How To Start A Gin Club

Looking for a fun way to enjoy gin and meet new people? HOW TO  START A GIN CLUB! Here is a short guide about how to start a gin club that is totally cool.

Figure out who you’re inviting to your gin club

The first thing you should do is figure out who you want to invite. Life is busy and so you need to surround yourself with positive, fun, happy people who share your love of gin.

This will be the most important choice you make, because it will affect everything else about the gin club, from where and when you can meet to which gins you taste.

You can invite as many people as you want, but the suggested size is 8 to 12. In our opinion, 4 is too few and 12 is too many so somewhere in the middle is good!

Find a core group of people with a passion for craft gin. Send them an email with your expectations and ideas. In this initial communication, give people an idea of what they can expect: how often you’ll meet (once a month is typical), how long the meetings will be (about two hours usually does the trick), and any other need-to-knows.

Define the purpose of your gin club 

Do you want to take this seriously and learn something new? Or is this just an excuse to get together and get a bit tipsy? Maybe you want to catch up with friends, meet new people, or even a mix of these. This should include deciding on the tone and theme of your club.

Suggested Purpose: To learn more about SA craft gins and to taste 3 different gins every meeting. The Gin Box suggests you use 1 premium tonic water (Fitch & Leedes or Barker & Quin) for tastings and it is vital that garnish options are considered.

Figure out when your gin club will take place

Sometimes fitting a gin club into friends’ schedules can feel like musical chairs. It seems like every date works except for one person. The easiest way to get around this is to plan in advance and keep to a schedule. Finding a good time slot (often a weekday evening) will ensure you have decent attendance later on.

Choosing one day every month would work best.

Decide where to meet

Lots of groups take turns at one another’s homes, but if you want to remove the pressure to entertain, then quiet bars and restaurants are an easy option.

Will your gin club involve food at all? Usually we say YES  (to soak up all the alcohol!), but make sure it’s something simple like burgers or lasagna if you have gin club at a home or a reasonable restaurant. Remember this is a gin club not a food club so don’t let the focus become food!

Just remember you will need to ask restaurants and bars before if you can bring gins into the venue. If you want to get really creative, you can vary the meeting place and go to different cocktail bars.

Decide on a process to taste different gins

If you’ve been thinking about starting a gin club, you probably already have some gins in mind that you would like to taste. (Or 20!!!)

For the first meeting, it makes sense for you to suggest 3 gins to taste and for you to start the process.

But here’s a caveat: There is nothing worse than a gin club dictator: you know, the kind of person who doesn’t take suggestions, who rules their gin club with an iron fist. Don’t be that person. Figure out a way to make choices democratically!

Who buys the GIN and TONIC and GARNISH?

Finally, once you’ve figured out how to start a gin club you need to think about the nitty gritty stuff. Gin isn’t cheap, so who pays?

SUGGESTION 1: Each members has a turn to host and in that month, you pay for the 3 bottles of gin, tonic and garnish options. If there are leftovers at the end of the evening, you get to keep those, thereby building up your own gin collection. But that can be expensive for 1 person in that month (especially if you are doing food too), so we do have some other options for you…..

SUGGESTION 2: Every meeting 3 people are nominated to bring 3 different gins and 12 tonic waters on a rotational basis. That way the costs are shared by 3 people. Each person must bring their own garnish options for that gin.  This is still a lovely way to spread the cost! And again you take home what is left – growing your own gin collection!

SUGGESTION 3: Every meeting each person brings a full bottle of gin, 6 tonic waters and some garnish for the gin they have selected. You take home whatever is left from your gin. DOWNSIDE: you need to communicate who buys what to avoid overlaps. Gins vary in price so getting costs to be even and fair might be tricky. Also, 10 is a lot of gins to try in one evening! However, it’s a great way to grow your collection as you are then buying a gin every month.

Consult The Gin Box for delivery to your door for most SA craft gins!

How to taste gin

This is important.

  • You must try the gin neat first – no ice – discuss the nose
  • Then add a block of ice to see which botanicals are released
  • Add a bit of premium tonic water
  • Add more ice
  • Add garnish that works with the gin
  • Refer to Ginventory App to see tasting notes and suggested garnish options.

Other things to think about

What should we call ourselves? That gives identity – you need a name for this gin club!

How do we keep in touch? When you start the group, distribute a list of phone numbers and addresses. Get a book to record which gins you taste in which months.

Think about some basic gin club ground rules including: how much time to discuss next month’s gins, holding a discussion with and without a leader, and structuring the format of the meeting.