- Food & Drink
West country gin
The weather is normally a boon in the UK. It provides a useful conversational bridge between “hello” and “goodbye” and means we don’t have to turn up to parties drunk in order to come up with something interesting to say (although we do that any way). But recently the weather has got above itself. Being the entry level chat topic of choice isn’t enough for it. It wants to dominate. To be the only subject on everyone’s lips. The weather has become a boor.
The Somerset Levels have been drowned, roads and railways have been pulled to pieces, and fishing fleets have been hauled out of their harbours to save them from sinking. It is bulletin after bulletin of waterlogged ruination and the question I have been asking myself is: “How can I help?” The answer, of course, is to shop and drink gin. After all, as Cornwall has reminded us, they are still #openforbusiness.
Tarquin’s Handcrafted Cornish Dry Gin is a new gin being distilled on the north coast of Cornwall. It’s made in small batches in a copper pot still and a little while ago they sent me a bottle to try. Initially flummoxed by the decorative drippy cap, I wrestled my way in to see if Tarquin’s could replace Plymouth Gin as my favourite West Country fire water of choice.
(The NFU also has links to relief funds you can donate to and phone lines you can ring to offer practical help here.)
Day or night gin? A bouncing 42% ABV, which makes Tarquin’s a gin to huddle around on dark and stormy nights. Guaranteed to keep you warm.
What does it smell of? Once I wrestled the giant cap off, a little waft of flowers and grass drifted out of the bottle like a gin genie ready to grant me three wishes (just as long as those wishes were gin, more gin, and unconsciousness). It’s very zesty in a orange grove sort of a way with a little hit of spice, like a liquid pomander.
What does it taste of? Well this is just lovely. I’ve honestly never met a friendlier gin. Soft and sweet with a lingering dash of cardamom and juniper. It’s a little piney, a bit raisiny and a touch citrus – basically like eating a booze-filled mince pie under a Christmas tree while sniffing a jar of marmalade. A situation I’m sure you can all relate to.
Buy it? At around £35, Tarquin’s Gin is not cheap but it is delicious. I think it would make an excellent martini and properly refreshing G&T. And the pretty bottle does scream present for someone special (dare I mention Valentine’s Day?). Southwestern Distillery has a list of stockists here. Many of them are in the West Country, so if you’re shopping further afield try Masters of Malt. They also make a Cornish Pastis that tastes like liquorice comfits dissolved in honey. So if you’re inclined towards aniseed, that could be the drink to melt your ice cubes.