This time last year I shared news of a new gin, Spitfire Heritage Gin in an exclusive “look out for this” kind of way just before it went on sale in Wine Rack. I mention it again because two things have happened.
Number 1 Thing: Spitfire’s distillers have now brought out a new vodka – Supermarine Vodka (RRP £45, www.spitfireheritagedistillers.com) which is named after the company that created the Spitfire. The vodka – which is the base of the gin before the botanicals are added – is getting rave reviews.
My exclusive tasting revealed a vodka which is soft, lusciously creamy, rich, balanced and laced with vanilla. I sipped on its own with chunks of ice. You don’t need anything else.
Number 2 Thing: Spitfire Heritage Gin (also RRP £45 from Wine Rack shops – and now in-store and online at Harrods) supports the Spitfire Heritage Trust and I was invited to a cross-country Armed Forces Day toast on June 24 as tribute to our servicemen and women.
The historic Sky Toast began at the 34th floor of a restaurant in Liverpool, the Panoramic, when Susan Morgan MBE, the Royal Navy’s longest-serving female sailor, raised a glass with guests. It was a special day for Liverpool, with the city hosting The National Event.
The toast then rolled down to Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse and Bar in Birmingham where Bridget Donaldson, who has won the RAF Cadets’ most prestigious award, the Dacre Brooch, picked up the celebratory baton.
Finally, at the Coca Cola London Eye, Ian Hewitt, Spitfire Heritage Gin co-owner and founder, introduced Dame Mary Richardson. Dame Mary is patron of The Spitfire Heritage Trust and she raised the toast as a London Eye capsule soared upwards.
Across the country people raised a glass and in Liverpool we were lucky enough to enjoy a gin cocktail (or two). The Panoramic had created a special cocktail to mark the occasion – The Rhubarb Patrol. This is so named for the strafing sorties carried out by Spitfires over France in the war.
Very nice it was too; a special creation using rhubarb puree, rhubarb bitters, egg white, Grenadine, sours, sugar and Spitfire Hertage Gin. It was amazing to sip this cocktail and look out at the wonderful city of Liverpool and the World Heritage Three Graces beneath us. The gin itself uses botanicals as a tribute to wartime pilots; borage (for courage), rosemary (for remembrance), English rose petals (for the flowers of Britain who flew so bravely) and blood orange.
Over at Marco Pierre White’s another special cocktail had been created – The Spitfire Clover Club – using 25ml Spitfire Heritage Gin, 15ml lemon juice, 15ml raspberry syrup and an egg white.
It was a spirit-raising day in more ways than one.