The green fingers responsible for our House Gin

How many restaurants grow the herbs for their own gin? Yeah, we can’t think of many or any either. It’s part of what makes the Lussmanns Garden Gin so special.

And if there are any other restaurants doing it, we’d place a small bet that the herbs aren’t planted, tended, picked and prepared for their crucial role in flavouring the gin.

Meet Edward May, gin maker extraordinaire, and master gardener, who has just planted a fabulously fragrant variety in a new 14ft bed, made from upcycled timber, used for table dividers using the pandemic.

“The Lussmanns gin is a London dry, which is predominantly juniper-based, plus citrus and then a selection of rosemary, camomile, lemon verbena, lavender, elderflower, thyme and angelica.

“Then, very soon we’ll plant some roses for the petals and iris, from which we’ll use the root. The herbs are growing well already, flourishing in the corner of the garden in Harpenden and I’ll be back to pick some in a couple of months.”

This latest initiative is far from being the first Edward and Andrei have collaborated on. They’ve worked together since even before Andrei opened the first Lussmanns in North Kensington in the early noughties.

“I’ve known Andrei since he was at Pizza Express and he was always a stand-out customer who invested a lot in plants. In fact, he was such a good customer I’d drop everything if I knew it was him calling!

“And he’s always had sustainability as one of his main priorities, always looking for ways to minimise his impact.”

The pair of recently devised such a strategy for reducing the footprint of the gin. All the empty gin bottles from the restaurant will be returned to the Jake’s Gin distillery at Crishall, washed and reused.

Ed finds it hard to pick out any standout moments from his more than decades making Lussmanns a little greener in every sense.

“Every new opening is a highlight because Andrei always wants plants to play a big part. He’s very interested in plants and most of the restaurants have a garden.

“I think that’s what marks out Lussmanns from lots of other restaurants and is the secret of their success – Andrei is front and centre of the business, the restaurants reflect him and the food is so consistently good you can always rely on them. It’s a great privilege to supply Lussmanns with plants and gin.”

Pressed, Edward would choose either the classic Lussmanns fishcake or the chicken schnitzel, next time he eats at his Lussmanns’ local – Hertford.

Lussmanns Garden Gin makes a great gift and you can buy a bottle here. Or, if you’d like to admire the herb garden while dining in the garden at Harpenden, you can book a table here.