Warner’s Farmed & Foraged Gin
With whispers about our collaboration with Warner’s stirring since Junipalooza, we’re excited to be able to finally reveal what it is we’ve been up to down on the farm. Yep – you probably guessed right – it’s a Gin! A very limited gin that has been months in the making (and years in the growing).
There has been talk of seed packets and competitive apple mint growing brewing amongst the Gin geek community on social media for months, so pour yourself a G&T and sit down for a catch-up as we explain how you can get involved in our #DelayedGratification project.
Farmed & Foraged Gin
As the name suggests, Warner’s Farmed & Foraged Gin is a release that celebrates a sense of place, as well as the process in which it is made. It’s about growing the ingredients that you use and working with what’s around you by nurturing the environment to create the fullest possible harvest.
The gin itself is a fresh, piney and woody London Dry Gin with hints of toasted spice on the finish. It’s made with botanicals grown and foraged from the distillery itself. Delicious in a G&T or Negroni, the flavours capture the experience of a walk through the surroundings of the Harrington based distillery. Dig deeper though, and we hope you’ll also come to see that it stands for so much more than just a tasty gin, and that it is the embodiment of something that’s far more satisfying to savour.
We’ve long wanted for more to be made of the broader picture of flavour creation than the specifics of how one flavour pairs with another. Don’t misunderstand us, we love geeking out about any given botanical, but the next frontier for gin makers isn’t discovering something new and crazy, it’s looking at how the wider environment fits into flavour creation and augmenting that to suit (and indeed improve) the intended result. The next stage isn’t necessarily looking at where something is grown, but at how it is grown in order to derive the exact profile desired, and to do so in a sustainable, holistic way.
So much is made about distilling the ideal balance or creating perfect pairings, but very little is done about beginning that process at a much earlier stage, before the seeds have even hit the dirt. If, as gin enthusiasts, we want distillers to take flavour creation to the next level both environmentally and taste wise, that must surely include looking at the source.
The Farmed & Foraged Gin is made with this in mind. It explores both the challenges and the creative necessities of growing your own, showcasing that journey to the fullest. We want it to hold universal appeal, too – this isn’t just a challenge for distillers but for drinkers, too… grow your own garnishes! Why not?
The distilling brief we gave Warner’s was to only use botanicals that were located within a bee’s flight of the still – some three-mile radius. To do so, the team chose to forage some existing ingredients, as well as plant others and wait for them to come to fruition, timing it all to come together for August.
The challenge for you, the drinker, is to see if you can delay your gratification for long enough to grow your own apple mint, which is why a pack of seeds is attached to every bottle.
Making the Gin
To best explore the idea of sustainability and working with the ingredients before harvesting them (either wild or farmed), the first thing we had to accept are the harsh realities of working within agricultural time frames and seasons. There are limitations as to what can actually grow, let alone the challenges of making it taste better than what you can buy in for cheaper. There are opportunities when doing this, though, and the process that has gone in to the Farmed and Foraged release embodies that.
Explaining the gin, Tina Warner said: “We make massive efforts to be sustainable in as many of the botanicals we use as we can. For example – we grow all the lemon verbena, lemon thyme and lemon balm we use for our Lemon Balm Gin. The Farm & Foraged Gin is a release that is an extreme of that ideal and a celebration of the process we most cherish about being a farm grown gin company.”
Farmed & Foraged Gin is a deliberate reflection of the place in which it was born. It highlights both what’s there already and what’s being developed on the land. It is a symbiotic loop of encouraging sustainable growth and creating a haven for pollination that can help nurture better flavour creation.
Echoing this further, Tina Warner says: “We feel like this gin highlights the efforts we’re already making with conservation, to ensure there is a better, more sustainable cycle of flavour creation. It has also helped us understand how to continue pushing that partnership with nature to the next level too, looking at how to boost flavours and at which plants help others grow.”
There were over twenty trials just to get the botanical roster finalised, and another twenty or so to finesse the recipe into something beautifully balanced. By forcing a set parameter on what can be used, we promoted a level of creativity that probably would never have happened otherwise. Not having citrus, coriander seed or angelica for example (all so fundamental to many gins), was a problem but also a unique opportunity to explore other combinations and substitutions.
