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Tag: Ableforth’s

Eight years of “really bloody tasty spirits” with Ableforth’s

To mark Ableforth’s eighth birthday, we pinned down global brand manager Jen Meredith to talk spirit production, ‘everyday success’, and challenging preconceptions both inside and outside the industry… “Our creative…

To mark Ableforth’s eighth birthday, we pinned down global brand manager Jen Meredith to talk spirit production, ‘everyday success’, and challenging preconceptions both inside and outside the industry…

“Our creative process stems from the desire to create something truly distinctively delicious – whether that’s rum, brandy, gin or something else!” Jen Meredith, Ableforth’s brand manager, is emphatic. Ableforth’s has just turned eight, and as well as celebrating, she and the team are reflecting. “Our founders wanted to create products they wanted to enjoy themselves – full of flavour and using the best ingredients,” she continues. “In that sense, we haven’t really changed at all.”

Yes, Ableforth’s has come a long way since it was established by four friends, Justin Petszaft, Ben Ellefsen, Joel Kelly and Tom McGuinness, in 2011. The plan at the outset was to create a range of “really bloody tasty spirits”, inspired by drinks and styles from the past with robust, fresh and unusual flavours.

From gins, rums, brandies, liqueurs and more, Ableforth’s has had in its fingers in many boozy pies, establishing a following for its signature products such as Bathtub Gin and Rumbullion!, and in the process collecting more awards than Meryl Streep. The secret to its success?

“We create tasty things! Really genuinely tasty things,” says Meredith. “Like a complex spiced rum rather than a pure vanilla and sugar bomb; a sweetly zesty gin, a Cherry Brandy which is made with actual real-life brandy and real cherries. It’s this approach which ensures we stand out from the crowd.”

And it’s now become quite the crowd. As of last year, England now has 166 registered distilleries. Stiff competition is part and parcel of the industry. But it’s also worth remembering that the landscape was quite different when Ableforth’s first started out. Back in 2010, England had just 23 distilleries. Ableforth’s made its mark right at the outset of the craft spirits boom.

Fundamentally, Ableforth’s approach to production has enabled it to stand out. This can be seen in its willingness to embrace time-honoured techniques such as cold compounding, which is utilised in the creation of Bathtub Gin. “The base gin is produced in a copper pot still with ten botanicals,” says Meredith. We take this, reduce it down to 45% ABV, and split it in half. One half we put to one side and the other half is where the cold-compounding, or botanical infusion, happens.”

This is the crucial bit. “Into this part of the gin, we infuse our six botanicals [juniper, dried orange peel, cardamom, cloves, coriander seeds, and cassia bark] and leave them in for at least one week. During this time the gin must be sampled and tasted repeatedly to ensure the right concentration of flavour is being achieved.” The aim is to create a gin that is highly botanically flavoured, where the flavours have been extracted at ambient temperatures to capture those which don’t survive traditional, high-temperature distillation.

There’s an obvious hue, too. “Imagine a tea bag left in room temperature water for a few hours,” Meredith explains. This gin can now be carefully blended back into the original, 10-botanical copper pot-distilled gin.”This process enables us to deliver perfect consistency on a suitable scale with the colour and exact flavour of finished Bathtub Gin. Once this is done we simply make sure that the abv is at the correct bottling strength of 43.3%, and fill the beautiful bottles”.

Ableforth’s

Bathtub Gin is created using the time-honoured technique, cold compounding.

An appreciation of distillation techniques is just one element, however. When it comes to ingredients, “it’s less about the ‘where’ and more about the ‘what’,” according to Meredith. “We only use exceptional ingredients, no matter where in the world they come from; from the fresh botanicals we lovingly infuse into our copper pot gin, to the XO Cognac that we put into our Cherry Brandy.”

Meredith also explains that Ableforth’s don’t make compromises during the production process. “It helps us be exact in our recipes and thorough in our quality control. We don’t cut corners, and we never take shortcuts. If it takes a little longer to make it properly tasty, that’s time well spent in our opinion,” Meredith says. “You saw an example of this with our Bathtub Gin. We don’t just pop a load of fruit in with gin and let it sit, we have a precise seven-day infusion process at ambient temperature which we use to make a flavourful concentrate which we then blend back into our copper pot distilled gin. This is tested throughout the seven days, so we never miss the sweet spot.”

The recent installation of a larger infusion tank is a result of the success this approach has brought. “Our infusion tank makes this process even more precise, but mostly it enables more to be made to meet the growing demand in global markets,” says Meredith. “The process, the infusion is still a full seven days, checked and tested to ensure the very best flavours are coming out.”

