There’s something special hitting Manchester and I was one of the few lucky ones to be invited to the launch event on Thursday 28th July.
Set, hidden in the old archways in the Green Quarter is a blue door, with a subtle sign denoting the newly landed distillery. Behind this door is what’s special, a true hidden gem – the first of it’s kind in many senses.
The City of Manchester Distillery is the first modern day distillery within the city centre. Manchester Three Rivers Gin is the first small craft batch gin to be made within the fair city. From 18th August will also be Manchester’s first fully immersive gin experience: a gin school. All of this is the brains and labour of love from Master Distiller Dave Rigby.
The roots of the gin are in the industrial heart of the city with the website proclaiming
BEFORE THE COTTON, THE COAL AND THE CANALS, THERE WERE THREE RIVERS…
The development of the city from three rivers to an industrial powerhouse is reflected in all facets of the gin – from the branding featuring nods to the mill industry and worker bee to the dark wooden clad walls and steel shelved interior. Even the flavours and botanicals used are a linked back to the city. I’m under strict instruction there are 11 key botanicals, offering a flavour profile unique to any other gin I’ve ever tried (and there’s been many!) Subtle perfume on the nose, followed by a mid-palate pleasure through the use of vanilla, almonds and cinnamon. The use of oats creates a ridiculously smooth and luxurious mouth-feel. The final lingering notes are that of cardamon and black pepper. Delicious, moreish and easily quaffable.
Not only does the taste make it stand out from the crowd, so does its signature serve. With the gin revolution being so strong right now, most gins are being offered with their own unique garnish and MTR is one that’s doing just that. Instead of limes, juniper berries or oranges which have all been over done, Three Rivers’ recommended serve is cherries. Elegantly teetering on top of the perfectly served G&T. Truly exquisite.
Even if you’re not a big “ginthusiast”, it’s worth popping down just to have a look round inside. Upstairs is a beautiful handbuilt bar, showcasing not only Three Rivers Gin but other hidden gems for cocktails. Whilst this isn’t open to the public for just drinks, it does feature heavily in the gin school side of the business allowing guests to try different serves of the gin. As well as the bar, there is a distilling area using old chemistry lab style benches and the shiniest of mini copper stills, behind which are shelves of more botanicals you can think of to create your very own personalised bottle.
If that wasn’t all impressive enough, all of the above has been squeezed into a mezzanine, overlooking the main event. Downstairs is the actual ‘factory’ where the Three Rivers magic happens. Sights, sounds, smells wafting up filling the air and your senses. Truly impressive. Overlooking the balcony you are greeted by the big sister to the gin school stills. A big copper Arnold Holstein, the best of the best when it comes to stills. Aptly, she’s named Angel after the nearby Angel Meadows which played a significant role in Manchester’s dark industrial history.
The night was a delightful intimate friends and family event and I am absolutely honoured to have been invited as a guest. The passion behind the product is evident and I am so excited to see it grow and develop. Watch out for a bottle of the good stuff in a bar near you – I promise you won’t be disappointed
Manchester Three Rivers Gin is currently being stocked at Hanging Ditch for a mere £40 a bottle
Part 2 will follow soon…