Co-founders of Salcombe Distilling Co., Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies, met teaching sailing in Salcombe more than 20 years ago. After an adventurous day on the water, they would relax with a gin and tonic or two and discuss their dream: how to produce a world-class gin.
With an uncompromising approach to quality and an almost obsessive attention to detail, this dream has been realised. Salcombe Gin is an exceptional, citrus-led, balanced, hand-crafted drink. Smooth enough to be served on its own over ice as a sipping gin, or paired with a premium tonic water and accompanied by a slice of red grapefruit and plenty of ice, it is quickly becoming the discerning choice.
Hand-distilled, using the best ingredients, this drink is produced using 13 carefully selected botanicals combined with the finest English wheat spirit, and blended with pure, soft Dartmoor water to produce a gin of the finest quality.
Inspired by the history of the Salcombe Fruiters trading vessels that imported citrus fruits and spices to England from the Azores, West Indies and Mediterranean in the 19th century, Salcombe Gin is made with a precise blend of ruby grapefruit, lemon and lime to give it a refreshing citrus edge. Citrus fruits are peeled every morning, prior to distillation, to ensure the essential oils are captured at their best. Liquorice adds a touch of sweetness, and green cardamom helps lengthen the finish without ever being overly dominant. Chamomile flowers and bay leaf provide a balanced, floral note.
These citrus and floral elements work in harmony with the earthy and resinous pine notes of Macedonian juniper, selected for its high limonene content, combined with the warming spiced citrus notes from English coriander seeds. Cubeb berries from Java provide a fruity, peppery heat with a warming spice from cinnamon bark.
Since launching Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ last summer, the team recently installed a larger 450-litre copper still at the new distillery, created a stylish bar overlooking the water, and recently introduced its Gin School. Most notably, Salcombe Gin was awarded a gold in the World Drinks Awards in December, and secured a listing at Fortnum & Mason as Spirit of the Month in February.
At the new Gin School, under the guidance of one of the distillers, each student learns about the art of distillation. They will then take charge of a beautiful copper mini-still to develop their own 70cl bottle of gin to take home.
Although there is a small cocktail list, each one is the best it can be, using hand-sourced ingredients from small producers. Perhaps the most popular is the Marmajito, a take on the classic Mojito. Using a Salcombe Gin-infused citrus marmalade in place of sugar, Salcombe Gin is shaken with the classic mint, a dash of lemon juice and topped up with elderflower tonic water. The result is refreshing and not overly sweet.
Plans for the future
It is going to be an exciting 2017 – the team is taking part in a number of events all the way through to Christmas. There will be a selection of new Salcombe Gin cocktails launched over the summer, too.
Salcombe Gin ‘Start Point’ 44% 70cl bottle (£37.50) is available to buy nationwide from various retailers, farm shops, food halls and delicatessens, and from salcombegin.com
Salcombe Distilling Company
28 Island St
Devon TQ8 8DP