Kate and Helen doing some research

Helen and Kate drinking cocktails.

"Helen, Helen! We’re going to set-up a distillery!"
Our journey began early 2016 when Kate was inspired by an article about the gin revival on the radio and simply knew that she had to set up a distillery. Deciding that I, her brain-twin Helen, would be the perfect business partner she rang me straight away. We invested the money that we would usually spend on gin on a beautiful copper alembic still from Portugal that we named Dinky Dragondale. Since neither of us speak a word of Portuguese we had to call the artisan craftsman on Saturday so his nephew could translate our requirements. Of course we also did plenty of research!

We soon became very popular

Our friends at a tasting party.

We found that we had no shortage of volunteers to taste our early experiments and the recipes for Gutsy Monkey Winter Gin, and Dancing Dragontail Summer Gin were our friends' firm favourites. When we we opened The Gin Kitchen Distillery and launched Gutsy Monkey Winter Gin in November 2016 we already had local support from people who were excited by our gin. We’d initially thought that if we got one bottle of Gutsy Monkey onto the shelf of one pub in Dorking plus on the shelves of the local farm shop then we would consider ourselves successful; but it quickly became popular throughout Dorking!

Word started to spread

Gurd from the Cricketers.

We were overwhelmed by how much people loved our first gin! As word spread of our wonderful winter gin, independent shops and pubs and other larger retailers across Surrey and Sussex, and later even further afield, wanted to stock our gin. We up-scaled with demand, increasing production from one day a week to five as we gained more customers. Thus the Gin Kitchen was born out of an idea, our love of gin, entrepreneurial spirit and of course our experiments with Juniper and other botanicals in Kate’s little kitchen.

How we make fabulous gin

Kate and Helen doing the maceration dance.

Our gin is a real labour of love. We only make around 30 bottles in a batch so each and every bottle receives the personal care and attention needed to create fabulous gin. From start to finish each batch takes about five days to complete. Our stills are curated by our Still Guardians, who begin by macerating juniper and botanicals in organic neutral grain spirit. We sort and select the seeds and botanicals by hand to ensure that only the finest quality are used in our gin as our gin gets its wonderful flavour from the essential oils under the skin. Then we pour the wash into one of our charming copper stills, and gently heat it to release the flavours.

One-Shot Distillation

Jamie sealing the still with rye flour.

The stills are sealed the traditional way using rye flour and water. We do a one-shot distillation which means that a precise blend of botanicals is used in every run to make the finished gin. After distillation, we dilute the 80% gin with water from the Surrey Hills to a less outrageous 48%, and following a short rest, the gin is then bottled, sealed and labelled by hand so you can be sure that there is fabulous gin in each bottle and that every batch is uniquely different.
The time and effort getting the flavour profile and smoothness just right is reflected in their taste. The aim is to make a gin you can drink neat, which in our opinion, is the sign of a good gin.


Kate armed with a hydrometer.

I love the beautiful countryside of the Surrey Hills surrounding Dorking. From almost any street you can see their reassuring and enduring form looking over the town. I spend hours running in the hills and I particularly like sprinting down the mountain bike trail Summer Lightning at breakneck speed. With its twists and turns, ups and downs and obstacles it's a real adrenaline rush. I feel like I'm in a film, outrunning an army of evil henchmen. So if you see me looking out of breath on the High Street, it's because I've just foiled a plot to take over the world.


Helen sipping Woodcock by fireplace.

Helen grew up in the Black Country and insists that she has lost her Midlands accent. But she totally hasn't in fact she is particularly broad after a few drinks. She is a lover of chocolate, books, people, and beautiful things especially gin lol.

© Gin Kitchen Limited 2016 All rights reserved.
Creative Commons LicenseUnless attributed to a thrid party, images may be reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. They must be clearly attributed to "The Gin Kitchen".
Gin Kitchen Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 10148532. Please read our terms & conditions. Telephone: 01306889598 Visit us at: Punchbowl Lane, Dorking, RH5 4DX.

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