Like many of the new wave of Gins, Pothecary Gin got its start when Dwornik and Jennings met for a decidedly average G&T. The future ginsmiths – who have other 35 years in hospitality and drinks between them – sipped on their subpar drinks and knew that with a bit of hard graft, they could create better.
The story may open like a bad joke (“two men walk into a bar…”), but the end product proves the Pothecary Gin owners to be deadly serious about their craft. In the 15 months between that night and now, the gin has won Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirit Awards and has sold well in the few bars it has launched in across the UK.
Though the time from conception to bottle wasn’t startlingly long, the months have been fraught with legal wrangling (HMRC approval took seven long months) and design issues, with many options explored and rejected before the final look was settled upon.
Surprisingly – given the gin’s quality – the only element of the product that came easy was the liquid itself. Working from a catalogue of 70 separately distilled botanicals, Dwornik and Jennings quickly settled on an uncommon, though by no means unfavourable selection.
Included in the Pothecary Gin mix is Provencal lavender, which brings savoury notes, Anatolian mulberries, which have a sweet, jammy taste and tilia flowers, wild-foraged in Poland, which lend a honey tone. Juniper and lemon are the only other listed botanicals, the former from Bulgaria and the latter from Sicily.
The majority of the botanicals are hand-foraged (so organic by default), and those that aren’t are certified organic. To make their gin, the duo use fractional distillation, making each botanical element as a separate distillate and blending them together into a carefully considered recipe. (For those of you who always send us emails about base spirits… It’s English Grain, sourced in the UK)
They currently have a 35 litre copper pot still in which they exclusively distil juniper, and a 3.5 litre copper pot still that they use for the rest of their botanicals. Once blended, the gin is watered down to drinking strength – 44.8% ABV – and bottled.
While their current set up is fairly basic, there are already plans to upgrade and as demand increases, so will the size of their stills – they’ve already added a 60 litre copper pot still to the family.
Pothecary Gin to taste…
The end product is a rather unique gin – on the nose, the florals really come through; drinkers can close their eyes and be transported to a meadow at first light. The tilia flowers add a strong, honey smell but the juniper is present throughout. To taste, there’s a lavender explosion – it’s strong and herbal and savoury, though this yields to juniper and a marmalade-like lemon peel, the latter circling back to dominate after the tilia flower brings its honeyed sweetness. This is a smooth, full bodied and bold gin, and certainly worth trying for those with a penchant for a citrus or floral taste.
In a G&T, our garnish suggestion would be to add a thin peel of pink grapefruit. The Gin’s booming flavours carry well in tonic and the slightly higher ABV allows the gin to be pervasive, no matter what choice of brand you like to pair it with (incidentally, our favourite combo was with Bottle Green Tonic Water). Having put it through its paces in other recipes, we also feel like Pothecary Gin is ripe for a big, bright Negroni, paired with Campari and a Carpano Antica Formula.
The name, Pothecary Gin, is an obvious ode to gin’s ancient uses as a remedy and the short, stubby bottle has the look of an old medicine container. The branding was created by Adam Larson, who championed the ingredients by printing illustrations of the botanicals (and their origins) on the bottle. With gold typeface embossed on an eye-catching label, the overall look of the gin emanates quality, putting it very comfortably inside gift territory.
While Pothecary Gin’s website isn’t yet operational, they’ve already started building a social media presence and are slowly but surely developing assets (photography, marketing materials etc.) to back a great product. In time, we expect an army of disciples to follow. Pothecary Gin has, without doubt, already earned a place in the Gin Foundry gin cabinet and we look forward to watching them grow!
For more information about Pothecary Gin, visit their website: www.pothecarygin.co.uk
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