If you’ve read the ‘about’ section on my blog you’ll know I’m gin lover … more so in recent years than before, but I’ve (luckily) moved on from just a Gordon’s G&T in the pub to tasting and savouring different gins. It all began courtesy of Hertford Gin Club at their first ever gin tasting evening at Mudlarks, Hertford; welcomed with a gin cocktail, a platter of food and a selection of unknown gins, my gin journey began! Disguised in numbered bottles and tasting notes tucked away in envelopes, we began to taste our way through gins trying to determine the botanicals we could smell and/or taste.
Since then gin has almost become a hobby, with so many to choose from and learn about it’s hard to resist a new brand, or to taste a new gin. From a Hayman’s Gin Lovers Afternoon Tea on a Routemaster around London to a gin cocktail at a bar – there’s always time for gin.
When I discovered Campfire Gin was produced just 30 miles away, I had to visit. Drawn in by the branding and the concept I loved it before I’d even taken a sip! On arrival at P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop site you couldn’t miss the bright orange door welcoming you to Puddingstone Distillery, and there I was greeted by the inspirational Kate and Ben Marston.
Campfire Gin was born out of a love for gin, the great outdoors…and a visit to the Royal Free Hospital. As Kate waited for Ben to have an operation at the north London hospital, she discovered two books in the local Waterstones on Hampstead High Street: The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit and Simon Difford’s Diffordsguide to Gin – the rest is history. Kate and Ben embarked on their very own gin journey, from a ‘field trip’ to Scotland and its distilleries to several months of distilling botanicals before blending them all together to perfect their own unique recipe.
Once the recipe was perfected it was time to step it up another notch, the pair produced a crowdfunding video which helped ignite the fire of Campfire Gin. The next challenge was to find their perfect location to start distilling (and the minor factor of gaining their qualification from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling), after several possibilities they settled on their base at P E Mead & Sons Farm Shop site.
By November 2016, just two and a half years after the idea was born, they launched with an opening night complete with cocktail bar and combined with a Christmas Food and Drink Festival at the farm shop. 350 bottles later, the first batch of Campfire Gin was sold out on their opening night and before they could start to celebrate their amazing achievement they were back up at 5am to bottle more for the following day!
What makes this gin so special? Well, let’s start with the blend of ten botanicals: juniper, oris, coriander, angelica, coffee cherry, roasted hazelnut, physalis, fresh orange peel, fresh grapefruit peel, lavender; combine that with passion, belief and determination and the end result is a smooth sipping gin, as good served with ice as it is with tonic.
Perhaps the fiery, determined women the stills are named after help to add a dash of the creators’ passion to this London Dry Gin; Isabella Lucy Bird – an intrepid traveller at the end of the 19th century and Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly the Atlantic certainly didn’t take no for an answer and it’s easy to see this same passion in Kate and Ben. As they reeled off their story to me it was incredible to see how far they’d come in such a short space of time and endearing to see how humble they were about their achievements so far.
For the perfect serve
- Neat with ice
- With fresh orange peel and Fever Tree Light Tonic
- Alternatively, mix up a martini – 5 parts gin: 1 part vermouth
- Pair with dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
If, like me, you want to find out even more about Puddingstone Distillery visit them in the Chiltern Hills; you can even arrange a tasting evening with friends and family.
For more information visit www.puddingstonedistillery.com
Favourites from my own gin journey
As my love of gin has grown so has my collection! After a trip to Edinburgh, Edinburgh Gin and their liqueurs became a firm favourite and Christmas 2016 also introduced me to their Christmas gin, amazing served with a slice of orange. The raspberry liqueur gin is great added to Prosecco with aa couple of frozen raspberries too!
Finally, a classic but you can’t go wrong with Bombay Sapphire, serve with Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic.