Hampton Court Gin is the new kid on the local beverage block and it’s high quality, steeped in Court history, born out of passion and tastes divine.
Words | Lucy Donoughue
Chatting to people for The Court Circular is always a real treat, but its particularly special when I get to sit on the Eight at the River patio in the sunshine, looking over the Thames, talking about gin.
My companion, founder of Hampton Court Gin Simon Marjoram, has kindly brought along a bottle of Six Wives. It’s the first of what will be a long line of small batch hand crafted gin, inspired by Hampton Court, Henry VIII and his six wives, and I’m very ready to try it…
Hampton Court Gin was conceived during an unexpected break in Simon’s busy work schedule last year. He runs his own successful locally based agency, Bamboo Marketing, and looks after a wide range of high-profile sporting events, luxury travel and drink brands.
However, as lockdown arrived, Simon’s agency workload disappeared from view. “We had twelve months of work scheduled and everything just stopped dead,” he shares.
This left him with an unusual amount of free time to consider his experience in alcohol and marketing, and as a result he began to dream up new ideas. “I got to thinking about a narrative for a fantastic local gin. I thought if I came up with the concept, then I’d go and learn how to make a wonderful drink,” he explains laughing. “Which is the opposite of how a product usually comes about.”
Hampton Court was Simon’s immediate source of inspiration. “I’ve been walking my dogs along the tow path for twenty years, and I never, ever get tired of seeing all the beauty around us. Whether it’s the palace, the parks or the river – every day I think how lucky we are to live and work around here.”
Drawing on this inspiration, Simon started to consider how to distil over 500 years of history into a beautifully drinkable gin, as well learning how to actually make it.
The first in the Hampton Court Gin series, Six Wives, contains six botanicals and as Simon shares, is the result of joyful weeks researching the history of Hampton Court, Henry and each of his wives to ensure all ingredients were true to the stories of the people and places that inspired him. He’s learned a lot in the process…
“The historical connection provides a reason to be unexpected and mischievous with the ingredients.”
“For example,” he explains. “It wasn’t William of Orange who brought oranges to the country, it was Catherine of Aragon, who was Spanish. She introduced them to the court for the first time in 1509.”
Simon is now researching other narratives for Hampton Court Gin and promises a Cardinal Wolsey special edition and a very unique and playful Christmas batch based on Tudor tradition.
He’s clearly excited about all the future possibilities, inspired by our local palace and surroundings. “The historical connection provides a reason to be unexpected and mischievous with the ingredients.”
Simon’s hard work and passion is most definitely paying off. Despite Six Wives being new to the market it’s already won a large number of fans, both local and further afield, as well as the Silver Medal in the Global Gin Masters Awards 2021.
I have to say, upon my first tasting, I’m very taken with it too and it’s my new gin of choice. I’d thoroughly recommend Six Wives.
Keep your eyes peeled and your tastebuds ready for the next in the series of these brilliant local gins too.
Buy and find out more at hamptoncourtgin.com
Follow on Instagram @hamptoncourtgin
You can also pick up Six Wives at Mada Deli, Bridge Road, East Molesey.