The clocks have gone forward and gins have become fruit-forward. Autumn might be the time of mellow fruitfulness but spring is the time of zesty, zingy gins made with chuckleberry.
Andy and Zoe Arnold-Bennett’s Cumbrian Shed1 offers a bathtub gin made from a hybrid of redcurrant, gooseberry and jostaberry – itself a hybrid of gooseberry and blackcurrant. It also uses meadowsweet and hyssop.
Making everything young again, spring makes the world a happy place and where flowers bloom so do gins.
Gin drinkers have grown blasé with rose gins, bored with savoury peppery winter warmers, hot cross buns, Sri Lankan liquorice, Russian coriander, Indian nutmeg and buddha’s hands. And all things tropical. They have even become underwhelmed by vaunted artesian aquifers.
In the season of renewal, craft gin makers are refreshing themselves and going back to their local native roots.
At the Capreolus ( Latin for “roe deer” ) Distllery in Gloucestershire, former conservation photographer and award-winning eaux de vie maker, Barney Wilczak makes the 34-botanicals “Garden Swift Dry Gin “, formerly “Garden Tiger” named after the Arctia majus day-flying moth, British botanicals include the short-leafed lime tree.
But one swallow doesn’t make an early summer. Other refreshing spring-time , very British gins include Caithness’s Dunnet Distillery’s Rock Rose Spring Edition, Wales’s Dyfi Pollination (made from locally foraged chamomile, lemon balm, rowan berry and bramble from a Biosphere Reserve, the Snowdonian foothills and estuary marshlands) , Jacob Wilson’s Henley Distillery’s Rhubarb and Orange, Tom Tuke-Hastings’s non-alcoholic Borragio, Yorkshire’s mint and flax Sing Gin and Porter’s Orchard Gin from Aberdeen.
Warner’s Elderflower Infused Gin uses fresh elderflower from Harrington in Northamptonshire and Rhualt in north Wales. Berry Bros & Rudd has their own Gooseberry & Elderflower while Herefordshire’s Penrhos makes apple and elderflower. Mason’s of Yorkshire makes English lavender gin.
But perhaps the true harbinger of spring and summer is not the sound of the cuckoo but the taste of it. In the form of a glass of Lancastrian Sunshine honey gin made at the Brindle Distillery, near Chorley.
Farmer Gerard Singleton is head of the Cuckoo family. Son-in-law Mark Long heads the team which sowed a 2 acre wildflower field to keep bees to make their Holmes Farm gin.
“We’ve also infused a limited edition Cuckoo Sloedown Gin with sloeberries picked locally from Brindle, Wheelton and Whittle-le-Woods, Gaultheria Berries picked from Rivington Terrace Gardens and our own honey and blackberries. The result is a truly handmade gin bursting with autumnal flavour.”
A percentage of sales of Brindle Distillery’s Solace go to Jo Singleton’s Cervical Cancer Trust.
Martin Miller’s has released a new batch of its first seasonal gin. Summerful. using botanicals from England and Iceland’s spring and summer seasons – Arctic thyme and rosemary.