The story behind our Coronation Rose Gin
What’s the story behind our coronation inspired gin? I think it is one of my finest creations. Well, there are the themes that you might expect: the Rose and Crown, purple paper reflecting the coronation robes, gold foil representing the crown, the Royal cypher; but at Ludlow Distillery, there’s a deeper story, one of myriad connections…
Many years ago, we were privileged enough to visit the gardens of Highgrove, the private home of HM The King, on a quiet summers day. We were lucky enough to be invited by the Head Gardener, no other members of the public, just us and the wonderful gardens; I have to say it’s one of those you don’t forget in a hurry. Such experiences are what make life so joyful and enjoying a unique gin should be just the same – a great deal of love goes into creating each one of our own unique recipes. At RHS Malvern Spring Show 2022 I experienced first hand the remarkable energy and commitment that goes into creating incredible gardens, and it was here that I wondered could I create a bespoke gin with a horticultural theme for Spring 2023? None of us knew then that we would be celebrating a coronation, and so the two ideas started to collide. Handcrafting gin with love – there are so many synergies with creating and enjoying gardens.
What struck me on that beautiful summers day all those years ago at Highgrove was the rooms within rooms. The garden is divided into spaces, architecture on a grand and small scale. Hidden within these multi layered delights is a secluded walled garden, inspired by the Islamic designs of Turkish carpets. I was immediately struck by my own experiences of gardens in Istanbul and at the Alhambra in Granada, and my childhood memories of Izmir. These ancient gardens were designed by people who understood the human need for order and peace, plants, colour, water gently running, a far cry from the hustle and bustle of these busy centres of commerce and counsel.
As a teenager I visited my uncle’s house, just thirty minutes away from Izmir in Turkey. It was this city that I first remember the experience of the grand bazaar: traders trading everything you could possibly need to thrive, and more. An afternoon spent in carpet shop deep within the bazaar, where my mother and I inspected and bartered for a beautiful carpet over fresh mint tea. We were treated to Turkish delight and dried dates; these unique flavours have always lingered in my mind.
Those of you watching the news may have seen that you will be able to visit Westminster Abbey, the site of the coronation, and walk across the cosmetic pavement upon which King Charles III will be crowned. The cosmetic pavement is immediately in front of the high altar. Commissioned in by Henry III, It covers 7.5 metres square and it’s a carpet in stone, made up of thousands of pieces of precious and semi-precious stone and glass. A similar floor exists in the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and its on the very spot that the Byzantine emperors were crowned. The pavement at Westminster Abbey was hidden for many years under a carpet to protect its fragile nature, but by 2010. it had been carefully cleaned and conserved revealing its rich tapestry of colours. During that conservation I was lucky enough to be shown the work by the then Dean John Hall, and walk in my socks, on the very spot that HM Charles III will be crowned. You can read more and visit Westminster Abbey here:
Turkish carpets and pavements, Turkish delight: rose, lemon and dried dates, a gin fit for a King? I think it is one of my finest creations, I’ve really enjoyed drawing all of these strands together. How to drink? Well, here are three simple serves:
Serve with dried hibiscus petals, allow them to sit in the spirit for a few minutes, add plenty of ice, some black peppercorns and a light tonic, with a twist of lemon peel.
The Royal Martini
It’s simple, take a frozen martini glass, add a dash of white vermouth into the glass, swill and. pour away (I’m not one too waste, so I drink it), fill with neat gin which you’ve kept in the freezer too, a twist of lemon; if you like a little bit of fun, add some hibiscus leaves for colour and flavour.
Gin & Dubonnet – The late Queens favourite tipple
- One measure of Rose Gin
- Two measures of Dubonnet
Ice, tumbler, stir and add a wedge of orange or twist or orange peel
Contessa Negroni – The late Queen Mother’s favourite tipple
- One measure of Rose Gin
- One measure of White vermouth
- One measure of Aperol
Ice, tumbler, stir and add a wedge of lemon or twist of lemon peel
VIVAT REX! VIVAT REX CAROLOUS!
If you’d like to know more about the Turkish Garden at Highgrove, here’s some more context:
The original inspiration for the garden came from a sketch by His Royal Highness, based on a Turkish carpet from a collection that he owns. Emma Clark, an expert on Islamic gardens and their symbolism, developed the final design for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Dr Khaled Azzam, head of the Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts programme at the Prince’s Foundation in Shoreditch, East London. The garden was a huge success at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May 2001, drawing large crowds and winning a Silver medal from the Royal Horticultural Society.
The then Prince Charles, said ‘After gazing for many years at the patterns and colours of one of the small Turkish carpets in my room at Highgrove, I couldn’t help feeling what fun it would be to use those patterns and colours to create a theme for a garden. The challenge would be to see if you could almost create the effect of being within the carpet.’
You can visit Highgrove here: