His & Hers had an invite to the Club House, Liverpool ONE. We were there to meet Spencer Matthews, who made quite an impact in Made in Chelsea. He was there to introduce us to The Clean Liquor company, which he founded. I was handed a glass, full of gin and tonic, with lemon and lashings of ice and fresh sprigs of mint. It tasted like a classic gin, and it was, well, clean and fresh. It turns out it contains 1% alcohol. It has its fill of juniper and botanicals that delivers a great natural gin flavour.
WORDS: Jean Hill
Spencer Matthews is charming, and a great host. He explained how drinking quite heavily, socially, meant he sometimes felt foggy and a bit useless the following day, when he needed to be sharp. He is now a happily married man with a beautiful wife and child: and that has changed his perspective. He decided that, for him, less is more. He then realised that the choice of non-alcoholic drinks is still quite limited. CleanGin was born.
Spencer Matthews worked with Mark Gamble and his team at Union Distillers to produce CleanGin. It turned out to be a tough ask. The process is similar to regular gin, using classic copper stills and traditional methods. The challenge is to have the stability and longevity, without the alcohol, and that has been managed with a tiny alcohol content.
There is a really strong argument, that drinking in company can become a series of rounds, with everyone keeping up with the speediest drinker. I once witnessed a barrister, due in court early the next day, stand up to leave the pub, and then sit down again. He was urged to stay and have another drink and then stay a while longer, until very late into the night. Now you can just walk up to the bar and order CleanGin. There will not be any pressure to have ‘a proper drink’ and feel dreadful the following day, because no-one will know. It works for me.
I got to make a cocktail, called Clean Club. It involves mixing gin with lemon juice, honey syrup, orange blossom water, 1 egg white, 4 raspberries and lots of ice. Very precise. Shaking the ice until it crushes turns out to be an epic task, that could be part of a muscle toning programme. Strain, place a raspberry, mint and more ice on top and you have a gorgeous cocktail, without any cloying sweetness. Rum is the next spirit due for the Clean makeover and that is my favourite spirit, so bring it on.
The Club House was the perfect setting: it has a colonial, traditional feel, that speaks of Southern States hospitality, now situated very much in the North. CleanGin is available in large supermarkets, including large Tesco stores. Comes highly recommended.