Greenall’s Sloe Gin:Try these four warming winter cocktail ideas with new gin

Greenalls Sloe Gin cocktails

I visited Greenall’s Distillery and met Master Distiller Joanne Moore who has crafted a gin which can be sipped on its own (I did that) or enjoyed in a cocktail (I did that too).

Greenall’s Sloe Gin (RRP £18, amazon.co.uk,  26% abv) is a new kid on the block just in time for frosty nights and frosty toes.

The nose is heady with almonds and cherries – it reminded me of those little Mr Kipling slices.  My tour was punctuated  with some tasty sloe gin cocktails. created by Greenall’s gin curator Alix Walker.

Here’s some of them:


Greenall’s 1761 Royale

You need: 25ml Greenall’s Sloe Gin; 50ml prosecco; a blackberry to garnish and sprig of rosemary. Make it: Pour the fizz over ice in a coupe glass. Lightly bruise the rosemary then drop in the glass.  Slowly pour in the gin so it sinks to the bottom.  Sip and occasionally stir with the rosemary.

Greenalls Sloe Gin
Greenalls 1761 Royale cocktail

Greenall’s Edward’s Breakfast

You need: 50ml of Greenall’sSloe Gin, ginger ale, lime wedges. Make it: Fill a rocks glass with ice and pour in the sloe gin. Squeeze and drop in the lime wedges. Top with ginger ale.
(As you can see, this was perfect with canapes)

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Greenall’s Edward’s Breakfast

Greenall’s Sloe Time

You need: 50mls Greenall’s Sloe Gin, 150ml cloudy lemonade, sprig of thyme, lemon slice. Make it: Fill a tall glass with ice, pour in the sloe gin. Slowly pour in the cloudy lemonade or (lemon tonic water). Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a lemon slice.

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Greenall’s Sloe Time

Take It Sloe Toddy:

You need: 50ml Greenall’s Sloe Gin, 100ml cloudy apple juice, 50ml orange juice, two cloves and a cinnamon stick. Make it: Pour the gin into a cup then gently warm the  apple juice and orange juice with the cloves and cinnamon stick. Carefully pour into the cup. over the gin. Garnish with an orange wheel and a cinnamon stick.
(I forgot to take a picture #doh …but here’s one the Greenall’s team prepared)

Greenall's Sloe Gin
Take It Sloe Toddy

Follow Greenalls Sloe Gin ideas via the Twitter hashtag #takeitsloe


How Greenalls Sloe Gin is made

Joanne Moore has followed the traditional method of gin-making at Greenalls; there’s a basic secret recipe known only to Joanne and the master distillers before her; then the sloe berries are added and mixed by hand. The maceration of the berries in the gin takes eight weeks. The original gin is based on eight botanicals  – juniper, coriander, angelica, orris, almind, cassia bark, lemon peel and liquorice root. Discover more at www.greenallsgin.com

Spitfire Heritage Gin takes spirit of icon to soar to new heights

Spitfire Heritage Gin

There’s a new gin on the block, Spitfire Heritage Gin. Yeh, right, you say. There’s new gins created every day.  A butterfly flutters its wings somewhere in the world and lo! there’s a new gin.

There’s certainly wings involved in this new single estate botanical gin as it is inspired by the wartime terrier of the skies … the Spitfire.

Judging by first impressions it could soar to dizzy heights.

Spitfire Heritage Gin is the brainchild of Lancastrian Ian Hewitt, a designer by trade and inspirational by nature.  Just four months ago, Christmas 2015, he and his wife Sarah began to tease out an idea of creating a new gin with the spirit of the Spitfire at its heart.

You might think they had their heads in the clouds, but a few weeks later a master distiller has created the gin; wartime-retro branding has been designed and printed; and best of all, Spitfire Heritage Gin has won a UK and international distributor and is to be sold by Wine Rack (RRP £45).

Wine Rack’s Head of Retail Operations, Haydn Hicks says of the gin: “A fantastic product and a great story that sells itself within the British psyche. An iconic brand that I believe will set new precedents in the industry.”

Pretty amazing.   And it all began with a book.

Ian, from Mawdesley, wrote a story for his own children,  the Ghost of Cameron Crowe, about a granddad who has a Spitfire hidden in his shed.

