Have you ever wondered who is Tom Collins and what is London Dry? As the sun begins to set I do like a classic G n T with a slice of lime. I recently discovered one of my favourites made in Bermondsey, an area of London buzzing with restaurants, cafes, craft brewers, coffee roasters and lively weekend markets. I enjoyed finding out about the resurgence of my favourite tipple and its historical connections with London. I met Hannah & Anne at Jensen’s distillery housed in a railway arch just beyond Maltby Street Ropewalk, in 55 Stanworth Street SE1.
Hannah gave me a little taste of their classic 20th century recipe Bermondsey Dry gin, created by Anna, the distiller who doesn’t have an “ology” but a DPhil in Organic Chemistry from Oxford! This gin has an amazing taste profile – very balanced and not too strongly juniper. I then tried their Old Tom recreated from an 1840’s recipe but unique as it is unsweetened (Old Tom gins usually have sugar added). Hannah told me that Old Tom’s were used in cocktail making in the 19th century. The Tom Collins cocktail recipe first appeared in 1876 in Jerry Thomas’ Bar-tender’s Guide in the USA where it became very fashionable especially in New York. However there are several stories about who Tom Collins really was, no one knows for sure. Enough history how did it taste?
Probably one of the best gin and tonics I have ever drunk and the sprig of rosemary was a revelation. Not surprising as Hannah is a talented brand ambassador, drinks writer & has bar-tendered and managed some of London’s trendiest bars. After my interview she was off to New York to visit some customers and then onto New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail Trade Expo. Jensen’s can be purchased on line in the UK & USA, check their website for details. Hannah & Anne have also created some amazing infused gins too including limoncello, redcurrant, chai spice and red snapper which I am using for my Bloody Mary Cocktail.
Bloody Mary Cocktail:
- 120ml (4 fl oz) Chilled fresh tomato juice
- 60 ml (2 fl oz) Jensen’s Red Snapper Gin ( infused with rosemary, horseradish, shiitake mushroom)
- Worcestershire sauce ( a few drops)
- Tabasco ( 2 drops)
- Fresh rosemary sprig to garnish
Shake all the ingredients (except rosemary) with ice and strain into a tall glass garnish with rosemary. Not Chin Chin but Gin Gin!