Mike Carthy – Slingsby Gin
Made in the restorative spa town of Harrogate using – amongst its many botanicals – tea from Taylors of Harrogate, Slingsby Gin is a proudly Yorkshire inspired product with a huge sense of local pride. This year, Spirit of Harrogate added to their portfolio with a Navy Strength and a rhubarb edition of their gin and from the sounds of it, new releases aren’t going to stop anytime soon. We spoke with co-founder Mike Carthy to find out how the team go about innovating…
Why did you decide to make Rhubarb Gin? And how did you go about shaping the flavour?
We like to experiment and so created a range of flavoured gins that are stored in kilner jars in our store and Gin Experience in Harrogate. Visitors are welcome to come in to try these and we welcome any feedback. Our Rhubarb Gin was one of our kilner jar gins last December and proved so popular that we decided to launch a limited-edition batch that has now become a permanent member of the Slingsby family. We wanted to retain as many as the current characteristics of the London Dry gin whilst at the same time incorporate the sweet and delicate flavours of the rhubarb sourced from the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle.
It certainly helps to reinforce the provenance of where your gin is inspired by. What’s your favourite serve for the rhubarb edition?
What’s been your favourite infusion (that hasn’t made it into a bottle) up at the shop in Harrogate and why?
My favourite infusion is our barrel aged gin that is still under the development stage…visitors however can have a first try! We are looking to do a limited edition in the near future so watch this space!
Have their been any that just haven’t worked out at all?
No, we are very particular with ingredients that we choose and haven’t had any disasters…..yet!
You grow some of the botanicals for Slingsby Gin at Rudding Park – how did the collaboration come about and can visitors see it all when they tour around the garden?
It was important that we sourced as many of the botanicals as locally as possible to bring the ‘Spirit of Harrogate’ to life. We worked with Adrian – who looks after the Rudding Park Kitchen Garden and hand-picked the finest ingredients which were synonymous with the restorative nature of the spa town, Harrogate.
Launching the Navy Strength edition at Cowes Week must have been great fun. What other things have taken off for you guys this year?
Having launched in September last year, we had only planned to launch our London Dry Gin….we are now a year old and have launched our Rhubarb and Navy Strength Gin and also our very own Vodka. We’ve won 14 awards this year which we are extremely proud of and the team has grown quicker than we anticipated. Looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings!
Slingsby is very much built around celebrating the history of Harrogate – particularly the restorative properties of the spa town. Do you plan on playing with these theme in future e.g. by cramming a gin with medicinal botanicals?
Okay then… The bottle really stands out and reflects that spa heritage, whose idea was it and are you please with the result?
The bottle was inspired by an old apothecary bottle we found in a local antiques store in Harrogate. We feel it symbolises our brand and what we are about. The bottle was initially a sprayed blue but being perfectionists, we weren’t 100% happy with the result so it’s now a vibrant blue glass bottle which really stands out.
Lastly, what’s coming up in 2017?
There is hopefully our limited edition barrel aged gin but as we gain more feedback from our development gins, who knows, there may be a few more variants on the cards! We have also extended our sales efforts to the South, so we will hopefully be popping up in a few more bars and restaurants down there too.
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