Editor of TheShout and Bars and Clubs, Andy Young, talked to farmer-turned-distiller Tom Warner about how he kicked off the pink gin trend.
One of the great things about this job is meeting people whose life is what they are producing: their passion for their product is infectious.
One such man is Tom Warner; a farmer turned distiller and the founder of Warner’s Distillery in the UK. Warner’s has launched in Australia with the London Dry Gin and the amazing Rhubarb Gin.
Full disclosure here: as someone who grew up in the wonderful UK county of Yorkshire, I have a love for rhubarb – Google ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ and you’ll understand – us Yorkies love the stuff and my mum’s Rhubarb Tarte Tatin is out of this world. So Warner was always going to have to have done something pretty bloody terrible for me not to like this gin.
I am delighted to say he hasn’t. This is an amazing gin. This is what summer and pink drinks should be all about – paired with Fever-Tree Ginger Ale you have a delight in your glass.
And so it should be, as Warner told Bars and Clubs, the process to create this gin was not a simple one and the care he has taken has been reflected in the final product.
“My definition of a flavoured gin is that you make a London Dry Gin and then you use natural organic material to flavour it, post distillation. Sadly that’s a very thin piece of what flavoured gins are turning into, particularly in the UK, where it is pretty much ethanol, flavourings, water, sugar, bottle. It’s a fucking travesty.
“We make an elderflower gin, which was inspired by my mum and we’ve planted elderflower trees at the farm so we can be self-sufficient. We make it once a year and we’ve got three weeks every summer to make a year’s supply, not really available in Australia yet, but it was out first flavoured gin.”
He added: “We then made a Sloe Gin, but that’s a bit niche, and then we started the rhubarb revolution. And we made the first rhubarb gin in the world – there were rhubarb gin liqueurs, but no full-strength rhubarb gins.
“And we didn’t do it because we thought rhubarb would be popular. We didn’t do it because we thought pink would be popular because it was pretty much the first pink gin and why everyone is now making pink gin. We did it because we got offered a crop of rhubarb from a Crown estate in Lincolnshire that was Queen Victoria’s, and I just thought that’s a great story.
“But then it took us about two years to perfect the gin because of pectin, which was my nemesis for two years. So we now harvest the rhubarb, which happens twice a year, we chop it and freeze it because we can’t deal with it all in one go. Then as we need it, we take it out, thaw it, put it through a cider-press raw, squeeze the juice from it and we use the juice instead of water to cut the spirit to bottle strength.
“So that gave us three things: one the first rhubarb gin in the world, two the first pink gin at scale and three the first spirit that I know of to be cut with an organic juice.”
To find out more about the process involved in creating the Rhubarb Gin and Warner’s commitment to sustainability, head to the Bars and Clubs website.