Gin and Pinapple

By Jo Phillips

If you have ever been to Covent Garden in London you may well have noticed a plethora of Pinaples dotted around the street. In the 17th century Covent Garden became London’s most important fruit and vegetable market and at this time pineapples were a popular symbol of prosperity; you had to be wealthy to have them, and the fruits were often used as exotic table decorations. The pineapple was adopted as the symbol of this WC2 area when it turned into an upscale shopping area in the 1980’s.

Pineapples are still considered by many of us as an exotic fruit, one reminiscent of holidays and summer cocktails. But they have an interesting history and provenance. A little fact you may not know about this delicious fruit is that it is actually not a fruit but a biennial or perennial herb, meaning the plant can live for two years or longer. A pineapple plant will only produce one pineapple each growing season and is actually a collection of small, individual fruits fused together.

It became globally simply because of Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus who landed in the new world in 1493, so the Spaniards named the fruit “piña” due to its resemblance to a pinecone. Columbus brought the pineapple with him back to Spain, where the fruit became very popular with Queen Isabella. The fruit was then grown across Europe in greenhouses and it was we Brits, that added the word “apple” to the end of piña, to associate this new fruit with other delicious fruits. Another strange little fact for you, Caribbean males would run barefoot through pineapple plantings as a rite of manhood.

And Gin? well this first arrived on our shores from Holland where it was created, even though most of us think of it as very British alcohol it is not. In fact, the term Dutch Courage comes from Dutch sailors giving it to British soldiers to have less fear when fighting.

We did however have a big effect on the world of gin. London dry gin a term so often heard that refers to the way Gin was created in Blighty as opposed to abroad. A new type of distillation process; gin that is infused with botanical flavour through re-distillation and it is this that marks out how certain gins taste and why they may well have that name. But do know it doesn’t need to actually be made in London.

Now talking of Gins not made in London meet Bullards. Initially founded in Norfolk in 1837 by Richard Bullard it was known for its ales as well as some spirits. Spanning six generations, the brand went through a redesign in 2018. Bullards launched its beautiful packaging and modern branding with the ‘Tipsy Anchor’ taking centre stage for their set of British niche gins.

The unique bottle shape is a nod to the iconic landmark chimney that stood proud over Norwich for over 100 years. Over the years the company has picked up a slew of awards including the World’s Best London Dry Gin and Distillery Of The Year in 2017 as well as six Global Gin Guide Awards

Their current collection includes

Bullards London Dry, was Awarded World’s Best London Dry Gin in 2017, think smooth vanilla marzipan facets. Here find a dry juniper core with a gently spiced sweetness. Hints of cinnamon and cardamom linger throughout, while the light, sweet spice of tonka bean softens the gin. Flavours of subtly dry marmalade and vanilla leave a lasting finish.

Bullard’s Coastal Gin, think bright citrus alongside soft salty herbal notes. Inspired by the Norfolk coastline, with a delicate, salty influence complemented by bright citrus flavours. Refreshing hand foraged sea purslane, marsh samphire, sea aster and the rich woodiness of Douglas fir dance on your palate and bring a sense of the seaside.

Bullard’s Strawberry and Black Pepper a warm yet refreshing take on a fruit-infused gin. The sweet aroma of fresh strawberries emanates from the glass, contrasting with the initial warming black pepper and juniper spice when sipped. The flavour evolves into delicate sweet notes of light strawberry and lemon on the finish.

Bullard’s Old Tom a sweet warm gin, with honey and mango flavours that lead to notes of pink pepper, black pepper and cassia adding a warming spice. On top find fresh grapefruit peel lends the gin a subtle dryness while the honey and vanilla give a sweet finish.

Now in celebration of opening a first permanent store in Covent Garden, London, the team bring us its newest elixir

Bullard’s Pineapple, Ginger & Lime Gin

Bright and refreshing, sweet yet spiced the Pineapple, Ginger & Lime Gin does what all the Bullards gins do, it twists things up a bit giving not sweet alco-pop type spirits but grown-up subtle yet clever facets to bring our taste buds a refreshing take on gin as a drink.

This daring little number almost hints at its tropical roots with an almost run type sensation, making it decadent harmony of flavours. First, think of succulent juicy roasted pineapple then add a little feisty ginger warmth and bright lime leaf, and you have a lightly spiced sweet with a good kick of juniper gin brightness.

As with all the Bullards gins, the abundant use of botanicals adds the nuanced facets here find Juniper, Coriander, Pineapple, Lime Leaf, Ginger Root, Pink Peppercorns, and Angelica Root.

All of these gins sip beautifully on their own or pair perfectly with good tonic but can be set with mixers the brand choice being a small company run by two dutch sisters called Double Dutch. Drinks such as cucumber and watermelon or pomegranate and basil. Or if you want to be super elegant why not use the Bullards own English Sparkling Rosé with a shot of the Strawberry and Black Pepper for a refreshing summer drink.

The brand also has some amazing cocktail suggestions to enjoy if you are not one to slowly sip the essence on its own. For example, their take on a collins

50ml Bullards Pineapple, Ginger & Lime Gin, 25ml Pineapple syrup (optional if you want more sweetness), 25ml Lime Juice, 50-100ml Double Dutch tonic, Ice & Pineapple slices

Fill a tall glass with ice to chill. Add the pineapple slices to a cocktail shaker along with our Bullards Pineapple, Ginger & Lime gin and pineapple syrup.  Muddle together.

Add a scoop of ice and shake. Pour into the ice-filled glass. Top with tonic (add more the longer drink you would like)

As gin becomes more and more fashionable as a drink once again in the UK being careful to buy a quality crafted gin is of the utmost importance. Bullards also have another added bonus that is a great initiative started during lock-down. The brand offers refills so buy the bottle for life and then add Eco-Refill Pouches that can be posted through your door.

Helping to reduce the carbon footprint simply pop the empty pouch (no envelope or stamp required) in the post box and it will be returned to the distillery. The brand recycles with TerraCycle® via their Zero Waste Box™ solution. Finally, these Eco-Refill Pouches are sorted, turned into plastic granules and transformed into new products.

Distinctly different, these artisan, delicious and nuanced gins will truly tickle your taste buds.

The new 70cl pineapple gin is exclusively available to purchase on the Bullard’s website, and in their Norwich and Covent Garden 

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