We first visited the Cotswold Distillery back in January, we had been wanting to visit for a while after trying their gin (we like to think of ourselves as knowing a good gin when we taste it!). As we are based in Moreton-in-Marsh the distillery is just a short drive away. As you drive to the distillery through gorgeous Cotswolds countryside you are reminded that we are lucky enough to live in a true area of outstanding natural beauty which is exactly what Dan Szor thought when he settled on producing whisky in this area of the UK.
“During one of his family weekends in the Cotswolds, Dan woke up to a sunny morning which he spent staring through the window into a neighbouring barley field. Seeing the golden grain waving in the breeze, Dan had a brainwave “I suddenly thought, there’s barley all over the Cotswolds and nobody’s distilling it, let’s be the first!”
Dan Szor, the mastermind behind the Cotswold Distillery showed us around the distillery and talked us through the process of gin and whisky production; the highlight being getting to taste whisky straight from the still! If you have a spare morning or afternoon we definitely recommend going and doing the tour to get the full experience and see how much love and care goes in to making these wonderful artisan products.
As purveyors of great food and excellent service we had wanted to meet up with Dan to see how our passion for food and his passion for outstanding natural spirits could be paired in some way to create something lovely for folks of the Cotswolds. We often use gin and whisky in menus that we create for bespoke events and had been thinking for a while that both of these ingredients would help to create some lovely pickles and preserves. Some flavour combinations were quite obvious but we wanted to find a gin where the botanicals could inform the flavour of our products in more depth. Dan was able to talk us through the botanicals that are used at the Cotswolds Distillery and advise what he thought would create a good balance. The botanicals include juniper, coriander, angelica, black pepper, cardamom, bay leaf and Cotswolds lavender as well as generous amounts of pink grapefruit and lime peel.
We went away and had a play about to develop the recipes; this took some time, especially getting the marmalade just right (venturing into preserves for the first time!). We gave a few samples out to friends and family to try – always our best critics! Finally we set upon making the final batches to be sold at the distillery. Five new flavours including 2 new preserves, all using either gin or whisky. After finalising our recipes we had to order more bottles as we had decided to produce our Whisky BBQ Sauce in a bottle rather than our usual jars. We also needed some lovely new labels to show this new range off so we asked our designer to produce something modern, stylish and in keeping with both our brand and The Cotswolds Distillery. We think she has done a sterling job!
So with the completed recipes, lovely labels and right bottles we have now finished producing the first full batch of our new range of pickles and preserves. Available to purchase from The Cotswold Distillery now. Also available at all our normal markets and food fairs.
Blueberry, Vanilla & Whisky Jam
Pink Grapefruit & Gin Marmalade
Fennel, Apple & Gin Chutney
Beetroot, Horseradish & Gin Relish
Whisky BBQ Sace
The distillery has previously been the venue for a couple of pop-up dinners so we thought why not pop up at another interesting venue! The distillery is a wonderful space that can host about 30 for a pop up evening while being somewhere a little different to your usual Friday night out. We wanted to make sure that any pop up we held at the distillery would involve these tremendous spirits and so we have created a menu that involves not only the gin and whisky created by the brains at Cotswolds Distillery but also using our lovely pickles and preserves utilise the spirits too. Our first two pop up evenings are going to be held on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th July 2016. Each evening we will be providing a four course tasting menu which will be accompanied by either a gin or whisky cocktail pairing for each course. Tickets are priced at £55 each and are available to purchase by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We can’t wait for the pop ups and hope to see you there!