I remember trying my parents gin and tonic as a child (it was the 80’s, that’s what happened) and wondering why on earth adults would drink such a sour tasting drink.
Fast forward to my mid 30’s and gin is now my number 1 drink of choice. In my opinion, it’s refreshing, low in calories and delicious. It’s not just me who thinks this as over the past few years, gin has had quite a renaissance.
Gin was once known as a drink of the poor with many people even dying from making their own with anything they find, anywhere they can, including the bath tub. It took a few hundred years but luckily now gin has shrugged off this reputation.
I jumped at the chance to visit the Sipsmith Distillery in Chiswick, to taste some of their gin and learn all about Sipsmith. Tours happen every Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 6.30-8pm and selected Fridays 4.30-6pm and cost £25.
The Sipsmith distillery is a 10 minute stroll from Turnham Green station. As you arrive you will be greeted with a gorgeous glass of Sipsmiths Summer Cup, a refreshing fruity drink full of natural flavours.
The first thing you will see is the stunning copper stills, all named thoughtfully as Prudence, Patience and Constance.
Our tour guide was the wonderful Rob who said his tour style is very panto, and he did not disappoint! Rob was engaging and very funny throughout and kept the energy of the group going, interspersing facts with gin tasters.
I promise I will leave some of the Sipsmith facts out so you will want to go on the tour to find out for yourself and try the wonderful gin!
Childhood friends Fairfax and Sam, who set up Sipsmith, were actually pioneers of the craft brewing industry and fought legislation to be able to distill spirits in a lower quantity. They are the first copper gin distillery to open in London in nearly 200 years. They wanted to bring back London dry gin to the place where it got its name.
The Sipsmith distillery is in 1 room, along with the bar. so your 90 minute tour will involve facts, anecdotes and trying gin rather than walking around anywhere.
One of the wonderful things about Sipsmith is the pioneering and unusual, fun flavours they make, specifially for their sippers club. The gin makers get to be creative and try new things. Sometimes the different flavoured gin becomes so popular it then becomes released to the public, this includes the lemon drizzle gin which is currently available in Waitrose. You can get four favourite experimental gins sent to you every quarter. The Sipsmith Sipping Society costs £45 a quarter or £160 annually.
The Sipsmith branding is beautifully British with swans included in all the packing to replicate the swan neck of the copper stills.
I first came across Sipsmith at The Gin Club at Charlottes in Chiswick, which is just around the corner from the distillery and happens every Monday. I was struck by how personable and passionate the person representing Sipsmith was. They run dinner and Sipsmith tour packages from £85 that are bookable via the Sipsmith website.
Once we had tried all the gin and heard all the facts, we finished with a Q+A session. They aren’t able to sell any of the gin from the distillery, you need to order from the website but to make up for this we were then passed a Sipsmith goody bag ,which was just adorable.
You can buy Sipsmith via their website but here’s a top tip, the gin baubles are going to be flying out the door this Christmas!
The Sipsmith tour is a perfect trip any gin lover, and will certainly persuade anyone who isn’t too. You’ll learn about the history of gin, about Sipsmiths and try lots of delicious gin. Great as a gift or to take a group of friends for an event. The strawberries and cream, and the sloe gin, is simply divine!