Gin. Legally, it must be a flavoured ethyl alcohol-based drink with 37.5% ABV or above. The predominant element in the flavour must be juniper. That’s pretty much it. There are distinctions and categories, some official, some not: London Dry Gin, Old Tom, Navy Strength. There is thus a massive scope for experiment and variation in gin, as anyone who has shopped for gin lately well knows.
But there’s gin and then there’s gin. You know, the good stuff. Our friends and neighbours at The Cambridge Distillery definitely make the good stuff. They’re celebrating 10 years of producing gin, and we encourage you to join in by either discovering their gins (if you haven’t yet) or reminding yourself of just how good gin can be.
Founded by Will Lowe and his wife Lucy, Cambridge Distillery is renown for their innovative approach to gin-making. Will is not only the distiller behind Cambridge Distillery, he’s also a Master of Wine, a rare enough accomplishment in itself.
Based in the village of Grantchester, just outside Cambridge itself, Cambridge Distillery remains often local, but not provincial. The botanicals for their English Herbarium Range are grown in and around Cambridge and Grantchester. Some are foraged ultra-locally – the Curator’s Gin is made from botanicals from the University of Cambridge’s Botanical Garden.
Other times botanicals are sourced more globally – botanicals from Japan for the (you guessed it) Japanese Gin, and truffles from Piemonte, Italy, for their Truffle Gin. Whichever gin they are making, each botanical is treated and distilled separately, and then blended to make the final gin. This is distinct from the vast majority of gins that blend and distill their botanicals in one batch.
We carry pretty much their entire range. (There is one gin, at £2500 bottle, that, alas, we don’t have. But given how rare it is, not many people do.) The gins range from the elegant Cambridge Dry Gin up to Anty Gin, made, yes, with ants, in collaboration with the research arm of the world-famous Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.