Sipsmith is not like other gin distilleries. We put an emphasis on handcrafting each and every last bottle...
At only a few hundred bottles per distillation, we have ample opportunity to make sure that each one turns out just so. Between our botanicals, spring water source, and careful oversight, we think we’ve managed to craft a truly special gin.
But the main quality that sets our gin apart is the way that we distil it. Our ‘one-shot’ distillation method, which is rarely used these days, means that our gin comes out of the still according to our exact preferences.
The process begins with a neutral grain spirit, which we distil through our beloved Prudence to transform into our smooth and buttery Barley Vodka. Once distilled, that spirit is either diluted with spring water and bottled right away or saved – it’s what we use, after all, as the delicate base to our London Dry Gin.
From there, our one-shot distillation process begins. We infuse our spirit with all 10 of our botanicals – from cassia and ground Spanish almonds to orris root and Seville orange peel – and let the pre-gin mixture macerate for a whopping 15 hours. Once the botanicals’ flavours have steeped into the spirit and it has taken on a delicately oily note, it’s then ready for distilling.
Prudence is slowly heated, and the mixture begins to vaporise and wend its way through the copper still. The fact that Prudence is copper is an important point: the metal is a distiller’s best friend, as it reacts with the alcohol and helps remove any lingering impurities. That means that our gin doesn’t have to be filtered, and as such loses none of its character or subtlety.
Once the infused spirit starts to evaporate, it works its way through the still, bypassing the distillation column to ensure the delicacy of the ingredients isn’t lost. At the end of the process it turns back into condensation, and wonderful, beautiful gin is born.
The resulting gin is then diluted with fresh spring water to an exact ratio of 41.6% ABV – the proportion at which head distiller Jared Brown judged it was best balanced. We only use the ‘hearts’ of what’s distilled, otherwise known as the middle run – with heads and tails of the distillation discarded, we’re guaranteed a gin that’s as pure as can be.
In that process lies the essence of our one-shot distilling: other than the water dilution, our spirit isn’t changed or altered from the moment maceration begins to the moment it’s bottled. It’s a time-consuming process, which is partly why it’s so rare: the majority of distilleries produce gin using the ‘concentrate’ distillation method, which sees gin distilled with a much higher percentage of botanicals to create a concentrate, which is later watered down with a pre-made neutral spirit to ensure the mix goes further.
It’s our preference for the handcrafted that led us to one-shot distilling; after all, we’d prefer to see the gin produced exactly to our terms. That’s why we’re so proud of our gin, clear and aromatic as it is: we can be certain that it’s truly one of a kind.
Feature image © ßrka Olehlovß/Hemera/Thinkstock