Ardern’s gin palace gift to Camilla
The next time the Duchess of Cornwall has a gin and tonic, it might just be made with Marlborough’s own Riot & Rose gin.
A bottle of the craft gin was gifted to Camilla Parker-Bowles by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during her recent trip to Europe.
Riot & Rose director Jane Walkenhorst said she had no idea the Rose gin had been chosen as a gift for the duchess until she learnt about it on Sunday, when a friend told her she saw it mentioned online.
‘‘I couldn’t believe it. For a small craft gin company it is absolutely thrilling, I feel extremely honoured.’’
Since then, Walkenhorst hadn’t been able to wipe the smile off her face, she said. She sent a message to Ardern on Instagram to say ‘thank you’.
Ardern sent her a private message back.
‘‘She expressed that it was the least that they could do.
‘‘I was absolutely over-themoon happy, to be the gift of choice by the prime minister was just incredible.’’
The Marlborough mum and the self-confessed ‘‘gin gal’’ branched into the craft gin industry three years ago. She started the company with her husband, who works in the wine industry. It had gone from strength to strength since going into production a year ago, and was now stocked in bars and restaurants country.
Walkenhorst said she wanted a challenge and that gin had always been her favourite tipple.
The signature gins, the Rose and the Riot, were based on two distinct eras - the former a nod to the romance and glamour of the 1920s characterised by a soft, delicate floral style and the latter a concoction of bold citrus and spice based on London, 1743, when people rioted in the streets against a tax on gin.
There were many different ways to enjoy gin, and Walkenhorst said she was curious as to how the duchess liked to drink hers.
‘‘Drinking gin should be about what you like, and styling the drink to your own tastes.’’
While it was typically mixed with tonic, the 1920 Rose gin could also be enjoyed with dry ginger ale, a dash of bitters and garnished with mint and orange.
‘‘I’m not sure whether the duchess will go for that, or the straight G&T, or perhaps she will have it with soda,’’ Walkenhorst said.
A spokeswoman from the Office of the Prime Minister said throughout the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade usually provided the prime minister with a list reflecting a range of New Zealand products for gifts.
While the prime minister could not endorse particular products, she liked to showcase small, boutique owner-operators where possible.
In keeping with the theme, His Royal Highness Prince Charles received a bottle of the Thompson South Island Single Malt Whiskey.
Jane Walkenhorst was thrilled to learn her craft gin, Riot & Rose has been gifted to the Duchess of Cornwall by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.