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‘Champagne better than wine’ for the voice, says opera star Katherine Jenkins

The “cleaner” an alcoholic drink, the better it is for singers, classical artist Katherine Jenkins tells db in an exclusive interview.

Photo / Instagram @katherinejenkinsobe

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business five months on from the launch of her ultra-premium gin Cygnet 22, Katherine Jenkins explained why she prefers to sip it neat on the rocks.

“When I came to London to study singing at The Royal Academy of Music, the tutors talked to us a lot about the relationship between alcohol and the voice, and one of the things they pressed upon us was the notion of ‘clean alcohol’,” Jenkins says.

“The cleaner a product is, and the fewer ingredients it contains, the less harmful it is to the voice.”

On the whole, Jenkins explains, beers, wines and some mixers (“back in 1998 there wasn’t the diversity of mixers on the market that there is today”) tend to be “less clean” than spirits.

Furthermore, “Champagne is better [for the vocal cords] than wine”, according to Jenkins, who was crowned the best-selling classical artist of the century by Classic FM, having sold a record-breaking 2.7 million albums.

“While I was studying singing, I stopped drinking gin completely because we were advised to avoid the mixers that people tended to put with them,”

It was during her musical education that a kernel of an idea began to grow that, if she were to create “a quality gin, using the very best ingredients, one that you could sip neat and didn’t have to over-dilute”, then she might be able to partake of a few bevvies again.

“I wanted to drink something where I knew exactly what was going into it,” the singer explains.

The result was Cygnet 22, which combines 22 botanicals including lemon balm, rose petals, white peppercorns and Jenkins’ secret ingredient, Manuka honey.

“Manuka honey is something I’ve always used for my throat and voice because it has amazing anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties,” she tells db.

The combination gives “a much softer liquid” compared with other gins on the market. And this silky-smooth mouthfeel has fast become one of Cygnet 22’s unique selling points.

To read the full interview with Katherine Jenkins from the November 2023 issue of the drinks business, click here.

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