What made you decide to create a new gin
The concept for Boxer Gin was simple: to create the finest classical style gin possible, using the best ingredients and most advanced techniques. This was largely a response to the increasing number of gins that were departing from the traditional juniper-led flavor profile in favour of alternative, “wackier” ingredients, which in some cases begged the question, “is this still gin?”
How did you go from the idea to the finished product?
We were already producing a copper-pot distilled wheat vodka at the time, called Element 29, so gin was the natural next step for us. We took a look at the two main components of classical gin, juniper and citrus, and tried to get the best out of each one. It then took months of travelling (our juniper is sourced from the Himalayas), tasting and tweaking before we came to a final recipe.
What is the distillery and distillation process like?
We distill at the Langley distillery in the Black Country in a century old copper pot still called Angela. Instead of using neutral grain spirit as the base, we use our own Element 29 Vodka, to ensure the gin comes out as smooth as possible. We macerate the vodka with our 10 dry botanicals and distill in a copper pot - this helps with heat distribution and removing the unwanted sulphur produced by the yeast during distillation.
What is the story behind the name?
Boxer Gin pays homage to the preeminent 19th century boxer, Thomas King, also known as “The Fighting Sailor”, who retired as the Heavyweight Champion of England. It draws upon classic British sporting heritage during the ‘Golden Years’ of Gin following the repeal of the Gin Act in the late 18th century. We like to think that Mr King enjoyed a few gins after every fight.
What has the journey been like since you launched?
Busy. As you well know, Gin has been a product that has really taken off over the last 5 or 6 years and the fascination surrounding it is still as strong as ever. We have been involved in a multitude of trade and consumer shows, festivals and, of course, gin tastings - with the sole aim of getting our gin into as many mouths as possible.
How would you describe Boxer Gin in 3 words?
Vibrant. Bold. Unique.
What makes Boxer Gin different?
Boxer Gin is a fresh juniper gin. Unlike most other gins on the market we use fresh juniper berries in our distillation as well as the traditional dried juniper berries, much like it is preferable to use fresh mint or basil when cooking as opposed to the dried alternative. The idea is that you don’t lose any of the water-soluble flavours that are present in fresh juniper berries but disappear when dried. We separately steam distill fresh juniper berries on the slopes of the Himalayas and add the distillate to the gin right at the end of the process. This gives Boxer Gin an incredibly vibrant, complex flavour. It’s a ‘ginny’ gin: if you like gin, you will love Boxer.
Our other main point of difference lies in our choice of citrus. We cold press bergamot peel to extract the oil and, much like the juniper distillate, add it after the main distillation. Bergamot lies somewhere between an orange and a lime and is one of the main components in Early Grey Tea. It’s a wonderful citrus but only grows in certain places for a very short period every year so tend to be in short supply.
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
The gin is super smooth so tastes great on its own with a few cubes of ice and some bergamot peel. However, its bold flavours have been designed with tonic in mind and can stand up to even the sweetest and most overpowering tonic waters. Our signature G&T would use plenty of ice, Bermondsey Tonic Water, fresh juniper berries and bergamot peel (or orange peel if you can’t find any Bergamot).
What are your favourite gins (other than your own of course!)?
We are a big fan of the more classical gins on the market. The entry-level Tanqueray is absolutely fantastic and Beefeater 24 offers a great twist on a classic. Of the craft gins on the market, Monkey 47 is a great complex gin (if you can afford it!).
What's next for you and Boxer Gin?
We are currently working on an ultra-premium gin, which has the working title of ‘Boxer Black’. We intend to use only the finest ‘sacred’ black juniper berries that grow at incredibly high altitude in the Himalayas - it will most likely be even stronger and bolder than the current Boxer Gin offering.
We are also launching in the US at the beginning of 2017, so a container of gin is currently making its way across the Atlantic. Other than that, it will be more shows, more festivals and more people getting to try our gin.