Holly Harwood | Her Inspiring Journey, Making Her Own Gin

My passion with gin started when working at Dolly's Gin Palace in Falmouth (whilst studying for my history degree). This was about 8 years ago and I actually had my eyes set to create my own gin then. However I felt I needed more experience in the industry. After a big move to London and many hours working in pubs, bars, gin festivals, a role as a gin brand ambassador and drinks blogger... I still couldn't get making my own gin out of my head! 2 years ago with a lot of support from my family and friends, I started Holly's Gin.

The Gintern

Some people reading this may be following my story as Gintern for ILoveGin.com. This was a viral job advertised last year for a gin lover to visit distilleries and create gin recipes and content. It really is the best job ever and I couldn't believe I actually landed my dream job at the beginning of this year. My journey has influenced my own gin massively, from the design of my bottle to the botanicals I used to create the recipe.

The Design

I was very fortunate to work with my talented friend Ryan on the design of my bottle, as well as Allied Glass believing in my madness! I love anything Art Deco and have a fascination with this era. I really wanted to give the bottle an antique feel. The frosted green really stands out, and I love how the gold shines in the light. The shell logo was inspired by my love of Cornish beaches and the gold leaf design has some of my key botanicals added in! The design is actually printed onto the bottle itself which really looks fantastic.

The Taste

I love London Dry Gins and just knew I had to make one! I also wanted to use some unique botanicals and create something a little different. There are 9 botanicals in total. The 3 key ones are Orange, Gentian root and Passion Flower. I actually drank passion flower tea for years, as it is recommended for its calming benefits. The flower looks pretty cool too! It doesn't taste too floral but perhaps similar to Meadowsweet. There is definitely an earthy, rich aroma. The gin itself is fresh, vibrant and perfect with a premium tonic water!

Cornwall

It was very important to me to have my recipe distilled in my treasured home county of Cornwall. After a meeting with Trevethan Distillery, I knew I wanted it to be made there! Not only do they have Art Deco inspired bottles with a history dating back to the 1920s, but John the distiller has so much expertise and has been fantastic at knowing how to scale up my recipe correctly. This is something that was trickier than I first thought! With the help of John and the team, it tastes wonderful. John will be using their two 300L Copper Pot Stills, called Doris and Rose. Each still will produce around 300-350 bottles each. I will be bottling and sticking the back labels and seals on myself, so you really know it is handcrafted!

Pre-Order Now!

I am crowd funding to make the first batch and make sure the bottles go out before Christmas. All the money raised will go into the production (bottles, labels, corks, distillation, duty), as well as helping me actually get the gin out to you! This is a true labour of love but I am very excited! The support I am receiving means the absolute world to me. I am doing this on a very small budget, but I am determined and just know everyone will enjoy my gin as much as I do!

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/hollys-gin

Jazz Age Gin Cocktails & Where to Find Them in London

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We love our cocktails in London and there are so many places to try incredible, innovative recipes. However there is something particularly exciting about being made a cocktail with an interesting history. Thanks to the film adaptation of The Great Gatsby a few years back, there was a resurgence in prohibition era cocktails. America attempted to ban alcohol in the 1920’s and early 30s, but instead a culture was born full of decadent cocktails and glitzy parties. Not only shall we have a look at three classic cocktails, but here are also the best London bars to find them (and their updated versions).

After looking through The Savoy Cocktail Book from 1930, it is clear that there was an enormous array of cocktails throughout this period. It was Harry Craddock, the head barman at The Savoy hotel, that decided to record his classic collection. Today you can still visit the stunning hotel and enjoy drinks that make you feel you have stepped back in time. As well as the American Bar, The Savoy's Beaufort Bar is famous for its theatrical drinks and dramatic décor. They have a cocktail menu that takes you on a tour of the hotel through its legendary tales and extraordinary guests. This is the perfect place to start your cocktail journey…


Classic cocktail: Gimlet
Modern Twist: Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet Where: The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar (99 Strand London WC2R 0EU)

The Gimlet cocktail is traditionally made of just gin and lime juice, and a description from 1928 was “gin, a spot of lime and soda”. However in the 1953 Raymond Chandler novel The Long Goodbye it stated that "a real gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice and nothing else”. The delicious modern twist at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar is one not to miss! Their Pomelo & White Pepper Gimlet includes Bombay Sapphire Gin, with a pomelo and white pepper cordial. Whilst a classic gimlet (as seen in the photo by Gin Foundry) is rather simple and delicious, the ‘modern twist’ is fragrant, full of fiery pepper and particularly special!

