David T Smith heads to the east of London to take a peek at East London Liquor Company's citrus-fuelled gin.
Housed in an old glue factory (thankfully they make something much tastier now), East London Liquor Company is one of the few distilleries in London that makes more than one class of spirits; they are currently ageing their rye whisky, but - perhaps more important for our purposes - they make fantastic gin.
The distillery opened in 2014 and now boasts a bar, restaurant, bottle shop and, of course, a distillery. For their edition of That Boutique-y Gin Company, founder Alex Wolpert and Gin Distiller Tom Hills decided to embrace a refreshing flavour: citrus. Luckily for the chaps, there is a local citrus trader who could help take the gin beyond oranges and lemons (regardless of what the bells of St. Clements might think).
Instead of more typical citrus, they sourced fresh lime and fresh miyagawa for their botanical mix. The miyagawa is a rather mysterious fruit: on the outside, it’s green like a lime, but when you cut it open, it’s orange and looks like a satsuma. This colour-changing fruit originates from Asia, but is commonly grown in Sicily. It tastes like a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine.
The citrus is accompanied by Douglas Fir - no, not the silent film actor, but the coniferous tree - that adds a crisp, green, resinous flavour that really complements the juniper, an essential part of any gin. The resulting spirit is sparklingly bright with an array of citrus and luxurious creamy notes. It works exceptionally well in a Gin & Tonic float with lemon sorbet.
The label shows Alex and Tom in the distillery sipping on Martinis, Tom has olives, Alex has a citrus twist - conflict that perhaps will never be resolved - so let's leave them to it. In the background is the beautiful set of stills, one for whisky, one for gin. The centrepiece is a citrus medley tree that has nonchalantly sprung forth between the two chaps - but they seem to be enjoying their respective drinks too much to notice!
Nose: A fruit basket of citrus - bold and zesty.
Taste: Marmalade with a little creamy butteriness, reminiscent of a morning slice of toast.
Finish: Mellow with a biscuity element and long-lasting, citrus zing.
Off-trade/on-trade enquiries should be directed to our UK distributor, Maverick Drinks.