Jensen Gin – True London Spirit
From Bermondsey to the world
Tucked away under an imposing brick railway arch at the end of Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey is Jensen Gin distillery – a small but mighty booze maker.
With a history dating back to the 1830s, it distills two distinct types of gin today: London Dry – a delicate and well balanced gin originating in the early 20th Century, and Old Tom – a naturally sweeter spirit made from a Victorian recipe found in a handwritten distillers’ handbook.
One could easily spend many lazy hours wandering around Bermondsey – a historically industrial London quarter that has become a trendy destination for food and craft alcohol lovers. On weekends, when most breweries on the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile open their doors to visitors and the air fills with exotic flavours wafting from surrounding farmers’ markets, accidentally ending up at Jensen Distillery is as refreshing as a splash of lime in your G&T.
The distillery’s shopfront is a small bar manned by two chatty bartenders, who were happy to quench my thirst not only for drinks but also for local gin knowledge and the history of Jensen. The main points were elucidated by generous samples of straight up gin, of both London Dry and Old Tom variety, as well as their small-batch, below-the-counter, experimental infusions of rhubarb and pea shoots.
You can have your gin as sweet as you like, but if, like me, you appreciate the savoury side of life, you’ll love the distinctively vegetal, dry pea shoot gin and tonic combination. £5 will get you a mouth-watering 35ml measure of gin and a mixer of your choice from the London bartender’s favourite craft soft drink supplier: Square Root Soda. Their drinks have an unmistakable, hand-made feel to them, and if you feel adventurous, swap the regular stuff for Cinchona or Hop infused tonic.