The Espirit d’Été Gin (£39/70cl) was made using the blend from a gin-making competition run by the supermarket chain.
Guests at the inaugural Waitrose Drinks Festival, held in London last September, were invited to join a gin masterclass with distiller Audemus Spirits and take part in the contest.
Experimenting with various botanicals, attendees created their own versions of the spirit. The resulting 30 gins were then judged by a panel of experts including Waitrose category manager Anne Jones and Waitrose Cellar buyer Xenia Irwin.
The winning blend was made by Laura Parton and Joe Blenkinsop from South Woodford in London. According to Waitrose, Espirit d’Été uses botanicals including juniper, galangal, orange and bergamot, making ‘a simple and well-balanced gin’.
Xenia said: “We were really happy with the results from our first ever gin competition, and we’re very proud to be selling the winning blend, which is a truly delicious gin.” The batch of 200 bottles is available from www.waitrosecellar.com.
Xenia continued: “Between September and now, a lot of hard work has gone into bringing this gin to market. It’s an exciting time for artisanal spirits, with consumer interest at an all-time high – and it’s been a fun project to be a part of.”
Laura, who works as a solicitor in the City of London, said: “We were incredibly surprised and flattered to have been selected as the winners. My boyfriend and I are big gin fans, so to have our own gin being made and sold by Waitrose is fantastic. I hope people enjoy drinking it as much as we do.”
Waitrose recently revealed that gin has overtaken whisky as its top-selling spirit and sales of local and regional gin have grown by 50% year on year.