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Ginterview: Helen Chesshire

Founder, Distiller, Brighton Gin










· Brighton Gin,Helen Chesshire,Gin Distillery

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?

My word - it is hard to chose - there are so many fantastic gins out there. I think I will go for Dodds, Whittakers, Two Birds Cocktail Gin, Tarquins Navy strength (F yes!) and certainly above all else, ours, neat on the train between London and Brighton (shared with fabulous companions and a packet of Monster Munch).

I have many different favourite bars depending on the occasion.

What's your favourite venue for:

A. A Dry Martini & Date Night?

B. A Red Snapper & Brunch?

C. Gin & a party?

Dukes in St James's for a martini with Alessandro (I'd love him to be my date - does that sound too whorey?!) I'd go to The Grand in Brighton for a Brighton Bloody Snapper (can I have chips?) C. Gin and a home with friends is always the ideal at the moment but I would spend the rest of my days at Dandelyan given the chance!

Which drinks professionals have inspired you & how?

Dr Anne Brock from Jensen's someone I enjoy talking nerdness about botanicals with and is generally just awesome. The hardworking and immensely brilliant Dave Broom - just because I always want to party with him. Marcin Miller - his appetite for daytime Negronis is as big as mine. Ryan Cheti is just so inspiring, creative and nice. There are so many - I could go on.

Do you have a favourite Gin Botanical? (Yes. Really.)

Coriander seed - it's a wonder. Next would be fresh citrus peels - junipers a given, right?!

If you were a gin or a gin cocktail which would you be and why?

A Martinez - People who try them for the first time are often - err - umm - oh - oooh - mmm - WOW! (that's the Maraschino cherry) Not as bitter as a Negroni and the..oh God, this sounds very rude if I mention cherries....I'll leave it there.

Helen Chesshire, Brighton Gin.

Angus Winchester says olives are the devil's testicles. Thoughts?

Sometimes yes - I have a 7 year old son who loves the tinned ones (does that sound too middle class/Hove?!)

Which gin has your favourite packaging? How important is this?

I think Curio Gin looks stunning, Dodds is a design classic - I love the new Tanqueray 10 bottle - I love so many, a lot of care goes into the presentation and it is so important on shelf.

Do you have a preferred tonic?

For me, Fever Tree every time - it never fails me.

What's your favourite trade event?

Imbibe this year was awesome - we were so lucky to be there - to be honest I've been so flat out with our gin making that we don't get out much at the moment!

What's your favourite food to pair with gin?

How did you get into the Gin industry?

A need (I have two children) an opportunity as there was no gin being made in Brighton so we decided to build a distillery - my business partner Kathy and I LOVE gin. It is a very forgiving spirit.

What do you love most about your job?

Everything. I love the variety, how one day this year we were at Number 10 talking gin with the PM and the next we're wearing high vis and dodging forklifts in a warehouse delivering gin.

And the worst bits?


If you could share a martini with anyone who would it be?

My husband who I don't get to see as much as I like and who keeps the family running.

Do you have any recommended reads for gin lovers?

Brighton Gin

What are your Gin goals?

To maintain the quality of Brighton Gin and to get it into the best bars around the world, to be in every Brighton in the US (there are 19). There is a Brighton in Cape Town, Sydney, Durban and Melbourne - it'd be bloody cool to get to all of them!

What advice do you have for aspiring Gin professionals?

Keep buggering on - it is hard physical and emotional work but just worth it to be in the best industry.

What's your pet Gin industry hate?

Not enough crisps.

If you aren't drinking Gin what is your tipple?

Smart South African Wine - or cooking lager, pints of.

What's going to be the next big gin trend?

Gin - I think it's still trending. I think cocktails will continue to grow in popularity. I'm hoping to experiment with some interesting British Fruits and flowers - perhaps that may be a trend if we do it right!

Any other pearls of wisdom or Gin rants?

Always use Milk Thistle for hangover prevention (we distill it into Brighton Gin). Always be kind to people. Always have Gin in your handbag.

Where can I send readers to find you online?

Get tickets to The Gin Whore Tour - enjoy tasting 4 gins & plenty of giggles at a venue near you!