I love gin. My Instagram feed these days is basically food, gin, kids, some avocado, and more gin. I never really ‘got’ gin though, until someone made me a really good one – mixed with a high-quality tonic (FeverTree) and a slice of pink grapefruit, all swirled together in a huge wine goblet filled generously with ice.
Since realising how much more amazing gin can be than a simple Gordon’s and Schweppes with ice and a slice, a whole new world of combinations and botanicals opened up. And I’ve been all over it ever since. The person who made that drink was Daniel Szor, Founder and CEO of the Cotswolds Distillery. After inviting Daniel’s team to join us at Oxford Food & Drink Festival last year, they kindly returned the favour and invited us along to one of their distillery tours. Who are we to turn down the opportunity to sample Award winning gin in an idyllic Cotswold setting?!
Daniel launched the Cotswolds Distillery with a view to producing whisky, but as whisky lovers will know, it takes years for it to be ready to drink. In fact, their first barrels of Cotswolds Single Malt Whisky will be ready to launch on 7th October this year, after a mandatory three-year aging process. You can put your name down for a cask now!
Cleverly, Daniel and his business partners have been using their time wisely, developing a selection of other drinks. Their range includes their now award-winning London Dry Gin, Earl Grey Gin, Strawberries & Cream Liqueur, an Espresso Martini, Cotswolds Cream Liqueur, Absinthe, and LOTS more. Since then, the distillery has gained a substantial following and positive recognition, winning World Dry Gin of the Year in 2016.
The team feel one of the main reasons for their success, is their insistence of a much higher volume of botanicals. Their gin uses a whopping 10 times more than most, including some local Cotswold lavender. Production is also kept as environmentally friendly as possible, with leftovers and waste being used as biofuels and cow feed for local farmers, Cotswolds-farmed organic barley grown on a farm less than 20 miles away, and malt from less than an hour away.
Starting in a cosy tasting room, that wouldn’t look out of place in a Homes & Gardens spread, we get a glimpse of Daniel’s private bar, stocked full of whisky and gin that we’ll be sampling from later. The tour then takes us on a trip around the distillery, learning how gin and whisky are made, introducing us to the beautiful Lorelai – a shining, copper, German-made still – and unveiling a precious nest of casks in which the spirits bed down and mature until their opening dates.
We returned to the tasting room at the end of the tour for a sampling session, with a good eight to ten in-house produced gins and spirits available to try. It was at this point I was seriously regretting my role as designated driver for the day, so was understandably overjoyed to discover that drivers were well looked after too, with samples to go!
The tour was informative and relaxed, run by a team who are clearly passionate about what they do, and proud of their product. If you’re planning a trip, make a real day of it like we did, by teaming it with lunch at The White Hart in Wytham afterwards. You can thank us later!
Plan your visit
The Cotswolds Distillery shop and tasting room is open Mon-Sat from 9am to 5pm and Sunday 11am to 4pm. Tours run at 11am and 3pm daily.
To book a tour, please visit their website