Gin-gin; cheers to the Sheffield ‘mothers’ ruin’

John Cherry, who is creating Sheffield's very own gin, Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin

John Cherry, who is creating Sheffield's very own gin, Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin

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Gin ruined fathers as well as mothers in its 18th century heyday.

Gin ruined fathers as well as mothers in its 18th century heyday.

Cheaper and easy to make, it caused a gin epidemic among the poor and Gin Laws had to be brought in to curb production.

It never hit the same popularity again, in recent decades being considered an old-fashioned tipple favoured by the elderly.

But the gin trade is fizzing again thanks to our penchant for quality niche food and drink products.

Aromatic new variations are being made at micro-distilleries across Britain. Consequently last year, the artisan gin market soared by 145 per cent in 12 months.

Sheffielder John Cherry is having a slice of that – with ice. From his home in Fulwood he’s created his own. Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin will hit the shelves of niche local retailers and gastro pubs on June 20 at around £30 for 70cl.

He said: “I have loved gin since I was 20 and am delighted there has been a resurgence. Hopefully I’ll be on that wave.”

John has worked in the beverage industry for 16 years, half of it in France in hospitality management with the Oriental Express group, the rest in New York running liquor stores in Manhattan after marrying an American.

He and wife Cynthia planned out how to set up a gin business six months before relocating to Sheffield with their daughter and have a business partner in New York.

John’s gin is “a cross between an astringent London Dry and the lesser-known, sweeter Old Tom gin. “It is soft, rounded and makes a mean G&T,” said John, 45.

“The alcohol is made from wheat and the recipe is a blend of juniper, coriander, cassia bark, angelica root, pink grapefruit, liquorice root, elderflower and dandelion.

“It took a while to get the recipe right, much to the delight of my willing testers, who included my wife and my mum and dad. I made at least 100 in three-litre batches. The one I’m releasing is number 61.”

Named after John’s childhood fascination with South Yorkshire’s many references to Robin Hood, the gin is being distilled in London but he hopes to move production to Sheffield. “We need to be near a water source so Loxley, Rivelin and the Sheaf are possibilities,” he said.

Stockists will include Thornbridge pubs, The York and the Forum bars, the Dram Shop Walkley, Stanmore Boss on Sharrow Vale Road, Mr Pickles Yorkshire Emporium on Abbeydale Road and John Mitchell wines at Meadowhead.

John, who will be organising local tasting events later this month, has big plans though; he hopes to extend sales across the UK and to the USA.