There are few better ways to start a Tuesday than in a gin distillery. Actually, there are few better ways to start any day. So it was a happy Tuesday indeed that found me at Generation 11 distillery last week.
Who are they?
Generation 11 are a family run, small-batch gin distillery based in the very heart of Sussex near Chailey. They are also one of the few Sussex gin producers who actually distil their own gin and they have a refreshingly honest approach.
Ed is a Master Brewer by trade with a background of working with international breweries whilst Claire has a passion for and extensive knowledge of high-quality gins with clear strong flavours. They launched Generation 11 three years ago with a small distillery but soon had to import the rather beautiful distiller that they work with now. It’s large enough for small-batch producers but compact enough to fit rather neatly into one of their outbuildings backing onto Chailey Common.
And their name? Well, when researching the history of gin and its origins in Holland, they realised that they are 11 generations descended from William of Orange and his wife Mary who brought Jenever (from which modern gin is descended) to England. Together as King and Queen, William and Mary inadvertently started a gin revolution which led to the infamous gin craze of the 18th century, so some might say with this kind of pedigree, for this couple, gin-making was just karma.
What’s so special about Generation 11
Apart from distilling their own gin on their premises, they also use their own spring water from a natural well fed by the ancient woodlands of Chailey Common and they’re very upfront about their blend of botanicals.
“We want people to know and recognise the accents and flavours within each gin, and so we include all the botanicals used on each label.” Explains Claire to the sound of the hoot of a steam train from the Bluebell Railway in the background. “And our aim is to keep it as local as possible by sourcing from local suppliers and hand bottling and labelling all our gin ourselves.”
And their gins?
They have three main gins in their range: The Generation 11 Sussex Dry Gin is a classic London Dry, and Claire explains, “As this was our first gin, we wanted to set the standard high and create a great quality gin as our benchmark. It’s a clean, crisp slightly citrusy gin.”
Their range also includes a Grapefruit Sussex Dry Gin and an Orange and Cardamon Sussex Dry Gin. The botanicals are all listed on the labels to help you identify them but what makes these two gins stand out in my opinion is that they are not overly sweet as seems to be the trend at the moment. Clean and crisp is definitely the name of the game and as a drinker of gin and soda (rather than tonic), my recommendation would be the Grapefruit Gin with soda and an elderflower cordial as a refreshing summer drink.
Sussex Dragonfly (brilliant as a pitcher serve)
Summer will return to Sussex soon I’m assured and when it does, what better way to enjoy an afternoon with friends than with Generation 11’s special ginger gin cocktail. Easy to make. Easy to drink. What’s not to enjoy.
50 ml – Generation 11 Orange & Cardamom Gin
150 ml – Folkingtons Ginger Ale
Add ice to a glass and pour over gin. Squeeze juice from ½ a lime and pour over ginger ale. Add mint and lime to garnish.
You can find out more at: Generation Distillers