What did you do before creating your gin?
Way before Liquorsmiths was conceived, in the late 1990s, I worked in a government office and travelled often for my job. On one particular occasion, I found myself at a very opulent state banquet in Central Asia, and a diplomat's wife turned to me and said, “if you only drink Gin and Tonic, you’ll never have to worry about what goes with what!”. That began my love affair with the humble G&T and wherever I travelled, I would try the local tipple and have amassed over 200 bottles to date. I’ve also been involved with gin festivals and worked with clients in the industry, so Liquorsmiths has been a long time coming!
What made you decide to create your gins, and what's the inspiration behind them?
I really love gin and I’m so intrigued by the distillation process. I have worked with other gin brands in the past, but Liquorsmiths was my chance to create something unique, taking inspiration from my travels while celebrating my South London heritage in the process. I’m also obsessed with botanicals and have an extensive Excel spreadsheet of botanicals, where I tasted them and what would complement them. So far I’ve created over a thousand combinations!
Can you tell us about the distillery and distillation process?
We paired up with the distilling duo Foxdenton Estate & Distillery and Thames Distillery to create our gin and in doing so we have captured that long and well-established distilling heritage in our products. Our Old Tom gins are distilled in stainless steel stills, which is a departure from the famed copper still, but they actually provide better batch consistency and energy efficiency than copper stills. Those are two things that are very important for us; that every batch of our gin is as good as the last, and that we are using more sustainable practices in the manufacturing process.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
After just 11 weeks after launching, our signature Old Tom 6 gin won the highest accolade at The Gin Masters 2021. This was an incredible achievement for us. We knew it was good, but it competed against 471 entries from 231 companies for the accolade and was one of only a few to be awarded the Master label. It was such a huge achievement for us, and a sign of big things to come!
The challenges, as you may expect, have been pandemic and Brexit related but we’ve had to pivot and are looking for the opportunities in all situations.
How would you describe your gins in 3 words?
Unique, vibrant & versatile!
What's your favourite way to drink your gins?
At the risk of sounding basic, they are just absolutely perfect as a G&T. But my other favourite way to serve is Old Tom 6 in a Negroni, and Old Tom 12 in a Martini.
Which gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
As I spend a lot of my time in Denmark and Iceland I have a lot for these gins on my shelf. From Iceland I love Himbrimi and from Denmark I love ELG Gin No. 1 which is made from just juniper, coriander and carrots. I also like the way they promote their alcohol – it’s low key and just focuses on the provenance of the botanicals.
What's next for you and Liquorsmiths - any exciting plans?
We launched the Liquorsmiths Cookbook in 2021 which features our spirits as the main ingredient in over 100 recipes. The reception has been amazing so we have another cookbook underway, plus a cocktail book, and of course, more new gins!
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