Cornish Spirits – Five of the best (which aren’t gin)!

Fans of Cornish-made gins are spoilt for choice these days, with a juniper-infused army of small-batch, artisan spirits to choose from. But what of the other world-class spirits distilled locally? From Vodka to Vermouth, here is our guide to the best!

Knightor White Vermouth

Vermouth is a fortified wine made with a special combination of botanicals. To make this Cornish version, a base wine (which is normally used to make Knightor’s award-winning sparkling wines) is blended with an Eau de Vie infused with 24 herbs and spices – many of which are grown, gathered or sourced locally. 

The base wine and the Eau de Vie are then left to integrate and mature together, resulting in a intense but balanced Vermouth which can be enjoyed with ice and lemon as an aperitif, or in a cocktail.

Knightor Vermouth is described as: “Elegant and crisp, with citrus, mint and fresh sage aromas and a sweet, pleasantly bitter taste.”

Vermouth was traditionally drunk in Italy as an aperitif, however it became popular chiefly as the main component in classic cocktails including the Martini, the Manhattan and the Negroni. A drinks-cabinet essential in other words!

To find out a bit more about Knightor’s Vermouth visit their website.

Aval Dor Vodka 

Colwith Farm Distillery near Fowey is home to Aval Dor Cornish Potato Vodka, a spirit which has won multiple awards including a silver at the 2019 San Francisco World’s Best Vodka awards.

The secret lies in the quality of the base ingredients – the finest home-grown King Edward potatoes, and mineral water from an aquifer beneath the farm. As a ‘plough to bottle’ distillery, the family have complete control over the whole process, from planting the potatoes to manning the state-of-the-art distilling equipment, which is also used to make Stafford’s Gin and Fowey River Cider Apple Gin.

Intrigued? To learn more, members of the public can visit Colwith Farm to take part in various distillery experiences. From guided tours to masterclasses, sundowner sessions and cocktail sampling, check out the website for the latest info. 

To find out a bit more about Aval Dor Vodka, visit Colwith Farm Distillery’s website.

St Ives Limoncello

This classic Southern-Italian digestif is tangy and refreshing, and a good one should be a balance between acidity and sweetness with neither overpowering the other. If you’re lucky enough to have dined on the Amalfi coast you’ve probably been presented with a glass of this intensely bright-yellow liqueur at the end of your meal. It’s relatively easy to make and many Italian families will have their own homemade stocks made from fantastically fresh lemons that thrive in the sunny Mediterranean climate. 

The St Ives Liquor Co. take on a Limoncello is made from the whole fruit rather than just the rind, giving it a depth and intensity which will transport you to the Italian Riviera in one citrus-loaded sip. 

To find out more about St Ives Limoncello visit The St Ives Liquor Company website.

Tarquin’s Cornish Pastis

Pastis is an aniseed-flavoured aperitif. It’s not for the fainthearted coming in at 40-45% abv, and in France is usually served diluted with water. It’s particularly popular in and around the city of Marseilles. 

The first Pastis to be made in the UK, Tarquin’s version of this French classic is dryer in style and delicious served with orange juice as an alternative to water. Blended with spring water from the North Cornwall coast, this unique Pastis is infused with gorse flowers from the cliff tops nearby. It has notes of aniseed and citrus (from the fresh orange zest added during distillation) and a complex flavour thanks to the carefully sourced range of exotic botanicals.

This distinctive spirit really comes into its own in cocktails – visit Tarquin’s website for some brilliant cocktail recipes featuring Pastis.

To find out more about Tarquin’s Cornish Patis visit Tarquin’s website.

Rathlee’s Rum  

Distilled in Latin America then blended here in Cornwall with the purest local water, Rathlee’s is an authentic golden, barrel-aged rum.

Rathlee’s is the brain-child of Paola, from Bogotá, Colombia, and Stuart, from Cornwall. The couple explain: “We trialled and agonised over scores of test batches using different sugars, yeasts, fermentation times and distillate characters until we had created one that we truly believed in.”

The smooth character (tropical fruit, honey and vanilla) yet intense (it has a distinctive peppery finish) quality of Rathlee’s Rum gives those cocktails an extra-special kick!

To find out more about Rathlee’s Rum visit the Rathlee Distilling Company website.

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CategoriesFood & Drink