For day 20 of our #KentAdventCalendar we’re getting into the festive spirit with Wild Spirits of Kent. This supremely creative Kent company makes what they delightfully refer to as ‘hedgerow tipples’ – botanical liqueurs and flavoured spirits made from premium Kent gin and vodka infused with hand-picked fruits and flowers foraged from the Kent countryside. ‘Kent’s Countryside Preserved in a Bottle’ is their tagline.
I first came across Wild Spirits of Kent purely by chance. A late September visit to Smallhythe Place happened to coincide with ‘Orchard Day’ – and a bottle of Rose Sambuca waylaid me as we weaved past a row of stallholders en route to the museum entrance. Its companions were equally compelling: Rhubarb & Vodka, Raspberry & Gin, Blackberry & Whisky, Sloe Gin. Bliss in (beautifully labelled) bottles!
Wild spirits foraging
The Wild Spirits story is fascinating. Founders Louise Newland and Gill Ford developed a passion for foraging after noticing the abundance of wild fruits and berries adorning the hedgerows they passed on long dog walks in the Kent countryside. They started off making Sloe Gin and Damson Gin, and their drinks business took off from there. Now they gather fruits, berries, nuts, flowers and leaves every season, and use their own inventive recipes to transform them into delicious botanical liqueurs and flavoured spirits. Each is available in three sizes – 500ml, 200ml and a 50ml miniature (popular for wedding favours). Here’s a taster of their tipples, :
- Wild Damson & Vodka – using wild Damsons hand-picked along the Pilgrims Way on the North Downs
- Quince Vodka – said to aid digestion and ease sore throats. Drink on its own or drizzle over ice cream
- Sloe Gin – “Drink on its own or with Prosecco for a welcoming Christmas cocktail”
- Cocktail Kit – a set of six cork-topped miniatures in a gift box, complete with cocktail suggestions.
“We prefer drinking them after dinner, with cheese, as a night cap, in front of the fire, with friends, at a dinner party, drizzled on ice cream, soaked into sponge cake, as a Christmas welcome drink, as a base for a cocktail, on the rocks, with a mixer, with coffee,” Louise and Gill enthuse. For added inspiration, the they created some fabulous hedgerow cocktails such as Bramble Blush, Damn Wild and Sloe Highland Fling…. recipes here.
Wouldn’t these spirited infusions make wonderful gifts! I would be delighted to find ANY Wild Spirits hedgerow tipple lurking under the Christmas tree. Wouldn’t you?
Photos courtesy Wild Spirits of Kent