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Sacred Tate 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 special edition Gin is a collaboration formed between Sacred Spirits and the famous Tate art galleries (Tate Britain and Tate Modern), found on London’s South Bank. Launched in summer 2013, sales of the Gin go towards supporting the Tate.


Ian Hart from Sacred Spirits worked with cocktail maestro Alex Stevenson (from Tate Catering, part of Tate Enterprises, the commercial support arm of the Tate galleries) to produce this exclusive London Dry Gin. Made in small batches of 250 bottles, each is individually numbered.

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 “Tate” 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.


London Dry Gin.

Alcohol By Volume (ABV)

40% (80 Proof).

Price Range

$$$$$ - $$$$$$. Not available in the USA and is only available at the Tate Gallery Restaurant & Bar in London – enjoy the unparalleled view of St. Pauls Cathedral, just across the River Thames. During the summer months (Thursday to Saturday evenings) it can also be found at “The botanical Bar”, a sustainable out door pop up creation, designed and built using 3-D printing by Something & Son and inspired by baroque and Art Nouveau architectural styles. The Bar is located at “Skirt of the Black Mouth” (a space designed by artist duo Heather and Ivan Morison, at the southern rear side of the Gallery) Pocket Park, Tate Modern, Sumner Street, London SE1 9TG.


Using up to 12 botanicals, it includes: angelica, cardamom, frankincense, juniper berries, liquorice and star anise.


Named after the Boswellia sacra tree (also known as Hougary Frankincense), one of the 12 botanicals used in this Gin (and the original Sacred Gin). The “Tate” part of the name clearly refers to the art gallery.

Tasting Notes

Unfortunately we have yet to try this Gin and can’t wait for the next trip to London and a visit to the Tate. As far as we are aware this is a spiced Gin with strong notes of cardamom, angelica and liquorice.

We understand it has been designed with a Gin and Tonic in mind and the Tate have made their own masterpieces in the form of two bespoke cocktails using this Gin. The first, served by the Tate Restaurant, is called “Delectable Pandemonium” and is made with Sacred Tate Gin, Strega (an Italian herbal liqueur), dill, cucumber, melon and apple juice. The second, served by The Botanical Bar, is called the “Gin Skirt” and also uses Sacred Tate Gin and Strega plus elderflower, lemon juice and passion fruit.

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