We’re starting off our Cotswold Eats gin series with the most appropriately named Cotswolds Dry Gin, as well as other wonderful spirits from the team at Cotswolds Distillery.
Disclaimer: All of the brilliant photos in this article are courtesy of Cotswolds Distillery, all rights remain with them.
Based in Stourton, near Shipston-on-Stour in the North of the Cotswolds, Cotswolds Distillery began production in September 2014. Their range includes not only their gin, but also award winning Single Malt Whisky and many other small batch spirits. Get your reading glasses on, as we're going in depth on the processes and the flavours in this article
Let's start with their Cotswolds Dry Gin, which begins life as the usual ‘neutral grain spirit’ at 96% ABV. This blank canvas spirit is mixed with some water in their 500 litre copper still. The base botanicals are added, including the gin-tessential juniper berries, coriander seed and angelica root, before macerating for 15 hours overnight. The following day, they add the remaining 6 botanicals; Cotswold lavender and bay leaves, with citrus notes from fresh lime peel and pink grapefruit zest and a hint of spice from cardamom and black peppercorn.
After a slow distillation, the ‘heads’ and ‘tails’ of the run are discarded, leaving only the purest ‘hearts’ of the gin, ensuring a consistent and fantastic quality. The hearts measure in at 83% ABV and are rested for 5 days to allow the flavours to develop. Then filtered water is added to reduce ABV to 46%,like a traditional London Dry Gin.
The team at Cotswolds Distillery don’t believe in 'chill-filtering' their gin, as they want to keep the best flavour possible. This means the gin isn’t crystal clear, and instead creates a recognisable pearlescent colour once hit with ice or tonic.
The juniper really shines through in this gin, as does the grapefruit. The nose is fresh, but also earthy and sweet. A clean palate with citrus and spice, with a balanced and cool finish. Perfect over ice, with a splash of tonic and an essential slice of pink grapefruit, as well as a bay leaf if available.
Their Single Malt Whisky is the first ever to be distilled in the Cotswolds, made with 100% local floor-malted barley, then aged in first-fill ex-Bourbon barrels and reconditioned red wine casks. It has been incredibly well received, honoured with 95/100 and the ‘liquid gold’ title from Jim Murrays Whisky Bible 2018.
The nose has notes of honey and butterscotch, with peaches, apricots and a hint of marzipan. The palate is strong, with tannin-rich malt, dark sugar and spice, highlighted by a taste of caramelised orange marmalade. The finish is long, with dark red fruits and some hints of treacle. It’s perfect neat, over ice or even in a cocktail.
During their whisky process, they create their ‘heart cut’,
which is combined with demineralised water to create a spirit of 63.5% ABV.
Most of this is then aged in oak barrels, maturing and mellowing over a minimum
of 3 years and 1 day, to create their whisky with 46% ABV.
However, they also take a portion of the unaged malt spirit and mix with other ingredients for their own take on small batch liqueurs and spirits. Mixed with fresh Irish cream to create small batches of Cream Liqueur, as well as with Spanish sherries to create an incredibly interesting Spirited Sherry.
They also take some of their Single Malt Whisky and redistill in a copper still with juniper and other classic gin botanicals, to create a unique and deeply flavoured 1616 Gin.
Alongside these, they have a classic Absinthe made in very small batches with a traditional French recipe, as well as Espresso Martini made by distilling cold brewed coffee with orange peel, coriander seed, cassia bark and cinnamon.
They also take some of their dry gin and mix with local fruit and berries for their autumnal Hedgerow Gin, pairing brilliantly with sparkling wine. As well as mixing the gin with homemade vermouth, triple sec and their Spirited Sherry to make the small batch Cotswolds Summer Cup, perfect with lemonade or ginger ale on a long summers day.
If you're looking for something even more exciting, they have a bunch of cocktail recipes on their website to utilise their spirits.
The spirits mentioned are available directly from The Cotswolds Distillery on their website, with gin, whisky, cream liqueur also available from Vinotopia Wine in Tetbury.
In fact, the Vinotopia C+10 Club offers the cheapest possible retail price for Cotswolds Distillery products, at only cost price plus 10%. Read more about it here.