Last week, island2island welcomed the bowler hat wearing co-owner of Broker’s Gin, Andy Dawson, to Australia for a tasting tour of the country.
Along the way, Andy proved his British sense of humour is as dry as his gin. When asked how he likes to drink his gin, his response was “Always in good company!” Bartenders in Sydney were treated to a masterclass at Since I Left You on the history of gin, how the brand came to be and why he thinks Broker’s Gin is often called the gin drinker’s gin.
We caught up with Andy to find out what makes Broker’s Gin the quintessential London Dry Gin.
What’s the story behind Broker’s Gin?
My brother Martin and I created Broker’s Gin in the late 1990s. Gin is the only spirit that historically has been produced in England, where it has been distilled for 400 years. For that reason we chose a theme for the brand that would be recognised around the world for its Englishness, namely a gentleman wearing a bowler hat. Such a gentleman would typically have been a stockbroker in the City of London, hence the name Broker’s for the brand.
How is Broker’s Gin different to other gins in taste?
Broker’s Gin is less juniper-focused than Tanqueray, richer in flavour than Bombay Sapphire, and less dry than Beefeater. Broker’s Gin uses a classic wheat base spirit and ten traditional gin botanicals. There are no oddball ingredients, which are often the hallmark of many of the new gins than have come onto the market over the last ten years or so.
Broker’s Gin has been described as the gin drinker’s gin? Why do you think that is?
Gin is the original “flavoured vodka”. However, instead of being flavoured with whipped cream, cake, bacon or smoked salmon (no kidding), it is flavoured with juniper berries and an assortment of other botanicals. Some gins are lighter in style (e.g. Bombay Sapphire) and are closer to the vodka end of the flavour spectrum. Broker’s Gin is at the “ginny” end of the flavour spectrum. Also, because there are no oddball ingredients, there is nothing in Broker’s Gin that might jar with a gin drinker’s previous experience of the category. No rose petals, peaches, raspberries, dandelions, bog myrtle, pecan nuts, coconuts, frankincense or myrrh (again no kidding, you can find all those and more in other new gins).
Broker’s Gin is made using Pot Still distillation instead of column distillation, why is that? What are the benefits of Pot Still for gin?
In common with all of the major gin makers, the base spirit is made using column distillation. In the case of Broker’s Gin, that base spirit is made from English wheat and is four-times distilled. The pot still is used to convert the neutral spirit (which could otherwise be bottled and sold as vodka) into gin. The botanicals are macerated (soaked) in the neutral spirit for 24 hours and then boiled in the spirit during this fifth and final distillation run. This traditional pot still process is what produces Broker’s Gin’s extraordinary richness and depth of flavour.
Is it true the recipe for Broker’s Gin is 200 years old?
The third party distillery, which produces Broker’s Gin, has been distilling gin for two hundred years. While we sampled many gins with different recipes created in conjunction with the distilling company, ultimately we selected a recipe, which had lain unused in the distilling company’s safe for two hundred years.
How do you like to drink your gin?
In great company.