If you’re a cocktail aficionado and chances are that you are – given that you’re here, you’ll be aware that Britain has really pushed on when it comes to the development of most things cocktaily. London has 5 of the top 10 best cocktail bars in the world according to industry standard Drinks International, English sparkling wine is growing rapidly and we have a flurry of new distilleries opening every week.
The 2 distilleries which lead the way for me are Chase and Sipsmith. They were around at the beginning of the distillery revival, and the move to artisanal spirits. Sipsmith was the first new distillery in London for over 200 years. Crazy huh?
You can go visit Chase and do the tour of the distillery which is an interesting couple of hours. It’s near Hereford, so depending where you live, it may take a while to get there.
I must admit the tour guide Will seemed a bit sniffy about most of their competitors, but you can’t knock the fact that they are a single-estate distillery. In other words they use local ingredients and stuff from the estate where they can, including the water from the local bore-hole.
There is constant pressure on all the distilleries to keep adding to their product range, but Chase is unusual in that their products are distilled from potatoes and now apples too. William Chase was originally a potato farmer. He sold the Tyrells’s crisp making business and used the proceeds to set up the distillery.
I think of Sipsmith as being gin distillers originally and Chase as vodka specialists. However, they now both crossover completely and so they’re competitors. Nevertheless I still consider their original products to be their best. Chase vodka is well worth the extra that it costs. Being made from potatoes, it has a slightly creamy texture and is much more interesting and frankly tasty than some of it’s bland competitors.
My favourite from their range? Has to be Marmalade vodka. You can buy it from a large branch of Waitrose, and retails for around the £35 mark. It goes superbly well with champagne, or Prosecco, or my Christmas day treat of choice Nyetimber Classic Cuvee. A completely English combination, that is classy and easy drinking.