Take a look inside Hull's new gin school as Hotham's Distillery opens its doors

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 17 Jul 2018

Hull’s one and only gin school has opened its doors, and lessons are underway.

Hotham’s, based in Hepworth Arcade at the bottom of Whitefriargate, officially began teaching the public everything they need to know about gin at the weekend, with groups of friends and families creating their own botanical drinks.

Inside Hotham's Gin School

Simon Pownall and Emma Kinton have spent the past 18 months learning the science behind the art of great gin, and their shop inside the UK’s only L-shaped arcade has been given a truly bespoke makeover to accompany their unique venture.

Simon Pownall and Emma Kinton at Hotham's Gin School

With nine copper stills, guests pair up around the sides of the room while they are taken through the process of creating their own tipple.

One of the gin experiences at Hotham’s costs £125 per person, with a pair at one still costing £150. This includes the ingredients, bottle of gin and accompanying cocktails.

READ MORE: Hull's new gin school will be opening its doors very soon - and tickets are on sale now

The experience lasts three hours, and will see guests greeted with cocktails and educated about the myriad of botanicals to choose from when curating their gin, including everything from jalapenos to bee pollen and horseradish to rose petals.

Customers are then seated and informed about the history of gin, before being allowed to distill their own flavours, tasting their creations at every stage.

A copper still at Hotham's Gin School

“It takes about an hour to distill the gin, but we want guests here for three hours so they can be introduced to the 50 ingredients from around the world,” said Simon.

“We want them to smell them, taste them, and really get to grips with what flavours they want.

“We then ask guests to compile their own information sheets, so Emma and I can help them if they feel they need to adjust their flavours, and it also means if they want that gin making again, we can do that for them as a bespoke order.

“After that we give guests the opportunity to try the ethanol used as the base liquid, so they can see just what a transformation the gin goes through, as well as neat gin, and then we urge them to try the gin throughout the stilling process so they know when to stop and preserve the best flavours.

There are over 50 ingredients to choose from at Hotham's Gin School

“Their gins are then bottled and named, with a little graduation ceremony for the guests, and they can store them for a few days to settle before being able to drink them.”

For those wanting a more accessible experience, they can pay £35 per person to have drinks and watch the firm’s signature gin being made, before raffling off the finished product to one of the lucky guests.

Hotham’s is named after Sir John Hotham, who stopped King Charles I entering Hull’s Beverley Gate in the 1640s, and all nine stills give their own nod to the city, with names such as Courtenay, Marvel, Godber, Heaton, Shearsmith and more.

Hotham's Gin School

There is also a gift shop available inside the store, with Hotham’s own handcrafted gins, including a cardamom flavour and a King Billy gin with fresh orange, juniper and coriander.

All of the gin created by Hotham’s are made using the nine stills, meaning they can make just nine bottles per hour.

Gin experience sessions run from Friday to Sunday at 12.30pm, 6pm or 6.30pm.

To book and for further information visit the Hotham's website.

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