Madness or genius?
Being a great fan of roast lamb garnished with fresh rosemary from the garden, I was bound to try Martin Miller’s Summerful Gin sometime soon, seeing that it contains this very favourite herb – and it wasn’t a disappointment, which I half feared it might be upon getting it home and discovering it also includes thyme.
Indeed, as the distiller’s website notes, “Is it madness or genius?” Madness was my first thought – rosemary and ‘Artic’ thyme? Surely these two herbs would simply overpower each other.
Yet somehow Summerful Gin combining English rosemary with the thyme from Iceland really does work, so we will concede ‘genius’ to be the best description. Along with the classic juniper and lemon citrus of a London dry, this gin is incredibly refreshing, and packs a powerful punch above its weight at 40% ABV. And the Icelandic spring water used in the distillation offers a silky smoothness at the same time, while we tried ours with either elderflower or Indian tonic. Both were enjoyable: and there was the additional surprise of the drink being slightly minty on the nose.
But then its creator, Martin Miller, was also a distinctly complex personality with talents going well beyond the boundaries of botanicals and distillation. As his website explains: “From publishing an etiquette guide to dabbling in photography and to hosting pop concerts and parties … but it was his love and knowledge of art and antiques that made him famous by publishing his celebrated Miller’s Antique Price Guides.”
“In short, though he himself personified curiosity,
curiosity for curiosity’s sake bored him.”
Martin Miller sadly passed away in 2013, but his legacy lives on – both in his gin and as the founder of the Miller’s Academy, an arts-and-science lecture venue in London.
Martin Miller’s Summerful Gin can be purchased online (eBay/Amazon) or Waitrose and Tesco for around £28.