you could just give this as a Christmas gift and cheer up the 25 days that follow. Will make January feel a lot better!


Share and share alike


An advent calendar made especially for two


So,  you could take to views on this calendar from Hotel Chocolat. Either this is a lovely romantic calendar with two chocolates inside each door, one each for you and your loved one. Or it’s a great calendar for a greedy person. Your choice.


December is hurtling towards us at a rate of knots, so best to get organised, so that each morning in December it’s not just the kids who have something to look forward to.


When Advent got interesting


I remember Advent calendars when I was a kid, lovely pictures with lovely pictures behind cardboard doors. I don’t think I can remember chocolate ones coming into the frame, although I think they did for my brother.

Well, now there are all kinds of chocolate ones on offer, but then I love that there is even more variety available now, especially for those of us who might have thought that we had outgrown advent calendars. I mean, who doesn’t want one of these?


Betty's Advent calendar - perfect Advent gift for a food lover


First up, a sweet offer from Betty’s, still one of my favourite places in the UK. This lovely fabric calendar was designed by Poppy Treffry, so Cornwall’s finest meets Yorkshire’s! A festive chocolate treat hides behind each pocket and this is one you could use for years to come, just top up the chocolates. This one goes on sale at the end of October and will be priced at £47.50.


Biscuiteers advent calendar - great gift for a food lover at Advent

Again, on the sweet theme, then you could try this one from Biscuiteers. Now, this is not a cheap option in year one, as the fabric pockets is £55 and then the Advent Box of biscuits is £85. Now, they are beautiful, and you will get many years out of the pockets, so maybe it’s a worthwhile investment. Or buy the pockets and bake your own!


Tea Forte Advent Calendar - perfect Advent calendar for a tea lover


Need something to wash down all that sweetness? I rather like this Tea Advent Calendar from Tea Forte which gives you a different seasonal infusion of cheer each day. A nice treat, and definitely a lower calorie option than the others!


Beer advent calendar

But then there’s also another couple of drink based options, although less suitable for opening and tasting at breakfast time. This advent calendar is from Best of British Beer, so you can guess what’s behind each door! I like the Christmas Day option is a Champagne style ale, but plenty of variety to go at before then!


Ginvent Calendar - my kind of Advent Calendar


Rather more up my street is the Ginvent Calendar, but again not one for sampling at breakfast time perhaps! But 24 different gins to try? That’s like all my Christmases come at once!

So plenty of new, interesting choices. Though if you want the ultimate low-calorie advent calendar, then I can personally recommend the No 7 one!