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The Sipsmith Blog

Introducing Sipsmith’s House of Commons Gin

in Articles October 23, 2015

Inadvertently born by Royal Decree and shaped by Acts of Parliament, British gin has an inextricable link with Westminster. We’re very proud, then, to introduce our latest distillation – a special-edition gin handcrafted exclusively for the House of Commons.

When we were approached to produce a special distillation, exclusively for the House of Commons, we were thrilled by the opportunity: not only is it wonderful to see London-made gin being championed, but it has also given us the opportunity to dig through the history books (one of our favourite hobbies, to be sure).

Our Head Distiller, Jared Brown – a member of the Worshipful Company of Distillers – loves nothing more than hunting through newspaper clippings, out-of-print books and other historical records in the hopes of turning up cocktail lore and antique recipes, and this case was no different. And what he found was rather extraordinary: in 1736, even at the very height of the Gin Craze, he uncovered a reference to a special, parliamentary gin.

 

 

Inadvertently born by Royal Decree and shaped by Acts of Parliament, British gin has an inextricable link with Westminster.

That historical link made, it was up to JB to craft a gin that represented a contemporary gin by way of the 18th century. But first, a quick history lesson:

For those who aren’t aware of gin’s rather regal origins, note that the spirit gained popularity beginning in 1689, during the reign of William and Mary. The monarchs quickly halted imports of French liquors and sought to encourage a domestic distilling industry when they came to the throne – both because there was plenty of excess grain after a successful harvest, and because they had rather an affinity for genever, gin’s Dutch progenitor. A royal decree that incentivised people to distil at home was wildly successful – by the 1730s, one in every four London homes was producing gin!

Gin certainly has a regal past, then, though its later evolution was shaped by several Acts of Parliament, initiated in the House of Commons. Five separate Acts, beginning in 1734, began to better regulate the spirit and calm the Gin Craze. They also paved the way for the birth of the so-called “gentlemen distillers” and larger distilleries, who focused on high-quality production methods and a new, less sweet version of the spirit – the birth of London Dry Gin, in other words.

Handcrafted exclusively for the House of Commons, our brand new distillation is nothing short of an ode to the historic Acts that have helped gin blossom into what it is today.

Parliament is, then, deeply entwined with gin’s history. As a bonus historical fact – thanks for this one, JB – drinks aficionados might be even more surprised to learn that Westminster is where the word “cocktail” was first coined, too, with a first mention dating to 1798. Quite the trailblazers.

Handcrafted exclusively for the House of Commons, our brand new distillation is nothing short of an ode to the historic Acts that have helped gin blossom into what it is today. But this isn’t just a vestige from the past: instead, we’ve added our own Sipsmithian flair to the recipes of the era, serving up a London Dry style that boasts deep juniper notes and a heavenly citrus finish. A toast, then, to the House of Commons – long may gin reign in Westminster!

Feature images © meldayus/iStock; HultonArchive/iStock

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