How can you make a house gin stand out amongst all the other house gins? This is the challenge that the team at Turncoat Gin had to get over, with the launch of Albert Dock Gin.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Gin has quite the history. Alcohol has been combined with juniper (the core ingredient of gin) since 70 AD. By the 16th century, the Dutch were producing a juniper based spirit called “genever” and in the 1700s, gin was born.
It quickly got itself a bad reputation as the drink of choice for the lowest rungs of society. By 1730 there were 7,000 gin shops in London and the spirit was soon known as “mother’s ruin” as it was associated with women drinking to excess and abandoning their children.
Nearly 100 years later however, gin made a comeback and became something similar to what we know and love today. With the creation of a new still design, gin became a much cleaner and purer spirit. Around the same time, the British Royal Navy started consuming Schweppes “Indian Tonic Water” to make quinine (which helped prevent malaria) more palatable. As beer spoiled quickly, gin became the drink of choice for long journeys, and quickly the two were mixed together to create the staple, a gin and tonic.
It seems that gin has been on the rise ever since. In the year between March 2019 to March 2020, gin sales in the UK totalled a whopping £1.3 billion. What this little history lesson teaches us is that there is a lot of gin on the market due to 200 years of popularity. Like the sailors in the 1800s, I love a G&T. It’s something I always associated with being a “grown-up”. My mum always had cans of Schweppes Indian Tonic Water in the fridge and her Friday treat was always a gin and tonic. I love how refreshing it is, and I always have a few nice bottles of gin on the go.
Turncoat is an independent distillery that is owned and operated by distillers. Based in Liverpool, they created Albert Dock Gin as the house gin of their Royal Albert Dock Bar. They wanted to create something that was traditional, so centred on juniper, but also not generic. As soon as I had my first sip of the Albert Dock gin and tonic, it tasted really zesty and fresh; had I not known that it was designed as a house gin, I would never have guessed.
A little digging later, I discovered that Turncoat uses kaffir lime leaves as one of the core ingredients; I have to say, I really liked it. I paired it with some Fever Tree tonic, as tonic has rather graduated since my mum’s tipples in the 90s, and some orange zest. I like to taste my gin, so I opted for a huge ice sphere and not too much tonic. The zestiness isn’t overpowering either. I’ve tended to steer clear of flavoured gins or those that market themselves as a 40% ABV lemon or orange gin, but would buy and drink this again.
This is absolutely a great all-rounder that works well in a G&T but would be equally at home in a cocktail. If you’re a fan of a Bombay Sapphire or a Sipsmith but want to switch it up for something that’s independently owned then this is a great alternative, and won’t involve you pushing the boat out.
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