I AM a casual gin lover. That should be known.

Normal gin, rhubarb gin, Bombay Sapphire... it’s all good to me.

I’m even partial to Gordon’s, the working man’s gin if there ever was one.

So when I was invited to taste the new Bolney Estate gin at their vineyard near Haywards Heath, complete with a five-course meal designed by Masterchef finalist Sven-Hanson Britt, I was quite excited.

By no means am I an expert in anything food or drink related. If you want feedback from me, you’ll usually get something along the lines of “It’s good”.

But Bolney’s gin is very impressive.

Paired with three different Fever Tree tonics throughout the night, it’s delightful on its own but versatile when mixing with different flavours.

The meal began with Welsh rarebit spiced with Moroccan ras el hanout and Bolney vermouth.

Or as Sven called it: “Posh cheese on toast.”

Overwhelmed with the etiquette, I went for the safe option and used cutlery, something I immediately regretted having never tried to cut up toast with a knife and fork before.

But the rarebit was about as warm and comforting as a starter gets, going down fantastically with a classic Indian gin and tonic complete with bay leaves.

Next came the chalk stream trout cured with citrus salt and lemon peel alongside lemon gel, gin-marinated cucumbers, and fennel leaf.

With me being a vegetarian, Sven replaced the trout with avocado, an equally delicious option I assume.

The flavours mixed well thanks to the subtle fennel sauce.

And the gin, mixed with fruity Mediterranean tonic water, produced with rosemary and lemon thyme, was probably the best drink of the night.

Lighter than a classic gin and tonic, it was flavoursome and got along swimmingly with the avocado.

Then out came the third course... caramelised onion soup topped with fennel and served with an onion brioche.

Never before did I think you could fit so much flavour in one spoon.

Obviously nothing went to waste with this course, because the small amount of soup was absolutely packed with warm, wintery goodness. I felt like I wouldn’t have a cold for the next decade.

The gin went down well too, this time mixed with a pink aromatic tonic infused with cardamom and ginger.

The drink was noticeably bitter compared to the other two combinations and will be more of an acquired taste for some.

Then came the showstopper. Roasted duck glazed in juniper, thyme, cubeb pepper, and coriander seed.

Or in my case, replace the duck with a purple carrot.

That may sound underwhelming, but Sven certainly pulled out all the stops. It tasted wonderful.

And the Bolney pinot noir tasted even better... very sweet for a red.

For dessert, Sven finished with a dark chocolate tart sprinkled with pepper, lime, and Thai basil, an unconventional mix of flavours that harmonised into a bittersweet dessert.

The Negroni was a little too bitter, but then again it is a bit of a Marmite drink.

Either way, gin lovers will welcome Bolney’s foray into the field.