Like gin? Then Sipsmith Distillery tour is a must
As advocates of the old Mothers Ruin, I got my own ruined Mother (I jest) a ticket to the Sipsmith Distillery tour and tasting as an alternative to the overdone wine tasting. One of the best ‘I want to do that so I’ll sneakily buy it as a gift’ decisions I’ve ever made.
Whenever you buy an event ticket for someone, there’s always that anxiety that it’s going to be awful – but Sipsmith was brilliant fun. The distillery was in one big room, with a bar at one end, and three copper stills down the other end (named Patience, Constance and er…another one).
The Sipsmith distillery is the first in London for nearly 200 years, bringing the art and craft of small-batch gin distillation back to the capital.
At the beginning you are offered a glass of gin and tonic and are greeted by your tour guide, the kind of guy that’s posh down to his pinkie ring – and he really made the tour. He obviously loves his job and his enthusiasm shows as he explains the history of gin; Sipsmith and how they make their own gin.
As you are taken around the tour (basically an amble over to the copper stills and back to the bar again – kind of like you do if you’re a normal barfly really), you try different gins and vodkas in a little Sipsmith glass you take with you throughout.
You’re encouraged to smell your drinks and swill them around the glass before taking little sips, like you are with wine tasting, but it’s a lot more relaxed than wine tasting – you feel less like you’re being taught something and more like you’re sharing in someone’s passion for boozing, which makes it all the more enjoyable.
To be completely honest, you do only remember fleeting bits of what you’re told as you’re more buoyed along by the tour guide’s manner and jokes than absorbing anything he really says, although it probably helps that you’re knocking back straight gin and vodka. This is probably illustrated by the only marginally fact-based part of this blog post on the distillery, which I took straight from the website listing anyway.
However, I do remember that gin is made from juniper berries and how the art of distilling works (take the middle bit of the batch basically- the beginning and end are rubbish), and that if you’re looking for it, you can smell and taste vanilla; coriander seeds; pepper and the regret of several nights plastered on Sainsbury’s Own gin (the last one may just be me).
We also tried damson vodka and sloe gin, both of which are so tasty, and the tour guide recommended using damson vodka as an alternative to port when eating cheeses, which would be a pretty nice way to eat one of my favourite foods.
I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone with a taste for gin – it’s really fun and you get pretty good bang for your buck.
The Sipsmith distillery tour is currently sold on Not on the High Street for £60.00, including a 70cl bottle of Sipsmith London Dry Gin. Enjoy!
Image attribution: Sipsmith.com