Jarrold’s Gin – Meet the Maker

15 Oct 2017

There’s a new gin in town. Jarrold’s Gin is the creation of Sussex husband and wife, Jamie and Nichola Jarrold. Made with painstaking care and personally bottled by them, the couple launch their Middle Eastern-influenced gin in January.

We caught up with Jamie to find out about more about the latest addition to the ginaissance.

Some exciting times ahead for you! When can we expect Jarrold’s Gin to hit the shelves?

We’re really excited to be so close after almost two years since conception to first sales. We’re looking at the website going live mid-November, although the bottles may not be quite ready then…pre-orders welcome!

What made you decide to create the product?

We’re both (Nichola, my wife, and I) quite creative people and have always enjoyed making our own things. We also have a good eye for detail and we thought we could create something special. Obviously the gin market is doing really well at the moment, but you’ve got to choose something you love and have fun doing right?

What do you think makes Jarrold’s Gin different from what’s currently out there?

We wanted a drink which wasn’t over-powered by tonic and which you could taste the gin through. So many times while we were in a bar or pub and ordering a G&T, the flavour of the gin would be lost and we’d end up getting a double measure just to get the taste of the gin through in the drink.

This is the bit we like about drinking, which is actually tasting the base constituent, so we wanted to make something which would be appreciated in a single measure but complex enough to feature on cocktail makers’ shelves.

We wanted the quality of a London Dry, but much heavier on the juniper than you traditionally find. We use a lot more juniper than most and the additional essential oils make it a super smooth drink on its own… keep an eye on the website for some interesting easy mixes. Jarrold’s London Dry is more about less! We would recommend a single measure of 25ml to three parts tonic… it is 48% after all!

Your day job sees you based in Iraq. Has travelling brought you any inspiration when making your gin?

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world in my day job and have met some amazing people and had some brilliant food. I’ve never shied away from trying local cuisine and this features in our gin.

In Iraq the locals use noomi basra (dried lime) or Persian limes in so many aspects of their cooking. From cooled sweetened drinks in the summer to hot teas in the winter. Coffee laced with Cardamom and noomi basra, stews and soups, Persian limes are in them all.

We use them in the gin basket of each distillation, but the local secret is to remove the pips so we don’t get a bitterness from them. Watching the initial distillation is amazing as the spirit initially comes out an inky blue from the dried black limes but this quickly disappears and we’re left with a fantastically clear spirit.

The Persian limes are key in our flavour profile. We love the citrus we get from them but without the bitterness. We only have seven botanicals but believe they combine together very well.

What are your key botanicals and tasting notes?

The Persian limes are key in our flavour profile. We love the citrus we get from them but without the bitterness. We only have seven botanicals but believe they combine together very well. There is a definite pepper note which comes from the grains of paradise and the ginger of the calamus root. It’s incredibly smooth and extremely drinkable on it’s own and quite different in this respect from many other gins.

What’s your distillation process like?

Slow. We do a few things a little differently from many people which comes at a price to us, but we really notice the difference in the end product. We won’t compromise on this, no matter how much sales increase as we firmly believe it’s a key part in achieving our end product.

“We do a few things a little differently from many people which comes at a price to us, but we really notice the difference in the end product. We won’t compromise on this, no matter how much sales increase as we firmly believe it’s a key part in achieving our end product.”

We use grain neutral spirit (96.6%) which we’re not afraid to tell people. It’s made from British grain and of premium quality, three times distilled before we even see it. Five of our botanicals are macerated for a few hours in this, cut back to 60%, and the other two are held in the gin basket during distillation.

When we bought the still we visited the Kothe factory in Stuttgart and they were very specific about the percentage of alcohol we should use when distilling. Many distillers distill at 60% but we distill at 29.5% in the pot. This means that we only produce half the amount that many other distillers can from the same volume but we think it makes a massive difference.

We also distill very slowly; our still is electric and very controllable which allows us to gently simmer the pot contents and get the best flavour profile from the botanicals. It doesn’t end there though, we let it rest for 10 days or so to let the flavours combine before we cut it back ready for bottling.

How long did it take to come up with a product you were happy with and were there many iterations to get you there?

Actual trial runs weren’t many. We researched a lot into the botanicals and mixture profiles based on the type of gin we wanted to create and it worked quite well from the beginning. We made a few changes around the process and particularly at which point we cut out the hearts but it was all great fun.

We love it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean and Fentimans premium tonic water for a classic G&T. To the Garnish, try it with a sprig of thyme or forage some borage flowers and freeze them in ice cubes for a nice look which doesn’t affect the nose during drinking.”

What’s your favourite way to enjoy your gin?

Of course we love it in a classic G&T, but we also are a big fan of simple 3 or 4 ingredient cocktails which are easy to re-create at home. A Gimlet is definitely one of the easiest and one of the favourites with our gin. When we were doing one of the trial runs on our 10 litre still, we had some issues keeping the condenser cool and as a result some of the gin was hot. We had a taste of this and really liked it so we’re in the process of developing a nice hot gin drink which we think you’re going to love.

Do you have a recommended perfect serve?

We have some definitive thoughts on tonics, but the beauty of gin is that everyone has a different palate and will like certain tonics better than others… but here’s a few suggestions.

We love it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean and Fentimans premium tonic water for a classic G&T. If you’ve never had it, try Fevertree Aromatic tonic water with our gin for a fabulous drink-all day-affair.

In terms of serve, we’re steering away from the Spanish serve in a Copa glass. We know it’s on trend but think our gin works better in a highball (think crackled Danish glasses from the 70s) so you’re not doubling up in the glass to make it look full. I’ve made this mistake myself in bars and the dilution combined with the different taste doesn’t work for us.

To garnish, try it with a sprig of thyme or forage some borage flowers and freeze them in ice cubes for a nice look which doesn’t affect the nose during drinking. I think my message to everyone really is experiment and enjoy it. Find out what works well with our gin for you and please let us know your creations!

Other than Jarrold’s Gin, is there any gin on the market that you wish you’d created?

No. I’m jealous of some of the bespoke bottles that I see on the market, but I’m really happy with the gin we’ve made. It’s really good, created and made by us, bottled and packed by us. We’re very happy! Our bottle’s pretty nice too!

What’s next for Jarrold’s Gin?

We see demand for the product, but as I said earlier, we’re not prepared to compromise on the things we do which makes it so good. That means that to meet demand we’ll need to find somewhere bigger and keep working really hard so that as many people as possible have the opportunity to enjoy it.

Find Jarrold’s Gin

You can find Jarrold’s Gin on Facebook, Instagram and their website. Give them a follow!