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Home | Recommendations and Tips | High Spirits

High Spirits – The optics look good for Devon-made liqueurs

Here’s a tip(ple) the Devon drinks cabinet stretches well beyond the award-winning ales, ciders, and wines – there’s also plenty to sip from aperitif to digestif.

Devon’s producers range from micro-distilleries to the bigger names you’ll find on supermarket shelves. You can order online, but we think they taste even better looking out over Devon’s spectacular coastline or its rolling landscape and moors (and especially from the relaxing luxury of a Dart Valley Cottages homestay, naturally.)

Most will know Devon’s maritime love affair with rum, but the county’s also been distilling gin for centuries – as far back as the Middle Ages (Plymouth has Britain’s oldest working distillery.)

And while Scotland’s highland whisky is rightly celebrated for its excellent purer distillation from its high altitude and low air pressure, one Devon producer ageing its first barrels of whisky – Dartmoor – boasts the highest distillery in the British Isles.

There are tours, tastings, and the chance to make your own tipple to take home. So, raise a glass and toast your next favourites.

Salut!

GIN

DARTMOOR DISTILLERY

An award-winning array of gins with botanicals foraged from the moor infused with other aromatics, and all brought together in Dartmoor spring water – even the still is a family-built marvel. Their Black Dog gin is deliciously aromatic, better with lime than lemon (and a good tonic), says the firm. Their Dartmoor Beast Gin lives up to its name (a ‘navy strength’ 57%). There’s also a punch in its flavour, and it’s delectably dry.

www.devonginandrumschool.co.uk

DARTMOUTH GIN

The families behind this ever-popular gin brand have centuries of maritime history in their ancestry – and it’s woven into their smooth, exciting, and versatile gins. From master mariners to shipwrights who built schooners that landed those vital exotic fruits in Devon. Their flagship English gin really is an aperitif to luxuriate with (a great cocktail gin, too). Others evoke the strong-headed seafaring life – there’s that navy strength again – plus a ‘Finest Hour’ gin raising funds for RAF charities. Buy online, or come and take a class at gin school. Then, take your creations to savour in one of our dozens of incredible holiday homes and apartments in and around Dartmouth (View here).

dartmouth-gin.com

SALCOMBE GIN

There’s a reason South Devon has a knack for gin. Those early trading ships arriving at its ports brought exotic fruits and citruses, which were put to good use. That’s a bygone time, but enough for Salcombe Gin’s founders – Angus and Howard – to be inspired to reflect that heritage in their tasty sundowners. Gins that are at once smooth and invigorating, there are also special and limited editions. Oh, and in a further nod to the past, it’s got one of the world’s only distilleries still accessible by boat. There are tours and tastings – plus a gin and rum school.

salcombegin.com

JUNIPER

With a fabulous boutique tasting bar, Lawrence and his team at the Coastal Distilling Co. have created a Torquay gin palace gem. Its premium Torquay Coastal Gin takes botanicals from nearby Torre Abbey. And perhaps take a sip from Torquay Coastal Gin balloon glasses cut by Dartington Crystal which was founded near Totnes. Fancy your own infusion? Juniper also has a popular gin school.

coastal-distilling.com/juniper

RUM

THE DEVON RUM COMPANY

Rum is that rare drink which seems to transcend culture, class, or geography effortlessly. It belongs to everyone and no one. It’s given celebrity status and is the go-to cliché for pirates and nautical ne’er-do-wells. But, as the Salcombe-based Devon Rum Co. rightly says, ‘not all rums are made equal.’ Its flavoured rums maximise the opportunities and fun you can have with this sublime spirit. Spiced, honeyed, golden, dark, and light – their versatile, full-bodied rums are a delight to be savoured neat. They are also rock-solid, personality-filled foundations for amazing cocktails. Build your portfolio with cocktail classes, tastings, and tours.

devonrumcompany.com

Rum barrels

WHISKY

Glass of whisky splashing

DARTMOOR WHISKY

English whisky is having its moment, and this Bovey Tracey distiller lays claim to making England’s finest single malt. Their 60-year-old still had a previous life with the crème of cognacs (such as Hennessey and Remy Martin) before becoming an integral part of creating distinctive smoky and smooth whiskies that absorb the character of the moors. Made for savouring, not quaffing – some bottles sell for £500 while others range from around £59 upwards. Tours and tastings give you a real flavour of this premium brand.

dartmoorwhiskydistillery.co.uk

VODKA

DEVON COVE

Potatoes really have quite the range, don’t they? They can do any meal and seemingly any drink. And Devon Cove’s vodka really crowns their King Edwards – a sublimely smooth potato vodka. And the great thing is, it doesn’t seem to mind what it mingles with – tasting great over ice with tonic, juice, or with a cohort in a cocktail. There are also passion fruit and hazelnut liqueurs. You can buy online or seek them out in bars and restaurants.

devoncove.co.uk

Vodka shots with slices of orange.

…OR A BIT OF EVERYTHING

LYME BAY WINERY

Well worth keeping an eye out for in Devon’s bars and restaurants. Their award-winning Jack Ratt rums – Lugger Spiced and 8-year-old Golden – give you the sense of the sea and the heat of the Caribbean. Named after notorious smuggler Jack Rattenbury – and in suitably swiggable bottles fit for a pirate – these smooth rums won’t overpower with vanilla. Far from it. Rich and woody – you’ll want to set sail.

Lyme Bay also has gins for all seasons. Citrus and berries for summer or pepper and burnt orange for the winter. Hearty and light, and great in a Martini.

lymebaywinery.co.uk

DEVON DISTILLERY

Dappa, Sloed Gin, Dark Fire, Chocolated, and Devoncello – these award-winning premium gins and liqueurs are twists on the classics, and it’s worth savouring their delicious differences. They’ll be a talking point at any drinks party. And the distillery’s ‘spirit schools’ will make you a dab hand at crafting your own gin or rum.

devondistillery.com/devon-gin-school

View from the terrace of the holiday home called 'Out To Sea' - available to rent from Dart Valley Cottages.

SIT BACK, RELAX, AND ENJOY

Savour your discoveries delighting in sublime views in Dartmouth. Our array of holiday homes means there’s a homestay for every taste.

Coast or country? Town or rural? We’ve everything from large family homes to bijou cottages to delightful apartments for two – and most welcome pets, too.

 
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