Emma Godivala is the co-founder and a director of the York Gin Company. She holds a Level 3 in Spirits at the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) and is a gin and whisky competition judge. Emma is building on York Gin’s credentials for making a range of world class and award-winning gins and its sustainable policies (‘reaching carbon neutrality and beyond without greenwashing or PR stunts’).
We asked Emma which gins she would take with her on our desert island…
(As I was choosing my gins – I realised that all of them have a unifying factor – all of them are superb neat. I wouldn’t need to worry about finding any mixers on my desert island. Ice on the other hand …)
Gin #1 – Martin Miller’s original
One of my first loves when I started taking gin more seriously. A revelation when I realised it was possible to enjoy gin neat. It’s everything a gin should be – very smooth, carefully balanced, a proper go-to gin.
Gin #2 – Bara Brit’h
This lovely gin from Welsh gin distillers in the Gower is unusual and in a good way. Inspired by one of the founders’ family recipes for Welsh ‘speckled bread’, it’s a really clever example of using distillation to bring out the essence of flavour, while still being a superb gin. Warming and spicy. I did a tasting while on holiday in the Gower and founders Sian and Andrew are just brilliant and inspirational.
Gin #3 – Junimperium Blended Dry Gin
This Estonian gin is very different. Although a gin I’d might not choose every day, there’s something magical about it. Having met the maker, Tarvo, and been on a judging panel with him, I can confirm he knows his junipers! They use a range of different junipers – including one from Estonia and it’s really punchy. A nice touch is that they use juniper wood for their closure – and it smells divine.
Gin #4 – Tanqueray Sevilla Orange
This is a standout supermarket gin. An absolutely great example of its kind, and one that makes me smile whenever I take the first sip. They’ve got the balance just right. It’s definitely orange-y but not overwhelmingly so. As a gin maker, I know how difficult it is to hit that sweet spot – so a massive well done to Tanqueray!
Gin #5 – York Gin London Dry
I’m extraordinarily proud of all our gins – every single one of them is superb. Hats off to our master distiller Harry Cooke whose obsessive attention to detail, inspired imagination and technical expertise have produced the range. But for a go-to ‘breakfast gin’ as we lovingly call it (a gin that’s perfect at any time of day and any occasion) I haven’t found a better gin than York Gin London Dry in the five years we’ve been making it. It doesn’t scream ‘Look at me’ – it just sits there confident that it can rise to any occasion. I love it!
I’m assuming I’m not allowed a still as my luxury to make more spirits, although it would be fun to try and see what grows on this island. So, if I don’t have a still, my luxury would be a tattoo pen. I don’t have any tattoos, but, since no-one would be there to laugh at my attempts, I could learn. I’ve always enjoyed drawing and designing (the York Gin logo is one of mine) and I could possibly note useful things to remember on my skin, as my memory is shocking and I’d have no mobile phone to fall back on.