Madame Jennifer Distillery

Small batch distillery producing unique and exquisite spirits. Based on Hove's popular Poets Corner.
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Madame Jennifer distillery

Madame Jennifer distillery is a quirky small-batch distillery located in Poets Corner, Hove. Founded by Inger Smith and Ian Curtis who originally trained as a biologist and a chemist. The pair were inspired to apply their scientific know-how to the furtherment of gin production during a trip to the oldest distillery in Amsterdam.

Gin of Paradise, a clear bottle of gin with a cork stopper and a white label which reads Gin of Paradise

 

The name Madame Jennifer is something of a double nod, in part as an Anglicisation of Jenever, or Dutch Gin. And also in part to the mock mourning processions for “Madame Geneva” which took place in 1736 when the Gin Act in Great Britain made selling gin prohibitively expensive.

The Gins

The distillery produces three main gins, The Biologist, The Chemist and Gin of Paradise. The first two being references to the previous careers of the Madame Jennifer founders; you get the sense there might be some friendly rivalry between them – who can make the best gin?

A lineup of six spirit bottles from Madame Jenifer's distillery in Hove

The Biologist is flavoured with grapefruit peel vapour, chamomile and gorse flowers combine with juniper and coriander and a hint of cinnamon is ideal for mixing with a light or Mediterranean tonic and garnished with pink grapefruit.

The Chemist is an earthier gin, with natural liquorice root balancing top notes of sweet orange and lemon zest. The Chemist is distilled in a series of batches for a complex warm flavour, ideal for Martinis as well as a great G and T.

Boozy truffle DIY kit, a bottle of spirits some chocolates, chocolate cases and instructions on how to make truffles in a presentation box

Leaving the realm of science for the mythical origins of the Garden of Eden, Gin of Paradise celebrates the distinct spice of the West African Coast, “grains of paradise”. These have a citrusy, peppery flavour, the gin is distilled with sweet almonds for a rich opulent gin. As the strongest of the three gins at 45%, it gets you to paradise that little bit quicker.

Not Just Gin

Madame Jennifer also produces an exceptionally smooth Bubble-Plate Vodka, which has a creamy character and a hint of caramel. Passing through six copper bubble plates, only the purest spirit makes it to the top, making for an exceptional quality premium spirit. Bubble-Plate Vodka makes an excellent Espresso Martini when mixed with their Cold Pressed Coffee Liqueur; made with beans from Sussex speciality small-batch coffee roaster, Craft House Coffee.

A cocktail mixing kit from Madame Jenifer's a bottle of gin and a bottle of vermouth and instructions for mixing a martnini. In the background there aer various flavourings in glass jars and bowls and an old fashioned copper still

For a delicious digestif, try the Madame Jennifer Limoncello. Made with their Copper Plate Vodka they hand-zest organic lemons meaning no bitter pit makes it into the steeping process, which in turn means less sugar is necessary to get the perfect bittersweet balance.

A clear glass bottle with cork stopper containing coffee liquor

They also produce an Amaro (meaning ‘bitter”), which is a family of spirits harking from Italy. Familiar Amaro brands include Aperol and Campari and are an ingredient in many cocktails such as negronis. Madame Jennifer’s Amaro is made with 14 botanicals and is less sweet than many mainstream brands, making a fascinating botanical mix for the home mixologist.

 

Madame Jennifer also produces seasonal spirits, such as sloe gin and a special Christmas gin.

The Distillery.

The Madame Jennifer distillery has two stills. A 50 litre still which has a glass column filled with six copper bubble plates used to make their Bubble-Plate Vodka. The second, a 100 litre still includes a gin basket which allows vapour distillation where alcohol vapour passes through botanicals to gently extract flavours from the more delicate ingredients.

To the left a man in a plaid shirt, he has a thick beard and handlebar moustache, to the right there is a strawberry blond haired woman in a mauve jumper. They are holding a brown dog between them, in the background there are lots of pipes

The Madame Jenifer distillery produces less than 100 bottles in each batch, ensuring excellent quality control at all times. Every bottle is hand-labelled and numbered making each one unique, perfect as a gift, or as something special for yourself.

Tasting tours of the Hove distillery are available and can be booked online. All spirits, kits and gift sets can be ordered through their website with UK wide free delivery of over £25.  Local deliveries are undertaken with zero emissions by Zedify electric bikes.

Reviews

  1. Michael Pickin

    Now that we are able to get out and meet up with friends, it was great to make a visit to a very local distillery. Just a block away from where I live, the hosts owners of this little distillery welcomed us all with a gin and tonic made from their popular Botanist gin. Having sampled the different variants of Madame Jennifer gin from local retailer Quaff, it was nice to them taste beat botanist, Chemist (my favourite) and gin of paradise! There were also samples of an oak aged gin, a very nice coffee liqueur! Vodka was also on the list of samples along with a version of a Campari! Great to see some local business doing well and great to visit and sample the products (and buy a few bottles at a discount!)

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