My ‘Eat a greater variety of food’ goal extended to types of alcohol recently, because that still kind of counts. I never really drink gin, but my friend invited me to a gin tasting at Balls Brothers, Minster Court, with Sipsmith.
Sipsmith gets its name from the idea that blacksmiths and silversmiths are masters of their craft, and at Sipsmith they take great pride in crafting gin.
What is especially interesting about the company is that they were the first copper distillery in London for 200 years. The two founders, Sam and Fairfax, enlisted the help of drinks historian Jared Brown to make their case to obtain the licence to make their gin, and they were successful in 2009. Today, they have three stills: Prudence, Patience and Constance, and they have increased the range of drinks they make.
We were given a bit of background on the distillation process; then, of course, it was time to try some gin. We tried three: London Dry Gin, a sloe gin and a really, really strong gin, or V.J.O.P (Very Junipery Over Proof).
Tipping the glass to the side separates the smell of the different elements, so the top of the glass smells completely different from the bottom. This was incredibly obvious with the V.J.O.P gin, which was honestly so strong – 57.7%!
The sloe gin was easiest to drink. I’m not sure gin and tonic will be my drink of choice any time soon, but I’ll definitely be more open to gin cocktails!
The best thing for me was hearing about how two guys had something they were really passionate about, and managed to turn it into their career. It’s quite something they have created! They do tours of their distillery in Chiswick, so I’ll need to head along one day.