A Guide to Sacred Spirits
Up the Christmas ante with these three incomparable and delicious spirits from independent distillery Sacred Spirits in Highgate, North London. Founded in 2009 by Ian Hart and Hilary Whitney, Sacred is one of the pioneers of the 21st century spirits revival and certainly one of the most innovative - using vacuum distillation rather than a traditional pot still to create fresh, lush distillates, this freshness is key to the distinctive character of Sacred Spirits.
Perfect as gifts, to enjoy with family and friends or to simply sip and savour during those rare but quiet moments - these are our suggestions for the holiday season:
☆ Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin
Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin is the original Christmas Pudding Gin and is made with real distilled Christmas puddings, according to distiller Ian's Great Aunt Nellie's Victorian recipe which was faithfully recorded by hand in the Hart family recipe book and has been reproduced on the inside of the back label. Candied peel, raisins and a rich 'cakey' mouthfeel are at the forefront of this moreish gin which, served with good quality ginger ale or light tonic and garnished with a slice of orange, makes a refreshing long drink. Or follow the lead of some of the prestigious bars and restaurants who are using Sacred Christmas Pudding Gin to give their cocktails a truly festive spin - leading Italian restaurant LUCA in London, EC1 is offering its customers the Christmas Pudding Negroni. At Rules, London's oldest restaurant, legendary bartender Brian Silva has created Aunt Nellie's Tipple - rich and fruity, it makes a great Christmas Eve nightcap or Christmas lunch digestif (see recipe section for serve). However, if you want to keep it really simple, just stick the bottle in the freezer and sip ice cold - maybe as a welcome alternative to actual Christmas Pudding if you overdid the turkey!
☆ Sacred Old Tom Gin
Old Tom is a style of gin which harks back to the 18th century, being drier than Dutch Genever but sweeter than London Dry Gin. There are numerous theories as to how it got its name, from cats falling into vats of gin to being named after one of the old-timers who worked in a distillery. The most popular is that, due to the introduction of the rise of illegal distilleries in the 18th century, drinking establishments across London would hang a sign outside depicting the eponymous Old Tom cat. Underneath the cat’s paw was a slot and a lead pipe, which was attached to a funnel inside the building making it possible for thirsty passers-by to drop a coin into the slot and receive a quick snifter of gin.
Sacred Old Tom Gin picked up the award for World’s Best Old Tom Gin at the World Drinks Awards this year. Their interpretation is an appropriately original twist on this historic spirit with bold notes of juniper, and is sweetened with liquorice root in the traditional manner along with the addition of distilled sweet Spanish orange peel for a sherberty freshness. At a punchy 48% abv, it's perfect served with tonic as a G&T or in a Martinez (see recipe section) and its striking label and Old Tom collar and name tag make it a wonderful present.
☆ Sacred Peated English Whisky
This peated single malt is a Gold Medal Winner at the World Whisky Masters 2018. Sacred brings whisky distilled in Norfolk and aged three years in Jim Beam casks to London for secondary maturation and flavour development in sherry hogsheads - old Pedro Ximenez casks, specially selected by Ian and Hilary from Bodegas Navarro in Montilla, Spain. The whisky is given at least 2 years in sherry casks and these nutty, sweet and rich nuances give a truly deep and satisfying single malt. Notes of log-fire smoke from a country pub, sea salt, dried pineapple, clove spice, sweet vanilla and Christmas cake. Great in a Manhattan, a Rusty Nail or simply served neat - the perfect present for every whisky aficionado!
Sacred have a range of products in their portfolio, from an award-winning London Dry Gin to the World’s Best Vermouth (World Drinks Awards 2019). By searching ‘Sacred’ in the search bar, you will find plenty of gift ideas to suit everybody.