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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Spirit of The Age: Sipsmith



Never being one to pass up on a free tasting of Vodka, I stopped by the Sipsmith stand at the Real Food Festival, where I was amazed by their products.

Based in Hammersmith, London, tucked away in quiet street, Sipsmith's small distillery, was set up just a short while ago, in Spring 2009, by founders Sam and Fairfax who had always dreamt of creating a true artisan spirit.


LEFT: From left to right – The Sipsmiths, Fairfax, Jared and Sam

They make a Barley Vodka and a London Dry Gin which is gently delivered from their handmade copper-pot still, named "Prudence", the first in London for 189 years. This beautiful still, as well as functional, could also be considered a work of art with its graceful swan neck which has been taken as the inspiration for the attractive label designs.
Producing the spirit in small batches, no more than 500 bottles per batch, in fact, ensures exceptional quality and supreme flavour.


Being a vodka lover, I am quite fussy about what I drink. I wouldn't say I am an expert as such, but I know what I like. I prefer to drink vodka straight and slowly, no knocking back shots in a violent and greedy manner but in a more measured and considerate way so that I may enjoy the flavours.
Anyone who says that vodka has no taste and that it should always be mixed in with tonic and the like, has clearly never fully appreciated a decent spirit.


The Vodka is distinctly British, distilled from English barley spirit and then blended with water from the Lydwell Spring, one of the sources of the River Thames.
Most noticeable is that this spirit does not burn your mouth or throat and is exceedingly smooth, which makes it ideal for slow lingering sipping, Unlike some vodkas that need to be chilled in the freezer to make them tolerable, this is very agreeable even at room temperature.
With its nutiness, and growing sweetness, finally ending with a hint of pepper it is most enjoyable.


I haven't drunk gin in years, mainly because I've found it to have been a bad experience. Maybe it's because of the tonic that I had with it, made me believe it to be bitter. I couldn't have been more wrong.
ABOVE: Ten carefully selected botanicals are used including: Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Sevillian orange peel and Spanish lemon peel.

Sipsmith's version is a joy to drink, and the smell is like a breath of fresh summer meadows. Again, as with the vodka, it is mellow in the mouth, the juniper fragrant and refreshing accompanied by bright zesty notes of lemon and orange.
Shameful or not, I could happily drink this pure and unadulterated by mixers.

So impressed was I, that I bought both the vodka and gin to take home for further enjoyment, and all I can say is, that they're both slipping down rather nicely, if a little too quickly!

For further information and where to buy, visit their website: sipsmith.com
Photo source: Sipsmith website

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