Bristol is still very much embracing the 'gin boom' as Rebecca Paddick finds out
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you’d know that gin is very much in when it comes to top booze trends. Last month, the Wine & Spirit Trade Association released figures showing that in 2016 exports of British gin grew by 12%, reaching almost £500m, and there are no signs to show that growth is slowing down.
Since 2009, global demand for premium gin has increased year-on-year and growth has accelerated dramatically for the past three. So, as the great British gin boom continues, we thought we’d sample one of Bristol’s independent gin makers, Psychopomp.
Founded by Bristol-based duo Danny Walker and Liam Hirt, the microdistillery and bar on St Michael’s Hill opened a little under a year ago, and has helped the city’s gin scene go from strength to strength.
“The scale of the gin boom has been really interesting to watch and be part of,” says co-owner Danny. “But we were motivated because we loved making gin, not because we wanted to make money.”
The twosome first started ‘experimenting’ with botanicals in their Montpelier basement eight years ago, before deciding to expand (albeit, only slightly) to a small former shop on St Michael’s Hill. Danny adds: “We have a team of five. We produce 300 bottles a week, and that’s it. At the moment we are just doing what we enjoy, and that’s making gin, drinking gin, and teaching people about gin.”
Using two 30-litre handmade copper pot stills to produce craft-distilled gin in small batches and limited quantities, the team create classic and seasonal recipes for gin-loving customers, as well as bespoke recipes with partners, such as the savoury gin created exclusively for The Ox restaurants in Bristol and Cheltenham.
Designed to complement steak, botanicals include juniper, coriander, angelica root, cassia bark, lemon zest, thyme and black truffle. Danny recommends you team it with apple juice.
The Bristol-based distillers also recently teamed up with The Wild Beer Co to produce the Sleeping Lemons gin, directly inspired by the brewery’s beer of the same name, and the flavour of the preserved lemons that are added to it.
Psychopomp’s first and now signature recipe is the Woden. Available all year round, this is a classic London dry gin with juniper berries, coriander seed, angelica root, cassia bark, fresh grapefruit zest and fennel seed. I sampled it as a G&T with a large wedge of grapefruit, but I was told it also goes well with bitter lemon.
The distillery’s seasonal gin for this spring is Pinga, which uses chamomile, lemon balm, angelica and bee pollen, among a few other classic botanicals. It’s fresh, sharp and will certainly help you put a spring in your step.
For something a little bit different you could try the Single Origin Coffee Digestifs. Best enjoyed after dinner as a large measure poured over ice, this soft spirit packed a punch and was the perfect way to round off a boozy evening.
Psychopomp is currently running the ‘Gin Experience’ which includes a tour of the distillery and tutored gin tasting, followed by G&Ts and gin cocktails.
145 St Michael’s Hill, Bristol
Table Reservations 07759 129413
12pm—9pm Tuesday to Friday