Sloemotion Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberry – Modern Pink Gin Done Right

I first discovered Sloemotion at a Gin Festival. The stand was manned by the lovely Adam Cook, who had previously worked for Masons. I was immediately intrigued. One of the many gin companies to explode out of Yorkshire in the last few years, their essence is not just whimsical, it’s really rather charming.

Sloemotion are a family business, run by Brothers  Joff and Jules Curtoys. Based at Greens Farm, Barton-le-Willows in North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire countryside is the fertile soil in which their ideas are grown, as well as the sloes and hedgerow fruit that embody the concept of their gins. Beginning with liqueurs over a decade ago, in 2017 they put this idyllic thought into a gin, utilising local botanicals such as rosehips, crab apples and sloe stones to give a rich fruit and elderflower, nettle leaf and wildflower, to add a floral element to the classic London Dry ingredients. Hedgerow Gin was born.

I love their integrity and the romanticism in the inspiration. I could liken it to Cotswolds Distillery. I visited them a couple of years ago and fell for them rather heavy indeed. You can read about that here, although I will add they have done an extraordinary amount in the last couple of years that was still a glimmer in their eyes when I visited.

Sloemotion have a lot to boast. They’ve won 11 Great Taste gold stars, one for each year in business, which is a great achievement. There are also medals from World Gin Awards, Yorkshire’s White Rose Awards and the International Spirits Challenge. So, now I’ve laid that out, I’m sure you can appreciate my excitement at receiving their latest creation and second gin in their collection of products. Now, please remain calm, quiet at the back. It’s pink. It’s 40%. It’s Sloemotion Hedgerow Gin with Rhubarb and Raspberries.

We were keen to champion this iconic Yorkshire product; so a gin with rhubarb was an obvious step forward following the success of our Hedgerow Gin” said Joff Curtoys – “We have been careful not to overshadow the gentle flavours of our Hedgerow Gin with the rhubarb; the result is a delightfully light taste, with a pleasant  fruitiness – just perfect with an elderflower tonic.”

The design of the bottle is exquisite, drawing a lovely response when posted on my Instagram. Designed by Leeds based team Zeppo Creative, it comprises a hand drawn sketch of the Blackthorn blossom that lines the lanes and fields in early April and a 6 pointed label that reflects the original 6 hedgerow botanicals in the Hedgerow Gin.

HGRR Web crop

I have high hopes for this. Everything that comprises a good gin to me is singing from their page. Integrity of concept, transparency of process, and gosh, the appeal. The boom in pink gin has been troublesome to some. Originally pink gin was gin (often Navy Strength), with bitters, which gave it the pink hue. So, this newly evolved sweet and colourful cousin that has been flying off the shelves to all those that love a bit of pink, has seemed a cheap idea based around profit to some of the more traditionalist drinkers. This gin, to me, has real potential to take this and turn it into something real, something sincere. As I write this, my fingers tremble at the thought of the industry turning away and narrowly avoiding the iceberg of gimmick that it was heading towards. They may also be trembling because I’m excited about trying what could be a wonderful gin.

I always start neat. As a spirits judge that’s my go to, to get to the heart of the spirit before anything else is added. Pouring it out into the glass I am really rather taken aback by the colour. It’s very delicate, loyal to the flavour. On the nose there is the gentlest whisper on the breeze, a suggestion of the flavours that exist under the surface. Subtle juniper notes, sweet fruit and delicate floral. On the palate the flavour pops open in the mouth. A budding flower unfolds it’s petals to reveal fresh rhubarb moving into a tart raspberry, playing footsie with juniper as it lingers on the tongue. The deliciousness eventually dissipates away with the gentle fizz of sherbert.

So lets try it with some tonic. The recommended serve is with elderflower tonic, raspberry and mint. Lordy. I would probably suggest adding the tonic slowly and testing it to make sure you get the right balance. When a gin is this delicate it can be lost if not careful. I went with apple garnish and it worked great. I can see this in a big pitcher with apple, raspberry, mint, topped up with sparkling water. Bring on the summer.

