Chemist, innovator, master gin distiller – a woman with a nose for gin

20 September 2019

Yorkshire born Lesley Gracie needs no introduction, but because she’s the ‘Queen of Botanicals’, we’ll go on ahead. She is Hendrick’s gin master distiller, simply put, an icon. She is the woman behind the recipe for the critically acclaimed and widely purchased gin.

Who is Lesley Gracie?

She wears her hair in a signature Rapunzel-esque braid. Formidable in stature, she exudes a cool factor, one can’t help but be fascinated by her. Lesley is the woman behind Hendrick’s distillery. As a child, she was taken by plants and botanics, often exploring and experimenting with plants and twigs. At a later stage in her life, she went on to obtain a degree in chemistry. Her journey has been one of alchemy.

Serendipity and adventure were central themes in her life when she up and moved to Scotland from Yorkshire in northern England circa 1988. Here she started working in a gin distillery on new liquid development. Later on, alongside John Ross at William Grant & Sons, Lesley crafted the recipe for Hendrick’s Gin in 1999.

‘’Serendipity and adventure were central themes in her life’’


Master gin distiller

Somewhat of a private, quirky woman and widely searched online, searches of her are synonymous with ‘gin’ and ‘innovation’, fitting for a pioneering individual like her.


‘’I didn’t wake up one morning and think I want to be a gin distiller, it’s just one of those things that just happened’’


Gin that defies convention

Before Ms Gracie, gin distilleries had a very male face, it isn’t the typical career path followed by many, let alone women. Lesley debunked that perception, she transformed the industry thereby touching and impacting many lives worldwide.

She is acclaimed for starting the craft gin movement. She crafted the characterful recipe for Hendrick’s premium gin in 1999. Catapulting gin from what it was once seen as the lowly bohemian’s drink of choice, to award-winning drink of choice for a widened crowd of connoisseurs. Reportedly one of only four people in this world who knows the recipe for Hendrick’s gin, a recipe worth protecting for a gin that has been described as the best in the world.

Lesley isn’t afraid to explore, travel and try new things. Having been hailed as the woman who revolutionised the world of gin. Her inner child lingers within her, an inspiration that makes a strong case for tapping into your inner child now and then for creative ingenuity.

‘’There are always new things to try’’


Lesley’s latest creation

The limited edition Hendrick’s ‘Midsummer Solstice’ gin is Lesley’s first release from Cabinet of Curiosities, a place of experimental botanic alchemy at the new Hendrick’s Gin Palace Distillery.


Master gin distiller, midsummer solstice gin

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