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Product of the week: Borough Market Gin

Categories: Product of the week

The Market’s very own smooth, herbacious gin, made by East London Liquor Company

The beautiful spirit currently being sold in the new Borough Market Store as Borough Market Gin was never really meant to exist. This elegantly designed, limited edition bottle contains East London Liquor Company’s much-loved Premium Batch No.2. “There wasn’t ever supposed to be a Batch No.2 gin,” says Richard from East London Liquor Company. “The initial plan was to create just one premium distillation.”

Once the team had tried a few recipes and narrowed down their choices to two clear favourites, they sent these out to a select list of mixologists, head bartenders and gin experts, and asked which of the two they thought was best. The answers they got back were remarkably consistent. “They told us that both gins were really good, and they liked them for very different reasons,” Richard explains. “In the end, the decision was made to release them both.”

This was an excellent choice, given the subsequent popularity of Batch No.2, both in its original form and in its new Borough Market Gin incarnation. “Our gin is one of the most popular things we sell,” says Chez, who works at the Borough Market Store, pointing to a couple of well-stocked shelves. “We launched it in December and it did very well over Christmas, which is to be expected, but then it kept selling well through Dry January with no drop off at all!”

A special trip
Chez thinks there are a few reasons why the spirit has proved such a hit. “The first is because of the exclusivity of the Borough Market Gin label—you won’t find it anywhere else, so we get quite a few collectors coming in to buy it. They come from all over the country. Some discovered it while shopping in the Market, while others have heard of it elsewhere and made a special trip. Then there are people who have been regular shoppers at the Market and have a real affection for the place, so were really happy when they found that the Market now has its own-label gin.”

The main reason, though, is the sheer quality of the drink. “I have noticed that a lot of people tell us that they don’t usually like gin, but have really taken to this one,” says Chez. “I’m like that myself—I’m not normally a fan, but I will happily drink this without tonic, just with a piece of ice.”

This is testament to the skill of the original makers. “It is a very herbaceous gin. The aroma is mellow, herbal and it is packed with lots of herbal botanicals like lavender, sage, bay leaves, thyme and fennel,” Richard explains. “Unlike a lot of gin-makers we put the botanicals into the still during distillation, as opposed to putting the botanicals into room-temperature spirit to infuse for 48 hours. Putting them in the still means that as the liquid boils, much more flavour is extracted from the herbs. This leads to a much deeper and more robust flavour.”

Robust flavours
As the spirit rises from the still, it passes through a netting bag packed with lemon peel, which gives the finished drink an extra element of sweetness and acidity. “Even though it has really robust flavours, this is a very smooth gin—there is no edginess as you swallow,” says Richard. “It is definitely one that you can drink on its own, and that is not an accident. Many gins are made to be drunk with a lot of tonic, but we want our drinks to be stars in their own right.”

That doesn’t mean, though, that the odd co-star isn’t welcome. “The bartenders we send it to tell us it makes a great negroni,” says Richard. And who are we to argue.