Just the gin for a Hash Sip – Gin on the Run II –
Such has been the popularity of our blog on the Westcombe Park Hash House Harriers – a group of runners from Kent who stop off mid-course for a G&T – that we thought it would be rude not to catch up with them again: this time challenging the grizzled group to give us their thoughts on a locally produced distillation.
So here they are, washed and changed after their most recent six-miler along some decidedly steep and muddy tracks in the countryside around East Grinstead. Those who read our original Gin on the Run back before Christmas may recall that this Hash House chapter insists on its participants wearing silly hats and that one poor soul, deemed to have transgressed its barmy disciplinary code, is forced to put on the Hash-It – namely a plastic potty – after the run. And these beer-centric celebrations are referred to by Hashers as the ‘ON’.
Our old friend John Ward Turner was the worthy recipient of the plastic Gazunder on the last Sunday of April, having apparently ‘refused’ at the first water hazard, though he still managed to return to the Hare’s house looking properly dirty and dishevelled. A mile or so later, the Hash Sip of Anno Kent Dry Gin came as a welcome break from the slurry and severe slopes as the group paused at a spot overlooking Bramble Tye House, one of the county’s most upmarket country house hotels and business venues.
“the Westcombe Park boys believe Anno should be a hit with anyone who enjoys gin and tonic”
The name Anno is an Abba-esque derivation: combining letters from the Christian names of its two founders – Dr Andrew Reasons and Dr Norman Lewis, who in 2011 quit their careers as scientists to create a distinguished dry gin reflecting the joys of their home county. Unlike the makers of Chatham Dockyard Gin they didn’t ignore the availability of locally grown hops as one of their signature botanicals; also sourcing samphire and indigenous florals. Obviously we’ve only got the Westcombe Park Hashers’ word for it, but after a few miles of mire they apparently found the Anno, tonic and ice truly refreshing. The official tasting notes describe Anno as having “intense flavours and subtle notes”.
Based in the village of Marden, the distillery is big on experimenting with different ingredients and has added other drinks to its multi-award winning flagship spirit, including a 60 over-proofed version with strong spicy and citrusy flavours – described as woody and robust. And the makers are also big into cocktails based around their range of spirits.
The rough terrain and mystery routes laid by the Hare for each run mean that Hash House running is not to everyone’s taste, but the Westcombe Park boys believe Anno should be a hit with anyone who enjoys gin and tonic – whether they’ve worked up a proper thirst or not.