Bathtub Gin comes from the Ableforth Spirits Stable. And I’ll be completely honest, until doing the research into this Gin, I had no idea Ableforth was Master of Malt, the huge and one of the best online spirits retailers. I’ve been a trade customer of there's for years now. Even when I was running bars. Their range has always been superior to anyone else!
Other Spirits from Ableforth's include 5 other Gins… a Navy Strength, a Sloe, an Old Tom, a Cask aged and a Navy Strength Cask Aged!! That’s not to mention their 3 Rumbullion’s (Rum) and a small range of Liqueurs including a Cherry Brandy and an Absinthe. Ableforth Spirits are easily recognised by their distinct Brown Paper wrappers they use on every bottle!
So, back to the normal Bathtub Gin…
Ableforth, (aka Master of Malt, or if you want to go one further, Atom Brands who are the brain childs of That Boutique-y Gin, Rum, Whisky, amongst many other brands including Drinks by the Dram which I featured in the previous video!) started to produce their Gin in 2015…I think. I know their Rumbullion preceded the Gins, and that came in 2012, but I can’t find the exact launch date of their Gin. The whole reason behind it was to kind of pay homage to the Bathtub style of Gins of Old.
The method of production…noticed I haven’t mentioned Distilling…is via Cold Compounding. Now, Cold Compounding was how most cheapo supermarket gins used to be produced. In simple terms, you’d buy in a neutral spirit and then infuse botanicals without distilling, (boiling) the liquid. Hence why a lot of Gins used to have a very bad rep...because cold compounding didn’t use the best botanicals, nor does it rely on the heat to extract all the flavour.
I’ll also add, this doesn’t even need to be botanicals. Gin “Cordials” (flavour compounds) may have even been used to just add to the neutral spirit. Again, I’ll break it down in simple terms. Imagine a bottle of Cordial that contained Juniper, Coriander, Cassia, Citrus etc, that could just be added to a bottle of Vodka. Rather like a bottle of Bottlegreen Cordial!! Now, in this day and age…and with the likes of G&J contract distilling tens of thousands of litres of Gin a day, it is actually cheaper to distil gin, than it is you get these cold compounds on the go.
Ableforths Bathtub Gin is slightly more complex.
Let’s be honest, you can’t get away with producing a Bad Gin these days.
And considering it’s been around a fair while now, you know it tastes pretty good! But, they are still slightly cagey about production.
Reading between the lines on their own website, I would say that the base Gin is bought in from someone like G&J, then they cold compound their recipe of a few Botanicals. But what we do know about the 43.3% Gin is that there is;
Now, the style of production is a constant argument I have in my head.
As a Bartender, perhaps I should be all pretentious about how something is made. Is there the labour of love gone into the product? Is there a heritage and a story?
However, as a consumer…I couldn’t give a monkies how it’s made, it bloomin tastes good! And arguably, that is the most important thing. Distillers can bang on about how they do this and that to try and justify their price tags, but at the end of the day, if you don’t like it, it’s pointless!!
Luckily, Bathtub tastes GREAT…and they take this Cold Compound production method to a place probably never been seen before. It is certainly a million miles from where the Gins of the late 90s/00s used to herald.
On the nose, you get this little burst of Citrus and Juniper, then as you taste it, the Citrus opens out into a slightly more complex Gin. For me, I don’t get the Cloves, just a subtle warmth, but I do get the Cardamom. And dare I say it, a smell that reminds me of Pine Trees!
Is it the best Gin out there?
I tell you, it could be for some. Not for me personally. But I know there will be an army of fans clambering for this Gin. It’s kind of got that classic vibe going on that keeps the Tanqueray fans coming back, time and time again. If I had a collection of, say 25 Gins, yup, I’d have it in my collection for sure. It’s a definite crowd pleaser.
What Tonic with Bathtub Gin?
To find my recommended serves, watch the video and I’ll give you my top picks.