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London just got its first absinthe distillery

The Green Fairy has arrived when we need it the most

Written by
Laura Richards

Chances are you’re going to need something a little stronger than a Virgin Mojito to get you through this January. If so, this will be music to your ears: London’s ‘first’ absinthe distillery has just started up. 

It comes from the owners of east London’s quirky hangout and mecca to the macabre The Last Tuesday Society. The Hackney bar might be best known for its taxidermy stash and other decorative oddities, but it’s also made many a fan along the way thanks to its bulging collection of absinthe and an impressive list of cocktails on which the anise-flavoured spirit also features. Now, the co-owners are taking their love affair with the Green Fairy to the next level. 

Devil’s Botany is the name of the small-batch distillery based in Leyton, and its co-founders Allison Crawbuck and Rhys Everett are calling it a London first. ‘Devil’s Botany London Absinthe honours the traditions mastered by the historic absinthe distillers of Switzerland’s Val-de-Travers while introducing a new style of absinthe that is quintessentially British,’ says co-founder Crawbuck. She says that visitors to the bar have demonstrated London’s growing love for absinthe, a drink she describes as like ‘a long-lost cousin to gin’.

devil's botany absinthe distillery in hackney
Photograph: Devil’s Botany

The distillery’s very first batch of Devil’s Botany London Absinthe has been crafted using 14 different botanicals, including elderflower and meadowsweet foraged from Hackney and Walthamstow marshes. It comes in at 55 percent ABV – which might seem fairly mild for absinthe, but should suit your muted lockdown levels of bohemian behaviour pretty nicely. It’s also probably not as green as you’d expect; fellow co-founder Everett explains that it’s instead modelled on Swiss ‘bleue’-styled absinthes, giving it what he describes as a ‘colourless purity’.

There are only 750 bottles of the ‘tongue-numbing’ stuff so far, costing £40 a pop. The pair recommend it sampled with ice-cold water, or in an Absinthe Frappé, Highball or Spritz. Hey, if you’re not doing Dry January, maybe it’s worth going in the complete opposite direction this year.

devil's botany absinthe alexander cocktail
Photograph: Devil's Botany

You can find out more and put in an order here, and stay tuned for updates about when the distillery can open for tours and tastings later in the year.       

These London bars are delivering cocktails to your door.  

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