Last week I had the greatest pleasure in tasting a new gin; a well received present from Mrs Aitch. Dodd's Gin, the stuff's called; I had only been vaguely aware of it, which is not really surprising as it's a brand spanking new gin, fresh on the market. Not that you would think that from the brilliantly Victorian packaging, and the beautiful old-fashioned bottle with its wooden stopper: 'crafted by season and established in 1807'.
This gin is produced by the London Distillery Company, at a traditional distillery in Battersea (just down the road from the Greasy Spoon Residence), using a 140 litre copper alembic by the name of Christina. Its organic botanicals include rasberry leaf and wait-for-it, London honey.
This gin really tastes of something, it's clean and almost medicinal (in a good sense) with a strong sense of clove which cuts through, but doesn't overwhelm.
But then you start looking at the price. It costs around thirty quid for a 500ml bottle. I realise, of course, that this is an artisan crafted gin, produced in small numbers (each gin has a hand-written batch number) and aimed at a high budget, connoisseur's market, but I just can't get out of my head that a 1 litre bottle of the perfectly drinkable Sainsbury's own, distilled by the distinguished old firm of G & J Greenall up in Scotland (but sold with naff Sainsbury's packaging) costs a very reasonable £15.50 (and is often available on discount, too).
'But that's unfair!', I can hear the gin distillers cry, 'that's like comparing Teacher's blended whisky with a Knockando Single Malt'. Perhaps. But as I happen to enjoy that Old English habit of adding tonic to my gin, I'm not entirely convinced. Sainsbury's Own for the tonic, and Dodd's for the Dry Martinis, served on High Days and Holidays (including the opportunity to toast St Swithin). That might be the way forward.
Nico Landenis once said: "A gin and tonic says a lot about you as a person. It is more than just a drink, it is an attitude of mind. It goes with a prawn cocktail, a grilled Dover Sole, Melba toast and Black Forest Gateau."
I would like to state publicly, on record, that I adore Prawn Cocktail, love a grilled Dover Sole, and would sell my mother to get my hands on a decent bit of Melba Toast.