You probably wouldn't think of heading to an airport for decent booze. But nestling among the lagers is a new pub which opened this week at Gatwick's north terminal and is distilling its own London dry gin.
The Nicholas Culpeper has a still on site (tucked away behind bombproof glass; apparently airport authorities weren't happy at the idea that 80% alcohol might be accessible to the travelling public), producing 12 litres in a batch.
We got a peep behind the locked door at the small still, called Judith after the real Culpeper's doomed fiancée, and jars of botanicals. They use twice the quantity of botanicals than your usual gin, with lemongrass, cardamom and cassia joining the juniper; also see if you can detect hints of cloves, coriander seeds, liquorice and angelica root.
It's £3.95 for an unadulterated single, and £7.50 gets you a decent glug of the on-site gin in one of seven combinations. We went all traditional with a G&T, plus rosemary sprig and chunk of cassia bark. It's subtle, faintly warming and damn refreshing.
You don't need a plane ticket to enjoy it as the pub's before security. Whether it's enough to take a train for is another matter, but we'd definitely recommend making time if you're going on a trip. (The plan is to get the bottles into some other venues that know their gin, or you could always take a bottle away with you for £20.)
Because the still — and therefore each batch — is so small, there's also the possibility of special variants. Sloe gin is already planned for later in the year, and possibly a more cinnamon-y version for Christmas. The recipe has already changed over the weeks the head distiller has been working, to get a better flavour.
If you'd rather drink gin closer to home, try one of London's best bars for drinking gin. You never know, some of them might soon start stocking Nicholas Culpeper London Dry Gin.
Find The Nicholas Culpeper before security on the top floor of the north terminal at Gatwick Airport.