If we had a time travel machine, we’d have invested in Zoom about a year ago and a gin company about five years ago.
According to The Wine and Spirit Association, in total UK retailers sold around 48 million bottles of traditional predominately juniper tasting gin worth £716 million in the 12 months to the beginning of October 2020. This was a 10% increase on the year before.
For flavoured gin, 27 million bottles flew off the shelves, worth £456 million, up an astonishing 31% on last year. For Afterthought Spirits, based in Henfield in West Sussex, both of the gin markets are calling and their Professors Club range is answering.
If you talk to any gin creator, they all have their own USP, their own tweak which makes their gin different to others and Afterthought Spirits is no different.
Charlotte, the sales manager, says, “The way we create ours is a vapour infused method, rather than a copper still. For the pink gin we use strawberries, and of course depending on the season and the type of strawberries we use, this affects the richness of the colour of the gin. Sometimes we get a deep pink, other times it’s a light pinky hue.”
The vapour infusion process is where the botanicals are all placed into the column of the still (like a tall basket) and placed over the main kettle. The gang at Afterthought then fill the kettle with filtered Sussex water and their 96% molasses based neutral spirit and the process of vapour infusion begins.
Why use molasses based neutral spirits and not grain? The owner of Afterthought has a gluten intolerance and molasses based neutral spirit is gluten free – he’s also of the opinion it tastes nicer than grain especially when it’s vapour infused.
As part of the quest to ensure full reporting, we did try some Professors Club twisted, with tonic, and can assure you it really does taste very, very good.
There are three gins in the Professors Club range. The double award-winning Original Gin which is flavoured with meadowsweet, fresh citrus and distinctive Indian Sarsaparilla.
There’s also the very pretty, limited edition Pink Gin, which is based on the popular Navy gin recipe but at a lower 42% ABV. The gin is infused with strawberries post distillation to give it a beautiful colour and rich strawberry flavour. The pink label is bold, the gin is amazing – we can say that, we’ve tried that too. Delicious!
The final gin is the Professors Club Navy Strength twisted gin which is the strongest offering at 57% ABV, a vapour infused and extremely smooth gin. Flavoured with meadowsweet, sweet strawberries and pink peppercorns this double award-winning gin is in its own class.
The perfect serve
The gang at Afterthought know their stuff, and have created what they refer to as the “perfect serve” for each of the gins in their range.
Charlotte says, “We like the Navy gin served with the Fevertree Aromatic Tonic, it’s gorgeous and as well as looking pretty it tastes amazing. The pink gin we put with Fevertree Original and the Professors Club Original, we put with Fevertree Mediterranean tonic and fresh grapefruit.”
For the sake of true journalism, we’ve diligently researched the best way to enjoy a classic G’n’T, but Afterthought Spirits have done even more testing than us.
Charlotte says, “We enjoy finding new and exciting ways to enjoy our gins and there are so many amazing recipes and cocktails which can be enjoyed with any of the gins in our range, in fact, if you follow us on Instagram you’ll see our cocktails of the week which give you an idea of something a little different – and our flair bartender Robin Navarro pops up every now and then to really put a new spin on things.”
In the quest for the best, the team have hit upon what they attest is the way to enjoy a proper gin and tonic, and because we’re good to you, we’re going to share it too.
“Proper Gin and Tonic”
- Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic
- A measure of Professors Club Navy gin (50cl)
Add ice-cubes to a coppa glass, pour over gin. Add a slice of grapefruit, top up (but not to the top of the glass) with Fevertree Mediterranean Tonic. Stick a straw in and enjoy!
If you’d rather something a little more pink, how about this –
“The Pink Rhubarb Martini”
- 40ml Professors Club Pink Gin
- 75ml Rhubarb Syrup (see below)
To make the rhubarb syrup- put 600g of pink rhubarb, 300g granulated sugar and 1.1 litres of water in a large pan, simmer (covered) on a low heat for 20 mins or until pulpy, strain the mixture through a sieve, discard pulp and chill (this will be enough for a few cocktails).
Pour the syrup, gin and ice into a shaker, shake until chilled and serve in a martini glass!
Contributed by Lisa Brace