Gin Diaries

The Gin School at Piston Gin, Worcester | Gin Diaries

October 12, 2018

You know what news helps dampen the holiday blues? Winning a competition to go to a gin school that’s what! Yup, I totally did. On the night before we left Switzerland I found out I’d won a spot for the coming weekend at The Gin School at Worcester’s new distillery, Piston Gin, and I was excited!

I’d spotted Piston Gin on social media a couple of months back now, just as the new developments were opening on Severn Street in Worcester, where the distillery is based. On a side note, I still need to check out the neighbouring Nest Cafe, mainly because I’ve heard so many good things about it. It’s also slightly closer to my new house than heading all the way to my usual haunts for weekend brunches/lunches. However, back to gin.

Piston Gin Bottles on Shelf

Piston Gin and Tonic


Piston Gin was founded in early 2018 by Nick Weatherall, a builder by trade, who became so fascinated by the story of gin that he was compelled to create his own. He started by building a distillery, in the old Royal Worcester porcelain works on Severn Street. Since opening he has decided to start his own impressive Gin School to give everyone else a chance to dabble in making their own gin.

Piston Gin School Distilling Set Up

Piston Gin - Gin School

Piston Gin and Tonic

On arrival we picked a station each to work at (Dr W was gin making too) and started with a Piston Gin and tonic. Now I’m definitely going to have to pick up a bottle of actual Piston Gin, because oh my, what a drinkable G&T that was. A fresh and light gin, it was easy going and would definitely make the perfect summer’s evening G&T. Garnished with grapefruit and blackberry, the sweet and sour garnishes really enhanced the flavour of the dry gin.

Piston Gin School - Gin Ingredients

Gin Ingredients for Dr W

MissPond Gin Ingredients

Getting Started – Picking Gin Ingredients

The Gin School kicked off with Nick giving us the run down on how to make gin, discussing how there’s generally 10 – 14 botanicals that make up gin, some commonly used (angelica, coriander and it can’t be gin without juniper!) But others are select to the gin being made. The important thing is that botanicals have to be carefully selected so they balance each other. Balancing sweet and savoury, spicy and less so etc. Nick also quickly went over how to make our gin using the mini stills in front of us. Then we were let free to pick whatever ingredients we fancied from a huge selection. Now Dr W and I are quite different in what we like. He went with a floral citrus gin (I must admit his turned out really nicely, considering I’m not usually a floral gin person!) and I went with a very savoury gin (including black pepper, cardamom and dried tomato – yup I know, but it worked!) Once we picked our ingredients out, we got distilling.

Piston Gin School - Gin Making - Gin Dripping Out of Condenser

The Distilling

It took a little time to get our stills to heat and producing gin. You then have to run it at a drip, so it does take a little bit of time. We had to produce 425ml of gin to make our final bottle. This took a while, so we helped ourselves to more G&Ts whilst we waited! Once we’d reached 425ml this is the point we tested the ABV% of our gin, around 80%, which is completely normal. Distilled water is then used to dilute the gin to the ABV you want. The average gin on the market is around 40%.

Dr W writing on his Piston Gin bottle

Piston Gin Bottles

The Final Thing – Bottling

Once diluted to the right %ABV, in our case 42%, we then bottled our gin. The final thing after sealing the bottles was to name them both and fill in the distilling details. Being scientists we inevitably went for science-y names!

Overall we had a great time at the Piston Gin Gin School. I know I didn’t pay for our spots, but for £120 a person it’s good value. You get 3 hours of Nick’s time, G&Ts, and you get to take home a 70cl bottle of your own gin (I’ve looked at other gin schools and the take home is can vary between a 25/50cl bottle)! What more could you ask for?! An absolutely wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It would make a wonderful gift for a family member who is a gin fiend!

Have you been to a Gin School before? Would you check out Piston Gin and their Gin School? Let me know in the comments,


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P.S. Yup so I won my spot and I 100% was not obliged to blog about my experience. But I’m excited for Worcester’s very own gin and I couldn’t not share this with you. Piston Gin is lovely and if you spot it in a bar in Worcester, order a G&T with it!

P.P.S. Piston Gin Distillery is located at The Painting House at Royal Porcelain Works, Severn St, Worcester WR1 2ND. The Gin School runs every Saturday evening from 4-7pm, be sure to book ahead though.


  • Reply Francesca Wellman November 8, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Looks like great fun – I did a similar experience recently in Manchester. Definitely a must for any gin fan!

    Francesca x |

  • Reply Tori Harrison October 16, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    OMG! What an amazing opportunity with a bottle of gin as well! Great post and your photography is fantastic!

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:13 am

      Thank you 🙂 It really was a fun afternoon!

  • Reply susan October 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Love stuff like this, I recently did a Manchester one that looks similar!

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:15 am

      I think a lot of distilleries are offering this now. It’s good fund though 🙂

  • Reply Mr Luke Christian October 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    Oh I love Gin so this would be amazing with a couple of friends!

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:33 am

      It really would. The Three Rivers Distillery run a similar thing in Manchester.

  • Reply Rosaleen Marmion October 13, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    The bottles are so cute! £120 is not bad at all for the length of time you spend there plus your get Gin!
    I wish I had a distillery in my kitchen … for aesthetic purposes obviously haha.

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:49 am

      And you get some nibbles too! It’s definitely a worthwhile afternoon.

  • Reply Rhian westbury October 13, 2018 at 10:13 am

    This is the kind of thing I want to book for my boyfriend when it’s his birthday as quite a few places in London do this x

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:50 am

      I think quite a few distilleries do it now! It’s really good fun.

  • Reply Laura October 13, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Oh wow this looks like so much fun!! I’d love to go to Gin school and learn more about one of my favourite drinks

    Laura x

    • Reply MissPond October 21, 2018 at 8:51 am

      It really was lots of fun, I’d really recommend.

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