Hipster is as hipster does

A group of hipster gin makers came close to creating chaos after they accidentally made mustard gas while trying to concoct a new flavour.
Workers from Sipsmith distillery, in Chiswick, west London, were attempting to create a mustard-flavoured drink but instead made the dangerous chemical agent, famous for its devastating use in World War One.

38 thoughts on “Hipster is as hipster does”

  1. I don’t believe a word of this.

    Firstly there is very little connection between the basic mustard flavouring [allyl isothiocyanate] and mustard gas [bis(2-chloroethyl) sulfide]. Secondly the synthesis of mustard gas requires some fairly special reagents, not the sorts of things you would have lying around in a distillery.

    I see that the Mail says “What the guys actually produced was in effect mustard gas”, with “in effect” presumably being longhand for “not”.

  2. Is this stuff actually any good?

    My rule of thumb with booze: if you stick anything in it, buy the cheap(ish) stuff. You don’t do scotch and ginger with Tobermory, you use Tesco’s own scotch. My feeling with gin: you’re going to be sticking a load of tonic and a twist of lime in there. Whatever subtle flavours it has are going to get ruined.

  3. Don’t look like hipsters to me in the photos. I thought hipsters were all dirty beards and tattoo sleeves?

  4. “Whatever subtle flavours it has are going to get ruined”

    The problem with London gin is that you need to ruin its “subtle flavours” to actually get it down your neck. Unless you are a tramp.

    Now, Dutch gin (Jenever) on the other hand is the nectar of the gods by comparison. And goes extremely well with tonic (rather than requiring the addition of tonic to be drinkable).

  5. Stigler: My rule too, though for a time my Scotch for mixing ginger wine was Famous Grouse. I found a 2 litre bottle of it in a Spanish supermarket near the French border at a very advantageous price. They also had a 4-litre bottle but that was a bit unwieldy!

    Having used both Bombay Sapphire & Sainsbury’s gin in G&Ts I really can’t tell the difference. I’ll have to try the Jenever again – it’s decades since I last drank that.

  6. abacab,

    “Now, Dutch gin (Jenever) on the other hand is the nectar of the gods by comparison. And goes extremely well with tonic (rather than requiring the addition of tonic to be drinkable).”

    They sell something with the same name at Belgo in London, but they were flavoured, and I’d guess more like port or sherry strength.

    I’m not a huge drinker, but I’m curious to try new types of booze. Any suggestions on where to get it or which ones are worth a try?

  7. 123 is right. I am always surprised by people who smother (say)Hendrick’s in cheap supermarket tonic water.

  8. Jenevers are 37-40% typically. Bols is a big name, but anything in an earthenware flask is usually pretty drinkable. Typically it’s put in the freezer and drunk neat.

  9. The Stigler : http://www.ruttespirits.com/products/jenever-intro
    In english for your convenience. Only true in-town family still left in existence in the country, found in this here my current hometown with the original storefront..
    They mature in old sherry casks, the 12 is … close to perfection..

    Jonathan Jones: Distilling allyl isothiocyanate has its own risks in and of itself.. look at the end group, that’s a disaster waiting to happen, depending on what else they were doing to it…

    Even without monkeying around.. The stuff isn’t really soluble in water… Now imagine them diluting a substantial amount of the alcohol stock with water, reducing the solubility and releasing the stuff as vapour…

    May not be mustard gas, but most definitely a decent tear gas.. 😉

  10. Grikath,

    As you say allyl isothiocyanate is fairly nasty stuff; it’s both a lachrymator and a vesicant. My suspicion is that they ended up releasing a cloud of vapour from poorly set up distillation kit (it boils at about 150C).

    It’s sometimes called “mustard oil” which could easily be confused with “mustard gas” by somebody who was too busy crying and choking to worry about niceties of nomenclature.

  11. Not a single stupid beard among them, can’t be hipsters.

    At least they aren’t wearing Christmas junipers.

    I’ll get my coat.

  12. Bombay Sapphire is none too shabby as either a stand-alone beverage or with tonic, although having worked in the Netherlands for some years I also developed a taste for Genever. Someone was kind enough to buy me a bottle of single barrel triple distilled for Christmas.

  13. Bombay Sapphire is a little too medicinal in flavour for me. I prefer Hendrick’s or perhaps Tanqueray; and Adnam’s of Southwold do two decent gins – the cheaper one being more flavoursome.

  14. Yes, the Adnams gin is great. I have just found a bottle of it which I didn’t recall having. Pity I am doing Dry January…

  15. Philip Scott Thomas

    I thought hipsters were all dirty beards and tattoo sleeves?

    No. Lumbersexuals do not have dirty beards. And Pajamas Boy, sans both beard and sleeves, is the most famous hipster of all, the prototype, even.

  16. I like Tanqueray. I came across it when it was recommended by a Russian in Nigeria who used to drink a bottle of gin per day. Not tried Hendricks, but I’ve seen it on the shelves so may do soon. I didn’t know about the different quality of tonic water, save for the fact that the local stuff produced in Nigeria and used when the Schweppes wasn’t available was rank.

  17. Bloke in Costa Rica

    When I still drank, Tanqueray with ordinary Schweppes and a wedge of lemon was fine by me. For a Martini, Tanqueray No. Ten was as good as it needed to get. Never very fond of Bombay Sapphire: too aromatic. I didn’t want to get all precious about it. Perhaps it’s you lot that are the hipsters, ever think about that, eh?

  18. Don’t get the anti Hipster prejudice.This lot and most others seem like private sector grafters which this blog is dedicated to
    finding excuses for

  19. Heathens. I mix Port Ellen with soda, lime, Curacao, tonka bean extract, Baileys, and coal tar soap.

    Only way to get the stuff down your bloody neck.

  20. Always the peasant, it’s home made sloe gin and damson gin for me, thanks. Several years’ worth maturing in the garage. Yum; bugger the tonic. Sloe brandy is working out an absolute treat, too.

    This year’s mini-project will be blackcurrant gin after being introduced to it in Germany just before New Year. Translating “Johannesbeeren Jenever” necessitated a trip to Google – jenever I could manage, but “johannesbeeren” was (were?) far less certain.

  21. There are some great British hipster/premium gins around as well as Sipsmith, The Botanist, Cotswold, Plymouth, Martin Millers etc etc. Decent tonic and a light hand with the citrus required.

    Having said that export strength Gordons straight from the freezer 50/50 with schweppes tonic is a good (if slightly sweet) alternative.

  22. I’m suspicious of any liquor that needs a freezer to render it potable. My only real experience was in Madrid with Galician Orujo (the real ‘unexcised’ stuff poured from unlabelled old sherry bottles kept in the freezer). At any temperature above -4C it tasted disgusting, below that it merely tasted cold and was drinkable, but best in flaming cocktails (Queimada).

  23. I’ve got a nearly empty bottle of Bombay Sapphire and an unopened bottle of Tanqueray in my beer fridge at the moment…

    I’m fairly gin-agnostic but the tonic has to be Schweppes !

  24. Thanks Dr Jones and grikanth, now I know why putting mustard seeds in a frying pan brings tears to my eyes.

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