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Gin Joint

Gin Joint


Sloe gin makers from across the world gathered at The George Inn near Tunbridge Wells to contest the 8th annual ‘Sloe Ginster World Championships for 2016 on Wednesday 14th December.

The 'liquid deli' Demijohn, which has outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Oxford, using sloes foraged in Worcerstershire, was crowned Sloe Ginster World Champion for the third year in succession. The silver medal went to London based Mother’s Ruin. The bronze medal was award to Bramley & Gage’s 6 O’Clock gin from Thornbury in Bristol. Elephant Gin made in Germany, but with South African origins, received a Highly Commended award.

The homemade category, which attracted more than 30 entries, a record number, was won by Danielle Ellis from Dursley in Cambridge. Susan Gage from Hailsham in Sussex came second. Third place went to Zoe Rutterford from Essex.

The Sloe Vodka award was won by George Shaw, a pub regular.

Demijohn’s winning sloe gin described by pub landlord Greg Elliott as, “Not too sweet, not too dry and a perfect drink for the winter,” is based on a family recipe dating back to 1842. It is made for made by a husband and wife team, Colin and Phyllis Hingston, in Worcestershire. Although the recipe, which uses London dry gin, is a closely guarded secret.

All proceeds of the event are donated to the MS Society which supports people with Multiple Sclerosis.


Swirls Gelato opens in Tunbridge Wells

Swirls Gelato opens in Tunbridge Wells


Swirls Gelato Cafe has opened in Tunbridge Wells, on the site of the former Lime Italian furniture store on Camden Road.

The 50-seater cafe spans three floors. The downstairs area will used for children’s parties and functions. It offers a range of gelato, waffles, danish pastries, cakes, muffins, sorbets, thick milkshakes, pastries and crepes. Co- owners Ian Parker and Kevin Chaplin intend to offer a delivery service in a fully-chilled vehicle, along with other orders of cakes and desserts.

People will be able to order 1 litre drums of their favourite ice cream, with a choice of 36 choice flavours including salted caramel and blue bubble gum.

The cafe will open from 6am and will close at about 11pm, seven days a week.


Shish to feed the lonely at Christmas

Shish to feed the lonely at Christmas


Shish Turkish restaurant in Sidcup has posted adverts inviting homeless and elderly people to eat free on Christmas Day.

The move has been widely applauded as a “selfless gesture” on social media.

Irfan Can Genc, co-manager, said the idea came to him after an elderly neighbour told staff she would be alone at Christmas.

“She came in to the restaurant to thank us for helping her to close her window the day before and she started telling my colleague how she was very lonely and would be all alone on Christmas Day,” reported Genc, who added, “We started thinking if she is lonely there must be others who also don’t have anywhere to go on Christmas Day.”

Mr Genc said his Muslim faith has taught him to help others.

He said: “It’s our background. On our holy days we see our families and then we help others out in the second half of the day. It doesn’t matter what religion they’re from, what background or culture, we’re all humans at the end of the day. We don’t live in a very nice world and we all need to step up and be one. It’s about coming together."


Tunbridge Wells Gastro Pubs for Sale

Tunbridge Wells Gastro Pubs for Sale


Two leading Tunbridge Wells pubs gastro pubs have been put up for sale. The George & Dragon, a large country pub in village of Speldhurst, and the Black Pig, near the rail station in Tunbridge Wells, on Grove Hill Road, have been put on the market by owner Julian Leefe-Griffiths.

Former ad man Leffe-Griffiths bought the George & Dragon in 2004, and the Black Pig (formerly the Orson Wells) in 2007. He then transformed The Swan on The Pantiles into The Tunbridge Wells Hotel, before reopening the Leicester Arms in Penshurst at a cost of c£1m.

Leefe-Griffith, who says he wants to take on another challenge, is known on The Pantiles for his commitment to putting on events in the area, with weekly jazz nights in the summer along with soul and funk nights, food and drink festivals, and weekly food markets. He was also behind a free Christmas Cracker event on The Pantiles.


English Wines Awards Announced

English Wines Awards Announced


The first wholly independent English wine competition - the Independent English Wine Awards (IEWA)- has been announced.

With English wine producers pledging to increase English wine exports 10-fold by 2020, IEWA founder Alex Taylor sees the new competition as platform for the domestic industry to raise its profile and communicate with a wider audience.

“The quality is fantastic, but English wine is still mainly enjoyed by those ‘in the know,” according toTayylor, who added, “Big wins against Champagne at blind tasting events and news of a £100 million a year industry are remarkable.”

The IEWA will use international competition quality judging standards and its panel of expert judges will taste all wines within a carefully controlled and independently audited process. The awards set to be held annually in Bristol, will be three-tiered: gold, silver and bronze.

The inaugural judging will take place in March 2017 and entries from winemakers are open now.


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