Celebrate World Gin Day with Gordon Castle Scotland

Scotland is known best for its whisky, but recently I have had the pleasure of discovering a few of the country’s best gins…

Gordon Castle Estate, Walled Garden and the Gordon Castle Scotland brand are the results of eight years’ hard work by Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox since they took over the running of Gordon Castle Estate, Fochabers in 2008. Completed as one of Scotland’s largest houses in the 1770s by the Duke of Gordon, Gordon Castle is the spiritual home of the House of Gordon, one of Scotland’s oldest families.

Gordon Castle Gin

The estate is found in the Spey valley, in the heart of whisky country, with a stretch of the Spey River running through the estate, which boasts some of the best salmon fishing in the world. The Walled Garden at Gordon Castle has a long history, with evidence it existing in a guise since the 17th century. At over eight acres, The Walled Garden at Gordon Castle is one of the largest in the country and, once restored, will be the largest fully productive walled garden in Scotland. This historical place acts as the inspiration behind the luxury brand and since its launch in June 2014 now produces over 200 lifestyle products, luxury beauty products and premium gin, all inspired by the fruits, herbs and plants grown in the garden.

Gordon Castle Gin

Gordon Castle Gin is an award-winning premium gin handcrafted using botanicals grown in its very own Scottish Walled Garden, bringing you an air of history and provenance in every sip. Gordon Castle Gin is a crisp, elegant and refreshing gin with a lovely clean palate. Subtle notes of lavender linger in the back of the nose and within the mouth. The garden flavours give the spirit a clean and refreshing character.

Gordon Castle Gin

The thing I look forward to most about Fridays is getting home to a cold gin and tonic. This weekend, to celebrate World Gin Day (9th June), I will be raising a toast to this wonderful spirit with Gordon Castle botanical gin. The cocktail recipes with this unique spirit are endless, but this gin is particularly well paired with mint, lemon, lime and plenty ice. The two main tasting notes you may notice in the gin are lavender and garden mint, so if you have easy access to a lavender bush you can use this summery scent as a garnish if you wish.

You can taste this delicious gin for yourself at Gordon Castle Gin bar at the Taste of London Festival in Regent’s Park from the 13th-17th June.

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Gordon Castle Scotland. Find out more information and buy a bottle of gin (£34.25 for 70cl) here.

Fiume, Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station is one of the biggest transformations currently taking place in London. While the building work finishes, some of London’s best loved restaurants and chefs are setting up shop, and I predict it will soon be a atmospheric dining destination.

One of the first chefs to take a leap of faith was Italian maestro Chef Francesco Mazzei, with his upmarket bistro Fiume. The stylish eatery offers rustic Southern Italian recipes presented with flair and charm. I visited last week to check out the extensive menu.

Fiume

Fiume is the ideal summertime dinner date location, with wonderful views of the Thames and a civilised but buzzing vibe. The menu was explained to us in great detail by our patient waiter. He couldn’t help but let us know when there was a dish he really liked!

Fiume

After much deliberation we decided on a few starters to share, followed by a couple of bowls of homemade pasta. Of the small plates I urge you to try the Umbrian truffle Grana Panama doughnut, this utterly indulgent creation was sweet and cheesy with a hint of woods truffle. So delicious but not suitable for any kind of dieter! The Zucchini Fritti were also wonderful, the thinnest and lightest morsels of battered vegetable I have ever had the pleasure of eating.

Fiume

From the list of pasta dishes I recommend the Burrata tortelli with hazelnuts, sage and black truffle. It was a rich and comforting bowl of food. Perfect parcels of pasta filled with creamy cheese and coated in a buttery herb sauce. Though rich the portions are relatively small, and I was surprised by the expensive price list, perhaps a little ambitious for this trendy new part of town.

Fiume

Full from the savoury dishes we didn’t try puddings on this occasion, but the restaurant has all the Italian classics you might expect, from Tiramisu to Panna cotta.

When we left Fiume at 8.30pm every table was full, and I expect this reliable Italian eatery to get more and more popular as Battersea Power Station continues to evolve.

More information and book a table at Fiume here.

Lina Stores, Soho

Lina Stores is a historic institution in Soho, known for its charming, Instagram-friendly turquoise facade. Inside there is a unrivalled collection of Italian specialities and a delicatessen selling delicious Mediterranean produce.

Lina StoresLina Stores

And this Spring Lina Stores finally opened an eatery, so fans can try the delicious Italian ingredients cooked to perfection by the Italian head chef Masha Rener. Found on Greek Street, the restaurant is immediately recognisable from its signature stripy awning. Inside a counter offers an atmospheric dining experience or you can choose to sit downstairs in the cosy dining room. Food photographers like me will, I’m sure, opt for the outdoor seats, especially in balmy weather.

Lina Stores

We were greeted with open arms and wide smiles, the staff seem genuinely pleased to see guests, despite being immediately popular with London diners. With guidance from our waiter we chose a selection of the most desirable dishes.

Favourites included the Aubergine Polpette, soft and beautifully seasoned with a crunchy coating and the simple but wonderful Toast with buffalo ricotta and spicy ‘nduja.

Lina Stores

There are pasta dishes to suit every requirement, and the portion sizes lend themselves to sharing – I suggest 3 between 2.   Gnudi is a rich but delightful vegetarian option, a flour-free pasta made with ricotta and spinach and served in a moreish brown butter and sage sauce. I also loved the delicately flavoured courgette & mint ravioli with a vibrant cherry tomato sauce and the Pici pasta with rustic woody porcini mushrooms and aromatic Umbrian sausage.

Lina Stores

Desserts are often an afterthought at good casual Italian restaurants, but Lina excel here too. The Rich dark chocolate cake with whipped cream is perhaps the best of its kind I’ve tried in London, rich but light with a lovely moist texture. Lemon sorbet is great too, so creamy and smooth it could have been ice-cream, but I was assured it has no dairy in it!

Lina Stores is a great place to come for a snack and aperitif, quick pasta pick-me-up or a full blown Italian feast. With so many homemade pasta joints in town the competition is tough at the moment, but unsurprisingly Lina Rick every box, and I can’t wait to get back to try the rest of the menu.

More information and book a table here.