Following the success of their Maiden Event, The Gin Society has a lot to live up to in their next event, the Prohibition Dinner, happening this Thursday at Lower and Upper College Hall. This time, however, the gins are to accompany a three-course dinner. I caught up with Toby and Jonah ahead of the event to find out what was in store for the next installment of gin-themed events that promise to deliver more than the average St Andrews event.
If you attended the Maiden Event – or at least caught wind of it – you’ll remember that the aim of the event was to catch on to the rising student attraction to gin in St Andrews – as well as delivering events that give guests proper perks for the often-extortionate amount of money paid for tickets. With the number of times that my friends and I have decided to miss to an event because going would mean forgoing food for a few weeks, even in our first year, Toby and Jonah definitely have the right idea.
Like the Maiden Event, just under 200 guests are dressed to the prescribed theme. Whilst last time girls and guys alike turned up in floral, botanical garb, this time calls for a little more razzle-dazzle. “We chose the 1920s theme to show our attention to detail and design to the max, as well as getting guests fully involved in a proper party,” says Jonah. Toby adds that, “the aim is to have a proper prohibition feel to the dinner – think darker and gloomier, with real character – whilst the afterparty upstairs is far more glitz and glam.” While it was obvious that GinSoc had put a huge amount of effort into their Maiden Event, Jonah and Toby suggested that even more energy had gone into the planning of their second and final event of the year.
In comparison to what I’m now expecting from Thursday’s event, the Maiden Event seems like it was simply a toe in the water of what GinSoc are able to deliver. For this event, guests can expect a three-course meal – with either chicken breast or a lentil and tomato stew for the main – accompanied by six completely different gin concoctions chosen specially to complement the food they’re served with. Even better is that the drinks guests receive are made from high-class, professional, top-notch Edinburgh gins and Fever Tree tonics. A mixture of weak and strong, standard, liqueur and seaside gins, Jonah and Toby also disclosed that they’ve got a lot more involved with the creation of these drinks – with garnishes such as thyme and grapefruit that may not necessarily be typically paired with gin and tonics. I think I’m personally most excited for the raspberry liqueur paired with lemon, but am equally excited to trial each and every one of the drinks, especially given the attention GinSoc have given them.
The Lowensteins picked The Edinburgh Gin company first and foremost because of its Scottish heritage. However, it also fits beautifully with the 20s theme with an “inherently Gatsby-esque style and branding” – Toby points out that their flagship product in particular, the Classic gin (pictured), has a design incredibly reminiscent of the 1920s in both its patterns and colours.
In addition to the three-course meal and six G&Ts, the entertainment that Jonah and Toby outlined seems to make the ticket price worth it – which should definitely be comforting to those who felt like that £67.50 was a hefty amount all in one go. Toby cites “a phenomenal amount of entertainment” to rectify guests who were perhaps a little lost for things to do at their last event. This includes a 20-piece jazz band with live jazz throughout the evening, a live magician – a favourite all the way from Durham whose set will be, of course, gin-inspired – as well as blackjack and roulette where guests have the opportunity to win full bottles of gin. And if the six gins weren’t enough, the return of the vodka luge will, of course, satisfy those who don’t yet feel fully refreshed (or those who still feel too sober). Toby pointed out that GinSoc “don’t cut any corners” and that they “want their guests to feel transported away from St Andrews, as if they are in fact sitting in Gatsby’s mansion.”
It’s clear that both brothers are intensely passionate about their cause – which is a huge credit to them, especially given the immense buzz that has already descended on the St Andrews student body before their second event has even taken place. In order to keep costs low for the guests, they “work extraordinarily hard” on events so that no money is wasted whilst also delivering as immersive an event as possible with as many added extras is possible to give guests. Jonah and Toby also gave me a small preview into what we might expect next year – as well as membership perks to those as passionate about gin as the GinSoc founders are themselves, it is the aim of the society to hold 2 events per term. Toby’s personal main aim to hold a garden party in the summer, which he believes to fit well with gin.
Although it is clear that the events are starting small, the brothers hope that GinSoc will continue to succeed with a snowball-like effect, picking up students from a range of different year groups all united by their love of gin. Hopefully, this second GinSoc installment will be another rung on the ladder to the success of creating a unique series of St Andrews events that will be remembered for years to come.