Copper Rivet night at Forest Hill Gin Club

New brands are entering the burgeoning gin market all the time, but one of the newest is ‘Dockyard Gin’ made by Copper Rivet Distillery, that opened its doors less than four months ago in Chatham. Forest Hill Gin Club were lucky enough to get in early and three members of the Copper Rivet team came and presented to an assembled crowd that took over the All Inn One pub on Perry Vale.

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We arrived nice and early, as they were still setting up, and grabbed some food from the restaurant, currently being occupied by a residency from Sydenham’s award-winning French foodies ‘La Petite Bouchée’. Julia, Richard and their All Inn One team were their typical hospitable selves and the stage was set for another gin-infused evening where those of us seating at our corner table insisted to each other that we would not get too drunk, we all had highly important things to do in the morning, or, things anyway.

dockyard5The talk started with a brief surrounding the details of how the distillery had formed and the kitchen experiments that had turned into massive plans in a grade-two listed building at the side of the river Medway. Copper Rivet do things a little differently, partnering with local farmers to grow the right grains so they can make their own mash – in order that they can control not only the botanicals used to flavour the gin, but the taste of the ethanol used as well. We were given samples of both the vodka they produce and their alcohol base during the course of the evening and of course, a taster of the gin itself.

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The commitment to finding the right balance and the right taste was as clear as the liquids we imbibed, and their passion for gin was obvious. There was no marketing gimmick, no finding a way to produce a high margin gin at 40%; the investment has been in the attention to detail rather than the idea of making money and it shows. No need to go to a talk by Copper Rivet to unearth this information, just find a glass of Dockyard Gin and taste how wonderful it is. The ‘perfect serve’ comes in a highball rather than copa balon glass, with a slice of pink grapefruit, plenty of ice and bottle of fever tree tonic water. The connoisseurs among you might want to use a copa balon however – three or four large ice cubes and a splash of tonic is all you need to really make this wonderful gin zing.

Needless to say, my table of gin drinkers and their good intentions slid promptly down the slippery road to Friday morning hangover. Caz, who had two interviews the following day was the worst culprit, but at least Tom stayed sober long enough to take some of the photos that accompany this piece (thanks Tom!)

The distillery is open for you to visit, and a whisky is on its way… although of course with whisky you need to allow a few years, so don’t expect to be tasting that until at least 2020. But do go and see them in Chatham – they are nice people with wonderful gin (and a damn smooth vodka too!)

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