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Grape-based gin recipe from 1495 recreated

EWG Spirits & Wine has recreated a grape-based gin recipe from 1495, adapted it for today’s palate and called it Gin 1495.

The recipe was found in an out-of-print Dutch-language history of Jenever, which originally came from the cookbook of a wealthy merchant. Today, the recipe can be found in the Sloane Manuscripts compiled by British physician and collector Sir Hans Sloane. After his death in 1753, he bequeathed his collection to the nation, thus providing the foundation of the British Museum. These manuscripts’ now stand in the archives of The British Library.

Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, oenologist, master distiller and founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, picked a selection of industry luminaries to verify the accuracy of the 1495 recipe. Spirit historians, writers and mixologists; Dave Wondrich, Gary Regan, Dave Broom and Philip Duff were invited to view the original manuscript at the British Library in London, before travelling to Holland to visit the Jenever Museum in Schiedam, to track the development, production and evolution of gin.

The journey culminated at Villevert near Cognac, France, the home of EWG Spirits & Wine distilling innovation centre.

The team replicated the original recipe and created a modern interpretation with Jean-Sébastien Robicquet. “By taking this recipe apart and refreshing it for our modern era, we learnt so much about the long and circuitous journey the spirit has taken through the centuries,” said Jean-Sébastien. “Gin 1495 is the fundamental expression of our business. It represents a search for knowledge, an insistence on quality, and a reliance on the skills that we draw from our heritage. We see the birth of gin, with a wine based spirit, in 1495 and its rebirth today in 2014. We love the idea of renaissance, of creating the future by understanding the past, of discovery, improvement and the creation of something excellent: this lies at the heart of all of our products.”

“The 1495 recipe is not just the first chapter in a rich history of gin – this historic recipe, based on

grape distillate, is part of the very foundation of the category,” adds Philip Duff. “With an unrivalled passion and understanding of the grape and vine, I knew that the team at Villevert would investigate this discovery and recreate the original recipe using traditional and authentic techniques and ingredients.”

EWG Spirits & Wine has produced a limited edition Gin 1495 pack consisting of the two variants – Verbatim, the 1495 original recipe, and Interpretatio, the modern interpretation. Each aspect of production has taken place in the grounds of Villevert, the 16th century family estate, which is home to the company headquarters. Villevert has a 500-year history, steeped in winemaking and distilling, this will be the latest chapter.

One of these limited edition sets will be available via an online auction, with 100% of proceeds raised going to The Benevolent, a charity which supports members of the drinks community in times of need. The auction process will be organised by the Gin Guild and information on the product and auction process will be listed on the Gin Guild’s Facebook page @TheGinGuild.


GIN 1495 Auction Process

• Bids must be made via a dedicated email address

• All bids must be made in sterling and sent along with a name and a contact telephone number

• The highest bidder, subject to a set reserve, received by 1st December 2014 will be contacted by 15th December and payment taken by visa card

• See Facebook@TheGinGuild for full details 

7 November 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor