I didn’t set out to make a glamorous new designer gin. I wanted to make a gin from the bountiful tastes and fragrances of the local hills. So, I sought and received permission from the National Trust to forage wild botanicals from the Long Mynd and Carding Mill Valley near Church Stretton. I also received permission from the Shropshire Hills Discovery Centre to forage from the Onny Meadows near Craven Arms. This gave me access to a plentiful, yet seasonal supply of local flavours from which to craft my Hillside Gin.
Rowan berries add a fruity yet spicy punch. Whinberries give a deep dark fruit tone. Heather flower acts as almost two botanicals in one, the flower adding a gently floral note while the heather green adds a vegetal base. I use only the skins of crab apples as this provides a dry tart and almost citrus tone. A few classic gin botanicals such as juniper, coriander and liquorice root help to round the flavour into a distinct and unique gin.
This gin has won multiple awards, including Great Taste Award 2019 (2 stars), London Spirit Awards (Silver Medal 2020) and Best New Product at the Ludlow Food Festival 2020.
Bottled generously at 46%, this gin won’t disappear in your cocktail. I recommend a very dry tonic with this gin, as a sweet tonic will overrun the delicate botanicals from the local hills.