Mix a passion for gin with a love of fine ingredients, local produce and craft creations, and you get Graveney Gin! We chat to founder, Victoria Christie, about starting up her own gin distillery – plus we share a special Christmas gift discount!
Victoria grew up in Malawi where G&Ts – once popular for their anti-malarial properties – are a staple, then moved to good old Blighty where we can’t get enough of the stuff, and settled in Tooting where, if you’re not eating a curry, you’re drinking gin…
Victoria was destined to make her own gin. And boy is it good! We first came across Graveney Gin at its launch at Tootopia, and instantly knew we’d found something extra special.
Has gin always been your thing?
My mother drank G&T’s when I grew up (amongst other liquids) and when I was old enough, I quite happily followed in her footsteps. So it’s always been part of my life. When I moved from South Africa to London I was pleased to discover a nation of equally enthusiastic gin drinkers, plus there was so much more to explore.
What does gin have above the rest?
For me there is an elegance and tradition about gin – and I love how the market has exploded with craft gins and playful concoctions.
Why did you decide to do more than just drink it?
I have always been creative and wanted to start up my own company. So combined with a passion for drinking gin it was only a matter of time… But the catalyst was a trip to Portobello Road’s “Ginstitute” as a birthday present. I immediately fell in love with the process and knew that it was what I wanted to do – I just needed to figure out how.
Everything is distilled by hand in a copper still in the heart of London using local sourced ingredients – tell us more…
After my Ginstitute experience, I immediately bought a still and started researching old gin recipes. I am passionate about good quality food and drink, so I only use the best, organic ingredients and I source as much as possible from the local area to ensure it’s a proper, “born and bred” London gin.
What about the botanicals?
Graveney Gin has seven botanicals, the main one being juniper as it’s just not a gin without it. The other six are angelica root, orris root, grapefruit peel, which I dry at home, fresh orange, goji berries and baobab.
What’s in the name?
I chose to call it Graveney Gin because it’s the heart of where I live: Tooting. I have been a bit of a nomad since I was little so this is the first place I feel I fit in. I don’t do anything alone and I wanted to name my creation after the people that have helped and influenced me. Hopefully my gin is something the locals can be proud to call their own.
Was setting up your own business all smooth running?
It’s not easy starting a business and I didn’t realise that until I packed in my stable job and went headfirst into gin making. I was a banker so thought I had a good perspective on things – I don’t know why I thought that, as I don’t! I once placed an order for 800 glass bottles as it was the cheapest option at the time. I thought I was being smart… Delivery took place at my flat on a Friday afternoon by a HUGE truck. The crates weighed tonnes and I had to get all those bottles off the street into my flat. It took four solid hours. Never again.
What keeps you going?
The pure love of what I do. It’s this that helps when I’m up late working or when I miss fun nights out with friends. And I can’t explain how rewarding it was when I brought my first glass of Graveney Gin behind a bar.
If gin is your first passion, gorillas must be your second – with £1 from every bottle purchased going to Gearing Up For Gorillas Charity…
Ever since childhood I’ve been nutty about gorillas, and three years ago my fiancé made a dream come true when he took me to Uganda to see the mountain gorillas in the wild. We came across Gearing Up For Gorillas, a non-profit charity and run by the nicest person ever! Starting my own business means that I can somewhat make the rules and giving back is important to me. It makes me proud to know that each bottle does good for the rangers who risk their lives everyday as well as the protection of mountain gorillas. There are about only 700 left.
And finally, how do you like your gin served?
Always serve it as a double – or at least, that’s what I say about any gin. The tonic is also important, and it’s worthwhile spending a little more. Graveney Gin goes best with and a slice of grapefruit peel. But to be honest, the best way to drink it is how ever you want to!
Extra Special Christmas Offer…
Go online at gravenygin.co.uk and get 10% off at the check out by entering: christmasgin. Valid from the 20 November ’til the 10 December 2015.
Make your Own French 75
The addition of bubbles takes pretty much any ingredient to the next level. So when you’re craving something a little fancier than your standard G&T, mix together this extra special cocktail.
30ml of Graveney Gin
1 teaspoon of sugar
15ml of lemon juice
140ml of any bubbles you have
Tall champagne glass
1. Shake the gin, sugar and lemon well with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker.
2. Strain into a champagne glass – fill to about halfway
3. Top with bubbles. Then say aaahhh!