A little while ago I found myself rambling around the lush, wonderful lands of south-west Scotland, a keen sense of adventure leading me on. Roaming between green fields and seaside towns – with an occasional loch dip, of course – I was living the dream. Fresh air, regular drams of whiskey and a clear head to think up new cocktail ideas. Heaven.
As I passed into the tiny beach town of Girvan, I felt my juniper-senses start to tingle. There was magic in this place, I just had to sniff it out. Peering into windows and inspecting maps, I meandered between shops and down pebbled lanes until I arrived at the gates of what I suspected was exactly where my mixologist nose had been sending me.
In the distance, I saw a friendly face approaching: a friendly face with an extraordinarily long ponytail! She waved, introduced herself as Lesley and asked if I needed any help. I explained that I was a roaming cocktail man, seeking out fresh ideas and my sixth sense had lead me here.
She laughed and gestured behind her at the humming, rumbling machinery – explaining that I had come across the wonderful world of Hendrick’s gin distillery and did I want a look around?
Say no more, I was in like a shot, darting between the stills and asking questions by the truckload. Master distiller (and the creator of Hendrick’s gin) Lesley explained that Hendrick’s had been steeping and distilling their delicate and intricate gin in Ayrshire for decades, infusing each drop with rose petal and cucumber.
Something that was news to me, Hendrick’s is actually the blend of two different spirits, distilled from rare gin stills the Bennett and Carter-Head stills. Each one playing a different part, the rich liquid from the Bennett combines with the botanical infusion from the Carter-Head to make the rare, irreplicable Hendrick’s we know and love.
As Lesley finished the tour, I shared with her an idea I had bubbling away. A cocktail that mixed my signature Sliqueur muddled with the flavours of Raspberry and Rose and fresh, fervent Hendrick’s gin.
We put our heads together and got planning – working through ratios and quantities, finally settling on a unique Pink Gin Fizz that excites and delights (and looks pretty bloody good in a glass, too)!
My notepad overflowing with Lesley’s wise words and tips, I left Hendrick’s with peculiarly mixed feelings – sad to see the gin palace fade into the distance but excited to get home and start packing up the new kits sharpish, ready to whistle their way into your lucky hands!
The rest, as they say, is fizzy pink history.