Real life is getting me down a bit at the moment. A winter which seems to be lasting forever, a longer commute to work, Paul being away so much and some deeply tedious cash-flow hitches are all giving me a distinctly gloomy outlook.
Fortunately, I paid Tastour for this Sipsmith Distillery outing about 9 months ago, so we could have a night off from reality in good conscience.
Sipsmith, in case you haven't been reading the London foody news (and if you haven't, I can't really blame you) is the first licenced distillery in London in 200 years. They have a glorious steampunkesque, hand-made copper potstill called Prudence.
The adorable Sam (I do love posh blokes with floppy hair) poured us very strong gins and tonic on arrival. It was the echt G&T experience - long, cold, slightly bitter and aromatic. He used Fevertree tonic and a slice of lime. Just as it should be.
When everyone had arrived, Sam gave a history of gin drinking in London with some amazing "facts" (which I have been unable to verify, but he seemed pretty convincing) about 100,000 children dying of the effects of alcohol in 3 years in the 18th Century. And they say cheap lager is a problem in this country.
Then we got down to the important bit: the tasting. Sipsmith make both gin & vodka, and we got to try both. Amazing. I honestly never thought I would taste a vodka that was full-flavoured and aromatic enough to sip, neat, without even being chilled. And the gin, oh the gin! I have been a Bombay Sapphire girl for many years now, but the Sipsmith just takes the biscuit. There were a couple of people who were saying they could identify particular aromatics in it; I couldn't do that (and honestly? There are about 10g of aromatics in 250l alcohol, to produce 125l gin, so I'm a teensy bit sceptical that anyone can pick "lemon peel" as a distinct flavour without being told it was there) but the overall flavour landscape is just gorgeous.
Kelly from Tastour then brought around trays of cheese and charcuterie, to soak up the next (less strong) G&T.
As fascinating as the adorable Sam was, and as delicious as the tasting was, the absolutely best bit of the night was leaving. At the door we were each handed a goodybag with a bottle to take home - so my new most treasured possession is a bottle of Sipsmith gin. It's a bit sad when your most treasured possession is a consumable, so the Sipsmith boys will have to stay in business forever to keep me supplied.