Cornish distillery creates apple juice gin for new London restaurant

Cornish distillery Wrecking Coast, known for its clotted cream gin, has produced a new expression made with apple juice exclusively for Nathan Outlaw protégé Tom Brown’s new restaurant, Cornerstone.

Speaking to the drinks business, Craig Penn, partner at Wrecking Coast Distillery said that it all started when he was watching the BBC series Great British Menu. 

“Last season when Tom appeared [on the show] I loved his passion and approach to ingredients, then he championed Cornwall on top of that!”

“While I was watching, I messaged him on Twitter offering a message of support. I was amazed when he personally replied, though now I have met him I am not surprised. We sent him a bottle of our Clotted Cream Gin to try. He loved it.

“All went quiet until early January 2018 when he messaged us and asked if we would be interested in collaborating on an exclusive gin. It didn’t take us long to reply!”

The new gin, which has been distilled with cloudy apple juice from Polgoon Vineyard and Orchard instead of water, also has botanicals including juniper, coriander, Seville orange, Sicilian lemon, lime and pink grapefruit peel, rosehip and rowan berry.

Asked what inspired the flavourings, Penn said it was based on Brown’s approach to ingredients and cooking as well as his Cornish heritage.

“He wanted it to have a Cornish heart. It needed to work with his approach to ingredients, so shellfish and fish played a major part along with simplicity in terms of not needing so many varying ingredients in the spirit to make it work”.

“We spent several weeks back in the shed creating, tasting and refining recipes. We then met up with Tom for him to try the recipes. We took five recipes along – the first three Tom dismissed for varying reasons but as soon as he tasted what is now Cornerstone Rare Cornish Gin, he immediately said ‘this is the one'”.

Unlike most gins that are distilled with water, Wrecking Coast has replaced the water with cloudy apple juice. They do use water, but only at the end to dilute to the desired ABV of 45%.

Penn added: “The idea was to provide the simple, layered, flavour profile with an apple base that would carry right through the gin. Polgoon actually sell our other gins, Clotted Cream Gin and Honey Sloe Gin, so as a fellow Cornish business we already had dialogue and it was natural for us to turn to them for ingredients.

“Having never tried this before it was an experiment that thankfully worked. The still was in one piece!”

Using the apple juice, according to Penn, delivers “autumnal apple brightness to the back of the palate and a hint of sweetness in the finish”.

Brown opened his 46-cover restaurant, which is named after his favourite Artic Monkeys song, in Hackney Wick last month. Originally from Cornwall, Brown has chalked up stints at Rick Stein’s Fish in Falmouth and Outlaw’s restaurant in St Enodoc Hotel in Rock, before moving to London to Outlaw’s at the Capital in Knightsbridge.

Wrecking Coast is principally known for its Clotted Cream Gin which is made by distilling neutral spirit with fresh clotted cream in a specially adapted glass vacuum still.

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