There is a bar in Falkirk called The Wine Library. I know. It’s a miracle I ever go anywhere else, right? Mostly that happens because they’re quite a specialist wine bar and it turns out that if you actually know your stuff about wines most bottles end up being more than £15 and I’m just not darned rich enough to regularly enjoy expensive fancy wines. Still, as a treat, I love The Wine Library.
I now love it even more, because last Friday they launched their sister bar, just upstairs from their main bar, The Gin Lounge. Oh yes. I noticed that they were advertising the launch on The Wine Library’s Facebook page and was delighted that I had no plans for the Friday evening because I would quite possibly have had to cancel them. On Friday I was going to the launch of The Gin Lounge.
We arrived at about 8 pm and things were already getting busy. There were no spare tables so we decided to make a beeline for the bar and figure out that problem later. The gin menu was extensive. I chose and Arbikie Kirsty’s Gin and tonic, with a vague notion of working through the menu alphabetically. This is a Scottish gin that is recommended with tonic (The Gin Lounge favours Fevertree, as is right and proper) and lemon and blueberries to garnish. It was entirely too drinkable.
At this point, P sheepishly mentioned that he wasn’t in a gin mood and asked for a Peroni instead. It happened that The Gin Lounge was involved in promoting Peroni’s new gluten free beer and had some bottles available free to try. Not that P is gluten or wheat intolerant, but he said it was good, and that he couldn’t taste the difference at all.
This upstairs bar is quite a comfy space. It might not be huge, but it’s easy to see why it has served as a function room for parties and wine tastings in the past. When we eventually did get a seat I was very comfortable. P admired the wine barrel tables and I enjoyed the view from the second-floor window. On a less busy occasion, I could easily imagine myself losing track of time here.
A little later I tried a Jaggi citrus gin and tonic, served with lemon. Clearly, I had abandoned my alphabetical plans. This is also a Scottish gin and also delicious, but somehow spicier than the Arbikie gin. I think I preferred the Arbikie but I have a feeling that when it came to ordering it would really depend on my mood. I was pleased to have selected two gins, almost completely at random, and to have discovered two that tasted so different.
I was also lucky enough to speak briefly to a gentleman who was handing out tasters of Valentia gin and tonic, garnished with pink grapefruit. Now this one was fascinating – it’s a Spanish gin, made with sugar cane and only sold in Scotland. Go figure. Oh, and it’s now totally an obsession of mine. I need to pick up a bottle asap. It’s easy on the botanicals, vaguely sweet the way rum or cachaca might be, and is perfect with that grapefruit they were using. It’s pretty much the ideal summer drink.
Before we left we were kindly given a goody bag containing a Peroni glass, a small can of Fevertree tonic (oh well now I’ll have to buy a bottle of Valentia…), a book about gin, and a collection of flyers and discount codes for local businesses, including the Wine Library. Now all that remains is to return and try Bloom and Copperhead and Daffy’s and Eden Mill and Four Pillars and…