Meet the Blogger

Katie Hughes, What's Katie Doing?

Published: 22nd March 2019

In our latest Meet the Blogger, we caught up with Katie Hughes who runs the What’s Katie Doing? blog and social media channels. Covering travel, food and of course, gin. Based in London, Katie is passionate about sharing her adventures in the world of gin with her growing audience and there’s very little Katie doesn’t know about gin, especially the Negroni cocktail.

When and where was your first Gin & Tonic?

According to family legend, it was aged 5 when my lemonade and Grandma’s gin and tonic got mixed up. However, as I don’t really remember this occasion I can’t verify it. My first gin and tonic would probably have been before Sunday lunch with the family. My mum really enjoys gin and I vividly remember her buying a bottle of the recently launched Bombay Sapphire in Duty Free and being very disappointed on opening it to find out it was just the bottle that was blue!

What started you off on your blogging journey?

I originally started a travel blog when I took a year off from my then job of working for a bank. When I finished my year off, my blog turned more into a lifestyle one, covering my three main passions of gin, travel and food.

What’s the day job?

I work in finance for a media company in their head office. This makes me proficient in using excel (which I do use for everything!), but doesn’t add much to the gin blog. My work colleagues are a little bemused about the amount of gin that gets delivered to work though.

What do you do to stay abreast of the latest gin news?

Twitter is one of my favourite sites to catch up on the most recent gin news. Social media is a great way for me to keep in contact with my fellow gin bloggers and pass on the latest news and gossip. Facebook is also good to see what is trending with consumers and the Gin Annual and articles from Gin Foundry add thoughtful commentary to the industry.

Who’s your favourite gin blogger?

This is tricky to narrow down! I would definitely say that I love Matt from The Gin Shelf, because he makes every review a story and l love his writing. Rory from The Gin Lord is another favourite and one of the earliest Gin Bloggers I met. I can’t wait to follow his distillery journey as he creates his own gin. Also I have to shout out Inka from On the Sauce Again. We met at Think Gin in 2016 and it was good to meet another female gin blogger as most of the attendees that year were men, us women have to stick together! 

Tell us something about yourself outside the world of gin…

I do love to travel and to combine all three of my passions by eating and drinking locally when travelling. I’m up to 61 countries (aided by my year off!) and my ultimate gin destination is currently Cape Town – there are loads of distilleries and gin bars to visit and a thriving food scene.

Would you admit to having a favourite gin?

God no, it’s like choosing your favourite child! I can just about commit to saying that I prefer certain gins for certain occasions. For example a gin that makes a great martini might be lost in a negroni, and what works in a gin and tonic, might not work in a cocktail. And sometimes you come home on a Friday night and all you want is a slap in the face with a juniper heavy London Dry!* (*if you feel similar then I recommend VJOP from Sipsmiths)

What’s your personal ‘perfect serve’?

Currently my perfect serve would be a negroni. For this you need a flavourful gin with a bit of punch to balance the Campari and vermouth.

What’s the best and worst thing about being a gin blogger?

The best thing is talking to distillers and learning about their products. I love finding out people’s stories and every so often I think ‘I could make a gin’, but I just don’t have the technical knowledge to compete with all the brands that I see in the market… Maybe one day…

The worst thing would be having too much to do! I have to juggle the demands of the day job, events, social media, friends and family, and of course actually doing some blogging…

Who’s supported you on your gin journey?

I already mentioned that I met both Rory from The Gin Lord and Inka from On the Sauce Again early on in my gin journey and we help each other. Sandra, aka The Juniper Chick and her partner Julian, supported me a lot when we met at London Cocktail Week. They introduced me to different spirit brands and provide plenty of cocktail inspiration. The ladies behind London Cocktail Week are also very supportive of my ‘gin lush guides to London Cocktail week’.

In addition, Olivier and Emile Ward from Gin Foundry have been very supportive. I first met them at a Gin Foundry event and Emile has supported my purchase of gin, whilst Olivier has always been very helpful when I’ve had questions about a distiller or gin. I definitely value their opinions.

What Scottish Gins are you looking forward to trying out next?

I’m ashamed to say I have yet to try Lind & Lime, despite all the recent promotion. Lussa gin is one with a great story and an all-female team that I’d also love to try. The House of Botanical gins from Dr Adams in Aberdeen sound very interesting and Nerabus Islay gin with its wild heather botanicals seems to be a fab Scottish gin to try! I can’t wait to try loads more on my trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh this Spring and Summer.

What plans does What Katie’s Doing have for the rest of 2019?

Since I’ve invested in various training courses to help improve my blog and social media, I want to give back. When wearing my hat as a travel blogger there are a ton of resources available online to support to me. When looking as a gin blogger there is really very little. A lot of the training I’ve done is transferable and as such I’ve been working with Olivier Ward from Gin Foundry to pull together a ginfluencer education event. This afternoon aims to facilitate learning and sharing of experiences between gin bloggers and social media influencers.

Other than that, I’m gearing up for the start of the gin festival season, having enjoyed The Gin to My Tonic Show last weekend and Junipalooza coming up. I have so many ideas for the blog that actually putting them into action is going to take a while, but keep your eyes posted for blogs that focus on gin experiences!

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