Lemon Meringue Pie Gin?
We chatted to Tom, the Head Distiller at Corner Fifty Three for some time when we stopped by the stand at Junipalooza. The passion for his work explodes from this guy and is totally infectious! After spending several years as a barman, Tom got fed-up being told what he could and couldn’t do, so he quit and started experimenting with creating gin. Using his experience of cocktail making he knew the kinds of gin he wanted to make, and they weren’t conventional! As the quote on the website goes, “None of our products fit into conventional, existing gin types so that we have full creative license over what we bottle.”
His production is now done from a shed in his parents garden (how many great gins are coming out of shed these days?!) and he produces three flagship gins: Pomelo, Umami, and Cherokee.
Pomelo gin uses pink grapefruit and wormwood along with cox’s pippin apples (but strangely no pomelo mentioned!). It has a huge hit of citrus on the nose and will stand up well to any amount of tonic. We liked it so much we bought a bottle! Serve it with Mediterranean tonic and a slice of apple.
Cherokee is a maple syrup and sarsaparilla gin, inspired by Tennessee whiskey. It’s golden in colour and is very sippable neat with it’s smokey vanilla flavours. A little sweet for some maybe, but a great base for summer cocktail mixed with elderflower tonic.
Umami gin is made using butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and baby plum tomatoes amongst others, to create a rich, savoury gin. This one was quite special! Serve with Mediterranean tonic and some basil leaves.
Lastly we got to hear about his experimental LMP gin. Tom loves playing with flavours and this is made using his own homemade, lemon meringue pie! Normally this would have us running to the hills screaming “it’s not gin, it’s a gimmick!!”, but Tom is all about authenticity and doing things well. There’s no added flavourings, no colours or glitter, it’s serious gin making with all the care and dedication of someone who has taken distilling to a scientific art form (even to the point of discussing distillation issues with the local university chemistry department). Taking each part of the pie he imparts the flavours separately, starting with lemon curd in the base of the still, along with juniper, orris root, and lemon peel. Then in the column he adds the pastry, meringue and more fresh lemon peel. On top of all that he vacuum distills more lemon curd. And it is good!
Obviously very citrus on the nose and to taste, but it does have the background sweetness of meringue and butteriness of the pastry. It’s a testament to Toms ingenuity and skill as a distiller that he manages to pull this off!
If this unconventional style of gin has you intrigued, you can find out about all the gins, and of course buy them, on the Corner Fifty Three website.