The distillery where Broker’s Gin is made is located near Birmingham, England and is over 200 years old. There had previously been a brewery on the site, but this was converted to a distillery at a time when gin-making became more profitable than beer-making.
The distillery uses only traditional pot stills. Continuous distillation using column stills is more efficient and is used by the major brands, but pot stills are better for extracting maximum flavour from the botanicals in a traditional hand-crafted fashion.
The distillery has a mini-still, which is used for making small batches of gin from different recipes. The recipe for Broker’s Gin is 200 years old and was chosen after taste-testing against several newer recipes. Often the old ones are the best ones.
The copper pot still used for producing Broker’s Gin is named “Constance” and was manufactured by John Dore & Co, long recognised as the finest still-maker in the world.
The base spirit for Broker’s Gin is quadruple-distilled pure grain spirit made from English wheat. The flavour is provided by ten natural botanicals, the primary one of which is juniper berries – as in all gins. The botanicals are steeped – soaked – in the base spirit in the still for 24 hours. This is the first part of the flavour-infusion process. The still is then fired up for the final, fifth distillation, which completes the process.
Dried botanicals are sourced from all over the world and shipped to the distillery in sacks.
The botanicals used in Broker’s Gin and their sources are:
- Juniper berries – Macedonia
- Coriander seed – Bulgaria
- Orris root – Italy
- Nutmeg – India
- Cassia bark – Indonesia
- Cinnamon – Seychelles
- Liquorice – Italy
- Orange peel – Spain
- Lemon peel – Spain
- Angelica root – Poland
The botanicals are added to the still in carefully measured quantities according to the recipe. Some botanicals, eg juniper, require a number of sackloads.
Where quantities smaller than a sackload are required, a small shovel is used.
After the distillation process has been completed, the used botanicals are discarded. Even after distillation, individual botanicals can be identified. The round, purple berries are juniper. The small round, brown seeds are coriander. The large yellow lumps are lemon and orange peel. The stick-like pieces are cassia bark or cinnamon bark. The other botanicals are powders, which are dispersed throughout the mix.