Old English Gin launched

BarLifeUK met up with Henrik from Geranium Gin recently, he gave us a bottle of his new Old English Gin to try and tell you lot all about.

Henrik’s latest adventure saw him aim to launch a gin with the taste and look of a product from 1783. That rather specific date wasn’t picked out of a hat, it was, instead, the date on a recipe picked out of the safe at the distillery where Geranium Gin is made. The distillery in question, Langley Distillery, also has the oldest pot still in the UK giving the product an extra bit of historic gravitas.

The first thing you notice about Old English Gin is the design looks like it could be straight out of the 18th century, having you believe it could have been discovered in a long lost spirits collection. The bottle, an old champagne bottle, is a nod to the fact that back in 1783 England was the largest importer of French Champagne and people visiting gin shops would bring their own empty bottles to fill up. It is, therefore, a fair assumption that a lot of gin was being drunk from old champagne bottles.

The gin itself is bound to lead to conversations and arguments about the authenticity of the product and the ability to effectively re-create a gin from 220 years ago. Henrik has however been very open about the process and idea behind his new launch ‘…my aim was to reach a tasting profile as how I would have made a Gin being a gin distiller at that time.’

He went on to explain:
‘English Gin would have been made from various recipes, and some would have been more or less sweetened depending on the quality of the spirit or simply just for being more palatable for taken neat and the producers would brand their Gin fancy names as Old Tom, Young Tom or Samson, or after the name of the distiller or the location as Booth’s, Gordon’s, Warrington and Beefeater. Today, many people think that English Gin before the London Dry Gin styles occurred in the 1890’s were named Old Tom, but this perception is not right according to my research’.

We are the caring, sharing type over at BarLifeUK so we decided to grab our bottle of Old English Gin and take it around a few bars to give people a chance to try it before the next batch hits the UK in May and to get some feedback. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with a lot of the botanicals used being picked up on such as the orris root, orange peel, liquorice, cassia and cinnamon.

Whilst it is certainly sweet and smooth enough to sip neat, imaginations were running wild and soon we were being treated to some great cocktails featuring Mint leaves, Kiwi, Blueberries, Cucumber, Passion Fruit Syrup and Beetroot (not all in the same drink I hasten to add!).

Below are our two favourites from the night:

Jose from Venn Street Records came up with this light, refreshing combination:
50ml Old English Gin
10ml lychee juice
15ml lemon juice
20ml sugar syrup
Chunk cucumber
Piece lemon grass
40ml apple juice
Muddle all ingredients except gin and apple juice. Add remaining ingredients, shake hard and fine strain into a martini glass.

Ivan over at Powder Keg Diplomacy gave us this beetroot and gin goody:
40ml Old English Gin
15ml lemon juice
10ml sugar syrup
Beetroot juice
Shake gin, lemon and sugar syrup. Pour into ice filled highball glass and top with beetroot juice.

We get the feeling that people will have a lot to say about Old English Gin (as can be seen in the comments on Dan Priseman’s excellent piece here) however once it has been tried people may find themselves too busy drinking it to do much talking.