Sloane’s Gin has really been on our radar recently. Although we first tried it last year just after it launched, over the last few months it’s become something of a constant on our cocktail calendar. And that’s before it even teamed up with the fabulous William’s Bar & Bistro at St. James’s Hotel and Club…
In April we sampled a whole bunch of bartenders’ brilliant creations when we judged the inaugural Sloane’s cocktail comp. June found us paying a visit to its Dutch distillery to discover the distinctive way the crack squad here blends its botanicals. Then we got a sneeky preview of the upcoming collaboration with William’s Bar and Bistro. And very nice it was too. But first a little bit of a history lesson.
Sloane’s gin takes its inspiration from Sir Hans Sloane, a royal physician and botanist whose collection formed the foundation of the Natural History Museum. And it was from this collection that many of the botanicals we now associate with gin were most likely introduced to the gin industry, including oris root, angelica and cassia bark.
Now Sir H has also inspired a collaboration between Zdenek Zemen, Bar Manager at William’s Bar & Bistro and Joel Constantino, Sloane’s Gin’s Brand Ambassador, to create four new cocktails. Through them we get a history of the great man and the botanicals he introduced to England. And we get some rather tasty cocktails into the bargain.
First up is the £20,000 (Sloane’s gin, Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth, Martini Rosso Vemouth and Maraschino). Why £20,000? That’s the figure paid by the British Government to Sir Han’s heirs to acquire his entire collection.
Next comes Jamaica 800 (Sloane’s gin, Crème de Cacao brown, milk and cream). This particular concoction is a tribute to the fact that while serving as chief surgeon to the governor of Jamaica, Sloane collected some 800 botanical plants and animals as well as coming across cacao. But he didn’t leave it there. He mixed it with milk then later sold it to the Cadbury’s brothers (yes, really). So we apparently have him to thank for gin and chocolate – what a man.
Which brings us to Sydenham & Sloane (Sloane’s gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, orange bitters and tonic). This one celebrates the fact he was Thomas Sydenham’s understudy when he introduced Peruvian cassia bark to the UK. Lastly comes the Cabinet of Curiosities (Sloane’s gin, blackberry puree and agave syrup). The term ‘cabinet’ originally described a room rather than a piece of furniture and Sir Hans’ was the most impressive the country had seen – eventually forming the foundations of the Natural History Museum.
We loved all four drinks but if you pushed us we’d have to go for the £20,000 – it’s perfectly balanced, has lots of depth and is simply one of the very nicest drinks we’ve had in ages.
You can try the Sloane’s Gin cocktails on the menu at William’s Bar & Bistro at St. James’s Hotel and Club throughout August.
St. James’s Hotel and Club 7-8 Park Place, St. James’s, London, SW1A 1LS stjameshotelandclub.com