Ableforth’s

Ableforth’s employs a selective approach to its ingredients

Meredith does it make it clear that there’s a desire for Ableforth’s to remain grounded, explaining that the brand values ‘everyday success’. “It’s not just about reaching long term sales goals. We’ve seen success in our Global Award Wins, such as our recent Gold for Rumbullion! at the San Francisco International Spirits Competition. But we also absolutely love getting good feedback from the people who buy and drink our products in an email or on social media,” Meredith says. “For us, when someone takes the time to send us a little note to say they enjoyed an Ableforth’s drink that’s up there with the award wins because really, that’s what we’re all about!”

Challenges still rear their head. That faux brown paper bag wrapped around the bottle, hand pleated, twined and waxed by hand, has become increasingly recognisable, particularly on a back bar. But the style can lead to misconceptions, as Meredith explains. “Some people think that our packaging means we want to be seen as an ‘old fashioned’ brand, or that we have recipes which have been passed down for generations, which isn’t the case.” She adds, “our packaging is actually a little nod to methods of the past, back when ingredients were always the real deal and products were made with time and effort, which is exactly what we do today.”

Equally the perception of compound-style gin, which is used to create Bathtub Gin, can be a cause of frustration. “There’s a lingering misconception that this is an inferior way to make gin. Which is definitely isn’t,” Meredith says. “We’d love to be a brand that can help change people’s minds within and outside of the industry, and show that using the compounding method can create a sensational gin when done right, and we think we do it pretty damn well.”

Ableforth's

The eclectic Ableforth’s range, complete with distinctive faux brown paper bag, black wax and twining.

As Ableforth’s celebrates its 8th birthday this week, it’s clear the drinks producer has no intention of slowing down. The demand for delicious, bespoke spirits isn’t going away, something Ableforth’s knows all too well. “One of the most exciting things we see happening at the moment is the shift in trends,” Meredith explains. “People are much more discerning with what they buy, they want higher quality products. And that’s exactly who we make our drinks for”.

“What’s even more exciting is that this is a global phenomenon, so the UK trend which inspired our founders in Kent eight years ago, is now part of the global zeitgeist,” says Meredith. It’s been quite the ascent for Ableforth’s. World domination does seem like the next logical step…

To help you celebrate its 8th birthday in style, we’ve listed a few suggested serves below so you can make the most of some of Ableforth’s most popular products. Enjoy!

Ableforth's

The Bathtub Gin Southside

Bathtub Gin Southside

Ingredients: Bathtub Gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar syrup and mint leaves.

Method: Shake 50ml of Bathtub Gin, 20ml of fresh lemon juice, 10ml of sugar syrup and mint leaves over ice. Then fine strain into a coupe glass and top with soda.

Ableforth's

The Rumbullion! Mai Tai

Rumbullion! Mai Thai

Ingredients: Rumbullion!, Triple Sec, lime juice, Orgeat and lime wedges.

Method: Shake 40ml of Rumbullion!, 20ml of Triple Sec, 25ml of lime juice and 20ml of Orgeat over ice. Then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass and garnish with squeezed lime wedges.

Ableforth's

The Summer Cup Royale

Summer Cup Royale

Ingredients: Summer Fruit Cup, lemon juice, sugar syrup, orange bitters and Prosecco.

Method: Shake 40ml of Summer Fruit Cup, 20ml of lemon juice, 15ml of sugar syrup and 2 dashes of orange bitters over ice, then pour into a highball and top up with Prosecco. Garnish with an orange slice and a sprig of mint.

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The most marvellous Christmas gifts

Make this the most holly, jolly Christmas ever with this sensationally seasonal selection of spirits! Christmas is perhaps the best time of year to enjoy a well-earned tipple. It’s the…

Make this the most holly, jolly Christmas ever with this sensationally seasonal selection of spirits!

Christmas is perhaps the best time of year to enjoy a well-earned tipple. It’s the perfect way to wash down all the fabulous festive food you’ll stuff yourself silly with and helps you to relax, wind down and take your mind off the ongoing game of charades/horde of children running amok/rubbish Christmas TV schedule. It makes an ideal gift too. Maybe you know a special someone who deserves to be spoiled this year with a great bottle of booze?

Whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find all manner of boozy delights to suit all tastes here, each appropriately seasonal and utterly delicious!

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Old Tom gin: What’s all the fuss about?

The sweeter side of gin is enjoying a revival – but what’s special about Old Tom, and what do you actually do with it? We explore the historic gin style……

The sweeter side of gin is enjoying a revival – but what’s special about Old Tom, and what do you actually do with it? We explore the historic gin style…

Here at Master of Malt, we love a drink with an unusual backstory. And they don’t come much quirkier than the narrative behind Old Tom gin – London dry’s sweeter cousin often, but not always, branded with a cat. But first things first: bars are teeming with all things gin. How is Old Tom different from all the others crammed onto the back bar? What sets this specific style apart?

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The Launch of That Boutique-y Gin Company

Behold the launch of That Boutique-y Gin Company! Expect bundles of small batch gins from some of the most fantastic brands and distillers around! People have been independently bottling whisky…

Behold the launch of That Boutique-y Gin Company! Expect bundles of small batch gins from some of the most fantastic brands and distillers around!

