Gin Journey Founder
This Ginsider is someone who lives and breathes our favourite spirit. Leon Dalloway – founder of the globally adored Gin Journey. His gin tour has hosted, educated and entertained more than 150,000 guests over the past nine years. Gin Journey was founded in 2013 in the UK and went on to launch in numerous cities around Great Britain. In 2018, Gin Journey launched in Singapore for the first international edition and, in 2022, he brought his tour to Sydney to showcase the city’s unrivalled gin scene – to roaring success. Also known as the Gin Boss (on Instagram), Leon is a BBC gin expert, member of the Gin Guild and, previous to Gin Journey, an award-winning bartender.
He takes his Martinis as a Gibson, so if you see him in a bar feel free to send one over! We sat down with him to answer a few very important questions.
How were you introduced to gin?
I was first introduced to gin through the local Cuban bar, Dos Hermanos, which I worked at when I was 18 years old in Leicester, UK. It was decked in a seriously cool authentic fit-out, not your average cheesy spot. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the rum was flowing – it was – but the Tanqueray and tonics were too. We built them with as many limes squeezed in as physically possible (blame the crap tonic!) and garnished with a pack of posh crisps. Not a bad start for a young buck, I must say.
What makes gin such a special spirit for you?
I love the historical context of gin and its story, which spans centuries. It rivals that of a great dramatic novel. I love a success story, and gin is certainly that – especially in the UK and Australia. Gin differs from other spirits in that it’s the balancing of botanicals which creates the flavour profile, rather than how it tastes directly off the still or how it’s aged in barrels. It shows the skill of the distiller in a different way. I’m a huge fan of botanical gardens and every sip of gin is like I’m taking a stroll through one of the world’s great gardens. Gin gives me a sense of place.
How do you drink your gin?
1. Martini – dry, with an onion or olive
2. Classic Negroni
3. G&T with a sprig of rosemary or a lemon myrtle leaf.
I also love to explore a cocktail menu and see how the great bars of Sydney are showcasing their preferred gins.
What are some of the new gins you’ve been trying lately?
Four Pillars Fresh Yuzu is an absolute banger. Audemus Umami is completely mad but insanely delicious – distilled with Parmigiano and capers. I love the new liquids coming out of Hickson House Distilling Co. and I’m super excited to try what Poor Toms have got coming up when they move to their new place ’round the corner from their original in Marrickville.
What are your three desert-island gins?
I mean it’s a tough one because I work with so many great gins.
1. Plymouth Dry, for my Martini and because I’m a proud Englishman
2. Poor Toms Sydney Dry, for my Negroni
3. Four Pillars Fresh Yuzu, for my G&T
What do you like about Gin Society?
Gin Society is a special concept to showcase new gins to a gin-adoring public. The quality is much higher than any other subscription service out there, therefore the drinkers are sipping on better gins and reading a great magazine to go with it. I’ve discovered gins I’ve never had the pleasure of trying before and that’s got to be a good thing. Plus, Andrew and his team are superstars – it’s great to know you’re supporting good people by drinking quality gin.