Danilo Tersigni, Founder and Owner of VII Hills London Dry Gin
By night Danilo Tersigni is the General Manager of arguably London's coolest cocktail bar, Mr. Fogg's. By Day he is the Founder and Owner of VII Hills London Dry Gin, one of the most unique and exciting spirits to hail from The Capital in recent times. Owed to its complexity and usability, VII Hills Gin is likely to be a prominent feature in London bars for some time. Find out a little more about the man behind the bottle, as he answers some of our questions.
What inspired you to create the spirit? And where did the name came from?
From the "seven hills of Rome" - it is inspired by Ancient Roman botanicals, combined with the great art of British distillery. The inspiration started with myself, Francesco Medici and Filippo Previero; when, after years working behind the bar, we noticed that there was not Italian gin on the worldwide market. So at that point we decided it was time to create something unique and that could fill this enormous gap in the market. So once we agreed that gin was the right decision, we created something unique, using all the botanicals that the Ancient Romans were using more then 2000 years ago, and something entirely different to the hundreds of gins on the market. The defining moment was when we understood that we could create “The Perfect Negroni”. An Italian cocktail, known worldwide, that could finally be fully Italian - using VII Hills gin - the first Italian London dry gin.
What have you found most difficult about creating your own spirit?
The most difficult part was finding the right distillery. We spent months searching in Italy but not one of the distilleries were at the level that we required to create VII Hills. So we came back to the UK (the heart of gin) and found a small hand-craft distillery in Dulligham called 'English Spirit Distillery'. They helped us create VII Hills gin with unique selling-point that they are one of three distillery in Europe that make their own base spirit. Most of the other gins buy the base spirit from others or even worse, to save money, they use the 'Hands and Tails' of other distilled products. English Spirit Distillery use the 'hand and Tails' as fuel to keep the shed warm…. i said everything ;)
What's the perfect way to have Vii Hills Gin?
VII Hills gin is nominated the bartender’s gin because it can be used to create any cocktail gin cocktail. And every time it will release different flavours and tastes. It's amazing. Obviously the most important thing for us is the “The Perfect Negroni” - 30ml VII Hills gin, 30ml Campari, 30ml Italian sweet vermouth.
For G&T we suggest to drink it with 'Fentimans 19:05' and a slice of orange… You will be surprised!
What was your very first job?
My first job was at the age of 14 years old back home in Italy. I was a waiter in the town where I'm from, Sora. I worked in the evening and went to school in the morning… you know south Italy is not a really rich side.
If you could only mix with three ingredients, what would they be?
VII Hills gin, Campari, Italian Sweet Vermouth
What's your favourite drink and what would you eat with it?
Martinez: Gin, Maraschino, Sweet Vermouth and orange bitters with a steak tartar…ooo I could die for it!
What's your least favourite drink and why?
Vodka & Soda…I find vodka very unattractive to produce as you can produce vodka with anything.. even with a car wheel if you wanted! And after...? WHHOOAAAA!! Let’s mix it with sparkling water! why not!?
Which ingredients do you have a love/hate relationship with and why?
Sambuca…. I hate Sambuca but I have to love it because it's Italian!
Who or what brand in the industry inspires you the most?
Konik’s Tail vodka with Under Pleurat.. We are really close and always help one another. And the love and energy that he puts into his product is amazing (as well as vodka J) but he has created his little empire with just pure energy - going around face to face - without any help of PR and big marketing.
What would be your last drink and who would make it?
My last drink will be a very Dirty Gin Martini and I would love to be made by my girlfriend, Emma. If she will ever learn how to make a very Dirty Gin martini!! That is a challenge, trust me.
If you had not worked in bars, what would you be doing?
No idea. The only thing I have done from the age of 14 was shaking cocktails!!
Tell us a secret ?
VII Hills is the best gin ever….it was a secret but now you can tell everyone!
What’s your favourite bar tool?
The ice saw!
Who would you love to make a drink for?
My dog! I would love him to understand why he is called Spritz!
What music/track do you like to listen to while creating new cocktails?
Home – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Favourite junk food/ guilty pleasure?
Pizza, Pizza, Pizza
What irritates you most about the industry?
The carelessness in the quality of the products and the power of the big brands.
Who would be in your fantasy bar team?
Head chef: Walter White
Sous Chef: Jackie Chan
Waitress: Jessica Rabbit
Floor Manager: Robin Hood
DJ: Sergio Leone
Bartender: Donald Duck
Bar Manager: Jim Carry
Security: Arnold Schwarzenegger
General Manager: Myself
What drink would win over your heart?
Aperol Spritz! (my dog is called Spritz!!)