This is the mission for Ben and his co-founder Robert.
It started with Ben’s Canteen, restaurants in South West London that set out to be neighbourhood hangouts that were anything but ordinary.
Part of this meant creating a great Brunch offering and this required having a brilliant Bloody Mary.
We’re big fans of Bloody Marys, when done well, but annoyingly there are lots of ordinary examples out there and we know how hard it is to make a good one at home.
We spent a lot of time getting our Bloody Marys just so, combining the right blend of herbs and spices in a mix to deliver a bloody great Bloody Mary, every time. And, after years of Ben’s Canteen customers asking us, in 2017 we did just that and bottled it, creating Bloody Bens Bloody Mary Mix which is Vegan, Gluten Free and Non-Alcoholic.
It means anyone can make a great Bloody Mary, in moments. No more delving into the back of the cupboards to find the ingredients you need, just add 25ml of the Mix to Tomato Juice for a Virgin Mary and then add Vodka/Gin for the perfect Bloody Mary.
The plan then was to create more drinks that were anything but ordinary.
Ben is a big Gin lover, so the next step was a London Dry Gin, inspired by living in London and holidaying in Mallorca – Bloody Bens Signature Gin. But again, it had to be anything but ordinary, so it’s a London Dry with Honey & Orange notes that give it a deliciously distinctive taste. The Honey represents living and working in Wandsworth SW London, it’s pretty much all Ben could find that’s made locally, and the Orange represents Mallorca which is where Ben fell in love with Gin. The spirit of this Gin and label is one of escapism, dreaming and sunny vibes. This was released in December 2018 and it helps make the best Negronis.
In the summer of 2019, inspired by Wimbledon Tennis, we produced our Pink Gin which tastes of Strawberries & Cream. A premium Pink Gin, it’s a celebration of British Summer. What makes it anything but ordinary? Unlike most pink gins, this is not a liqueur, it has loads of juniper and isn’t anywhere near as sweet as it looks. It’s also 43% so it has plenty of punch.
We originally distilled our Gin in Earlsfield (the area’s first ever Gin) but we have now made the short journey to Balham. You’ll find us downstairs at The Wine Twit, a brilliant bottle shop which is just a short walk from Clapham South tube and Clapham Common, it’s also a short stroll to Wandsworth Common and with Tooting not far away, it’s truly a South West London Gin.
At the end of 2021, we produced a Spiced Tomato Juice to speed up making perfect Bloody Marys and saving from having to remember to buy tomato juice to go with our Bloody Mary Mix.
And, in early 2022, we released our Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur. Made in collaboration with Redroaster Coffee, Brighton’s best coffee roaster, this is the ingredient for perfect Espresso Martinis and coffee based cocktails, plus it’s delicious just poured over ice.
All of our drinks are made using glass bottles that can be recycled, as can the labels. Some of our bottles feature aluminium and plastic caps, all of which can be recycled too.
And what’s with the name again? Well, Bloody Bens was borne out of Ben’s Canteen which was famous for Brunch, so Ben’s, Bloody Marys, Bloody Bens, get it? And when we started the Gin, we didn’t want to start another bloody business, so we kept the name.
Our Micro Distillery is powered by a small Copper Still and we typically make Gin in batches of just 60 bottles, so very much artisan and hand crafted.
What might the future hold? More drinks for sure, perhaps a flavoured Vodka to make Bloody Marys even better. A Rum? If you have any suggestions as to what you’d like us to produce next then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben started Ben’s Canteen back in 2011, launching the first Canteen by Clapham Junction in South West London.
The Canteens served thousands of customers every week and sold hundreds of Bloody Marys, they were renowned for their Burgers, Wine and for offering one of the most indulgent Brunches in London.
And, we’ll let you into a secret, Ben used to hate Bloody Marys but the Bloody Bens Bloody Mary Mix converted him and he is now a big fan, even pouring them at home when relaxing with friends and family.
We know that other people are also wary of a Bloody Mary, chances are, you’ve just never had a good one and Bloody Bens is on a mission to change that. But if you still don’t like them, after you’ve tried one with our Bloody Mary Mix, then use the Mix in cooking and fix yourself some Bloody Hot Wings!
Ben then started making his favourite spirit, Gin! The first, our Signature Gin was inspired by Ben’s trips to Mallorca where he dreamt up the business.
And, anyone, who knows Ben, knows his love of coffee. So, it’s no surprise to see the addition of a Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur to the range.
Alas, Ben’s Canteen is no longer but Bloody Bens remains, as does Ben who has partnered up with Robert (Ben and Bob!). Together, they’re helping to craft drinks that are Anything But Ordinary!
Ben has moved to Brighton and is spreading word amongst the good folk of Sussex and the South Coast whilst Robert remains flying the flag across London from his home in SW11.