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Gin and horror films – a combination as old as time, no? Well, at the Sinner’s Distillery, we make gin and happen to love horror films, so they work well together in our mind! Imagine then, when we got offered the chance to team up with the gang at Dead Northern, how could we say no? Adding our little slice of hell to their horror film Mecca was a no-brainer. Sinner’s Gin was born out of a want to polarise audiences with our adoration of rock music and demonic imagery, and because we’re big horror buffs ourselves, it was a marriage made South of Heaven!
We’re Tom & Alex, the team behind Sinner’s Gin! Come say hi at the Dead Northern Film Festival in September, we’ll be hanging around all weekend flogging merch, taking orders for bottles of alcohol, and talking all things from Yorkshire Tea to the Terrifier franchise.
So, what is Sinner’s Gin? Sinner’s is a London Dry Gin, which amazingly doesn’t mean it is made in London! For those unfamiliar, a London Dry Gin means it is made traditionally in a pot still, with the predominant ingredient in the botanical mixture being juniper berries. Aka, a proper gin (but one that doesn’t taste like paint stripper). Coming from sunny Wakefield (read: some dive in West Yorkshire), we had to bring a little bit more than just a traditional flavour palate to our concoction, which is why we used a few botanicals to hail where we’re from.
Liquorice root is a traditional botanical in gin, and we use it in tribute to our nearby town of Pontefract (think Pontefract cakes). Liquorice adds a notable sweetness to gin, and adds viscosity to the liquid, giving it a lovely mouth feel.
Ginger and a ginger peppercorn called Grains of Paradise, are used by us to add a bit of depth and peppery heat to the gin. This is in tribute to Yorkshire being the place where ginger beer was first created many moons back in the 1700’s – bet you didn’t know that one!
Finally, we always joke that Wakefield is famous for 2 things – the maximum-security prison that holds Britain’s most dangerous criminals, and less interestingly, forced rhubarb, grown in the winter. We’re part of what is known as the Rhubarb Triangle, and so we had to incorporate a good whack of that pink goodness into our gin. It makes Sinner’s a little sweet, a bit sharp, and really delicious!
So, what about the bottle? We enlisted a well-known tattoo artist from Leeds to help craft the attitude on display. The bottle will always grab your attention on a shelf, but the taste will keep it. We put a blank canvas in front of Simon, gave him the brand name, and said “we don’t want to be in a Tesco. Make it outrageous.”
A few weeks later, he stuck Baphomet, a deity of hell, on the front of the bottle and the F-word on the back – can’t ask for much more outrageous than that, can you? We knew we were onto something when the 8th generation Master Distiller we designed our recipe with, who was going to produce our first batch while we were setting up, turned around and said to us that unless we changed the branding, he would refuse to distil for us. Rock and Roll!
Sinner’s works exceptionally well in most gin cocktails too! The reason being that we pack so many citrus notes in, that normally go undercover in a G&T, cloaked by the allure of delicious rhubarb, but come out swinging with the right love and attention, as do the ginger and cinnamon when called upon in heavier situations like a Negroni. We often have fun creating brand new cocktails, and we will be for the York event in September, but a crowd pleaser we crafted some time back was our gin-based tribute to the classic Lynchburg Lemonade cocktail, named after Lynchburg, Tennessee – the home of the Jack Daniels distillery. Instead, we lovingly named ours after an area of Wakefield reputable for widespread graffiti and adoration for cheap booze. Here’s how to make the Lupset Lemonade:
- 50ml Sinner’s Gin, or another contemporary London Dry Gin. (Think Fifty Pounds or Monkey 47)
- 25ml Cointreau
- 25ml fresh lemon juice
- Grapefruit Bitters (or your favourite alternative)
- Citrus of choice to garnish
- Lemonade to top up
The best way to start is by garnishing your glass. Firstly, give a couple of good shakes of grapefruit bitters into a glass and give it an upside-down twirl to encourage maximum coverage of your vessel. Angostura bitters work fine, and it is more traditional for the bourbon cocktail we based this off, but the smell of clove can be a bit overpowering if you’re heavy handed, so we recommend citrus-based or even rhubarb bitters should you feel inclined!
Then stack ice cubes and your favourite citrus slices into the glassware – you can make it as artistic as you like! We typically use lemon and lime to encourage the Sinner’s gin to start singing, but orange or grapefruit are excellent too.
In a cocktail shaker, pour your gin, Cointreau, and lemon juice, top up with as much ice seems sensible, pop your top on and give it all you’ve got! We find that shaking with fresh lemon juice works best, you oxidise some of the oilier compounds, and it takes the right edge off everything being just too strong. Stirring works nicely if you’re not confident with a cocktail shaker, but try them side by side and you’ll understand what we mean.
Strain the cocktail shaker and pour into your glass, about 70-80% full. Then top up with a classic lemonade to taste. Feel free to garnish with whatever you like to wow your guests, some candied rhubarb and dried orange works nicely, but the result should be a real sucker punch of sweet citrus, with a refreshing tang from the lemon juice and the bitters. Crucially here, the gin isn’t the notable star, because it forces everything else into the spotlight. The orange peel and rhubarb we pack into Sinner’s pushes the Cointreau onto the palate, with the coriander seed and liquorice root adding a delicate lemon sweetness to the cocktail.
Feel free to experiment and make this little sip of enticement your own though! We’ve made it with blood orange juice in the past, as the picture below, and it worked exceptionally with the more bitter notes in there than the traditional lemon.
Stay hydrated you reprobates; we’ll see you in September!
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