When did your ‘ginspiration’ first hit?
In my previous job I was a marketing director traveling around the globe meeting clients and closing deals. Part of these meetings was socialising and of course drinking with them. I noticed in many of the countries that I visited, gin & tonic was the drink of choice and I often closed the deal by raising a toast with a G&T. I became intrigued by gin and decided to explore what I was actually drinking and where it came from. Not knowing back then that it came from Holland! Ha ha!
When did you decide to go after the authentic recipe, what made you want to bring it back to life?
I started by reading many books about gin and the story behind it. And what struck me the most is how gin originated in Holland and I didn't know that at all. I asked my friends and colleagues and it seems nobody knew about that fact. That was the moment I decided to try and find the authentic gin recipe from when the gin craze first began and give people the opportunity to taste and experience it.
Are there parts of the journey you remember most, and do you have an outstanding ‘pinch me’ moment?
Finding the authentic recipe was the biggest challenge because obviously it’s not quite as simple as simply Google-ing the original gin recipe. You have to spend days, weeks, months in the British Library, reading through ancient books, looking for clues (while constantly accompanied by a security guard incase you try to covertly rip out a page - which did cross my mind from time to time!).
It was about 18 months after I initially set out on the journey that I found one of the authentic recipes from the start of the gin craze, and that was definitely the pinch me moment. My idea suddenly went from a dream to a reality in seconds, one of the most special moments in my life.
When did you decide to create the Queen Mary Edition?
What’s interesting about our pink gin is that the recipe for the fruit gin was right there alongside the original London dry recipe; drink this spirit with a strawberry and raspberry for an extra kick. So with flavoured gin being as popular as it is, when it came to wanting to create our first special edition, it made sense for us to make bring the original fruity gin back to life with these two botanicals. We didn’t know what to expect of course as tastes changes during centuries, but it surprisingly tasted very good without much tweaking.
What would you say sets 1689 apart from other gins?
For me, it’s giving consumers the opportunity to travel back in time and experience gin’s authentic recipe. Gin as a category has transcended where I’m sure even the original craft distillers who started this gin-renaissance thought it could go, and we want to bring the spirit full circle, back to the original liquid that crossed the Atlantic all those years ago and giving the drinker the chance to rediscover liquid history.
What is your favourite way to enjoy your gin – a cocktail or a particular G&T garnish combo perhaps?
My business partner Patrick is a big gin cocktail fan, but I must admit I am more of a G&T man myself - we recommend enjoying 1689 G&T with an orange twist, however I also love enjoying it with a strawberry and raspberry garnish for a little fruity kick (just like the original recipe says!). Although I recently have tried it with a slice of blood orange as well, and it’s delicious.
What does it mean to you to be a Dutch gin brand?
Not many people know that Holland was the birthplace of Genever, and the role that the Dutch played in the development of gin within the UK, and it means a lot to me to be able to honour this heritage, not just in Holland but globally.
Do you remember your first experience of gin?
Nope, I was too drunk haha, but it must have been good, look where it got me!
What’s the next big milestone you are working towards?
We’d love to give as many ginthusiasts as possible the opportunity to try the 300 year old authentic gin recipe, so of course we’d like to expand into as many markets outside of Europe as we can. But we’d also like to launch another edition, and we’ll give you a little clue, it’s very literally inspired by who we consider to be the King of gin.
If you could share a gin cocktail - with anyone dead or alive, real or created - who would it be?
Well it has to be William of Orange doesn’t it - just so I can ask him what he thinks of our take on the recipe. Whether I’d ask him which one he prefers would be a whole different question however.
And finally, what is one thing that bartenders and consumers alike should know about Gin 1689?
It’s the mother of all gins; what else is there to know!