The Ghost of Cameron Crow -Spitfire Heritage Gin
The Ghost of Cameron Crow

When Ian decided to publish he checked technical details with Spitfire expert David Spencer Evans. That began a connection which saw them launch the Spitfire Heritage Trust and years later, with the Spitfire at its heart, it is helping communities and young people both in the UK and in Africa.

Through his work with the trust Ian has realised that the Spitfire is an icon which both resonates and motivates people across the world and all generations.

He told me: “A Spitfire is a very special thing. It hasn’t been tainted like the Union Jack, the flag of St George or the British Bulldog.

“People talk about 1966 and they go ooohhh aaahh, that was amazing when England won the Cup. But when the Spitfire won the  Battle of Britain, they didn’t win a cup. They won this nation’s right to continue under its own identity. That’s a bit more than a cup. And that’s why people still go glassy-eyed.”

The Spitfire is a very powerful brand and Ian asked himself what was the “quintessential English product” he could pin that to. His instinct was gin.

Spitfire Heritage Gin Ian Hewitt
Ian Hewitt

So began his journey to create Spitfire Heritage Gin but Ian wanted to do the Spitfire justice.

Says Ian:  “You can’t pay tribute to the Spitfire with a mediocre gin. That wouldn’t feel right. It would have a limited lifespan and would just be an all-right gin with a cool label. I didn’t want that. I wanted a top gin with a cool label.

“The Spitfire allows you to punch higher than your weight.  I started looking around to see who was making the best gin and was introduced to John Walters.”

John is an award-winning single estate distiller.  He was a geneticist and developed a wheat suited to the distilling industry.  He now grows wheat, harvests it, and distills it in Cambridgeshire.

Ian shared his vision with John.  He wanted a gin which harnessed the spirit of the 30s, a retro gin which would also represent the heritage of the Spitfire.

Distiller John embraced that vision and on February 29, Leap Year’s Day,  Ian and Sarah took their own leap into the future by tasting the new gin expression created by John. Botanicals include juniper, two types of orange, almonds and borage alongside coriander, rosemary, star anise and rose petals.

They loved it. Their dream was finally taking off.

The next step in the Spitfire Heritage Gin journey was the labelling and marketing. They brought in another partner Denise France, and the Hewitts turned to French artist Romain Hugault whose passion is aviation illustration.

Says Ian: “I commissioned him to come up with a character and Bunny was created. She’s an Air Transport Auxiliary girl – the  ATA girls delivered newly-built unarmed Spitfires by flying them to the wartime airbases, knowing that Messerschmitts were out there hunting Spitfires. They were amazing women.”

Spitfire Heritage Gin
Spitfire Heritage Gin

Bunny is Spitfire Heritage Gin’s launch label and over time Romaine will create more labels, and  in themselves they could become collectable.

Now then, down to business, what of the Spitfire Heritage Gin?

I sipped it with Ian, Sarah and Denise; and Ian was taking no prisoners. He asked us to start by tasting it neat.

He explained why. “I want to encourage people to start drinking gin with the reverence you assign to a whisky. This is delicious – there’s not many gins on the market that can stand to be drunk as pure as this.”

Ian is right. The gin is soft on the nose, an enticing citrus bomb within a liquorice cloud. Orange takes centre stage; my senses were pulled from memories of  Southern Comfort to Cointreau; to the orange tease you find inside some Christmas puddings. Natural borage oil helps to distribute the botanicals through the gin, so there isn’t a soapy, chemical “linger” on the nose which you can get from some gins.

Spitfire Heritage Gin
A twizzle of rosemary in Spitfire Heritage Gin

There’s a seek-me-out underlying citrus vibe in the mouth and when you stir the gin with a twig of rosemary, the herb notes tickle to life and rise in the glass, as if you’ve just brushed against them in a herb garden. The texture on the tastebuds is soft, velvety, with a  creamy nut-feel.

Sarah Hewitt is very happy. She says simply: “I love gin, it’s the best gin I’ve ever tasted. This has been such a short quick journey but  I feel proud. Very, very proud and delighted.”


Follow updates from Spitfire Heritage Gin via its Facebook page here or on www.spitfireheritagegin.com
Learn more about the Spitfire Heritage Trust and the work it is doing to support communities in Lesotho and the UK here.
Distributer is Hammonds of Knutsford