What epitomises Christmas in London for you?
The array of Christmas lights and carol services – there is a really lovely one in Temple Church, a stone’s throw from the distillery. All the festive hot drinks, such as mulled sloe gin, on a crisp winter’s evening in the buzz of London town, while everyone is doing the last of their Christmas shopping.
What’s your earliest Christmas memory and why does it stick in your mind?
It has to be waiting for Father Christmas to come down the chimney with a bag full of goodies.
What smells and tastes do you associate with the festive season?
Definitely mince pies, sloe gin, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine cones and dried fruits. We recreate the same smells in the distillery as we use half of these ingredients either in our gin or in our cocktails over the bar.
Do you prefer Christmas pudding, Christmas cake or a chocolate Yule log?
I’m the biggest chocoholic ever, so Yule log all year long.
What’s on your Christmas list to receive from The Royal Exchange?
I am very lucky as I receive a Fortnum & Mason hamper from my Granny ever year, which I cherish. I also wouldn’t be seen anywhere without my Mulberry handbag – it’s permanently attached to my side.
What’s your Christmas gift-wrapping style?
We wrap all the bottles in our distillery shop with lots of love and care. We’ve had many a debate on the best ways to wrap – and now the whole distillery team are wrapping experts, with next-level neatness!
Do you have any special, unique or unconventional Christmas traditions?
I am very traditional at Christmas, from the village Nativity to carols on Christmas morning, champagne and smoked salmon and, of course, a variety of gin tasters throughout the day.
Do you own a Christmas jumper?
Absolutely, I have to stop myself wearing it in July! I love Christmas.
What’s your favourite Christmas film?
Will Ferrell’s Elf is unbeatable!
Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas is You – a true classic.
What signifies the start of the festive season for you?
The turning on of the Christmas lights in London; we always see a real pick-up in the bar, with lots of Christmas parties and people treating themselves to distillery tours and tastings.
What do you think is the best way to help others at Christmastime?
Listening. There are people who can benefit from our help in many different places, from homeless charities to soup kitchens, yet there are also people in our daily lives who just need a friendly ear. It helps to listen.
The only gin distillery in London’s Square Mile, City of London Distillery offers a wide selection of gins, including its own premium range of City of London gins, distilled on site. The distillery also offers tours, tastings and Gin Lab experiences, where gin lovers can create their own personalised masterpieces to take away; cityoflondondistillery.com