Sunday Brunch Drinks
Other than being at Juniplaooza next week, the three gins featured have more than just a few traits in common… Namely, they are fantastic gins packed with flavour that are made by small makers who are having a go and absolutely nailing it, despite working from tiny budgets.
All of them are quite recent releases (in the last 18 months) and came from a place where the maker’s simply loved Gin, loved drinking it and loved discovering more about it. For all, this eventually lead to getting such a bug for the drinks industry they decided to have a go themselves.
They are all at different stages too, from just starting out to slowly becoming established locally and within broader connoisseur circles, yet all share that inherent passion and have created something special in their own right. Their different takes on the same subject matter and the different approaches they have used to get started, are a good example of the variety that can be seen in the British Gin industry in 2018. This “have a go” nature and the steady honing of their craft is reflective of hundreds of other distillers who are at a similar point – which is one of the reasons so many are excited about Gin right now.
Up first was Old Bakery Gin, from North East London. It’s made by Ian Puddick, who runs a leak detection agency and who took on a couple of run down properties in Palmers Green. One of the buildings, an old bakery, had a beautiful 140ft chimney jutting out of its roof.
As Puddick worked to restore the units to their former glory, two things became clear: 1. The chimney wasn’t safe and would have to go. 2. Over the years the land registry had become blurred, erroneously stating that the chimney belonged to the building next door – a domestic home. As Puddick began tracing the history of the Old Bakery he stumbled on a fun fact: one hundred or so years ago, the it was harbouring a naughty little secret – it was illegally making gin.
The more he looked at the history of it all, the further he went down the rabbit hole and had a go and making it, legally this time, and hey presto – Old Bakery Gin. We made classic G&T, with a little twist in by using the floral tonic water from Merchant’s Heart.
Here’s a link to the full review of Old Bakery Gin.
Up next was a gin from the Hebrides, called Colonsay.
Made by a husband and wife team who love gin and have worked hard to set up a rural business based on the island, Colonsay Gin has slowly, been getting some real traction.
We chose to feature this gin in particular as we love the fact that it’s got a big juniper note and a gingery spice to finish, but also because it’s reflective of a journey that so many others make when starting out. The Colonsay Gin team started by going to a contract distillery, asking them to use their expertise to help develop the gin profile. They worked with them as they marketed and sold the first few batches, whilst building their distillery in order to take production in house.
That phased transition, from contract made, to building up the resources, to making it yourself is what many do and it’s great to see them complete the journey and be distilling themselves on the island, having got the best out of the process and done it in such an open and a transparent way.
We made a White Negroni for the cocktail as the twist on a classic Negroni makes the most of the underlying rooty warmth of Colonsay Gin, while also keeping it light(er) for the summer season.
To make one at home, use 25ml Gin, 25ml Dry Vermouth, 12.5ml Suze and garnish it with an orange peel.
Last but not least was a gin called Fynoderee, hailing from the Isle of Man.
This is also another husband and wife team who grasped the nettle and went into gin making. There’s so many stories associated with this gin, from Manx folklore (the Fynoderee is a Manx legend, half sheep half man) to some very human strife in making happen.
We like it because it’s a seasonal gin, made using heaps of native botanicals sourced on the island itself. They were awarded our bursary spot at Junipalooza because of this slow and steady approach, whereby they deliberately don’t have a flagship gin yet.
They are releasing 4 seasonal’s first, figuring out which local botanicals are “year round” ingredients, that they can source responsibly and enough of, then having honed their distilling skills and understood their ingredients – will launch a year round from there.
It’s lovely to see someone take their time and learn their craft properly. To make use of their locality, but to not force it to come together before they are ready. As we all wait for the big release that’s due for next year – there are some really exciting, adventurous spirits being made that shed light as to what they are capable of and where they are heading. Exciting times lie for them and they are a brilliant example of the joy there is to be had as gin drinkers in following how these distilleries evolve, develop and grow. So many are changing in brilliant and unexpected ways and now is a golden age of being able to see those incubating and metamorphosing as they grow.
We made a Gin Daisy and customised the syrup a little to suit the “foraged” nature of the gin. Think of a daisy as being the Gin equivalent to a Margarita. Booze, lemon juice and some form of fruit infused liqueur (triple sec for the tequila fans or in this case – wildflower and pomegranate syrup). For gin, you then top with soda if you want to, or keep it boozy. Daisy flowers in Spanish are called Margaritas so you can see the link there too.
To make one at home, use 50ml Gin, 20ml lemon juice, 15ml pomegranate syrup (grenadine), topped with soda with a lemon thyme garnish.
Daisy’s are a great serve for Summer, especially if you love the idea of a Pimms but want something a little different and you can be really creative with what you infuse into your syrups. Have a look at the House of Broughton syrups for example, or pop down to your supermarket to see what they have!
You can find all three gins makers, along with 65 others who are all there in person at our London Gin Festival, Junipalooza on the 9th & 10th of June.
T- 3 Weeks to go….
Happy Junipalooza’ing folks!
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