All hail British gin! Join in the chant… south west gin, south west gin, south west gin, south west gin! ahem… no? why not!? If you consider yourself a lover of the new gin movement here in the UK and don’t know about Salcombe Gin, then let this be an enlightenment.
Founded in 2014 by two mates (Angus & Howard) that enjoyed a good G’n’T after a hard day of teaching those less nautical to fare the waters and beyond without floundering. Salcombe Gin is the combination of a fondness for a much loved beverage and a keenness to bringing jobs and industry to Devon. What they don’t know about drinking ‘mothers ruin’ isn’t worth knowing. Howard will tell you about the many afternoons, evenings and some mornings spent researching their product. Tirelessly tasting, adjusting and perfecting the blend of aromats that form perfection bottled. I’d like to be the first to say… no-one feels your pain! Drinking copious amounts of gin, inviting friends and peers over to sit and drink G’n’T after G’n’T until you were happy, sounds awful… NOT! (Sorry for the gratuitous leap back to the 90’s.)
Fast forward to this very day, or tomorrow depending on when you’re reading this (if indeed anyone is?) and not only is this creation now winning world gin awards for its unique characteristics, they have also won awards for their dynamic gin school.
Gin school – a grown up version of Hogwarts with no less magic. A wondourous place where you start off by drinking gin (funnily enough), meet the still where alcohol and botanicals get all sexy together, where gin is born under hot and steamy circumstances. Then head to classroom to create your very own gin, complete with personalised bottle. Under the teachings of the ever-knowledgeable and enthusiastic head brewer, Jason. We were guided through the process from conception to the end product, in all its grapefuity glory. Then it was our turn…
A taste of gin, as to truly understand the alchemy, you must embody the spirit.
This little juniper berry has done a lot for the world of mixology.
Provident. The still that churns out beautiful batches of award-winning world-leading gin. It’s basically the Gandalf of the spirit world. Turning base alcohol into a wonderfully floral zesty liquor.
This is a destination bar. Combining great coffee with a fair selection of cocktails, wines and spirits. It’s a happy place to be, indeed.
Jason and his mighty copper steed.
Schools definitely in. In, for gin. We all sit quietly behind our mini stills, secretly placing bets as to who’s most likely to blow up their copper cauldron (It’s completely safe FYI).
Give a man a fish and he’ll feed his family for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll feed them for life. Teach a man to to craft gin and he’ll smile a lot. Like, loads. He makes delicious booze for Petes sake!
Our chosen botanicals.
Checking its all ship-shape before slowly appling heat to begin the transformation.
Pausing for mid-brew research…well, you have to know your product.
Monitoring the situation…
It’s alive! We have gin! We are the smartest humans around!
Now to taste our nectar.
Our finished product. Coconut J Boom (named after our cat… don’t judge!)
One more for the road? Well, the one I had at the start was good…
So, was it worth it? Was spending half a day(ish) drinking, learning all about and making gin a worthwhile experience, I hear you say? Yes, of course it bloody was! The atmosphere in the classroom was fantastic, Jason and team knowledgeable and very helpful. They’ll even guide you in the right direction if they feel your choice of botanicals will create an unhappy gin monster. One that’ll sit on your shelf, destined to be an ornament. Since they’ve made all of the mistakes for us by honing their craft, they wanted us to actually enjoy our creations. They’re a good bunch.
I’ll be back, think I’ll go down the orange and black pepper route next time.
Oh, and we weren’t driving, we stayed at the lovely Salcombe Harbour Hotel, check out an earlier blog post for my ramblings about our stay.