A local gin distillery? Yes, pur-leease!
I’m not sure I should be quite as excited about this as I am, but there you go – a brand new gin distillery coming to Herts soon feels like a big deal. I mean, a Really Big Deal.
Husband and wife team (how do people do that?) Kate and Ben Marston are combining their many talents – and their long-time love of gin – into a project that promises to be something really special.
Right now – I mean, right now – they’re busy working on developing their own unique recipe, getting all the equipment they need, finding the perfect suppliers and looking for the right home for the new distillery.
Once that’s all in place, look forward to tours of the distillery, tutored tastings, and outdoor events. Oh, and gin. Delicious, locally-produced gin. The first gin to be produced in the Chilterns. And a girl ought to support local business, right?
Why Puddingstone? Well, it’s the name of a rare rock formation found in Herts that used to mark boundaries and was believed to ward off evil spirits – how very appropriate. And it fits with the whole ‘Spirit of the Outdoors’ vibe that Kate and Ben are going for.
And, because they’re so lovely, Kate and Ben are offering one of you Muddy Herts lovelies a chance to get your hands on a bottle from the very first batch of their premium Campfire gin. And not only that, you’ll receive an invitation for 4 people to attend a tour and tasting session once the distillery is up and running.
How? Easy-peasy. Just make sure you’re signed up to Muddy Herts (if you’re not already, of course) and then click on over to puddingstonedistillery.com and register for their newsletter before noon on Friday 4 September. Do make sure you enter the code ‘MUDDYGIN’ in the ‘other interest’ field, though, so they know that you’re a Muddy Herts subscriber. We’ll announce the winner right here on Muddy Herts on 5 September.
And while you’re waiting to find out if you won, here’s something to keep you busy….
The Puddingstone Distillery’s guide to the perfect gin and tonic
Use plenty of it. More ice with a larger surface area keeps your drink cooler for longer. Ideally, you should still have ice left when you’ve finished – better that than a highly diluted G&T. Use filtered or distilled water – not tap water – to make your ice, and don’t keep it in the freezer too long as it can taint. Remember that garnishes, bitters and even tonics can be frozen into cubes.
Personally we go for a thick walled short tumbler or traditional copa. The advantage of these is that the cold dissipates quickly and evenly throughout your drink. A tumbler that closes in toward the top will help contain some aroma. We’re experimenting with other materials which can change the drink experience significantly – and we’ll keep you posted!
Before you assemble your ice, tonic and garnish, try the gin neat or with a splash of cold filtered water – this may be all you need. Contrary to popular practice, gin can also be enjoyed at room temperature. If you plan to garnish, find something that complements the key botanicals. Step beyond the often overpowering lemon or lime options and look at alternatives like fresh rosemary, grapefruit, berries or spruce tips. Remember that distillers have spent a lot of time building a gin, often with many ingredients. Take care not to destroy the balance of flavour and aroma with an overpowering garnish.
The argument over this will run as long as what constitutes the perfect Martini, but as someone who likes to taste their gin, here’s my ideal mix, served in a thick walled glass tumbler or my ‘secret’ tumbler:
50ml gin (I’m currently drinking ‘The Duke’ from Munich)
3 x ice cubes
100ml Fever-Tree tonic