Master chefs are usually seen with a glass of wine in their hands. Now it’s a gin. Celebrity chefs are launching their own premium gins.
Chef and restauranteur Marco Pierre White has launched his Mr. White’s London Dry gin made by Dai Wakely of Cygnet Distillery in South Wales.
“I distinctly remember the captivating smell of the juniper berries being distilled at Booth’s Gin distillery on Wandsworth Bridge, as I made my way to and from Harveys on Wandsworth Common, London,” comments White, who once said that that the basis for a good sauce is the same principles as the basis as great, good quality spirit.
Two Michelin star Michel Roux Jnr has teamed up with craft distillery Nelson’s Distillery and School to create a gin inspired by the iconic French restaurant Le Gavroche. The acclaimed chef collaborated with Nelson’s founder and master distiller, who is himself a former chef. The MasterChef liked Nelson’s three-star Great British Taste Timur Gin so much, he asked him if he would help him make his own.
Le Gavroche Gin has been created with a combination of 28 botanicals. Roux comments: “I was seeking a premium craft gin partner to work with on this product and, by chance, I got to sample Nelson’s unique Timur Gin made from a Szechuan pepper only found in Nepal. It was clear that the distiller had a true understanding of developing flavor combinations., it was no surprise to me that Neil also has a background as a chef.”
Nelson’s Distillery and School is based in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, and only produces a range of gin, vodka, and rum as well as running schools around the UK. Says its owner: “We have spent quite some time perfecting the Le Gavroche Gin, experimenting with flavor combinations and ensuring we produce the best gin we possibly could.”
Scottish TV chef Gordon Ramsay has joined St Andrews-based Scottish producer Eden Mill to unveil his first gin, Six Rivers Eden River inspired by the unique flavors of the Kingdom of East Neuk, Fife, an hour north-east of Edinburgh and home of golf.
“We set out to create a narrative from the area around the distillery, to forage ingredients and develop flavors that told a story,” says Ramsay who also released “Hell’s Seltzer”. His gin is infused with botanicals including honeyberry – ‘a new Scottish super berry”. According to the co-founder of Eden Mill, Paul Miller, it is “the first time the honeyberry has ever been used in a gin of this scale before”. The expression also includes mara seaweed harvested in Crail, Fife.
Add Miller of the $40 gin: “We are particularly proud to work with the ingredients from the landscape of our home. The larder of Fife is one of edible gold, and we’re delighted to be supporting an ecosystem of small independent producers within 15 miles of our climate positive distillery to gather outstanding ingredients.” Miller recommends the 40.6% ABV gin to be.
Also in the UK, Devon’s Salcombe Distilling Co partnered with Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth to make Daring Gin. Audemus Spirits also teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic and sommelier Paz Levinson to launch Fractal 2.0 and Anne-Sophie Pic Gin. There is also Lunungin, a Scottish gin with an Asian twist, made by chef Dean Baker. Valentine Warner has a stake in Yorkshire’s Hepple Gin.
American chefs have given the Brits a head start and have a long way to catch up. Fame might be ephemeral but wine and spirits last longer.