On my recent trip to London I managed to swing an interview (and private gin tasting!) with Joanne Moore, the world’s first female master gin distiller. Joanne is custodian of the Greenall’s gin recipe as well as the creator of Bloom, Berkeley Square and Opihr Gin.
How long have you been a distiller?
Since 2006, our previous Master Distiller retired and so the accolade was awarded to myself to become the 7th Master Distiller since 1761 and their first female gin master distiller – a personal and professional proud moment.
Did you always want to work in distilling?
No not really, I have a degree in Biochemistry and on leaving University I started working in the lab at G&J Greenall as it was known then, that was in 1996. I worked my way up through the ranks and discovered a talent for creating gins so started working alongside our previous head distillers until I became the Master Distiller in 2006.
What is the best thing about your job?
The variety that comes with the role, creating new gin recipes and seeing them being enjoyed around the world by consumers.
What is the most challenging thing about distilling gin?
Nothing comes to mind although each project has its ups and downs, but that’s how we learn and improve. So I don’t see them as challenges really.
How do your choose which botanicals to use?
I choose botanicals that will always complement the key juniper notes in gin, sometimes I’m given a brief, or packaging design/visuals that inspires my thought process, to bring the brand alive. In the case of BLOOM I wanted to create a lighter gin that would encourage non-gin drinkers into the category so I used edible natural flowers and pomelo to create a light floral gin, with Opihr the brief was all about discovery and journey, so I envisaged a spice market with vibrant flavors, colours and aromas.
Who/what inspires you?
I get inspiration from everyday life. Food and drink trends, perfumes and most of all travel with my family .
Your favourite gin cocktail and why?
A French 75 – gin and bubbles what girl couldn’t resist that?
Which are your favourite bars (anywhere in the world)?
I don’t have a favourite to mention but love the theatrics of watching a good bartender create a decent cocktail – one where you can taste the spirit you have chosen to drink.