If ever there were a day for our Celebrated Butter Gin, it would 1st May apparently, so a very happy National Butter Day to you.
In all our expressions at Portobello Road Gin there is an element of history and tradition. The Celebrated Butter Gin is no different – in fact the idea came from a book of short stories by Charles Dickens – ‘Sketches by Boz’. Dickens loved to observe and document London in its industrial growth and social turmoil. This is most probably where he took inspiration for many of his characters such as Oliver Twist.
In ‘Sketches by Boz’, Dickens talks about the experience of being in a Gin Palace. Whilst in the Palace he recorded different expressions of Gin which included titles like: “The real knock me down”, “The strip me naked”, “Cream of the Valley” and the “Celebrated Butter Gin”. The names or ‘brands’ of gin were very descriptive, perhaps due to the fact that the majority of those drinking them would have almost certainly been illiterate. It is also very unlikely that Gin producers would have been distilling with butter. The name ‘Celebrated Butter Gin’ was probably a very early marketing tool used to suggest that the gin was of high quality, much like Crème de mure or menthe as in these times, sugar and fats were the pleasantries of the wealthy. If you were a pauper, you wouldn’t have been able to afford butter on your bread but something cheaper such as beef dripping.
“Then, ingenuity is exhausted in devising attractive titles for the different descriptions of gin; and the dram-drinking portion of the community as they gaze upon the gigantic black and white announcements, which are only to be equalled in size by the figures beneath them, are left in a state of pleasing hesitation between ‘The Cream of the Valley,’ ‘The Out and Out,’ ‘The No Mistake,’ ‘The Good for Mixing,’ ‘The real Knock-me-down,’ ‘The Celebrated Butter Gin,’ ‘The regular Flare-up,’ and a dozen other, equally inviting and wholesome liqueurs.” Charles Dickens – Sketches by Boz.
Reading this exert gave us the idea for an experiment. To take the idea of “Celebrated Butter Gin” much more literally. We redistill our signature 171 London Dry expression with 5 blocks of unsalted British butter.
Our house Gin historian and recipe master Jake Burger describes Celebrated Butter Gin as “like meeting your friend’s twin without knowing they had one, catching you unawares, and befuddling one’s expectations in a thoroughly welcome turn”.
When thinking on how best to use this gin – it works perfectly well wherever our signature 171 London Dry might. It makes a great Gin and Tonic, however if you want to really play on the subtle texture and unique character of this expression then Martini style drinks are the way to go. It will help to highlight the viscosity and creaminess of the gin.