Pickering’s 1947 Gin review

Pickering’s 1947 Gin review


Anyone for cricket?

Pickering’s Gin is, apparently, based on a recipe from Bombay, dating back very exactly to the 17th of July, 1947 … echoing the atmosphere of India, the original distillation was very spicy and full of citrus – the sweetness from the cinnamon also combating the bitterness of the quinine infused tonic water used to deter malaria.

Moving on from the final days of the British Raj and a G&T on the verandah after watching the cricket, the family managed to keep the recipe secret since 1947, before one of today’s two distillers – Marcus – inherited it from a friend of his late father. The business partners then went on to build their own Summerhall Distillery in 2014 on the site of an old derelict veterinary dog kennels near where they worked in Edinburgh … as you do.

India’s first cricket team, 1948

Just before the distillery was opened, Matt and Marcus tinkered with the old recipe, creating a gin that is a little softer and smoother for today’s taste buds; inventing a bain-marie type heating system for their 500 litre copper stills – where the grain spirit and botanicals “enjoy a slow simmer” to coax out their fabulous, but more subtle interpretation of Bombay gin.

Removing just the cinnamon from the original recipe for their Pickering’s Gin, but re-introducing it for their 1947 blend, the ‘Botanical Engineers’ otherwise stick to the same nine spices and citrus flavours.  We tried the 1947 version, and the slight sweetness of the 42% ABV Bombay style gin was very pleasant indeed – and warming, so it can be enjoyed neat.  However, it was the spicy kick I enjoyed mostly; this gin really is all about the warming, sub-continental spice.

The botanicals include coriander, juniper, cardamom, angelica and fennel, as well as anise, lemon, lime and cloves – we enjoyed ours with the recommended serve of orange and tonic, although the makers suggest ginger ale as a warming alternative.  In fact, exactly the same serving suggestions as for Ophir, one of my favourites.

Pickering’s 1947 Gin can be purchased directly from the manufacturer at £32.99 per litre.