The best of Cornish ginby Dee Ivall
The gins that win
Cornish gin or any gin might be mother’s ruin, but it’s not mine. I love it. And, judging by the industry growing around it, I’m not alone. Down here, endless views and endless summers on endless beaches make for endless perfect gin and tonic moments. I guess that’s why there are so many great ones being crafted down here. For different reasons, here are the ones that do it for me.
Stafford’s Dry Cornish Gin
This is the realest deal for Cornish gin because it’s ‘plough to bottle’. That means that every single ingredient comes from a single estate. It’s made in a distillery on a farm in North Cornwall that’s been in one family since 1904. Some members of the family are growing crops, and some are distilling, while Grandad keeps a general eye on them all. You can visit the distillery and learn all about it among the handmade copper stills while also sampling the goodness. They do gin masterclasses where you can select your botanicals and blend your own gin. But – the main thing is – it’s downright delicious. That’s why you’ll find it at Paul Ainsworth’s, Nathan Outlaw’s, and back at mine.
Why I love it? Provenance, pepperiness and that oiliness you only get from a seriously high-quality gin.
Tinkture Cornish Rose Gin
It’s a bit of a showstopper this one because it’s amber until you add tonic which turns it pink. Organic and delicate yet full of flavor, it was actually created by mistake. It’s a happy mistake, though. I promise. Maybe the best way to try this one is to head to Penzance to the bar that is Tinkture HQ. An old industrial space, it’s a joy, and it’s called 45 Queen Street.
Why I love it? The rose is subtle. It’s also a brand that cuts on packaging by selling refills, so they get my planet-conscious vote.
Land of Saints Organic Gin
If Sir David Attenborough has the occasional gin – I bet it’s this one. A minimum of 50p per bottle plus all surplus profit goes to Fauna & Flora (of which he’s a patron) – the world’s first international wildlife conservation organisation. They conserve threatened species and ecosystems around the world. But ethical values aren’t the only beautiful thing about this Cornish gin. Cardamom, zestiness and super smoothness make it as high in quality as it is in morals.
Why I love it? It’s organic, it’s giving something back to the planet, and its smoothness makes it Martini-perfect.
St Ives Gin
This one has a lot of Atlantic in it. The hand-foraged botanicals and seaweed make it full-on Cornish in its provenance while also giving it a very refreshing character. They also make an earthy Blood Orange gin and a summery Super Berry gin if you like to take the fruit route. And it’s all crafted by the family running The Searoom bar in St Ives which is a great place to sample this gin in expertly mixed cocktails with a view over the harbour.
Why I love it? It’s as fresh as a sea breeze.
The Wrecking Coast Cornish Clotted Cream Gin
Hailing from Tintagel on the north coast, this is a gin built around the luxurious experience of clotted cream. And that’s definitely not your average situation. To make this idea work, the team behind it had to do things differently. Their research led them to Holland and a computer-controlled still system. Match that tech with the handcrafting of the clotted cream, and you have the best of both worlds – a perfectly balanced gin with a distinctly Cornish vibe.
Why I love it? It’s velvety-rich and ultra-modern in its making.
For more of our thoughts on the best places to enjoy a tipple in Cornwall, take a look at our best pubs in Cornwall recommendations or take a look at the foodie experiences on offer at Three Mile Beach.