I’ve always liked gin even when it had a sort of crimplene and coral lipstick aura about it. Those days are long gone and bars boast about how many different types they stock.
Gin may have been invented earlier, but it was in the 1600s it became popular in Holland as a medcine to treat gout and gallstones and other digestive complaints. British soldiers fighting in the The Thirty Years war liked the ‘Dutch courage’ they could buy in chemist shops and once we had a Dutch monarch of our own – William III – at the end of the 17th century it became part of British life.
Every area now seems to have its own gin: I’m partial to Brighton Gin (the colour of the stopper and label matches the paint on the sea front railings.)
It is made with organic wheat spirit which is re-distilled with juniper, fresh orange and lime peel, locally-grown coriander seed and milk thistle, known to be kind to the liver.
And I am keen to try Old Hove Gin as I’ve recently moved into the area.
Made in the South Downs with local silver birch syrup, it is served exclusively at the Old Albion pub in Church Road. It is gluten-free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.(Hove, by the way, is Brighton’s more refined neighbour and is known as Hove Actually because that’s what residents say when asked by outsiders if they live in Brighton. There’s a lot of emphasis on the word actually.)
However, the Great British Food Awards 2017 have decided that a Welsh gin is the best in the UK. Some think it could even be the best in the world… Pollination Gin is made from mostly foraged botanical ingredients icluding wild flowers, aromatic leaves, fruits and conifer tips. It’s so special Dyfi Distillery only make it for part of the year. Each bottle is hand signed and lot-numbered.
But the most exclusive gin in the world, however, is Watenshi Japanese Angel gin. Only six bottles a year are sold in the UK (at Selfridges) for an eye-watering £2000 per bottle.
Not on my Christmas list….