Are you ready for the ultimate gin and gingerbread masterclass?

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Kayleigh Dray
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“Hansel reached up and broke off a little of the roof, to see how it tasted, and Gretel went up to the windowpane and nibbled on it. Then a shrill voice called out from inside the house: Nibble, nibble, little mouse, who is nibbling at my house?’”

Everyone remembers the first time they listened, wide-eyed, to the story of Hansel and Gretel. And, despite the cannibalistic witch, and the glossed-over destitution, and the irresponsible parents, all we really remember it for is that iconic sweet-studded gingerbread house.

Even now, as fully fledged adults, we find our mouths watering as we remember the moment the lost children stumbled across the spicy biscuit cottage and began nibbling away at the chimneys, door handles, and window-panes. Even now, we wonder what it would have tasted like.

Yet there has always been one crucial thing missing from the story. And that one thing, as always, is gin.

This Easter, the Varsity Hotel & Spa in Cambridge have taken it upon themselves to fix that booze-less fairytale with a luxe gin and gingerbread masterclass.

Gin. And gingerbread. We’ll just let that sink in for a moment…

From its health benefits to its ability to show us who we really are, mother’s ruin has a very special place in our hearts. But, while we consider ourselves to be experts in the art of the G&T, we’re the first to admit that we still have a lot to learn about our favourite drink. And it’s here where the Varsity comes in.

According to Cambridge News, the hotel has teamed up with artisan cake maker Fiona McDuff and local gin specialist, Tom Arnold, in a bid to teach us everything we need to know about two of our favourite things.

Students will be ushered upstairs and into Varsity’s panoramic bar so that they can learn how to make a miniature gingerbread house of their very own – all while admiring city views over the River Cam.

Meanwhile Arnold will be on hand with a range of speciality gins, which he’ll be encouraging guests to sample as they work on their edible edifices. All the better to get those creative juices flowing, we say.  And, if all that mother’s ruin leaves you thirsty for knowledge, don’t despair; gin expert (ginspert?) will also be schooling students in plenty of intriguing facts, including the drink’s origins and some cold hard facts about the distilling process.

To round things off, you will be treated to a gin and gingerbread cocktail.

Hansel and Gretel never had it so good.

If you’re a devout tonic fan – and so a tad suspicious of all this gin and ginger matchmaking – don’t be. The spicy ingredient is perfect for highlighting all of gin’s heady botanicals, creating something fresh, bright, and refreshing.

Tim Warrilow, founder of Fever-Tree, told the Metro: “Ginger Is a flavour enhancer, so it really helps lift flavours in drinks and we've gone to great lengths – like our tonics – going all over the world in search of the best gingers. It gives a wonderful aroma when you mix gin and ginger.”

Or, to put it more plainly, gin and ginger is like gin and tonic – with a little extra kick.

The Gin & Gingerbread Masterclass is available to book for the evening of 23 April at 6pm, and costs £18.50 per person. To book call (01223) 306030 or e-mail – but, as you can imagine, tickets are expected to sell out fast. If they’re already gone (or you don’t fancy shelling out for a weekend away in Cambridge), check out some of the other fine gin experiences in the UK right here.

Images: iStock


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.