Ashley Sutton is the famed designer of Iron Fairies and Maggie Choo’s. He’s since retreated to his minuscule bar in Ekkamai, A.R. Sutton, which stands in the shadow of a towering copper still imported from Germany. For two years, he’s tinkered with it, cranking out some 700 batches in search of the perfect gin.
The final result, Iron Balls, which launched officially last weekend at Quince, has a fruity nose with juniper notes—this is a gin, after all. It’s made by distilling various fruits, lots of coconut water, and infusing them with local lemon grass, coriander, ginger and imported juniper berries. The spirit is then distilled several times, making it incredibly pure.
“There are no shortcuts. We don’t use yeast or chemicals,” says Sutton. “It’s all natural and organic.”
In Thailand, white spirits are the only ones one can hope to acquire a small scale distilling license for. Brown spirits—such as rum and whiskey—are off limits, shameless protectionism for Thai brands Sangsom, Regency, Blend 285 and Mekhong. As such, Sutton has a license and his gin is produced legally, no small feat given the amount of red tape he dealt with (and continues to deal with). He has even begun exporting to Spain and Australia.
The gin is served at Eat Me, Smalls, The House on Sathorn, Quince, Bamboo Bar and Vesper. You could buy a bottle at these places, but you might get a better deal if you head straight to A.R. Sutton, where it retails for B1,650. The gorgeous handmade bottles, designed to not tip over on a ship, are some of Sutton’s best work. As for the gin, we tried some earlier versions and it was damn fine stuff, so we recommend you try it out before the authorities find a way to kill the whole thing. “We’re legal—for now,” Sutton says.