Sam Galsworthy, co-founder of Sipsmith one of the leading craft gin distilleries was recently in the country talking all things gin and judging the Game of Throws events. Drinks World caught up with Sam to talk gin, distilling, and strawberries and cream.
Both you and Sipsmith co-founder Fairfax Hall have been involved in the alcohol industry for a long time, what made you want to take the step to open your own craft distillery?
We wanted to lift this veil of mystery that existed on distilling. Before us, in the UK there was really no one doing craft spirits and I think when you ask people about craft distilling and what they thought that was, nobody really knew. So we wanted to make gin the way it used to be and the way Jared Brown, our master distiller thought it should be made in a really authentic and fun way. We never decided to take ourselves very seriously; we just take what we do very seriously. I grew up drinking gin from an inappropriately young age and loved it, so I thought what better way of expressing my passion.
Did you have Master Distiller Jared Brown in mind when you set out to start Sipsmith?
We were fortunate enough to stumble across him. What we did know is we needed someone who knew what they were doing in distilling, because my partner Fairfax and I are not distillers, we would not be in business if it were us two doing the distilling! Jared came to us through the Beefeater family. We were doing a lot of events for them, they were very pro what we were doing and very supportive of us in London and they introduced us indirectly to Jared, and knew we were on the hunt for someone. And what a guy!
The response to your Sipping Service has been overwhelming, offering varieties of gin such as Smoked Venison, and Lemon Drizzle Cake as part of the program. Can you tell us a little about that, and are there any creations you have taken a particular likening to or any ideas for future creations?
Us, along with our three distillers have always had a sort of restless enthusiasm for creativity and pushing the boundaries, so they were always experimenting. So with this global craze and thirst for trial in the world of gin specifically, it’s hit the sweet spot. For me, the smoked venison has been a highlight. One that I absolutely love that we did for Wimbledon was strawberries and cream.
For the sipping service, we have a meeting once a month where we come up with ideas and discuss those with the distillers. None of my ideas have landed yet.
You’ve launched the Sipsmith London Cup; tell us a little about that?
We’re entering into a category that is essentially a one product category. We’ve never been one for introducing fruit salad, we don’t like the chopped up fruit, we like to put the flavours in there so what we’ve done is we’ve changed the recipe completely from the Summer Cup. We’ve made it a little bit stronger and introduced more gin along with borage and lemon verbena. It’s served in one glass over ice with lemonade, it’s the perfect summer drink and I think it will do very well. I think the word London also really reinforces who we are and it reminds people that ultimately it’s a gin drink.