“I really enjoy our range of lagers and speciality beers but Gin has always been my first love! Back in 2008 I first had the idea to develop our own Gin but running the brewery and a third daughter put my plans on hold until 2010 when I started to research the project in earnest. We nicknamed the project “GAVIN”, Gin and Vodka Introduction and began developing the Original Cotswold Gin and Vodka; the True Spirit of The Cotswolds.

When developing the Original Cotswold Gin we wanted to chose flavours that reflected our heritage and our home; botanicals (being the correct term for ingredients in gin) that really encapsulate and evoke the spirit of the Cotswolds.

The Vodka and gin are distilled from barley, not cheaper molasses or potatoes. Our Vodka is lovingly distilled 5 times to enrich its flavours and to make it really smooth.

With the gin we started our quest by tasting many, many different gins; which was great fun! We visited Gin bars and tried different brands and even had dinner parties with friends to taste different styles of gin. Since I prefer lime as a citrus note we decided to use lime peel rather than lemon and to recommend that people serve our gin with a slice of lime. Once I had decided upon the citrus note we had to decide on the other flavours. Juniper was a given and the distiller recommended coriander and oris root as 2 other traditional base flavours for gin.

We wanted to achieve a rich, moreish flavour that was distinctive but not too overpowering. Following our gin tasting quest, we had a list of potential ingredients so we then had to trial these botanicals on their own to sample the flavours individually. This was product development at its simplest; no expensive labs and fancy equipment for us!

We wanted to use a hop as a nod to our brewing heritage; so we chose a low alpha hop because it would be less bitter; we selected Hersbrucker and Styrian Goldings for the trial.

We trialled ingredients from our doorstep (literally):
Verbena was picked from our cottage garden; it grows out of control and I was fed up with having to dig it up because it was a nuisance. What better use for it than in a delicious G&T?

Hawthorn bushes grow around the brewery paddock. The sight of the white blossoms bursting into life around the edges of the fields and along the narrow lanes of the Cotswolds always fill me with joy because they are the promise that Spring is around the corner. They give an interesting earthy note.

What could be more traditionally Cotswold than Lavender? We steeped lavender picked from our garden but we chose not to use it because we just couldn’t get past the mental block that it tasted like Granny’s soap!

Roses are the quintessential English cottage garden flower, however in our tasting we felt that they overpowered the other flavourings too much and evoked memories of the Neal’s Yard Facial toner my sister gave me one Christmas!

So after all the trials and much Gin drinking, we settled upon Juniper, Coriander, Oris Root, lime, lemon peel, hops, Hawthorn Berries and verbena as the key elements of The Spirit of The Cotswolds.”

MD of The Cotswold Brewing Co and wife of brewer Rick