In the summer of 2017, one of London’s oldest spirit brands, Nicholson Gin, was revived by two cousins, Nicholas Browne and Tim Walker, the descendants of the original founders.
The Nicholson family began distilling in Clerkenwell in 1736 and became one of the great distillers of the Victorian age, pioneering the London Dry Gin style. In 1872 they acquired the Three Mills site in Bow, introducing innovative milling machinery and expanding distilling capacity to meet growing demand. Badly bombed during WWII, this site still stands today as a museum and film studio. The revived Nicholson Original is a super premium London Dry Gin distilled in London and true to the original family recipe, combining ten botanicals sourced from across the globe – juniper berries, coriander, angelica root, orange and lemon citrus peels, cinnamon, orris root, cassia bark, nutmeg and liquorice and delivers a complex, classic dry gin profile. The palate is juniper-led with citrus notes and a touch of spice, culminating in a long, dry and balanced finish ideal for today’s tonics and perfectly complementing both classic and modern cocktails.
In the 1920s and 30s Nicholson Gin was heralded as an essential ingredient of many cocktails at the best watering holes in London, Paris and New York, and was included in The Waldorf Astoria Bar Book, Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails, and the Savoy Cocktail Book, the ‘bar-tender’s bible’
Today, Nicholson Original can be enjoyed within a series of new and creative cocktails, many of which represent a modern twist on the original cocktail classics, including the Nicholson 66 (based on the French 75) and the Gloom Raiser, where a splash of raspberry syrup is added for a modern frisson; 50ml Nicholson Original Gin, 15ml dry vermouth, two dots absinthe and 5ml raspberry syrup. Stir down and pour into a frozen glass and garnish with lemon ‘butterfly’ twist.
The new bottle and label were designed to reflect Nicholson’s eminence in the history of gin and its links to London and to cricket. In 1866 William Nicholson loaned Marylebone Cricket Club the funds to purchase the freehold of Lord’s Cricket Ground and later to build the pavilion (then nicknamed ‘The Gin Palace’). As a gesture of gratitude the MCC adopted the Nicholson ‘egg and bacon’ (yellow and red) company colours.
Now instantly recognisable across the sporting world, the colours also appear in a ribbon on the capsule of the new bottle. Nicholson Original made its debut at Lord’s in time for the South Africa Test in summer 2017.
Staying true to its heritage and colours, Nicholson Original’s gin and tonic is garnished with a twist of lemon and a strip of English rhubarb. Available now in the best bars, hotels and select retailers, Nicholson Original London Dry is 40.3 per cent proof and is available in 70cl bottles.
W NICHOLSON & CO 1 HEATHCOTE GATE, LONDON, SW6 3BH +44 (0)7712 530235