HGRR Small Square Web

This is a very specific gin. The clever thing, is that this is a very specific gin that will appeal to a wide audience. The juniper is present, and holds its weight amongst the fruit. However, it is subtle. We must address that. There’s no big slap of pine that some gin drinkers twitch for a hit of. However, if there was, then this rather gorgeous creation wouldn’t work. The whole thing is in harmony, the levels of the flavour buzzing around like the birds and bees pottering around the flowers in a lazy sun. Everything is as it should be, subtle, gentle and natural. Those gin drinkers out there that are being led wayward into the realm of brash colours, flavours and sugar have something beautiful here that can return them to the quiet country lanes and to a place of earnest gin. In the new world of pink gin, this gin has shown what is possible. It’s set the bar. It’s a landmark for it’s style.

Sloemotion obviously knew I was going to like this before I tried it, as they’ve organised something a little special for you lovely readers, a discount code ‘GINFLUENCE10’ that gets you 10% off an entire order from their site www.sloemotion.com. The offer is running from today until 28th February. Obviously Valentine’s Day is around the corner and the pink colour would make this a great gift for any gin fan, the gin itself, more so. Bravo. Sloemotion. Bravo.

 

The Folkore Collection – Stirling Gin

One of the things that really hooked me into gin in the first instance was the enormous wealth of stories. It was all the history, the incredible tales that were being unearthed by distillers and brought to the public eye as the heart and soul of their product. Stirling gin have created a lovely little thing with their folklore collection, two delightful offerings in the form of gin liqueurs that have been born through two fantastic old stories.

The first is the Red Cap, a delicious gin liqueur made with Stirling’s own gin and Scottish raspberries.

If you meet a wicked Red Cap on your walk through the countryside you may find yourself spirited away to the fairy realm, a place of ghosts, magic and bloody mischief. We just hope you can find your way back.

The legend of the red cap comes from border folklore set around the Anglo-Scottish borders. The Red Cap was said to be a short, thick man, also said to be a goblin. He tended to inhabit castles on the border that had experienced wickedness or tyranny. The red of the cap comes from the act of soaking up blood of his victims. Apparently if you are unlucky enough to come across this creature, you can drive him away by quoting scripture and he’ll burst into flames leaving a tooth where he once stood. You can find out more about him here.

20181018_2057422194352723493286901.jpg

Well the drink itself. 25.5% and a vivid red, which as you can see from the photo is not far from the red of the raspberries themselves. I kept it simple, pouring it over ice with a few raspberries for good measure. The raspberry taste is very natural and you also get a heavy hit of juniper which along with the ABV, gives the liqueur a lively punch. There is a slight viscosity to it and it’s a wonderfully rich drink over a a good amount of ice. The recommendation is over ice or in a bit of bubbly and I was most disappointed that my house is currently bubbly free, as I believe it would excel as a combination.

As for the Green Lady, this is a more unusually flavoured bramble and mint liqueur.

Often seen in the grounds of Stirling Castle, the ghost of the Green Lady likes to watch the townspeople go about their business. Once an attendant of Mary Queen of Scots, she perished in a fire while saving her Queen.

The Green Lady is a sad tale from Stirling Castle of a young highland girl who attend Mary Queen of Scots. She was a superstitious lass and became convinced that there was going to be a fire and spent the night awake for the Queens safety. The night was long and despite her efforts she succumbed to tiredness, falling asleep and setting fire to the queens curtains with her candle. Mary survived the incident but the poor girl died. It seemed her concerns had been misplaced and perhaps you can’t change fate after all. I researched the story of the Green Lady here. It’s a very interesting post that also documents the other ghostly ladies at Stirling Castle.

20181018_2108334308616885480701521.jpg

As for the liqueur, it’s 24%, and a lovely deep ruby colour. Delicious bramble and mint, just the thing to make potions with. Considering the flavours, we’ve got a nice little, simple twist on a Gin Bramble on our hands. I poured mine over a lot of ice and lemon slice and gave it a little swirl. Again, the flavour has a good hit to it so I added another slice of lemon to cut through it but it was lovely. Amongst those berry flavours the mint is bold and fresh, which gives a great vibrancy to the flavour. Lots of ice and lemon and this liqueur sings a beautiful song.

Reading up on Stirling gin, they have an interesting story. You can find out more about them on their site.

The labels of the bottle are absolutely worth a mention, created by artist Ritchie Collins, based on the shores of Leith. The artwork is beautiful. There is something mysterious and almost somewhat sinister about the black line work and vivid red and green foil filling.

20181018_2104025224785996941900612.jpg

The 50cl bottles cost £24.99 + £2.95 postage and are available to buy from Stirling’s online shop. They’ve got a great site and a great many products on there so do have a little forage and maybe you’ll uncover some more of the magical and the mysterious.