I used to be involved in the marketing of a gin that claimed to be revolutionary. It was a gin that wanted to be a sipping gin, a gin to enjoy on the rocks. Like most revolutions, it failed to capture the imagination of consumers in the UK and like the Titanic, it foundered on the rocks.
In layman’s terms, gin is a neutral spirit, put very very basically vodka plus juniper, and the very reason that those who don’t like gin feel that way is most probably because they don’t like juniper. Generally gins are far more complicated in reality as they can be made in several different ways and include many more botanicals such as orris root, cinnamon, orange peel, lime peel or coriander.
Gin is accused of many things. It was first created in Holland in the 1650s by a Dutch physician named Franciscus Slyvius as a cure for stomach complaints. Many, women in particular, however claim it is a depressant to this day.
Hogarth's Gin Lane
By the 1740s the “Gin Craze” had taken control of England and of the fifteen thousand drinking establishments in London, over half were gin shops. Thus came about the image of “The principal sin, Of Gin, is among others, Ruining mothers.” This was depicted most graphically in Hogarth’s Gin Lane and ultimately resulted in the Gin Acts of 1736 and 1751 that imposed high tax on the retail of the spirit to try to quench the nation’s drunkenness.
Gin became popular in the British colonies as an accompaniment to tonic in the year’s of Empire. Tonic contains quinine, a cure for malaria, and by mixing it with gin, the drink became easier to swallow. The result, at the “cocktail hour,” was that expat Brits became fond of cooling off after a hot day in the sun by drinking a gin and tonic.
My drink of choice is generally a gin and tonic. I personally like something simple like Beefeater with lots of ice and no lime or lemon and don’t go for the more exotic blends apart from Miller’s, Sipsmith and Williams Chase, which I consider excellent.
Last week, though, I was introduced to another particularly good gin that makes just an unusually different but also unusually good G&T. This gin, Bloom, was served at a cocktail party at the rather swanky Pelham Hotel (http://www.pelhamhotel.co.uk) in South Kensington hosted by the brand’s personable ambassador Alexandra Abrahams.
Bloom Premium London Dry Gin
Created by the only known female master gin distiller, Joanne Moore, Bloom is a gin that is the product of a woman and promoted by one too. It is fragrant and refreshing and one that makes a great gin and tonic on a summer’s day.
Produced by G&J Greenall, Bloom is elegantly presented in a jewel cut glass bottle that is somewhat Victorian in style, This is a gin that has notes of pomelo, honeysuckle nectar and chamomile. Bloom is most definitely not traditional by any means, so if you’re looking for that gins like Beefeater and Plymouth are certainly more appropriate.
As Denis Thatcher once said: “I don't know what reception I'm at, but for God's sake give me a gin and tonic.” Make mine a Bloom.
For more information, including an array of more exotic concoctions using Bloom, see http://www.bloomgin.com
To learn more about gin go to http://www.gintime.com or buy a copy of Geraldine Coates’ excellent book on the subject, The Mixellany Guide to Gin, Mixellany, 2009.
Bloom Gin is available to buy online for £24.99 at http://www.bloomgin.com/buy/orderform.php?b=1 as well as through selected outlets including Waitrose, Hotel du Vin and Malmaison Hotels.