Meet the BloggerDan Cox, Ginteresting Times
Published: 11th June 2019
In our latest Meet the Blogger, we meet Dan Cox aka Ginteresting Times, named after Dan’s legendary and impressive home gin bar. Dan’s passion for gin came about when he took part in his first gin tasting hosted by “his Royal Juniperness”, The Gin Lord, and then a few days later he attended the world renowned Junipalooza – what better introduction to the world of gin. Over the last few years, Dan has made himself a worthy and valuable part of the UK gin community.
When and where was your first Gin & Tonic?
About 10 or so years ago, we had a family get together for my Aunt’s birthday at a nearby hotel. Both my brother and I were stood in the sunshine trying to decide what to have to drink, when he suggested a G&T. Neither of us really drank them much before but we thought why not. It wound up hitting the spot so well that I was instantly sold. After that I started realising there was choice out there in terms of both the gin and the tonic and trying what variations I could find. Having been quite an overweight kid and hence now a fairly dedicated gym goer, the realisation that it was a better option in terms of calories compared to a glass of wine just made me enjoy them all the more!
What started you off on your blogging journey?
I think I can mostly lay the blame for that at the feet of Suffolk’s very own Gin Lord, and then Gin Foundry. I was just starting to get into the range of gin available and attended a Gin Lord hosted tasting, which opened up my eyes a bit more to some of the varieties and history. A couple of days later, we went to our first Gin Festival and happened to run into the esteemed Gin Lord again. During the festival, he mentioned Junipalooza and that it was a really different kind of event, all about meeting the great people behind the products. I was sold. After getting to know Gin Foundry a little more from that event, the final component was Ginvent. The Ginvent live tastings on Twitter are great fun, and well worth getting involved in. They’re what got me to dust off my Twitter account and really get involved with the wider community out there and chat to some bloggers. And that was that; can’t shut me up now.
What’s the day job?
Clinical Systems Manager with the NHS. My team works with all the GP surgeries around Suffolk, training new staff and helping them make the best use of their IT systems to treat their patients. In short? Professional nerd.
What do you do to stay abreast of the latest gin news?
A couple of websites and a lot of blogs. Gin Foundry is a constant source of great articles and the guys behind it know their industry inside out, so it’s always a worthwhile read. For what’s going on north of the border, I tend to look to The Gin Cooperative and the, from what I’ve heard, wonderfully intelligent and incomparably attractive people who run it. Seriously though, I love the philosophy and the focus on the ever-expending Scottish gin market. Beyond that, there are quite a few bloggers I follow (many mentioned below). Always worth keeping an eye on Gin A Ding Ding and her #newginalert hashtag for new releases!
Who’s your favourite gin blogger?
There are so many great people in the space – I don’t think I have a particular favourite but there are a few I consistently follow because I know they’ll always have some interesting stuff lined up. Gin-A-Ding-Ding, Gin Monkey, The Gin Shelf, The Gin Lord, What’s Katie Doing… I could go on for ages and I’m missing out loads of amazing blogs, but you’d get bored before I finished the list.
Tell us something about yourself outside the world of gin…
I’m a nerd… a huge, proud nerd. I’m a big gamer and also into IT, home automation, general technology, a bit of photography, sci-fi and fantasy – if it’s the least bit nerdy, I’m generally all over it. I do try and temper the sedentary gaming with being fairly serious about my fitness as well so; balance in all things. The added bonus of the gym is it tempers my guilt on those days when I get home from work and absolutely need a negroni!
Would you admit to having a favourite gin?
I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that must be like picking a favourite child? Or favourite cat in my case. I honestly don’t really have a favourite as it really depends on my mood. If I was to pick one or two that were consistently in my top few though, it would be Elephant Gin’s Navy Strength (Elephant Strength) offering, and Hidden Curiosities.
What’s your personal ‘perfect serve’?
Pretty classic I think – a really good dry gin (double or triple measure obviously), with a good light tonic at a conservative ratio. I tend to prefer my tonic on the slightly more bitter, and less sweet side so a good light that doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners always works for me. Finally, garnish with whatever works for the gin. I have a freezer full of frozen fruit slices, but am wondering if it’s time to invest in a dehydrator! If it’s not a G&T, then it’s a Negroni. Boatyard Double or Hidden Curiosities gin with Antica Formula and Campari takes some beating.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a gin blogger?
The best thing by far and away is the community. It’s the general gin community that made me want to start doing this in the first place. After my first Junipalooza, when I got to meet so many of the amazing people that produce the gin, that set me on the path. Over time, slowly getting to know other bloggers etc, particularly through Gin Foundry events, it just solidified what a great bunch of people most of them are! The worst thing? Post guilt. I’ve slowly worked on this, the feel of guilt when you haven’t posted something for a while. I just have to remind myself I’m in this for the enjoyment and the people, and frankly if I haven’t got anything worthwhile to share for a few weeks, it’s not worth trying to write something that nobody is really going to care about just to fill the space.
Who’s supported you on your gin journey?
Martin, my other half, whom I turned onto gin over the first few years we met and now gets as many gin presents around Christmas and birthdays as I do (no complaints). Apart from that, it’s the whole community really. I mentioned earlier how open and friendly almost everyone is and the amount of help, patience, information and advice offered from all quarters has been really quite humbling for somebody just really dipping their toe into the blogosphere.
What Scottish Gins are you looking forward to trying out next?
There’s a few sat on my “to try” list. Alexander’s, Ripple and Downpour are probably the three that really spring to mind. All had interesting launches from people who sounded like they were passionate about what they were doing. Good looking bottles as well, I know you should never judge a book by it’s cover but, I’m sorry, a good-looking bottle does make a difference!
What plans does Ginteresting Times have for the rest of 2019?
Well Junipalooza London on World Gin Day is just past and it lived up to all expectations. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to get round all the distillers. Then, come August, heading up to one of my favourite cities in the world, Edinburgh, for International Scottish Gin Day and the Gin Fayre event at Mansfield Traquair. Waiting excitedly to see which distillers will be dropping in for the event! Double bonus that the Fringe Festival is on, so planning to take in some shows then as well… if there’s time between gins!