A History of Tanqueray Gin
‘I exercise strong self control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.’
Oh what a wonderful libation gin is! The possibilities of creation are limited only by the imagination of the mixologist. Gin is one of my personal favourite drinks, and so when DesignMyNight offered me the chance to go on a press trip hosted by Tanqueray I naturally jumped at the chance.
The evening was held at the Worship Street Whistling Shop, a fantastic cocktail bar that focuses on dissecting each drink to create something truly unique. This new wave of ‘Molecular mixology’ (to jump on the popular terminology) involves creating home-made ingredients via powders, foams, gels as well as home-distilled liqueurs and spirits.
On the forefront of this new wave of bartender is the Fluid Movement, a group of incredibly talented individuals who are changing the face of cocktail making. Challenging traditional mixologists, the Fluid Movement turn cocktail consumption into a multi-sensory theatrical experience.
One of the members of the Fluid Movement, Tristan Stephenson, took great pride in hosting the Tanqueray Gin evening. Co-owner of the Whistling Shop, Tristan admitted he did very little bartending these days, so this was clearly a rare appearance for the author of The Curious Bartender – The artistry and alchemy of creating the perfect cocktail. In the experienced hand of one of the world’s finest bartenders, Tristan began to recite the history of Tanqueray Gin.
Beginning in 1830, Tanqueray was born when Charles Tanqueray created a London dry gin with the finest herbs and botanicals from the world over. The result? An iconic taste, rich and full of flavour. A sort of 19th century Del Boy, Charles Tanqueray didn’t limit himself just to flogging gin – he was also creative innovator, with a full notebook of recipes, which passed down through history.
Tristan was allowed to study Charles Tanqueray’s recipes and through this insight create some interesting concoctions. As it turns out, Mr Tanqueray also created a shoe-polish, which Tristan recreated and handed out as a gift for all those attending the session, with a shoe-shine boy to polish them up to gleaming standard.
Taking this shoe polish, Tristan noted the high levels of sugar and took this recipe to create his own liqueur, based on many of the same ingredients. After tasting this Tristan created a sterling Martini, which was actually my first ever Martini – and not the last let me tell you! With pointers on the way about how to make a great Martini and a very interesting garnish tip we were then created a drink that blended both the present and the old recipe to make something quite new. More wet (bartending terminology of course, the drink was obviously wet – it was liquid) than the previous Martini it had a delightful balance of botanical dryness and a herbal syrup sweetness.
To check out this unique event purchase a ticket for £15 via the YPlan and get your gin hat on.
Sessions run from Tuesday 12th November, Tuesday 19th November, Tuesday 26th November and Tuesday 3rd December 2013.
Images by James North Photography