6:30 am November 25, 2021
A historic city distiller takes on the big boys of London and shows them how quality gin is made.
Bullards – a brand born in Norwich in 1837 – opened its last store in Covent Garden in huge demand.
But the brand, which operates out of Crystal House in Norwich’s Cattle Market Street, also offers additional goodies for people heading to Norwich this Christmas.
The brand kicked off their gin experiment at their Chantry Place boutique just in time for an office party or two.
The Gin Experience allows visitors to talk about the history of gin, the background to the Bullards name, and proper tasting techniques – of course tested with the brand’s signature spirits.
The session – which usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour – ends with a thirst-quenching gin and tonic.
Russell Evans, Brand Director of Spirits, said: “It’s wonderful to bring in some of the high quality gin that we make here in Norwich, London.
“The Covent Garden store has exceeded my wildest dreams.”
The Gin Experience Sessions are led by the brand’s Gin Ambassador, Tamsen Macro, who said: “The history of gin is fascinating – there is still a lot of gin on the shelves today including people don’t know the meaning and a lot of phrases also come from the gin craze.
“For example, a lot of people don’t know that London Dry gin is a specific process – you can’t add any flavor after the distillation process, just water.
“When you see the expression Dry London Gin on bottles, it means something else was added afterwards.
“Likewise, people made gin with turpentine. It made people blind – hence the phrase ‘blind drunk’.”
Of course, Bullards’ drinks are of much better quality than the alcohol that the poor people in William Hogarth’s famous 1751 painting, Gin Lane, drank.
And the Gin Experiences are just a taste of Bullards’ upcoming events.
The team is also looking to launch cocktail masterclasses in the New Year.
Mr Evans added: “The wonderful thing about going to London is that people don’t know the brand there like they do here.
“People out there are experiencing it for the first time and want to taste it – but when they do, we see a 75% conversion rate on sale.”
A brief history of gin
Like many of Britain’s favorite drinks, gin doesn’t originate in the UK.
Unless you count the Italian monks who used juniper to flavor existing spirits, the first recorded gin was distilled in the Netherlands.
A Dutch physician named Franciscus Sylvius is widely regarded as the “inventor” of gin, having started prescribing a distilled spirit made from juniper for medicinal purposes in 1550.
People in England started drinking it while they were in Holland and used it to calm their nerves when fighting against Spain in the Thirty Years’ War.
They brought him home and in 1683 the Worshipful Company of Distillers was formed by King Charles I.