Now, unless you were living under a rock for the month of July, you must have noticed that things went a touch crazy on the sporting side of life. Personally, I’m a tennis fan, with Wimbledon being my sporting highlight of the year. I go into full on screaming at the TV mode, particularly when it comes to being a line judge…because I quite obviously have a far better view of what is going on that the people who are actually there as official line judges. My passion for Wimbledon came from my Granny, she LOVED the tennis…her household would shut down during Wimbledon fortnight, leaving my Papa and the dog (Roxy) to fend for themselves for a week.
Papa, on the other hand, was not hugely into tennis. His sport of choice was cricket, he absolutely adored the game and would merrily sit for hours watching it with Roxy, whether it be on TV or out and about. As I have mentioned a couple of times before, my Papa was a gin drinker, Gordon’s and Schweppes was what he trusted, so goodness knows what he would have made of the gin market these days, but I’m pretty sure I know which gin I’d be buying him!
Not so long ago I received a fabulous delivery of sloshy post from Nicholson Gin, who have a wonderful cricket connection and put together a rather creative garnish World Garnish Tour to fit in with the Cricket World Cup. More about that in a minute, first for the Nicholson Gin story and their cricket link.
The Nicholson Gin journey can be dated back to 1736 in Clerkenwell, London, when George II was King of England, gin was at it’s peak and things were all getting a little crazy due to to the imposition of The Gin Act. The Nicholson family began distilling gin with the Bowman family to whom they were related by marriage. By 1802 the business was known as Bowman and Nicholson and in 1808 the business, lead by brothers John and William Nicholson, became J&W Nicholson & Co. Flash forward again to the mid 1800s when William Nicholson Junior (the son of John Nicholson) took control. William Nicholson Junior was not only an avid cricket fan, but he was also a First Class cricketer for the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), Middlesex and Gentlemen of England who went on to become a trustee of MCC. In 1866 William Nicholson Junior loaned the MCC money to purchase the freehold for the site which is today Lord’s Cricket Ground, the home of cricket and, following on from this, he also loaned money which funded the construction of the pavilion. It has been said that by means of thanks the MCC changed it’s colours, which had been sky blue, to the famous yellow and red (‘egg & bacon’) which were and are still the colours of Nicholson Gin. 2017 saw the revival of Nicholson Gin led by Tim Walker and Nick Browne, the great, great grandsons of William Nicholson. The new bottle and label has been designed to reflect the family’s importance in the history of gin and cricket but ensuring that it’s contents stay true to the original family recipe. Even the inclusion of the red lion emblem reeks of tradition and British heritage, I mean seriously, who hasn’t been for a drink in “The Red Lion”?
The 2019 Cricket World Cup posed the perfect opportunity for Nicholson Gin to really stand up and get their name heard again in the gin world, cue the Gin and Tonic World Garnish Tour. Nicholson Gin designed garnishes for it’s gin inspired by each of the nations playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup. The New Zealand serve with a kiwifruit was good for me, as I’m a sucker for kiwis. My personal favourite though was the Afghanistan serve of pomegranate and mint which was just beautiful. Whichever team you were supporting, there was a serve for the match.
“But the Cricket World Cup is over!”
I hear you cry. Yes, yes, I am well aware of this. But it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a Nicholson Gin, or gift a bottle of it to your cricket loving friends, wowing them with the story you now know about it’s history. Plus, the cricket season is far from over with the Ashes well and truly underway.
To taste, Nicholson Gin has a firm grip on the traditional, juniper and lemon shine through in the beginning followed by the warming spice of coriander to finish. Not even a hint of botanical frills or craziness to be found here, which in the current gin climate is something which I find quite refreshing. I would also therefore suggest this is quite a good gin to use for cocktails, as it’s use of traditional botanicals make it quite versatile.
So now the information part is done and dusted, there’s only one thing left to do…pick your Ashes team. Are you going strawberry and cucumber or apricot and green grape?