Here's an early look at Portsmouth's new gin '“Â it's Pompey blueÂ
GIN lovers are in for a treat as not only does Portsmouth now have its own gin - it's blue and has gold flakes in it, just like the Portsmouth crescent.
The new spirit, which comes complete with 22-carat gold flakes and a dash of botanicals from Southsea beach, has been made by serial entrepreneur Mark Smith.
Mark runs Chester's - a carvery and steakhouse with bar in Anchorage Park.
He said: '˜It is something that I have been toying with for a few years so I thought that I'd finally do something about it.
'˜Now that I'm in the pub trade, I see that gin is really in at the moment. I bought the brand name Portsmouth Gin many years ago with a view to doing something eventually but I have been so busy with my other interests that it got sidelined.
'˜I opened Chester's three months ago and there we sell more than 60 different gins. It's a very popular purchase. There are so many different brands, but Portsmouth does not have its own. There's the Isle of Wight gin, Brighton has a gin and Plymouth has a very famous gin.'
Mark contacted Dr David Clutton, one of the world's leading authorities on gin, and they set about blending a unique flavour.
Mark, who founded the Car Finance Company and is the chairman of charity Around and Around, said the spirit is best enjoyed in a tall glass with a strawberry, ice and Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic.
The 49-year-old from Old Portsmouth, said: '˜It is quite distinctive and unique and has quite a strong flavour. It is designed to give you a taste of Southsea. The aromatics are blended to give you the a sense of being by the sea.'
The gin has a blend of spices imported by sea from the Far East, alongside aromatic Mediterranean herbs and botanicals.
It uses juniper, coriander seed, cinnamon, and citrus peels, plus its secret ingredient - a dash of foraged botanicals from Southsea beach.
Its blue colour comes from pea flowers.
For the past three months it has been being distilled in Alton and five bottles are due to be delivered to Chester's for sale on Sunday.
The gin, which is 45 per cent proof, is so special, it will retail at around Â£100 for a 70cl bottle.
The pub will be hosting a launch event with tasting on Sunday, with a limited amount of free tickets available. To request one go to Chester's Carvery and Steakhouse on Facebook.