The newly launched Chilgrove Gin is the first English gin to be made using alcohol distilled from grapes, and Chilgrove's summer campaign is working to establish it as a truly English super-premium spirit.
At this year's Glorious Goodwood (29 July to 2 August), one of the world's most renowned horseracing festivals and fixture on the social calendar, the prominently located 'Chilgrove Gin Bar' will be the chic and sociable place to rendezvous. I caught up with, Christopher Beaumont-Hutchings, one of the two founders (the other is his wife, Celia) to find out a little bit more.
So Christopher: you have a background in finance. How did you end up in gin, so to speak?
The short answer is that Celia and I absolutely love gin. As for moving from banking to gin, the two are more closely related that one might think; certainly the concept of risk vs. reward lies at the core of both. I’ve taken the business experience gained from my days in the City and combined it with my passion for gin. The result has been a rollercoaster ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
But gin made from grapes. How does that work?
To make gin, you start with a neutral base spirit not dissimilar to vodka, albeit at an eye-watering 96.3% abv and then re-distil it with a selection of botanicals. The predominant flavour must be juniper, and the alcohol must come from agricultural origin, but beyond that there is huge scope to put your own ideas and personality into the spirit. With Chilgrove, we’ve used a seriously smooth base spirit distilled from grapes, which is a nod to how things used to be done back in the 16th century with Jenever, the Dutch drink from which English gin evolved.
What’s your ambition with Chilgrove?
With Chilgrove we’ve created a whole new style of English gin, a smoother spirit and one that goes perfectly regardless of season, situation or even time of day. 'A gin for all seasons'. A key focus for us was making it accessible, both in terms of the flavour profile but also the price. For a true super-premium gin, £29 is fantastic. Our ambition is to raise people’s eyes up from the bottom shelf and show them just how good gin can be.
That sounds interesting. Where do I find a bottle of Chilgrove?
If you find yourself near the Brompton Road then pop into Harrods! Otherwise check out our website for a full list of retailers. Or look online; www.thedrinkshop.com and www.masterofmalt.com are an easy way to bring Chilgrove straight to your door.
Finally, I’m not really a gin man, but I do like a good gin-based cocktail. My wife on the other hand is a gin person. What would you recommend for her, and what about for me?
For the true gin-lover, a dry martini is hard to beat. Personally I like a 6 to 1 ratio of gin to vermouth and stirred well rather than shaken. For you, I would suggest a Chilgrove Collins. Simply add 50ml gin, 35ml fresh lime juice and 25ml simple syrup to a Collins glass with ice, stir well and top up with chilled soda water. It's delicious. We'll be serving this by the pitcher all week at Glorious Goodwood, so come and try one.
Thank you Christopher, it was great talking to you. Hopefully I will bump into you at Glorious Goodwood!