I can’t help but be partial to Sipsmith London Dry Gin – it was the gin that started my love for gin in the first place. Paralleling my developing gin crush, on a bigger scale, Sipsmith was one of the major contributors to the start of the UK artisan, small batch gin craze when they opened 2009, being the first copper pot distillery to start up in London since 1820. Bashing through legislation difficulties and liquor laws, they started up with a successful business model that revolves around the quality of their spirit and sharing their love and pride in their own hand made spirits, which has subsequently led into a flood of small batch, hand-crafted gins entering the market.
I first encountered this gin after moving to London for school in 2012. I was immediately enamored by the fact that grocery stores carried gin (awesome, and not true in Canada), and I was determined to try all of the varieties. This was of course a noble goal but I didn’t quite make it – the problem was that once I’d figured out the magic Fever Tree Indian Tonic and Sipsmith combo with lemon, I had a hard time finding other gins I was as happy with.
Warm, comforting and with character, for me this gin is an example of what the ideal London Gin ought to taste like. Pleasant neat, Sipsmith London Dry is a classic London dry without the full juniper assault, balanced cleverly with a distinct yet subdued warmer orangey, sweet, spiciness at the end. This gin really shines in a gin and tonic at any time of year, and is one that you’ll have a hard time ignoring once you get your hands on it.
Sadly I sacrificed my last half shot from the bottle that I brought back with me from the UK for this review, and you should admire my dedication to the cause because of this. Fortunately, this gin is becoming more widely available as the word gets out about its all around greatness, and is now becoming available for purchase in North America.
Smell – Strong juniper mingles with citrus and complex undertones of warm spices
Taste Neat – Smooth, bright citrus mingles with robust juniper, and is balanced with a more complex, warmer citrus, and slight peppery spice through to the finish
In a G&T – Fever tree Indian tonic water is my favorite compliment to this gin; Fentimans works as well, but go easy on the tonic if you don’t want to lose that lovely subtle spiciness in the gin. Best garnish is the classic lemon peel.