Chiswick, London. Wednesday 01-June-2016.
Mary bought me a tour of the Sipsmith distillery for Christmas which came with a bottle of gin. The gin I could make a start on any time but this tour is so popular that they were booked months ahead and, what with trips to Italy, this was the earliest date we could make.
We were one of the first to arrive and the welcome drink was, of course, a gin and tonic. I was pleased to note the tonic was Fever-tree which I had switched to as soon as I discovered it a few years back, forsaking all other tonic waters. Our host opined that Schweppes is a perfectly respectable tonic water but for me it would be of necessity not choice.
The tour was actually a bit of a misnomer as the whole distillery is in one room, an old garage. Most of the "tour" was a fascinating history of gin including the Gin Craze period in the first half of the 18th century and subsequent legislation. Well done, Sipsmith!
It was Sipsmith's pioneering efforts with HMRC in getting the size restriction removed from stills in order to obtain a license that has opened the doors for many other craft distilleries to spring up.
It was not all talk. We tasted a number of their fine products including a Pimm's-like cup and a Sloe gin. They also produce small batch runs of experimental flavourings on a quarterly basis some which were a little outré.
A fascinating tour - highly recommended.
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