To create Farmed & Foraged Gin, we used freshly picked lemon thyme and lemon verbena. There’s also dried lavender, freshly picked chamomile – leaves and Bee pollen from the hives at the distillery. There’s also green juniper from the bushes that have been deliberately planted there, as well as dandelion root that grows wild across the lesser used patches of the farm. Last but not least, there is toasted Applewood (which is blow torched in what can only be described as a ‘rustic’ method…).
For the sake of full transparency, we’ve also added in juniper from further afield. While there’s mountains of green juniper in the mix – arguably more palpable that the regular variety – we feel a certain responsibility to ensure that juniper is the leading flavour in any Gin we’re involved with. The only way to achieve that was to add a little extra from elsewhere. Sustainable living is fallible, and whilst we tried as hard we could, importing the berries helped to add context to the scale of the challenge ahead.
When poured neat, complex fresh herbs lead the way, with verbena wafting up on the nose. To taste, zingy lemon thyme and chamomile flourish at first, before giving way to a bright, sappy juniper. There’s a floral waxy sweetness that underlies the mix, but it’s the toasted coffee-like spice that evolves alongside the pine on the finish and brings the journey back to an earthy, almost woodland feel. It has a huge mouthfeel perfect for a G&T with a sprig of mint as a garnish in a G&T. Talking of which…
Grow your own garnish
It might seem like a strange thing to ask you to grow your own garnish, but it’s a challenge we hope you’ll relish. The #DelayedGratification message isn’t just a catchphrase, we’re quite literally delaying your gratification. The Farmed & Foraged Gin is a two step process. When you order from this exceedingly limited batch, the first thing you’ll receive is a packet of seeds, which which you can grow your very own garnish.
Around 10 days later, when that seed starts to sprout, you’ll receive your gin. Sure, you can taste is straight away, but imagine how much better it will taste when garnished with the apple mint you grew in your very own window?
This is about creating a unique flavour that’s not attainable by quick convenience. Shop bought mint works, sure, but put the plastic clad, well-travelled, ready-cut sprig down for a second and try it with the apple mint that you’ve grown from scratch. The subtle tones and delicate tinge of fruit make a huge difference!
The grow your own garnish (and, indeed, botanicals) approach is a response to the fact that we live in a fast moving, demanding world. One that prioritises the new and the now, getting over giving and end product over process. It’s time to reverse the trend a little; to delay gratification and grow something that only time and care can create. Growing your own garnish is a small thing but it builds to be something that’s far greater than the sum of its parts. Sustainability must surely start with oneself. It’s about taking a moment and adding back more than what you take.
All of these factors help add both meaning and secondary subtle flavours into each measure, an important yet often overlooked part of enjoying a fantastic and memorable G&T.
Continuing the various charity connections of all Warner’s gins – we (Warner’s and Gin Foundry) will put our money where our mouth is for this too. To encourage more people to take part in cultivating something further, helping the pollinators and appreciating real botanicals, be it for gin or not, we have teamed up with Social Farms & Gardens, a charity that support thousands of grass roots projects across the UK with key advice, training and information.
A portion of the proceeds from each bottle are donated in support of their ongoing projects to transform lives, connect people, put pride back into communities and improve health and well-being though planting and gardening programmes.
Fundamentally, we hope that you will enjoy the grow your own process but we also hope that it will help connect you the intentions of a what’s been driving this collaboration and what’s been imbued into this phenomenal gin.
The Bigger Picture
Be it from the distillery team or for you, the drinker, the aspiration for this release is to encourage all of us to stop and think about the bigger picture for a minute – to ask what is important and how to augment what matters to you.
For Warner’s, what matters to them is to continue to make world class gins whilst improving the loop that goes into creating the very ingredients that are being used to deliver the ultimate moment of satisfaction. For us, the simple act of growing a garnish has forced us to think in a more versatile way about flavour pairings, as well as to appreciate the nuances that each ingredient brings.
Whatever it is for you, we hope that it helps you enjoy a moment where it’s clear that from people, to process, to produce and end product, if you stop with the rat race for a second and look around, we are nourished, nurtured and entertained by an amazing world that we should be trying to be encourage more sustainable, holistic thinking about.
Especially if it can be done with a G&T in hand…
The Farm and Foraged Gin is exclusively available to Gin Kiosk, order yours now:
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