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All Gentlemen for Gin


© Matt Pollard

My current phase of spirit category is one I am sure everyone has a soft spot for; it is versatile, historical and a true staple of British craftsmanship.

Our love of Gin is very apparent within todays culture of the afternoon tea, the casual alfresco and the Marks & Spencer eat in for £10, and it is the best of British that is going to boom town on its rivals.

Portobello Road, Bulldog Bold and Opihr are some of the brands creeping around todays top venues and some easy access purchase routes, but it is a good friend of the Bournemouth bartending family that is taking his bottle to new heights.

Mark Dawkins, residing just the other side of the New Forest, has rode the premium spirits industry for many years and decided it was his time to take Gin to the gentlemen of today.

Langley’s No.8 Gin is the name, and pleasing masculine palates is the game, and we in the Bournemouth Bartenders League had a bit of a challenge a while ago coming up with cocktails to suit this developing reputation.

The Gin itself has been developed to be cocktail friendly but quintessentially perfect in a G&T, and the process of gaining the correct balance of alcohol, botanicals and grain was extensive on Mark’s behalf, and it was batch 8 of 50 that cut the mustard after a 10 month development; but surely Gin everyday for that long can’t be a tough life aye.

Our efforts to showcase this perfection of a spirit was met with an apparent abundance of spiced and herbal characters of flavour; we approached the battlefield of The Library in Southbourne with ingredients such as homemade Vermouth, young Ruby Port, and classic Gentlemen’s Relish pate as an accompaniment.

Joel of The Library took the win that night and a Sunseeker trip for next summer, but it is a serve of my own (which I never throw into my own articles) that I was particularly pleased with amongst my creations of this year.

Roots & Anchors was a drink I developed to pay respect to mine and Mark’s home county of Hampshire. It featured a great deal of Langley’s No.8, Newbury Rosehip Syrup, New Forest Apple Juice, Rhubarb Bitters and Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Champagne, the official Champagne served on the Titanic, which of course sailed from Southampton. It was finished with symbol of the county, a White Rose.

Mark gave me the go ahead with the recipe, and he also judges many other competitions featuring his Gin all of the country; again not such a tough life aye.

As hard as it sounds to develop a go ahead attitude to start a spirit brand, find a distillery to produce the product, invest a figure and time into the activity, develop the bottle and painstakingly find that flavour that fits the initial idea, Mark claims it actually isn’t that difficult, and it just shows that you can do something like this if you really want it.

As a business student I couldn’t imagine any better-suited lecture dreaming business model and lifestyle to live by when I graduate. I could never see myself working with products I have no passion in, things like carpets, office chairs or paper just to get by in life, to me that is just working to live.

I believe the final thought would be to find that desired flavour that lingers on your mind every time you order a G&T or Martini, and then pay your bank manager a little visit. If he or she is anything like the Gin drinkers of today, I’m sure they will back you all the way.