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Christmas Pudding Gin


Sacred Spirits Company Ltd., Highgate, London (found about 100 yards from the top of Highgate Hill, the highest point in London), England, UK.


Sacred Spirits


Running up to 2008, with the financial and economic down turn at that time, former Derivatives trader turned city headhunter Ian Hart found himself at a loose at the end. He tried his hand at a hand full of ideas before looking to improve wine from poor vintages using cold distillation techniques with a vacuum still. Whilst this method of wine improvement was successful he realized it wouldn’t unfortunately be viable as a commercial project. So, armed with this new equipment to “play with”, and being a keen Gin drinker, he turned to making this spirit. After much trial and error, not to mention ample amounts of creative ingenuity and knowledge gained from his Cambridge degree in Natural Sciences, in 2009 he started his own micro distillery.

Joined by his life partner and co-founder Hilary Whitney, this is not your usual distillery. Operated from their residential home there are no traditional copper pot stills, instead it looks like a small chemistry lab in a family room looking over the backyard. With the garage and children’s playhouse providing storage facilities, an informal tasting group helping them agree upon their 23rd recipe (loosely based on one from 1660), their original Sacred Gin was launched in May 2009.

This flavored Gin, using real Christmas Pudding, was launched in late 2012.


The base spirit is made with triple distilled English wheat grain spirit bought in from the Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers. Using a recipe from his Great Aunt Nellie, Ian Hart makes an 8kg (17.5 lbs) Christmas Pudding, which is steamed for 8 hours. Once cooled it is finely chopped and infused with either their original Sacred Gin or Juniper Distillate (we’re not sure which) for 2 - 3 months. This is then hot distilled, rather than vacuum distilled like their other Gins, before being rehydrated with water to produce the final clear Christmas Pudding flavored Gin.

The Gin is presented in a tall clear cylindrical bottle with rounded shoulders and a medium length neck. The label has evolved through several changes and the most recent was implemented in November 2011 by brand design consultancy Elmwood. In general the labels are colored purple with Gold foil and the lettering “Sacred” and “Christmas Pudding” written on it, plus an image of a crown. The new design is dominated with individually styled iron gates based on the famous Highgate Cemetery gates. Key aspects of the design include: Hearts lining the top of the crown referring to co-founder Ian surname; Serpents abound as these are said to guard the Frankincense tree (one of the botanicals); Ink pen nibs form the hinges of the gates as a nod to the many literary greats buried at Highgate Cemetery and the journalistic career of co-founder Hilary; the subtle images of birds are discreetly placed representing the Nightingales found throughout the Highgate woodland; and we also like the use of the laboratory style glassware images scattered around too.


Flavored Gin – Christmas Pudding.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$ - $$$$$$. Not available in the USA and is a seasonally produced offering, unsurprisingly for Christmas! Try online direct from Sacred Spirits or Master of Malt. Both of these are UK based so be prepared for additional shipping costs.


Botanicals used are unknown, except for the juniper berries.


Named after the Boswellia sacra tree (also known as Hougary Frankincense), one of the 12 botanicals used in the original Sacred Gin, and the key flavoring for this Gin.

Tasting Notes

On the nose are dried fruit, sweet spices and citrus peel (Christmas Pudding) plus juniper. On the smooth palate is a candy-styled fruitcake (Christmas Pudding) flavor. On the slightly bitter close are dried fruit, juniper, citrus (orange) and mixed spices with a long creamy finish.

This is a clear novelty flavored Gin and certainly one for the festive season, appealing to Gin and Christmas fruitcake fans alike. Not really for sipping neat at room temperature as this is a degree of burnt fruit in the taste and it doesn’t feel particularly well balanced. However, Sacred Spirits recommend trying it neat from the freezer. We can confirm this does improve the flavor enough to remove the “burnt” taste and flesh out the fruit, creating a nicer, balanced result – this is certainly the way to drink it neat. In a Gin and Tonic it provides a refreshingly sweet alternative to the norm but once more the burnt fruit flavor materializes. Sacred Spirits come to the rescue again by recommending a “wetter” version, using 3 parts tonic to 1 part Gin. This has a much better effect with the sweetness subdued and the burnt fruit removed, leaving a more typical bitterness but with an unusually nice Christmas Pudding flavor. In a Martini no modification is required to the standard recipe, providing a rich Christmas fruitcake and suitably festive flavor to enjoy.

Whilst this is a novelty flavoured Gin, best used in the festive season and requiring some modifications, we can certainly recommend it. Sacred Spirits continue to “tweak” the nose of interest with another Gin of interest and enjoyment. Drink it from frozen or in a Martini with friends, under the mistletoe with loved ones or just spreading the Christmas spirit – this won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

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