Along with his sister Emma, Alex Watson founded Renais Gin, a new grape-based gin inspired by the siblings’ memories in Chablis. Early in his career, Alex completed a graduate scheme in hospitality management following his bachelor’s degree course at the University of Bristol before moving to Diageo. Alex knew that he was destined for his own path in the world of drinks. Renais released only a couple of months ago and has already took the world of gin by storm.
Here, Alex selects the five drinks he would take with him on our desert island…
Tanqueray No. 10
I remember drinking this and thinking “oh wow its incredible.” Just the balance of the citrus flavours and the grapefruit. I fell in love with it. It also happened when I was working in bar marketing, and I was doing a project with them. It has a lot of sentimental personal value to me. It’s amazing.
Another one of the big boys, but I’m a big fan of Roku. It’s from a personal experience. My job at Diageo was building brand activation. I tasted the London Dry a while ago…and, at the tasting session, there was a great Dojo and…a seven course tasting menu. There were lessons in philosophy and spirits. I came away from it really feeling like I had learned something and became a lifelong fan of the brand.
Domaine Watson Chablis
I’m going to choose my dad’s wine. It’s in for quite personal reasons, but [it’s] a source of inspiration for me. It touches on all of the things I love most about drinks, which is passion and creativity and the culture that drink can embody. It’s a lovely liquid. I also think about everything it opened up for me in terms of a career in the drinks industry. I’ll always be very grateful.
I can’t neglect my child. We’re really proud of the liquid and the reviews that we’ve had so far have been so positive. It’s an ambitious and unusual task to represent some of the flavours from a region. We’ve landed on something the whole team is very proud of and really stands out I think from many other gins on the market. So Renais is in there for sure.
Oxford Artisanal Distillery
There’s a local distillery up the road from me doing some really interesting stuff called the Oxford Artisanal Distillery. I’m a massive fan of the work they are doing around heritage grains and sustainable agriculture and farming within the context of spirits. It’s something that I think is super important. I think people care a lot about where the things that they’re consuming are made and where they come from. They’re really ticking those boxes and the producing a really outstanding liquid.
I guess, because it would be practical, I would take a fishing rod and a bunch of flies. I really like fishing, and I [especially] like fly fishing!
You can read more about Watson’s Renais journey in the first edition of Gin Annual, which is available to buy now.