#Tastemakers: Curing the mundane with Hendrick’s Gin Global Ambassador Ally Martin

PHOTO: Hendrick’s Gin Global Ambassador Ally Martin and Capital Lifestyle Editor Susan Wong at Villa Rosa Kempinski / Nairobi, Kenya

“I’ve had some of the best Flora Dora’s in the world in Kenya!” Ally Martin, Hendrick’s Gin Global Ambassador, shared while raising his glass to a packed house of some of Nairobi’s most influential opinion leaders, gin aficionados, restaurateurs, and media stars, on Thursday at The DEN.

Flora Dora, a Hendrick’s Gin cocktail, is Ally’s choice when he needs to woo his girlfriend. This refreshing fruity cocktail features 40ml Hendrick’s Gin, 20ml Fresh Lime Juice, 10ml Raspberry Syrup, and most importantly, topped with Ginger Beer – and Kenya’s Stoney Ginger Beer is undeniably one of the most flavourful in the market.

Ally remembers when he had his first Gin & Tonic with his parents, but it was during his nine years behind the bar as a bartender that his affinity for gin grew strength-to-strength.

“Gin has a lot of versatility. The different flavour profiles of gins can take cocktails in so many directions.”

Now, the Scotsman’s role is to share that affinity with gin, and all the intricate and unusual qualities of Hendrick’s to bartenders and aficionados all over the world.

So what makes Hendrick’s Gin so unusual and different? Is it the sensory-provoking cool parties, lively academic talks or the specialty cocktails in Victorian-inspired tea cups that the brand is known for?


Ally credits three specific reasons: Hendrick’s Gin is owned by William Grant & Sons, a Scottish distiller and family-run business that is committed to consistency in the quality of spirit development, the unique combination of using the Bennet still and the Carter-Head still, which creates a very smooth gin that showcases all the flavourful nuances of the botanicals, and lastly Lesley Gracie, Master Distiller of Hendrick’s Gin.

“Lesley is a genius and it’s really how unusual her mind is that makes Hendrick’s so unique.”

Working out of Hendrick’s home in Girvan, Scotland, Lesley was tasked to create a gin that used two different and antique stills. In fact, Lesley is one of only a handful of people who know the specific recipe of the quirky Hendrick’s Gin, which includes 11 botanicals, Bulgarian Rose, and Cucumber Sativas.

“The roses add an intense floral note and almost has a subtle Turkish Delight smell. The [Hendrick’s] Gin also has notes of Parma Violets.”

The iconic British violet-flavoured tablet confectionery is known for its floral and fragrant qualities, and paired with the essence of cucumber results in a refreshing tipple.

“Aside from being refreshing, the Cucumber Sativas from Belgium adds mouth-feel to the gin allowing the spirit to transfer on your palate smoothly.”

PHOTO: Hendrick’s Gin Global Ambassador Ally Martin at Villa Rosa Kempinski / Nairobi, Kenya


The bar culture in Nairobi is certainly blooming thanks to international bartending competitions, general appreciation for bartenders, and also maturing palates that are becoming more curious. Despite Kenya being a predominantly whisky-loving market, Ally believes discerning drinkers will enjoy gin.

“There’s a natural ability for gin to work in a market like this. I mean, just look at the glorious sunshine outside! [Laughs] Sometimes, there’s nothing better to drink in this environment and even for those use to whisky, there’s an appeal to look at how other spirits are being used in an interesting way, and also to look for something premium. Gin is naturally the choice.”

At the party, there is something fun in every corner: A trumpeter that makes an unusual entrance from an outdoor bathtub, fire breathers, jugglers tossing fruits, beautiful hostesses dressed in vintage-inspired outfits, thought-provoking signs, and everybody was tippling delicious Hendrick’s Gin cocktails. Have you just entered hipster heaven? Not exactly. The brand prides itself on appealing to consumers with discerning tastes and the Scottish gin embraces individuality, everything that is quirky, provocative and daring, all driven by curiosity. As Ally puts it, “Hendrick’s Gin is the antidote to everything mundane.”

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  1. Avatar Gabby May 6th, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Everything is affirmative action for CORD and its leader – including a parliamentary system demanded now that he did not make it and the tyranny of numbers is biting – from opinions polls candidate to affirmative action candidate……. and stepping down for me candidate…… Wow. No merit????

    1. Avatar Gathii May 6th, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      These CORD guys are very comical.Raila spearheaded the constitutional referendum and was quick to point out that the new constitution was part of his legacy too not just Kibaki’s. Now he has turned against it after he lost the election saying we should adopt a Parliamentary system. I even wonder if he had read it considering his recent outbursts. Remember, he is the guy who campaigned on the platform of a reformist who would implement the constitution. Sleeping on the job case one.
      The new standing orders were passed by the 10th Parliament where ODM had the most members. Now Midiwo says the standing orders are not proper and need to be amended after they realized they are an opposition without teeth. If they were truly reformists, why didn’t they use their numbers in the 10th Parliament to amend the Standing Orders as they now want?
      That is sleeping on the job case two.
      All in all, the CORD guys have zero foresight.

      1. Avatar Gabby May 6th, 2013 at 11:20 pm

        All Raila’s efforts HAVE been to get HIM to power; the so called reforms are the crumbs that fall from the table. It’s almost like the beetle that eats the hyacinth; you don’t like beetles but you want the hyacinth out of your lake! He has conned humanity the heck out and his real colours show every time he opens his mouth! He doesn’t realize that EVEN with a parliamentary system, you will NEED a president (tyranny of numbers again!!!) because the prime ministers (probably tyranny of numbers too!!!) – coming out of the party with the most members of parliament may be shortchanged by any smaller parties supporting them and the President invites the second strongest party to form the government – much like the KADU/ KANU days when the Governor invited KADU to form the government when KANU declined UNLESS Mzee was released. The parliamentary system is a derivative of the monarchical system and in modern democracies the role of the monarch is taken over the President even with a prime minister leading the government – as in Britain, France, Jordan Italy etc. This guy is totally obsessed. In fact elder statesman he ‘hopes’ to be is a fake having conned his way to mkate nusu!


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