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Classic cocktail: Clover Club
Where: Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel (20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED)

If you want to recreate the full Art Deco experience, then Bar Américain at Brasserie Zédel is the place to head. This basement bar, part of the Zédel complex, is perfect for a place to stop en route to dinner or for a nightcap before heading home. It has a stunning Art Deco design that hasn’t changed in decades. The cocktail menu also has all the classics you would like to see. For that reason, it is nice that they have kept to the original recipe for their Clover Club. This cocktail actually pre-dates Prohibition and takes its name from a men’s club in Philadelphia. It was popular during the twenties though and according to ‘Bottoms Up’ in 1928, it was American comedian W. C. Fields favourite drink. The Clover Club is a classic cocktail, with a rich, silky texture, consisting of gin, lemon, raspberries, egg white and sugar.


Classic cocktail: Charlie Chaplin
Modern Twist: The Nightjar’s Charlie Chaplin Where: The Nightjar (129 City Road, London, EC1V 1JB)

The Charlie Chaplin was first created at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York sometime before 1920. It was just before Prohibition and the Charlie Chaplin was named in honour of one of Hollywood’s first A-listers. The Charlie Chaplin is fruity, citrusy and very sweet. The equal mix of lime, apricot brandy and sloe gin is documented in A.S. Crockett's "The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book”. The Nightjar has a brilliant selection of historic cocktails and their version of the Charlie Chaplin is definitely one to try! It features some unusual ingredients including a bael fruit infusion, Madeira wine, their own grenadine, aronia berries and peach bark. With the Nightjar’s extensive menu, you can sit back, relax and follow your Charlie Chaplin with a gin-filled Moulin Rouge or Diki Diki.

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5 Tonics you need to try with your gin

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I don’t think there can possibly be a better pairing than the classic Gin & Tonic: the perfect double act. Despite it seeming simple, creating the ultimate gin and tonic is actually quite easy to get wrong. Gin has become so incredibly popular over the last few years, and there is so much choice. Whilst it may take a while to choose your desired gin, ¾ of the nations favourite is made up of tonic, so this is crucial too.

Before we point out some incredible tonic waters, let’s go through a few tips to find the perfect combinations. The gin you should select depends on what flavour profile you like. Personally I enjoy a juniper heavy gin, like Plymouth or Sipsmith. If you enjoy something a little more citrusy, how about Tanqueray 10? Perhaps you like floral botanicals, head for Hendrick’s or Bloom.

Your tonic water choice then depends on the gin. Junipery gins work wonderfully with a classic Indian Tonic, whereas delicate botanicals in floral gins are complimented by Elderflower Tonic. Gin’s with more savoury notes can work really well with a Mediterranean Tonic. For the G&T lover, you will know that Fever Tree really did revolutionise the way we see tonic. They discovered that the majority of tonics before didn’t have great quality ingredients. Fever Tree spent a lot of time developing their recipe and ever since, more companies have upped their game.

Classic Schweppes or even a supermarket own brands is now frowned upon by serious gin drinkers. So here are five awesome tonic waters which will seriously jazz up and improve your G&T skills.

1. Double Dutch Cranberry Tonic Water

Double Dutch have a range of tonic waters and mixers which are all delicious. Their Cranberry Tonic with Ginger is designed to pair the astringency of quinine with the perfectly balanced sweet’n’sour of cranberry. The warm ginger adds a spiciness which lingers. It has a light summery aroma and was created in collaboration with Maison Hennessy Cognac to be the soul mate for all dark spirits. However, it works perfectly with many gins out there. Get experimenting!

2. Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water

This is one of my favourite tonics from Fever Tree. It surprisingly mixes nicely with most gins on the shelf. By blending the essential oils from the flowers, fruits and herbs, along with the highest quality quinine, Fever Tree created a delicate, floral, crystal clear tonic. Definitely one to try in the sunshine.

3. Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom Tonic

I do get attracted to anything pink, however this tonic is seriously unique. It combines the lightness of tonic with an aromatic bouquet of cherry blossom. This Thomas Henry Cherry Blossom tonic works wonders with a bit of Hendricks. 

4. Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn Tonic

This Merchant's Heart tonic keeps the bitterness of quinine but has a soft, fruity spice of pink peppercorn. It works really well with gins that have sweeter botanicals. It’s quite unlike any other tonic out there.

 

5. East Imperial Grapefruit Tonic

If you like a dry G&T, East Imperial have created a partnership of two exotic flavours. It delivers a citrus balance and is also very low in sugar. In particular, it pairs well with London dry and citrusforward gins.

Enjoy experimenting and cheers!

 

*Images have been taken from the brands own websites, click on them to be redirected for more information on each tonic featured in this post.