In the 17th century, back when the River Thames used to freeze over during winter and they held Frost Fairs on the ice, gin & gingerbread were served alongside each other - hot gin punch and slabs of sweet gingerbread. What a delicious combo!
I collaborated with Jensen's to give this old London tradition a bit of a modern twist, creating gingerbread recipes to pair with their two signature gins: Bermondsey Dry - a classic, smooth and citrusy London Dry & Old Tom - a deep, earthy gin produced from an 1840s recipe.
I visited their distillery, in a railway arch just south of the river, found out about all the different botanicals that go into their gins, and decided on which ones would work best with each gin.
After some (enjoyable) experimentation I came up with two recipes to perfectly complement each gin: a light, citrusy honey-based lebkuchen to match the Bermondsey Dry, and a stronger flavoured spicy biscuity gingerbread for the Old Tom.
Some of the botanicals I added directly into the gingerbread dough itself - the bitter orange peel, for example. Others I used in the form of a glaze painted on top of the baked biscuits, to subtly add to the final flavour. After testing different combinations, the two winning glazes were one using licorice powder (a surprisingly sweet and earthy flavour) and a juniper berry glaze, which added just a hint of that classic piney gin flavour.
To try the combinations yourself, head down to Jensen's distillery on a Saturday where they'll be on sale alongside Jensen's delicious punch and gin & tonics.