Ten Questions with Sipsmith’s Master Distiller
Posted on March 02 2015
Its 300 litre copper pot still was designed and produced by the German still manufacturers Christian Carl, she has been named “Prudence”. Sipsmith produce each small batch of all its spirits in a traditional manner with three cuts: the Head or “foreshot” is discarded, as is the Tail or “feints”. The Heart of the distillation is kept and diluted to its final bottling strength with Lydwell Spring water, one of the sources of the River Thames in the Cotswolds.
We’ve been lucky enough to interupt a busy, travelling Jared for 5 minutes to give him a grilling and find out more about the man who describes himself as:“Drinks historian. Underwear model. Book publisher. Bon Viveur. Cotswold gardener. Gin lover. Creative genius. Master Distiller.” – we need to know more!
What do you love about Chiswick?
The sense of community and creative spirit. We knocked on the doors of all our new neighbours when we moved into Cranbrook Road and the reception has been exceptional, we even had a neighbour bring across some of the garden Damson which we’re resting on the gin for a Chiswick Damson Gin in the Distillery this year.
What do we have to look forward from Sipsmith this year?
A whole lot of exiting experimentation in the Distillery Laboratory at the moment, so you’ll have to watch this space…….
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
There have been a few and it would be immodest to say, but setting up London’s first copper distillery in nearly 200 years and bringing the art and craft of traditional gin distillation back to the city where it all began isn’t too bad a place to start.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what drinks would you serve them?
Just too many to choose from, I could talk to you about this all day. I’ve eaten with many of them.
Describe Sipsmith in 5 words:
Bearers of tradition. Exuberantly fun.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Sunshine in the garden. My wife Anistatia. A crisp 50/50 Martini.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Sleep – its a pretty hectic schedule at the moment. I’m on a tour of Spain as I type.
What is your motto?
A cocktail is a mixed blessing.
Where would you most like to live?
Where we live now. In the heart of the Cotswolds with chickens and 18 different kinds of mint plant. It doesn’t get much better.
What’s the best and worst thing about your job?
Making the best gin in the world. How many people there are to share it with, with so little time.
At The Good Wine Shop, we are delighted to stock the entire Sipsmith range, here’s their list of products – with notes, in their own words!
London Dry Gin: A particularly dry gin with a zesty, citrus finish.
The quintessential expression of a classic, traditional London Dry Gin. Bold, complex and aromatic – smooth enough for a Martini, but rich and balanced, perfect for a G&T.
“Confidently hits the palate with juniper, warms it with spice and then wrings it dry, begging you to take another sip.” – SIPSMITH SAM
V.J.O.P: A Very Junipery Over Proof gin.
Imagining the botanicals as components in an orchestra, here we have taken the lead instrument, juniper, and amplified its presence in the ensemble, and then raised the decibels by increasing the proof alcohol. The result is our very own symphony in ‘J’ major.
“It’s big, it’s bold and it’s as unashamedly junipery as running naked in a pine forest. I just love it!” – SIPSMITH JARED
Sloe Gin: Truly handmade, complex & bursting with flavour.
First we distilled our award-winning London Dry Gin in our copper still. Then we left it to rest on wild sloe berries, hand-picked in the autumn. The result is a truly handmade sloe gin that is subtle, complex and bursting with flavour.
“It’s delicious in champagne and strikes a wonderful wintertime harmony with strong cheeses or chocolate-based desserts.” – SIPSMITH JARED
Sipping Vodka: An unadulterated, unfiltered vodka for sipping
A testament to how we handcraft all our award-winning spirits. Distilled in copper for purity and only ever made with the very best spirit from the heart of the distillation run. This means there is no need to filter, add glycerine, fructose, or any aromatisers. No compromises; just pure unadulterated, smooth, Sipping Vodka.
“Sippability personified. Expect a rounded, warming brightness on the palette and a deliciously delicate finish.” – SIPSMITH JARED
Damson Vodka: Full-bodied flavour with warm plummy notes.
“During the maceration process the stone from the damson throws out a wonderful almond note that is a delightful complement to the rich fruit flavours.“ – SIPSMITH CHRIS.
We began with our Sipping Vodka, then we left it to steep with fresh English damsons. The warm plummy notes of the fruit combine beautifully with the soft mouth-feel of the vodka for an extraordinarily full-bodied flavour.
Summer Cup: Sipsmith’s perfect summer drink for Gin lovers
The perfect summer sip for gin lovers. Our London Dry Gin, blended with a host of carefully selected summery ingredients including infusions of Earl Grey tea and lemon verbena (grown in Jared’s garden).
“Perfect for marrying with lemonade in the sun. It’s bone dry, it’s complex. It’s summer in a glass.” – SIPSMITH JAMES