A matter of taste and tractors


Our damson gin has a gold star from the British Great Taste awards, with lots of good comments from the judges on the depth of flavour and good balance between fruit, gin and sugar. It was up against 10,000 other food and drink products for some coveted stars and was the only damson gin to take any award. It was good to get feedback and helps me make some plans to aim for a rare as hen's teeth 3 star award.

And up in the orchard in the Lyth Valley home of the world's finest damsons, the fruit is beginning to ripen and slowly a blue blush steals across the trees. On a recent visit I took a day off from liqueur production to hitch a ride on the Two Bryan's (infamous) Tractor Run. Hurtling over the Howgills, along Tebay Valley up and over the Shap fells was exhilarating. I had the honour of being in the company of Viking tractor god Bryan from Park End Farm.

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Meanwhile in East London the gooseberry and blackcurrant crops are finished and the freezer is stuffed to the gills, with the aim of extending the summer fruit liqueur season well into the autumn.  I'm running out of space in the house and beginning to think about how to grow the business. I have spotted a small mechanical filter pump used by small scale wine producers to clear sediment that might be just the thing to speed up the process of decanting the alcohol off the fruit. The Industrial Revolution is on its' way to Walthamstow.

In honour of the combustion engine I bring you the,


Dirt n' Diesel 

(by Cale Green from Seattle)

2 oz Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
1/2 oz Fernet Branca
1/2 oz Demerara Simple Syrup
1/4 oz Cynar
1/4 oz Lime Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.