Inspiration for our soon-to-be launched In the Welsh Wind gin comes from the rich heritage of Wales. Oranges and currants might not, at first look, feel like ‘Welsh’ ingredients – but a dive into the recent past of this wild west coast, where we live and distil, shows that West Wales played a key part in the availability of these exotic ingredients on our shores.
New Quay. Just up the coast from the distillery. A fine sea wall to stroll along, to eat hot chips, slicked in salt and vinegar, on. To race to the end and catch crabs from. To shelter from the wind, to stare out to sea, to catch a glimpse (or more) of a dolphin tail, as it flicks a cheeky salute.
Picture perfect on a fine day, tourists amble and yachts clink and sigh on the tide. Yet look behind the veneer cast by the sun’s rays, and catch a glimpse of the bustling port that New Quay once was. A hive of activity: shipbuilding, sail making, ropewalks, blacksmiths, and a foundry, sea-going trading vessels put into port. Boats unloading, re-stocking, and departing once again, their crews no doubt making free with the taverns of the town in between times. The clear evidence of this industrious past is there for those that choose to look for it. Import and export tolls still posted up on a harbour building in New Quay tell of ordnance, gunpowder and lead; Of paints, horn and ivory; Of tobacco, tea, feathers and hemp. Of sugar, oranges and currants.
These are flavours synonymous with Wales – admittedly not native, they are deeply ingrained in Welsh culture through the humble yet magnificent welsh cake.
Staples of the Welsh palate
The ultimate welsh treat. Wales can be slow to show off, and the welsh cake, in all its modesty, is the embodiment of this on a plate. Neither biscuit nor scone, handmade, griddle cooked. Sweet, with a hint of fruit and spice – but not overly so. There’s no flounce or frill with a welsh cake – it’s just deliciously satisfying.
With the introduction of such luxuries as currants, sugar and oranges directly into Wales from ports such as New Quay, is it any wonder that it didn’t take long for these ingredients to be incorporated, however sparingly, into these picau ar y maen. History tells that the relative robustness and convenient size of the Welsh cake meant that they soon found their way into the lunch packs of the Welsh miners: sweetness and comfort from home, a hint of exoticism from abroad, in the unrelentingly grim surroundings of the coalface. Coal mined in Wales powered the industrial revolution – and welsh cakes powered the miners who mined the coal.
Distilling Wales into In the Welsh Wind gin
In creating the botanical profile for our inaugural In the Welsh Wind gin, we were keen to capture this spirit – this industrious past, the hint of the exotic, the comfort of the familiar coupled with a delicious magnificence of flavour – a highlight in a dark or difficult day.
As always, there’s a balance to be struck. The traditional juniper flavours that are, after all, key to a gin, sing from our berries. Overtones of orange, with the hint of sweetness from cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves harmonise well. But think less Welsh male voice choir, more sweet, lilting folk song, something that hints of a past, that calls to mind flavours, evokes memories, and above all is a joy to drink.
Paired with tonic, over ice, or simply a measure in a glass to sip and savour. We’re super-excited about our inaugural In the Welsh Wind Gin.