We’re starting the new year with a new interview series! Meet the Team introduces you to the writers and experts behind Gin Magazine and gin-mag.com, as they talk about their lives both in and outside the gin world. We kick off with Bethany Whymark, editor of Gin Magazine.
Gin Magazine (GM): How did you end up in the gin world and what do you like most about working in it?
Bethany Whymark (BW): Tenacity! I was following up on a job application to Paragraph Publishing (Gin Magazine’s publisher) as a content writer, not expecting much – but got invited in for an interview later that week and was eventually offered the job! I find the gin world a fascinating industry: the people, the creativity, the science of distilling, the sense of place and community spirit harboured by so many distillers. It helps that I quite like unwinding with a Negroni at the weekends.
GM: What did you do in your pre-gin life?
BW: I waitressed while I was at university, then trained to become a journalist. I worked at local newspapers in East Anglia for about five and a half years, latterly at one of the UK’s most successful daily regional papers, covering community affairs, business and financial news, and education. The work was hard but incredibly rewarding, and I was lucky enough to work with a team of outstanding journalists.
GM: What’s the best piece of career or life advice you’ve been given?
BW: Can I have two? The first, from a newspaper editor I once worked under, is that “the best ideas are stolen”. It encourages you to look outside yourself and your professional bubble and be open to the idea that other people can do things well, too. It’s not about copying wholesale, but taking inspiration and finding out how those ideas can work for you and your customers (or, in our case, readers).
The second was given to me by a friend before my first Zumba class (I know). When I expressed concern about looking strange doing the dance moves, she said, “No one is watching you; everyone is looking at the instructor and will be looking just as silly!”. Applying that to life: worrying less about what others will think of your appearance, your actions, your words, fosters a much healthier self-image and helps you be truer to yourself.
GM: What moments or occasions have you reaching for a gin?
BW: For me, gin is definitely an aperitif; I love sipping on a Negroni, Martini or a good G&T before dinner – whether at home or out in a bar. If I’m drinking gin on holiday, I like to try the local liquor. Also, you really can’t beat a crisp, citrussy gin with premium tonic and plenty of ice on a hot summer’s afternoon.
GM: What would be your ideal holiday destination and activities?
BW: I would love to walk the full Camino de Santiago, from south-west France to Santiago de Compostela – my boyfriend did it a few years ago and hasn’t stopped talking about it since! Travelling under your own steam, being able to experience to landscape for real (not through a car or train window) and pitching up to a new town each night with new streets and bars to explore – the whole idea really thrills me. And they make a decent Gin Tonic in northern Spain!
For something less labour-intensive, I’d love to do a road trip around British Columbia, Canada; it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, the people are so welcoming and its food and drink scene is really vibrant.
GM: If you were a gin or a gin cocktail, what would you be?
BW: Maybe I’d be a gin-based Old Fashioned – I’m only 5ft 2 and quite petite, but people have told me that I’ve got quite a lot of attitude, so I can sympathise with a short cocktail that packs a flavoursome punch!