I first heard of Salcombe Gin when a small group of ‘press’ were invited to Lympstone Manor. Here, we tried their limited edition, specially crafted, Arabella Gin created with chef and owner of Lympstone, Michael Caines.
We had a lunch of crab raviolo, guinea fowl with Summer vegetables and lemon polenta cake (that place now has a Michelin star, it’s gorgeous FYI) while doing a tasting of the gin, both neat and mixed with Fever Tree tonic and a sprig of fresh thyme. I liked it. A lot.
Owners Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies have added a gin school to their Salcombe-based distillery. It’s a three hour lesson where, in pairs, you make your own full sized bottle of gin, to your unique recipe of botanicals, made in miniature copper stills.
For any gin lover, which I most certainly am, it’s a fun day out. I go with my Dad who’s particularly happy at the amount of gin and tonics you get throughout the day. We start by admiring their own, much larger, copper still, while learning geeky ginny things like the head, the heart and the tails.
Over in the gin school kitchen we can choose from over 60 different botanicals ranging from cubeb, orris root and grains of paradise. Just as long you use juniper. Without juniper, it ain’t gin.
The Salcombe Gin School experience is £150 for two so it certainly ain’t cheap but value for money is BIG. They’re a lovely bunch too who get the balance just right; there’s a nice blend of do-it-yourself fun with interesting gin facts.
Not quite sure our gin will be stocked in Waitrose any time soon but we left with a bottle that we’d gladly drink at home. That’s more than good enough for me…