The Connaught Bar has launched a new gin conceived and crafted in-house by its director of mixology Ago Perrone. The gin was developed to mark the 10th anniversary of the Mayfair hotel bar, and to reflect this it contains 10 botanicals.
‘We were thinking what could we do to capture the Connaught Bar’s essence?’ Perrone told Imbibe. ‘Gin is very popular for Martinis, it’s a quintessentially British spirit and it’s a great cocktail ingredient. We decided even though there are so many gins out there, it's the spirit that could really highlight the Connaught Bar.’
Perrone got to work creating the recipe for the gin. He explained that he wanted a traditional flavour profile with a bit of a twist. ‘I decided to base it on a classic recipe, with juniper berries, coriander seeds and such, and then the personalisation of the liquid came with three other botanicals,’ he explained.
The gin includes mace and Amalfi lemon peel, recalling Perrone's Italian heritage.
‘Mace is derived from nutmeg and has a similar flavour, but is more scented, more velvety and aromatic,’ said Perrone. 'We also use fresh lemon peel, because there's more oil, more juiciness; it's really bright and it brings the gin to life,’ he said.
Perrone rounded out his trio of unexpected ingredients with a red wine distillate, which ‘is connected to the tradition of hotel bars’.
‘Hotels are very proud of their wine selection, and great selection of Bordeaux wine is [especially] a sign of quality,' he said. 'Because I produce the gin right next to [The Connaught’s] wine cellar, I decided to use Bordeaux wine, but to look at it in a different way.
‘I took the wine and distilled it. The distilled wine eau d’vie gives a mouthfeel, minerality and viscosity that allows the gin and the botanicals to make their way around the palate.’
Perrone also had a hand in the design of the bottle, which recalls a 1920s cocktail shaker and is inspired by The Connaught Bar’s art-deco interiors.
‘We wanted a tangible souvenir of the experience of our bar,’ he said. ‘Everything [in the gin’s creation] is done in-house – from the infusion and distillation to the assembly, bottling and labelling – everything is made by hand, by me.’
With a limited production of 1,000 bottles, there isn’t enough volume for The Connaught Bar Gin to become the bar’s house pour. However, Perrone is using it in cocktails, and it’s available to purchase online and at the Connaught Bar.
‘We want it to be something different that we can offer to our guests,’ said Perrone.
The Connaught Bar Gin, RRP £95, the-connaught.co.uk
Ago Perrone is one of five nominees in the Imbibe Personality of the Year awards' "Industry Legend" category – check out the full shortlist here