THERE’S a distinct Saddleworth twist to a milestone occasion for a gin drinkers’ heaven.
The Old Bell in Delph recently took delivery of its 1,000th different bottle of today’s spirit of choice.
And inspired by breaking through four figures, landlord Phil Whiteman (pictured right) is a man on a mission to ensure the Huddersfield Road hostelry’s reclaims a title recently lost to a York rival.
For now, Rudden’s Ruin occupies a special place in The Old Bell’s ever-increasing list of gins.
It is named after and designed by John Rudden, head chef and director at the White Hart Hotel in Lydgate from 1994 to 2008.
“John will be well known to a lot of Saddleworth people so it is appropriate ‘Rudden’s Ruin’ was our 1,000th different gin,” said Phil.
“He now runs a restaurant – Grassington House – in the Yorkshire Dales. He presented me with the bottle during a recent trip over there.”
John, who has trained a number of Old Bell chefs, told the Independent: “We looked at producing our own gin but it made better sense to get it made to our own specifications.
“We use a place in Darlington that has the smallest copper distillery in the North of England. They only make batches of around 10 bottles at a time.”
The Old Bell’s gin tally has since risen to 1,097 and with 15 different tonics on offer, Phil calculates there are 16,455 different G&T combinations.
Despite the impressive numbers, The Old Bell’s thunder has been (temporarily) stolen by the Evil Eye Lounge in York.
The establishment has been officially recognised as the official holder of the Guinness World Records with 1,028 different gins – a crown once worn by The Old Bell.
“We still have more gins but they’ve got the record,” said Phil. “We had it in the past so that can never be taken away from us.
“Do, we try and get it back? A lot of the staff think we should try and reclaim it. So, watch this space!”