Fifty Pounds Gin London

All gin must contain juniper. “That’s a given,” explains Charles Maxwell, Master Distiller for Fifty Pounds, “Juniper must be predominant in order for it to be called gin.”

This dates back to gin’s likely Dutch origins. Originally seen as something of a cure-all, it was flavoured with juniper as this berry was also believed to have health benefits. The Dutch name for “juniper” is “jiniver” – which is where “gin” comes from.

“The juniper ‘berry’ is not, technically, a berry, it’s a pine cone, and can be heavy, and resinous.

However, while juniper is at the heart of all gins, the variety comes from the other botanicals used to flavour the spirit. In the case of Fifty Pounds, that starts with coriander seed, “the perfect foil to juniper,” as Charles explains. “The juniper ‘berry’ is not, technically, a berry, it’s a pine cone, and can be heavy, and resinous.

“Coriander actually puts in Fifty Pounds’ citrus notes. You can get gins with no citrus peel in them at all and that’s coming from the coriander seed.”

“We also add angelica root, “for its slightly earthy, spicy notes. It also acts a fixative, the ingredient that ‘glues’ the oils from the botanicals together. Many gins use orris root for that but we prefer angelica.

“They’re what give Fifty Pounds Gin a bit of a ‘giddy-up’.”

“We add savory, a herb that gives Fifty Pounds its green, hedgerow notes, liquorice powder – which acts a smoothing agent and adds a tiny bit of spice and then the two citrus elements: lemon peel and bitter orange peel. You can use other forms of orange but they don’t put the same citrus notes in as bitter orange.

As for the clean peppery finish of Fifty Pounds, that comes from a variety of pepper known grains of paradise. “They put in the spicy notes,” explains Charles. He laughs. “They’re what give Fifty Pounds Gin a bit of a ‘giddy-up’.”