It’s safe to say that gin is having a bit of a moment, isn’t it? The drink once much maligned for the poor state of society a couple of hundred years ago is now everyone’s favourite. Which suits me fine since I love a G&T (with fever tree tonic, to be completely on trend of course). On our visit to the Cotswolds, Mr D very cleverly discovered the Cotswolds Distillery who offer tours and tastings so off I went.
Close to popular beauty spots such as Stow-on-the-Wold and the Daylesford farm, the Cotswolds Distillery shop is open to the public daily. You can purchase their world-beating Cotswolds Dry Gin, recently voted ‘The Best London Dry Gin’ at the World Gin Awards, as well as a Cotswolds Cream Liqueur (similar to Baileys) and the Cotswolds Absinthe, amongst others. There’s also a very exciting countdown to the full development of their first whisky which will be ready in October and is now available as a single malt spirit. Confused? So was I, but the tour explains it all.
The shop, tasting room and facilities are housed in the prettiest yellow stone building. With ample parking and picturesque cottage garden, it’s an idyllic location and even Maddie was able to stretch her legs in the field behind. Also available for purchase are various cocktail recipe books, pretty glassware and other merchandise so it’s a great little location for unique gifts.
The tours take place twice a day and are fairly exclusive so you do need to pre-book. Happening at 11am and 3pm each day, they take between one hour and 90 minutes. Beginning with a short video which tells what inspired owner Dan to open a distillery back in 2014, as well as information about the gin and whisky making process, the tour then moves to the distillery itself.
I have to admit, I had no idea that there was such a precise and scientific process involved in the production of alcohol. I just take it for granted that there is always something tasty available whenever a drink is needed. Whisky, in the purest sense of the word, cannot be called or sold as that, until 3 years and 1 day after production has begun, which takes us very nearly to the date in October when the Costwolds Distillery will be able to sell their first batch of whisky. These are exciting times.
Whilst whisky isn’t my bag at all (no matter how many times I’ve tried or people have told me I haven’t taste the right one), gin on other hand is just so tasty. With a base of juniper, coriander and angelica root which is left for 12 hours, this particular gin is then flavoured with a unique botanical mix of Cotwolds lavender and bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper and cardamom seed before being finished with naturally refined Cotswolds water.
It’s very clear that everyone who works at the Cotswolds Distillery is totally passionate about what they do and producing such a highly crafted product is no mean feat. We were then shown the warehouse where barrels as far as the eye could see were stored. There’s something so refreshing in this modern age to understand an age-old process which is then housed in ancient barrels. All of which of course help to infuse the taste and colour.
At the end of the tour we returned to the tasting room which literally resembled my dream country house living room. Leather chairs, plump sofas, a wood burner and rich autumnal colours. Our group were then given a pub measure of the gin to sample. Neat first of all, followed by the addition of an ice cube and then some tonic. All very enjoyable and I *may* have sampled some of the cream liquer and their version of a sherry, but definitely not brave enough for absinthe.
I absolutely recommend this as a lovely way to spend a couple of hours if you’re in the area. Tickets for the Cotswolds Distillery tour cost between £6 and £10 and the gin costs £34.95 a bottle. This isn’t a review, just an experience I’ve paid for, loved and wanted to share.