Martin Miller is the proprietor of Miller’s Residence in Notting Hill and is the inventor of his namesake Martin Miller’s Gin. As the trailblazer of the Gin Renaissance, Martin Miller set out to save premium gins.
Martin Miller’s Gin has taken home two out of three possible gold medals in the blind-tasting 10th Anniversary Strength gins by the International Spirits Challenge.
What sparked your passion for gin?
“My parents always said I was conceived on gin, so I guess you could say from the earliest possible days. But I did have one of those ‘moments’ back in 1998 which led me to the development of Martin Miller’s Gin. I had been a gin drinker most of my life, but that particular day I was drinking what, in those days, passed for Gin and Tonic served in a typical London pub. Typical, as in a warm, not so clean glass with a single, small ice cube grudgingly handed over by the landlord of what seemed to be the ‘ice safe’. Add to that some sickly tonic from the beverage gun and a small measure of compounded gin at 75 proof. Ah yes, I nearly forgot the garnish – a single slice of preserved lemon. Disgusting but typical at the time. To me, the whole sorry mess typified the depths to which gin had sunk, and with it gin drinkers. Then and there I resolved to create a revolution in the Gin World, so I suppose that’s when the ‘passion’ was ignited!”
“It’s not so much what I wish people knew about gin but what I wish they would forget. If I hear one more person tell me that gin is a depressant, or see another historical account of gin that starts with all the old tosh about gin lane and bath tubs, I’ll go crazy. It is totally ridiculous and patently untrue. For starters, the style of gin we drink today bears as much resemblance to the gin from Hogarth’s days as the horse and cart does to a Boeing 737. As to it being a depressant, that too is nonsense. I can tell you that if you drink any spirit to the point where a hangover results, then a) that’s pretty stupid, and b) the hangover is identical whether its gin or vodka filtered by virgins through diamonds!”
What’s your favorite cocktail using gin?
”That’s simple – Gin and Tonic. Generally underrated and not considered by many a cocktail, I can tell you a really good G&T, perfectly poured and presented, with Martin Miller’s Gin and a really good tonic such as Q or Fever Tree, is tough to beat.”
What’s your favorite way to drink gin? Describe your ideal ‘gin moment.’
“You’ll see from my previous answer that I like to take my gin ‘long.’ In addition to gin and tonic, I love gin as a substitute for vodka or rum in Bloody Mary’s and Mojitos. My ideal gin moment happens in my newly opened art gallery in the basement area of my new hotel, Great Brampton House. The gallery has inspired me to return to my earlier roots and start an exhibition of my own work. In fact, the show is running through to the end of July. Nothing better than standing back with a G &T in hand at the end of a long day setting up an installation.”
”I get a real kick when I travel the world and see how often my gin pops up in strange and exotic places. It never ceases to amaze me how people in the ‘know’, whether sommeliers, mixologists or just plain old Joe Public, manage to find Martin Miller’s. The breadth of its fan base is now huge. I’m pretty confident in saying Martin Miller’s Gin has the best worldwide distribution of any new-style super premium gins. I’d love to see that fan base grow without compromising quality in any way.”
What do you wish people knew about gin?
”Gin is the original party spirit. It was cool when ‘cool’ really meant something. And it comes down to its versatility and mixability. Look at any cocktail book from the golden age of cocktails, or from the forties and fifties, and you’ll see that gin predominates. Gin is the spirit for a confident era. It’s a spirit that makes a statement, it lets you know it’s there. It doesn’t hide like vodka.”
What does “luxury” mean to you?
”Integrity and Authenticity. I am deeply suspicious of so many ‘luxury brands’ today that are no more than cynical marketing exercises. Invented personalities and fictional heritage are rife in our industry. My advice? Judge luxury by what’s in the bottle, consume the spirit not the advertising or the packaging.”
— INTERVIEWED BY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ANGELA TUNNER
For more information on Martin and his fabulous gin, visit www.martinmillersgin.com
Editor’s Note: We had the privilege of interviewing him the year before he passed away. Martin Miller, born November 24 1946, died December 24 2013