Adnams launches range of handcrafted spirits

24 11 2010

Following on from 138 years of turning out excellent beers Southwold based brewer Adnams has recently launched it own range of artisan spirits.

Their recent opened Copper House distillery makes Adnams the first joint brewery and distillery in England, a pairing that is quite common on the continent.

Adnams handcrafted gin and vodka are now available for sale on the Adnams Website and from any of the 10 Adnams Cellar and Kitchen stores. These initial offerings will be joined by whiskey after a 3 year maturation in oak casks.

Chairman Jonathan Adnams OBE said: “We have been brewing great beers in Southwold since 1872, and our business now incorporates five hotels, 70 pubs, ten Adnams Cellar & Kitchen stores as well as our online store. Hand crafted spirits are the next exciting step in our journey and we are proud to add distilling to our expertise.

“Small scale distillation produces spirits of a quality and character that far surpass mass-produced products”

Adnams are keen to promote the fact that all of the grains being used in the distillation of their spirits are locally grown in East Anglia all of which is in keeping with Adnams tradition of being one of the most ecologically friendly brewers around.

If there spirits are anything like their beers then I look forward to getting my hands on a couple of bottles and wish them the very best of luck.

The pot still

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Sloe Gin

21 10 2010

I love sloe gin.

That isn’t really a trendy statement for a 20 something man to say but I say two fingers to what is and isn’t trendy, sloe gin is great.

To me it looks and tastes like Christmas in a bottle, not that it can’t be enjoyed at other times of the year as well.

For those who don’t know the sloe is the fruit of the Blackthorn, a lovely spikey hedgerow tree that grows like a weed. Sloes are roughly marble sized bluey/purple berries that are at their very best in October/November ideally just after the first frost.

Seeing as Blackthorn is so prolific in hedgerows throughout the UK and Ireland you can very easily bag yourself several pounds of delicious, sweet and most importantly free berries whilst still leaving ample for birds and fellow humans.

To give an example at the beginning of October 2009 we picked 8 3/4 lb of sloes from the hedges and bushes at the side of the River Lea between Springfield Marina and Stonebridge Lock.

As well as being one of my favourite tipples; Sloe gin also makes a great Christmas present, especially in the present economic climate.

Here is how to make your own Sloe Gin:

Buy several litres of cheap gin, we are talking the sort of stuff that they sell as own brand in Tesco or Asda.

You could waste your money buying the very best gin possible but the sloes will be completely changing the flavour of it and you really don’t need to

You will also need to get your hands on some extra 1 litre spirits bottles or ideally a nice glass demijohn.

First things first wash your sloes and get rid of any stray leaves and twigs that might be caught up with them, not to mention any unwanted visitors such as bugs or flies.

In order to get the best results out of your sloes you need to release the juices that are locked inside them. You can do this a number of ways, you can prick them with a pin/fork, gently squish them between your fingers or pop them in the freezer until they split.

Once you have prepared your sloes you are ready to begin, empty the gin from one bottle to the other/the demijohn so that each bottle is only half full.

Fill each bottle with sloes until the gin has been displaced enough that it is nearly at the top of the bottle.

Using a funnel add approx 150g of white sugar to each bottle.

*If you are using a demijohn then adjust the amount of sugar accordingly, for example if there are 2 litres of gin in the demijohn you will need 4 times the amount of sugar(600g)*

Once all of the bottles are filled and ready pop the caps on them and tip them upside down, be very careful if you are trying to do this with a demijohn.

Each bottle will need to be upended in this fashion once a day for the first week, after this point you will need to upend each bottle once a week for the next two months.

After two months your sloe gin will be ready to drink, I would advise though that you leave your sloe gin for longer. The gin that I will be drinking this year was made last year, the difference that the extra ten months or so makes is very noticeable.








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