People have been independently bottling whisky for many moons, but independently bottling gin is another story altogether – and a short one at that. People don’t independently bottle gin. The end.

Or is it? No. No it’s not. The story continues with the theatrically dramatic entrance of That Boutique-y Gin Company, the world’s first independent gin bottler!

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Free Shipping to Commemorate Black Tot Day

On 31st July 1970 the Royal Navy issued the final ever daily rum ration, or daily tot. Commemorate with Free UK shipping (or £5 off elsewhere) on world class rums…

On 31st July 1970 the Royal Navy issued the last ever daily rum ration, bringing to an end a naval tradition that dated back over three centuries (see timeline below). To commemorate, we’re offering Free UK Shipping (or £5 off elsewhere) on all orders containing superb Pusser’s, Rumbullion! or Black Tot Last Consignment rums until the end of July.

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Bathtub Gin 6 Litre Methuselah!

Once upon a time we all bought our Bathtub Gin in 70cl bottles. That was fine, I suppose, but since March last year it’s been available by the Magnum. That’s…

Bathtub Gin Methuselah

Once upon a time we all bought our Bathtub Gin in 70cl bottles. That was fine, I suppose, but since March last year it’s been available by the Magnum. That’s 1.5 litres – over twice as big! Pleasing.

Now, Bathtub Gin is going to be available by the Methuselah! That’s 6 litres (or 4 Magnums)! Pre-Order yours here.

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Professor Cornelius Ampleforth & Drinks by the Dram are at London Cocktail Week!

London Cocktail Week is in full swing! Now in its sixth year with parties, pop-ups, £5 Cocktail Tours and an entire cocktail village rather than the usual modest hub, it’s…

Domaine Dupont

London Cocktail Week is in full swing! Now in its sixth year with parties, pop-ups, £5 Cocktail Tours and an entire cocktail village rather than the usual modest hub, it’s not one to miss.

and there are tons of fantastic things going on inclusind the Professor Cornelius Ampleforth (@ProfCAmpleforth) #BathtubGin stand. Pop by, take a photo in the bathtub with Dermot (the giant duck) and tag your photo on twitter or instagram with the hashtag #BathtubGin and you’ll receive a free print out of your picture and a dram of something delicious to try.

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Free Shipping to Commemorate Black Tot Day 2015

The 31st July 1970 was the day on which the Royal Navy issued the final ever daily rum ration, or daily tot. To commemorate the end of this naval tradition,…

Black Tot Day Master of Malt

The 31st July 1970 was the day on which the Royal Navy issued the final ever daily rum ration, or daily tot. To commemorate the end of this naval tradition, observed for over three centuries, we’re offering Free Shipping* on all orders containing Pusser’s or Rumbullion! rums, or indeed the Black Tot Last Consignment, up until midnight (BST) Friday 31st July.

That includes Pusser’s ‘Gunpowder Proof’ Black Label, the new rebranded name (introduced in 2014) for their classic 54.5% British Navy rum. Previously known as Blue Label, that name is now reserved for a brand new 40% offering, the reason being that 40% abv is the maximum strength you can actually send to military bases these days, including naval bases and mess bars. Got all that? Excellent. Feel free to scoot off now and start filling your basket up with delicious rum as well as anything else you fancy free shipping on in the same order, but if you can contain that instinct for just a few moments longer then herein lies a brief history of the tot…

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Master of Cocktails – Tea Thyme with Pepper Pig

Right then boys and girls. Time for this week’s #MasterofCocktails – this week we’re making a pork-infused wet martini. Sound appetising? Well it should – It’s delicious. This one’s called…

Master of Cocktails Tea Thyme with Pepper Pig

Right then boys and girls. Time for this week’s #MasterofCocktails – this week we’re making a pork-infused wet martini. Sound appetising? Well it should – It’s delicious.

This one’s called ‘Tea Thyme with Pepper Pig’ (I’m still waiting for my cocktail-naming crown to be delivered, by the way).

Plenty of prep work to do before bringing it all together, so let’s get to it.

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Master of Cocktails – The Clover Club Cocktail

Greetings all. Time for some Gin? Gin. Yep. Everyone loves Gin. Lovely Gin. We’re making a classic cocktail for this week’s #MasterofCocktails, which to be honest feels anything but. You’d…

Master of Cocktails The Clover Club Cocktail

Greetings all. Time for some Gin? Gin. Yep. Everyone loves Gin. Lovely Gin.

We’re making a classic cocktail for this week’s #MasterofCocktails, which to be honest feels anything but. You’d swear this was a modern drink. It’s called the Clover Club Cocktail – basically a gin sour with added Raspberry.

Traditionally this would be a syrup, but we’re going to be using the Raspberry Liqueur from St. George Spirits.

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