Camden’s Got a Thing for Gin
MEET THE DISTILLER BRINGING BOOZY BOTANICALS BACK TO THE MARKET
Did you know that the Victorians distilled most of London’s gin stock right here in Camden Lock? 150 years later, one trader, Mark Holdsworth, has brought this long-forgotten history home with his artisan tipple, HALF HITCH.
With his micro-distillery in Camden Market’s West Yard, he knows all there is to know about this quintessentially British spirit. Here, he shares his secrets – and three easy HALF HITCH cocktails…
I have worked in the spirits industry for the last 17 years across pretty much every category – rum, vodka, whisky, vermouth, tequila – but gin has always been my evening tipple.
How did HALF HITCH come about?
Camden Lock was actually one of the largest gin distilleries in London from 1869 to 1964 but only a few tell-tale signs, such as the street name Juniper Crescent, still exist. The idea of setting up my own gin company actually came about after I stumbled across this history.
I was born and bred in Camden, worked on the Market in my youth and passed it every day on the way to my office, but never knew about its buildings’ industrial past. I thought it would be great to unearth and reinvigorate it. Our gin’s name harks back to the mooring rope knot used to tie up the barges which transported gin.
How do you take your HALF HITCH?
Mostly, I like it simply on the rocks in a lazy martini – no need for vermouth or a stir. But it’s suitably bold in a G&T and well-balanced for cocktails. Here’s three easy ones to try…
Use fresh orange peel to bring out the light citrusy notes of the Earl Grey and round out the English wood at the heart of HALF HITCH.
- 50ml HALF HITCH
- 125ml premium English tonic water (Fever Tree or Fentimans)
- A 1’’ x 2” strip of orange peel zested directly over the top of the drink
Build in a rocks glass and garnish with the orange zest. Stir briefly and serve.
GIN & JUICE
In the 1820s, tonic didn’t exist and gin was enjoyed neat or with juice. Try it.
- 50ml HALF HITCH
- 1 whole Seville orange
Fill a rocks glass with cubed ice. Cut the orange in half and slowly squeeze both halves over the center of the cubed ice. Add in a double shot of HALF HITCH at the end, letting it float over the center. Give a small stir.
A popular way to drink a martini back in the 1930s was with gin, dry vermouth, and a couple of dashes of orange bitters.
- 75ml HALF HITCH
- 15ml dry vermouth (preferably Noilly Prat)
- 2 dashes of orange bitters
Shake over ice and serve in a martini glass.
For more info about HALF HITCH and where to find them, click here.