According to the Wine & Spirit Association, gin sales in the UK have grown by 35% since 2010 and are set to hit the £1 billion mark next year. The fascinating book I have been reading ‘Gin Glorious Gin’ written by Olivia Williams tells us about the history of gin and what she refers to as the ‘Ginaissance‘ and it was this which inspired me visit to my local gin distillery last week – Silent Pool in the beautiful Surrey Hills.
The British have been drinking gin for 300 years and if you are lover of gin as I am, you will be familiar with the traditional names in gin – Gordons, Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray and last summer, you probably enjoyed a Hendricks and tonic with a slice of cucumber along with many of the new, younger fans of the spirit. Apparently, Gordons still supply around 50% of our gin but unbelievably, it was only in 2009 that Sipsmith became the first new-wave distiller to set up shop in London so it has only been in the last 7 years, that we have seen so many newcomers and artisan gin distillers, such as Silent Pool come onto the scene.
The Silent Pool Gin Distillery started up in 2014 and was created by a small team of business people and industry specialists – including American gin expert Cory Mason. Cory carried out a huge amount of research before coming up with the complex formula for their gin containing everything from black juniper imported from Bosnia to chamomile grown locally on the land around Silent Pool to kaffir lime leaves which are specially grown in Essex. Something like 24 botanicals in total are steeped in alcohol for around 24 hours to draw the oils out and then the liquid is heated and pumped through a beautiful a series of beautiful copper distillation tanks and then finally, water from the silent pool is added to produce each batch of gin (around 400 bottles).
I love the design of the bottle and @ 43% proof, Silent Pool gin is stronger than other gins however, it goes perfectly in a tall glass with Fevertree tonic and a slice of lime. I have been impressed at how quickly the gin has become available in my local wine bars, restaurants and wine merchants and Majestic tell me that they will soon be selling it all over the country.
Oh and the ghost! Yes, legend has it that Silent Pool is haunted by the ghost of a woodcutters daughter who drowned along with the hat of a local nobleman.
Not surprising no one wants to work the late shift!
Let me know what you think and what is your favourite gin cocktail?