Ardern’s gin palace gift to Camilla

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - SA­MAN­THA GEE

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.

PHOTO: SCOTT HAM­MOND/STUFF

Jane Walken­horst was thrilled to learn her craft gin, Riot & Rose has been gifted to the Duchess of Corn­wall by Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern.

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