Learn some of the secrets behind their success, the process & enjoy plenty of sampling
Hidden in a residential road in Hammersmith is a very unassuming 'garage' which you could easily pass by without a second glance but your nose would probably make you pause.
The delicious odours of juniper and other botanicals assault your sense as you step in to the HQ of Sipsmith In dependant Spirits, home to two very special ladies Prudence and her younger friend Patience and ten members of staff that look after them and their off-spring - Gin & Vodka!
Sipsmith was the first London-only distillery to receive a licence in 200 years. Founded by Sam Galsworthy and Fairfax Hall, a mere 4 years ago, who persuaded mixologist and historian of drink Jared Brown to join them as master distiller. The aim to produce a premium one batch gin based on the traditional recipes of London gin which can be drunk straight or more commonly with tonic water! The use of the traditional copper stills (to give Prudence and Patience their proper names) mean that impurities in the spirit are removed in a natural way. The botanicals are added during the process - rather than at the end, resulting in a smoother more complex drink. The recipe is a secret, but juniper, coriander, cinnamon, cassia bark and orange and lemon peel are all added to the grain spirit.
Gin is certainly in a golden age, it is once more a popular drink - since Sipsmith was founded there has been a rise in artisanal London gin producers.
My colleague & I joined one of the weekly Sipsmith Tours which introduces you to the history of gin, the method of their distilling of both gin & vodka plus tastings of the gin, vodka, sloe gin & damson vodka.
Georgie who hosted the tour was passionate about their products & she makes a mean welcoming gin& tonic! Sipsmith take pride in producing a premium spirit, a choice of quality over quantity. They produce in batches of hundreds not thousands - according to Georgie the production of a more commonly known gin will produce in their morning batch before their coffee break the same as Sipsmith make in a year.
The history of gin was extremely informative - did you know the phrase "dutch courage" originated in late 1680's when English soldiers fought alongside the Dutch and before battle they were given a toddy of 'Genever' the Dutch juniper based spirit.
It is not a tour for teetotalers , for as well as the welcoming G&T we tasted their dry gin and barley vodka neat plus the sloe gin and damson vodka - hic! They pride themselves on the neat spirits being enjoyable straight leaving a warm feeling without the burn you would often expect with shorts - I am not a vodka drinker, but I found that I enjoyed drinking straight vodka at room temperature.
The distillery is a bonded warehouse so there is no pressure to purchase at the end of the evening - a shame we felt as both of us had a desire to buy a bottle of the sloe gin, so a trip to Waitrose is on the cards before the seasonal festivities commence! And if you're looking for a gift for a spirit lover this would be popular & different.
November 16, 2013