- Food & Drink
Once again to the gin
Once again the Gin Fairy has paid me a visit, dragging a bottle of Half Hitch Gin across London so I can lay on my sofa and drink G&Ts while watching old reruns of Columbo. Sometimes I wonder if the young, optimistic me would’ve imagined this is what life is like as a writer. Then I consider the situation. Free gin. Mid-afternoon drinking. Obsessively watching 1970s crime dramas as a way to get out of applying fingertips to keyboard. Inertia. Yes, I think this is exactly what I would’ve imagined. Clever, prescient me.
Anyway, back to the gin. Always back to the gin. Named after the rope knot used to tie-up barges in Camden Lock, it’s blended by drinks bod Mark Holdsworth in Camden using gin distilled by Langley’s and tinctures that include black tea, hay and bergamot.
Camden was once home to warehouses full of stills and bottles of mother’s ruin, and Mark is pouring this history into his gin along with the tinctures he makes to flavour it. Pale straw yellow and beautifully bottled, it’s a London gin without being a London Dry.
Day or night gin? At 40% it just squeaks into the night category, although you’d expect a gin inspired by Camden to be a shade more raucous. Will the goths and rockers at The Hobgoblin make it through the night on a 40% ABV gin? I worry for them, I truly do.
What does it smell of? If you tried to glue sherbet lemons onto woodchip with Copydex, then this is what your almost edible art would smell like. It’s a bit green that, for some reason, makes me think of pampas grass. If the wind rustling through a well-tended garden by the green belt had a scent, this would be it.
What does it taste of? Well, this is a bit like a punch in the face. At very first sip it’s just sweet and then BOOM, there’s juniper, bergamot, citrus and what I guess must be tea EVERYWHERE. It ends spicily and lingers, tingling, on my tongue. It’s a food fight at the Mad Hatter’s tea party and there are flavours scampering all over the place like super caffeinated dormice. Lemon meringue pie with sichuan peppercorn sprinkles. A great big pine branch dipped in booze and then belted across your face. Lawn trimming sandwiches with sumac sauce. What I am trying to say is: there is no shortage of tastes sensations in this gin.
Buy it? This has to be the most distinctive gin I have ever tasted. It’s very comfortable with its identity, thank you very much, and doesn’t fancy trying to blend in. In a G&T with a big wedge of pink grapefruit (definitely pink, not yellow) I imagine it would set a racy tone to an evening. Belted into a simple cocktail with sweetish ingredients or lots of citrus, it would more than play its part. But I think this is a gin you need to try before you buy, especially as it’s priced between £39.95 and £48.85. Look out for it in bars and give it a whirl.