• How would you describe your gin range to a customer?
I would describe it as eclectic yet accessible, with a broad spectrum of variety. What I think sets our bar apart is our passion and knowledge for each individual bottle that takes a place on our back-bar. We have a great personal relationship with the majority of distillers and suppliers meaning we are in a great position to learn the story and the passion behind each one, and we can pass that on to our customers.
• Which three gins could you not live without?
This is a difficult one. It’s hard to choose three as I could list 15 that I personally couldn’t live without, but purely from a bartending point of view:
Hendricks – largely because of its unique flavour profile, iconic serve and top notch branding and marketing. People will regularly request it with tonic and cucumber, and given the floral notes it is easy to mix with.
Tanqueray – a solid London Dry, it makes a brilliant base for any gin classic and lends itself perfectly to a G&T.
Isle of Harris Gin – because it simply makes one of the best Martinis I’ve ever tried. It’s branded really well, and marketed in such a way that it is difficult to get a hold of making it a luxury item. It is very easy to sell to anyone, whether they’ve heard of it before or not.
• What do you look for when adding a gin to your range?
I look for three things mainly: quality, branding and uniqueness.
The branding must be spot on, it must stand out from the crowd to make it to our shelf.
The quality must be there, it has to have its own distinct flavour profile that allows the bartenders to get creative. If the bartenders are behind it, it will
Lastly, it really helps to have a great story behind it. Most recently Loch Ness gin used our bar as a launchpad, and the story behind it is really amazing, along with a great bottle and a banging liquid with a unique serve (created by our bartenders) it found its way easily to pride of place on our gin shelf.
• Other than your own bar, where would you go for an excellent gin?
Ooft, a really difficult question.
Being hugely driven by cocktails, I guess I would head for my favourite bars in the world and just let them go nuts.
Bramble and Panda & Sons (Edinburgh), The Finnieston (Glasgow), Dandelyan (London) … I could go on and on. It’s all about atmosphere for me, so any good cocktail bar with friendly bartenders would keep me happy when ordering any gin serve!