I often say choosing a favourite gin is like choosing between my children (which is why I don't have any) - What's your desert island gin & why?
That's an impossible question but maybe Portobello Road. It's a very classic London Dry executed really well and it works in a G&T, in a Martini, in a Negroni, etc. Whereas some of my personal favourites aren't as flexible.
I have many different favourite bars depending on the occasion. What's your favourite for:
A. A Dry Martini & Date Night?
B. A Red Snapper & Brunch?
C. Gin & a party?
B has to be Bundobust in Leeds. Their Indian brunch is amazing and the red snapper paired with the egg bhurji, a spiced take on scrambled egg, is perfect. The eggs are creamy and sweet which balances out the sharp tang of the Red Snapper.
Do you have a favourite Gin Botanical? (Yes. Really.)
Let's say dried citrus peel. Many of my favourite gins have a strong citrussy taste that works beautifully in a G&T.
If you were a gin or a gin cocktail which would you be and why?
Angus Winchester says olives are the devil's testicles. Thoughts?
Personally, I think olives are perfect on the side of a gin as a snack. They're sharp and flavourful but not greasy like crisps, which can reduce your palate's sensitivity.
Which gin has your favourite packaging? How important is this?
Silent Pool. The packaging not only looks gorgeous, but it tells a story too. I think packaging is hugely important. All your senses are involved in a fine drink, and it's key not to neglect the visual element. A gin's packaging convey's so much about the brand that it can even effect how you perceive the taste of the gin.
Do you have a preferred tonic?
What's your favourite food to pair with gin?
With the sharp citrus elements and the delicate spices of the botanicals it makes a surprisingly great match with curry. Spanish food works well too, particularly olives and cured meats.
How did you get into the Gin industry?
I'll give the history of Gin Festival. I rather boringly just joined them to manage the website and digital marketing. Gin Festival.com is the baby of husband and wife team Jym and Marie Harris. It began in 2012 when they realised there was no festival out there that reflected their own deep love for gin, so they started one themselves. From humble beginnings (the first event had only 150 people) Gin Festival.com has grown massively alongside the UK gin market and now hosts events for 4000 people over two days. Gin Festival.com founder Jym Harris added: “We absolutely love gin, so we started these events because we thought other people would want the same as us. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reception and it’s been fantastic to see so many people rediscover this amazing drink.”
What do you love most about your job?
And the worst bits?
A series of boring technical answers about how websites work.
If you could share a martini with anyone who would it be?
Freddy Mercury. I have no ideas if he was a martini lover but I am sure he'd be a blast to hang out with.
Do you have any recommended reads for gin lovers?
Ruth Ball's "Rebellious Spirits: The illicit history of booze in Britain" is a great read. It covers the origins of spirits right up to modern day with a focus on smuggling, illegal distilling and everything illict about aqua vitae. The gin chapters are hilarious with great stories about what happened during the first gin craze and there are some modern and classic cocktail recipes that are well worth trying.
What are your Gin goals?
Sample as much as possible.
What's your pet Gin industry hate?
Serving gin with the improper garnish.
If you aren't drinking Gin what is your tipple?
Beer. Craft beer was my first love before craft gin captured my heart and I've never truly left it.
What's going to be the next big gin trend?
There are some people doing this now but I think bespoke personal gins are going to get more common with more distilleries offering the ability to make your own limited gin batch.
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