I’d always envisaged creating two other gins that would be contrasting to the Ludlow Dry, one with more citrus and one with more aromatic notes. Ludlow, our spiritual home, had been the first home in the England of Catherine of Aragon, the young bride of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII and heir to the English throne. All went slightly awry when Arthur came down with a sweating sickness at Ludlow Castle and promptly died, leaving a grieving 16-year-old widow, who ultimately married his younger brother, Henry, the rest is history as they say.
I love history, and I love travelling; visiting Catherine of Aragon’s home in Granada was one of my most memorable experiences. She was brought up in the incredible architectural masterpiece of the Alhambra palace, which is dripping with Islamic details, as Granada was then the threshold of the West and East civilisations. The gardens of the Alhambra must have been bursting with citrus fruits, a part of daily life. Today the streets of Granada are brimming with little spice shops, laden with a kaleidoscope of flavours from the orient. How must Catherine have felt in the damp and grey environs of Ludlow Castle? No fragrance from the orient there, for sure. In case you didn’t know, Catherine’s symbol was a pomegranate, a delicious and capacious fruit, a nod to the fertility of the virgin princess, in whose hopes the Tudor line rested. Pomegranates can be found in the decorations of architecture within Ludlow; in the plaster ceilings of the timber-framed Reader’s House, delicate pomegranates recall that earlier link with Spain.
So, our triple citrus and pomegranate gin was born, inspired by Catherine and her plight at Ludlow Castle, a life with so much potential, ultimately destined for loneliness and solitude, once Henry had dispensed with her. One little secret – I had a bit of an accident with a decimal place and cardamom. Some accidents happen for a purpose, and our distinctive second gin was born from this one, our wild child, great as a refreshing G&T and, for those who dare, an exceptionally bright martini.