The Newmarket Gin – A New Thoroughbred Among Artisans

newmarket gin

The 350th anniversary of racing at Newmarket has been celebrated with the birth of a new artisan gin, distilled in Newmarket by Master Distiller, Dr. John Walters, of the English Spirit Distillery.

Originally produced for the luxury Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa in Newmarket, The Newmarket Gin is handcrafted from local botanicals, including juniper, coriander, and Seville oranges, as well as locally sourced wild chives, Devil’s Dyke orchid petals and alfalfa that is fed to Newmarket’s thoroughbred racehorses.

John Walters, Master Distiller, explained the process of bottling the botanicals: “We started by looking at the very best in the marketplace and identified areas where we could massively improve the offering. Taking the classic botanical juniper, we add a citrus surround to create a deliciously complex finish.

Our greatest challenge was looking at the wonderful local offering and incorporating this into the product to create a truly Newmarket Gin.”

Nicknamed ‘The Squires Reserve’ after Captain George Baird, the original Squire of dubious reputation who once lived in and trained at the Bedford Lodge Stables, the gin’s English pedigree is reflected in its distinctive bottle design, inspired by the glory and ceremony of racing at Newmarket, coupled with the 1800’s photographic study of the running horse from pioneering English photographer Eadweard Muybridge.

The bottle is frosted and incorporates a binocular window on images of a racehorse storming to victory in one of the ‘Classics’ races at Newmarket. Every tiny detail of the bottle design has been meticulously considered by London based design agency Nude Brand Creation, including the refraction of light through the liquid and glass, giving the thoroughbred images a sense of dimension and movement.

Each numbered bottle is sealed with a real wooden stopper and sports a handmade leather collar in historic Newmarket Tan by the local firm Gibson’s Saddlers, with stitch detail and metal buttons to echo leather riding tackle which is then finished with a ribbon tag in the Newmarket stripe and labelled in a style reminiscent of a vintage betting slip. The Master Distiller’s signature is featured on the base of the bottle.

Mike Kean, Owner of Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, said: “This beautifully crafted gin, with its unique warmth and smooth flavour, is the perfect tribute to the historic town of Newmarket, steeped in the excitement and victory of the racecourse. It’s a purebred among new gins and will complement the collections and tastes of gin enthusiasts everywhere.”

The Newmarket Gin is available from Bedford Lodge Hotel & Spa, and from Corney and Barrow in Newmarket, in two small-batch lines. There are 350 Anniversary Newmarket Gin bottles, each with a rrp of £85; and a further 250 limited edition ‘Squires Reserve’ Original Newmarket Gin bottles with a rrp of £70 each. Gift boxes including the 350 Anniversary Newmarket Gin and two Darlington crystal tumblers are available for £150 each.

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English Spirit Distillery

Old Salt Rum

On my travels I sometimes come across the more localised distilleries, exhibiting themselves to consumers through markets and festivals, and being incredibly hands on to really market their range. Once such name that I’ve seen a fair bit of is the English Spirit Distillery. Over the last few months, I’ve been winding my way through their range of whisky, vodka, liqueurs and gin, writing tasting notes down in between sips and experiences. Now, I believe it is time to share, so follow me on a journey to the English countryside . . . .

The English Spirit Distillery is located within the village of Dullingham, Cambridgeshire, close to Newmarket. Using copper pot stills, the team produce small batch, seasonal produce and cover a wide range of categories.

But what is their range? Well below, I give to you the tasting notes of my experiences so far –

English Spirit Vodka – 54%

A sugar beet concentrated mash, distilled in a single step in a 200 litre copper pot still.
Very smooth on the nose and carries onto the palate where a slight sweetness mixes with butter. Creates a lingering finish.

English Spirit DistilleryEnglish Toffee Vodka – 26.5%

Fresh with aromas of light toffee and butter blending. Slightly sweet on the palate, with a light, buttery texture creating a short and slightly dry finish.

Dr J’s Gin – 45%

English Spirit Distillery is currently only one of three distilleries in the UK that make gin from scratch i.e. that make the vodka that is needed to begin the gin distillation. English Spirit is put within a 200 litre copper pot still. Juniper berries and five varieties of coriander and crushed macadamia nuts are thrown in and heated up. Over the course of this, fresh zests and other secret botanicals are inserted.
Very aromatic on the nose, with fresh coriander dominating. A slight spice on the palate, with a sweetness developing, alongside a warmth that offer a long, dry finish. A slight cocoa aroma to the end too.

Old Salt Rum – 42%

The only rum currently fermented and distilled in the UK, and named after the distillery venue.
Light caramel on the nose with hint of salt. Follows onto the palate, with a light caramel and vanilla mix which develops a warm, long, dry finish.

Spiced Old Salt Rum – 42%

Old Salt rum infused with raisins, vanilla pods and spices.
Very smooth with a dry spice on the nose. Spice mixes with toffee to offer a slightly dry finish.

English Spirit DistilleryExpedition 2 Malt Spirit – 42%

Using only English malted barley.
Light vanilla notes on the nose, with a spice offering coming through on the palate. Light on the finish, very smooth with a viscus honey texture.

Raspberry Liqueur – 25%

Light raspberry on the nose, with a rather bold finish. Very smooth on the palate, a velvet texture, but becoming a little dry and tart on the long finish.

English Sambuca – 42%

Re-distilled English Spirit with star anise and combine with English elderflower eau die vie and sugar from sugar beet to make the only English Sambuca.
Fresh, bold anise on the nose, but carries no harsh or bitterness on the palate. A sharp, aromatic anise hit arrives to create a long, mouthwatering finish.

Apple Brandy – 42%

Light with sweetness developing a bold finish on the nose. Very light on the palate to begin with, with a sharp, powerful hit following. Plenty of stewed apple flavours.

Not a bad range at all, and I can see why the stand always looks empty at the end of each festival! A lot of different and unique products to try, and expressions like the Old Salt rum, which just won the award for ‘Best Rum’ at the Hong Kong rum festival, are a rare treat. A couple for your drinks cabinet for sure.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.