'Illicit' gin distillery dating back centuries opens in Palmers Green

By Clare Casey in Local People

FOUR huge copper and stainless steel gin stills line the brick wall of the Old Bakery Gin, a tiny distillery in Palmers Green.

But four months ago, this was nothing, just a derelict building in a row of former garages.

The transformation happened when plumber, Ian Puddick, 47, stumbled upon an illicit gin distillery dating back more than a century.

He found empty bottles of ’mother’s ruin’ when he bought the disused bakery next door to use as his office a couple of years’ ago and then unveiled a secret - that 120 years ago his office was famous for selling home made - and at the time, illegal - gin.

Intrigued by the find, he tracked down an ancient relative of the early owner and even found the ingredients – but not the amounts used - for the secret recipe, that dates back to the early 18th century.

Mr Puddick who luckily likes the spirit, began months of research on how to make the perfect gin and Old Bakery Gin was born.

He said: "There’s been a lot of trial and error, and a lot of late night tasting!

"But I think we’ve got it right now."

Old Bakery Gin is made using only 4 ’botanicals’, hand cracked juniper berries, blended with freshly cut lemon and lime peels and one other - presumably he’d have to kill anyone he told.

Mr Puddick, who also runs the London Boiler Company in Pymmes Mews, Palmers Green, said:

“I bought this place a few years ago to use as our offices and had to remove a huge unsafe chimney, during all that and searching through old legal documents and paperwork I discovered that the original bakery had a secret, they made and sold large quantities of illicit gin in two stills in the old Grain Store next door.

“I tracked down the recipe and first of all got a wholesale license to sell to restaurants, pubs and clubs, then as of last night (Friday) - which I’m over the moon about - got a premises licence which means I can sell to the public.

"People will be able to come here label their own bottle and then give it a seal wax before taking it home.

“It’s amazing it’s only taken 100 years for it to become legal, but what a history.”

Harrods, Fortnum and Mason and Selfridges share his passion and have all recently agreed to sell it.

The original faded ghost wall sign for the bakery has been fully restored and is now the back drop for the gin label, along with a photo of his dad, Ron Puddick, 80.

Although he’s in no rush to leave plumbing he’s been surprised by how it’s taken over.

He added: "We sell bottles at Alexandra Palace Farmer’s Market, that’s fun, and now the distillery is up and running we’ve got a lot of gin to make and bottles to fill, but as for what’ll happen next I don’t know, we’ll just wait and see.

"I’ve just become a father for the first time three weeks ago, so he’s keeping me pretty busy as well!"

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