Learn All About Gin at The Half Hitch Gin School!
Words by Claudia Carrozzi
Just like the olden days, Gin is the protagonist spirit of this big city, let’s face it is almost impossible to avoid Gin. If you leave and work in London, I am sure you have tried Gin at least once, and if you work in bars most likely you have a broad selection of Gin behind your counter!
This spirit has a great impact on the history of London and the current drinking habits, earning more popularity and respect year after year, and of course, we moved very far from the “mother ruin,” that used to turn the gin drinkers’ skin blue. Today we know how to make good Gin, the producers create their gin researching their botanicals all over the world along with different production methods; just like hundreds of years ago, we still drink Gin, we still love Gin and obviously our guest still loves Gin too!
There is so much choice in our bars, that sometimes we can hear bartenders mooning that some bottles remain unsold behind the bar, and it’s true, It can be quite complicated explain the difference from one gin to another if we do not understand the making process, bartenders are the ambassador of the products that are available behind the bar, and we need some real knowledge in order to be able to guide our guest on the choice more suitable to its palate. There is more than the house Gin!
I believe that the best way to learn is touch with hand and see with your eyes, and likely I met Mark Holdsworth, founder of the micro-distillery in Camden Lock, the Half Hitch Distillery. With his passion and his dedication for the Gin, along with his knowledge, not only Mark has managed to create an outstanding Gin with an incredible heritage, but he has launched a Gin School, priced for consumers at £ 50.00, and often the same session is offered complimentary for trade, subject to availability.
The Half hitch distillery is a very tiny room in the heart of Camden lock; the location has been chosen in relation to the great history that Camden Lock has with the Gin. Just where Half Hitch is now, back in the days there used to be another distillery, giving Camden market the fame of one of the main port for Gin export; but I don’t want to reveal too much, the Half Hitch Team will take you through an amazing journey!
The Botanicals that makes Half Hitch Gin so special are the Malawian black tea hand-blended with Calabrian bergamot that creates the beautiful earl grey flavour, a secret type of wood, hay and pepper.
Half Hitch Gin is produced by using three individual methods: copper pot distillation, vacuum distillation and handcrafted tincture, enabling the master distiller to create the distinctive colour and taste. On the nose, you will find notes of citrus with fresh cracked pepper and juniper berry. On the palate, you will get sweet orange, nutmeg and black tea with a long finish of cinnamon and lemon zest.
At the Gin School, while you will learn about Half Hitch Gin and its amazing history, the master distiller will guide you through all the steps for making your own Gin using the vacuum distillation, I made my Gin with lychee, gunpowder tea, pepper and lemon zest and obviously juniper; once home it ended up into my mixing glass and become a delightful martini!
Before booking your class, here are some tips for you:
What makes Gin?
Natural Spirits + Botanicals + Extraction of the flavours (distillation, tincture) + Water = Gin
Natural Spirit: You will be using 55% British Natural Grain Spirit
Botanicals: If you want to call it Gin, Juniper is a must, however in this case you don’t have to worry as you will be using a juniper flavoured grain spirit so that you can focus about the other botanicals! Don’t forget you can distill any ingredient that you like, but think about your flavour matching. Do not bring anything spicy; the master distiller won’t be happy!
Extraction of the flavours: Here is important you understand the Distillation process. You will be using the rotavapor, not the copper still. Therefore, the distillation takes place at a lower temperature, preserving the freshness of your flavours, this will have a great impact on the flavours of your Gin, don’t be afraid to use versatile, delicate botanicals!
Finally, as per legal definition, your gin must have minimum 37.5 ABV and must contain Juniper (otherwise you will make a flavoured vodka!)
Contact the Half Hitch team at firstname.lastname@example.org to check for availability.