Green Genie Gin - Meet the Makers
What did you do before launching Green Genie Spirits?
For many years I worked in marketing, originally in industrial storage but more interestingly, in a fledgling sports marketing US company (I was only the 4th employee at the time!) that has now grown into one of the world’s leading sports marketing companies, Octagon.
What made you decide to create your gin, and what's the inspiration behind it?
The history of why we combined green tea and gin originates back in 1980(!) when I first travelled to China as part of the first ever international sports tournament to be staged after the Cultural Revolution. Beijing was a very different place back then and as part of immersing myself in Chinese culture, I was exposed to the history of green tea and its benefits. In subsequent trips to China and Japan, green tea kept being brought to the fore and the idea of using it in a number of food and drink applications was firmly fixed in my mind.
It was while on subsequent trips journeying around the Middle East, including Egypt, Turkey, Greece and Iran that my curiosity was aroused by tales of the ancient Silk Road trade route. Having visited Shanghai and many of the countries along this fabled road and, as part of my philosophy of trying all local food and drink, I savoured the diverse flavours of some of the exotic ingredients traded along the Silk Road such as Orris root, Coriander and Ginseng among others.
How did you get from the idea to the finished product?
It was during a business meeting to discuss a green tea drink that the idea of making the tea with cold water was mooted and that sparked discussions about whether the tea could be added to gin to make a unique flavoured spirit. A few kitchen table samples were concocted and, after deciding that it could work, I went about finding a like-minded local craft distiller. Having found Blackbridge Distillers, now operating out of a bespoke distillery in a converted barn on the fabulous Luton Hoo estate, we worked together to create a wonderful blend of botanicals sourced from along the Silk Road routes with green tea and, after a period of trialling a number of combinations, the deliciously citrus-forward Green Genie gin was born.
Can you tell us more about the distillery you work with?
Our distilling partner is Blackbridge Distillery, owned and run by Ash McCallum. When I first approached Ash with my ideas for a green tea infused gin, he was still working from a shed in his garden! They now operate out of a refurbished barn on the Luton Hoo Country Estate and continue to use their original still, Katherine, to produce our incredibly smooth gin
Can you tell us more about the distillation process and botanicals?
We use molasses as our spirit base, giving our gin (and vodka) its smooth clean finish. Our Green Genie gin is delicately infused with 12 natural botanicals, including Sicilian lemon, Seville orange, white Korean ginseng, orris root, coriander seed, pink peppercorn, and angelica root among others. The remaining botanicals can only ever be revealed if the Genie permits!
What is the story and meaning behind the 'Green Genie' name?
The name 'Green Genie' was also inspired by my travels around the Middle East, particularly one visit to a Bedouin tented village in the south of Egypt. Tales of the magical ‘djinn’, a spirit or genie, were told with such passion and belief around the campfire that images of lamps and genies stayed in my mind. So, when the time came to find a name for this wonderful new gin creation, with the obvious similarity of the words gin and djinn, thus was born the Green Genie!
What have been the biggest achievements so far?
It is early days but the wonderfully positive responses from our customers and the repeat orders from our outlets have given us the best moments of our first few months of trading
How would you describe Green Genie Gin in 3 words?
Citrusy - Smooth - Refreshing.
What's your favourite way to Green Genie Gin?
Our Signature serve is Green Genie gin with Artisan Pink Citrus Tonic or a Mediterranean Tonic.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Bullards Pineapple, Ginger and Lime Gin.
What's next for you and Green Genie Spirits - any exciting plans?
Alongside our Green Genie gin, we already have an award winning Green Genie vodka, delicately infused with green tea – selected for the artists at the Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball in December. We are also well underway in the development of a unique tequila! Watch this space.
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