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Getting in the Festive Spirit

gin, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel. Clearwell, Forest of Dean
Silver Circle Distillery are newcomers to the region but have quickly established themselves as our go-to gin supplier.  We’ve got our hands on a couple of bottles of their limited edition Blackberry Liqueur and will be serving delicious Wye Valley Bramble Cocktails in December while stocks last. Here’s how you can treat yourself to this lovely season tipple at home:   The classic, flavourful bramble cocktail has to be the quintessential drink for the late Autumn, a perfect balance of sweet blackberries and sour lemon with the botanical complexity of gin. The Blackberry Liqueur was made specifically to pair with Wye Valley Gin resulting in the rich, fruity and completely mouthwatering Wye Valley Bramble. Trust us it’s delicious and perfect for the long, dark nights ahead. Here’s how to make it!   Ingredients:   50ml Wye Valley Gin 25ml fresh lemon juice 15ml sugar syrup 25ml Blackberry Liqueur  
  1. Pour Wye Valley Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker over ice and shake until ice cold.
  2. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  3. Drizzle Blackberry Liqueur over the top so it trickles through the ice.
  4. Garnish with a fresh blackberry and a basil leaf or a light sprinkle of freshly grated cinnamon.
  We caught up with Nina and Joe from Silver Circle Distillery and asked a few questions about their business:   Q: What produce are you most famous for?   A: We’re most famous for making Wye Valley Gin and probably for the bottle itself which features a map of the whole area in a beautiful (but not particularly accurate) honeycomb design. It’s very distinctive and we’ve had lots of amazing feedback about it.   Q: What makes it so special?   A: Wye Valley Gin has a really unique flavour which is fresh and leafy with a citrus punch that comes from grapefruit and lime. Six of the botanicals we use grow wild in the valley and we forage most of them ourselves. These include little known flavours like sweet woodruff which is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds and hay. We like to think that using these native flavours helps us to capture the essence of the valley in the gin!   Q: How long have you been producing it?   A: We opened the doors to the distillery in July this year, after spending the last year developing the recipe. It’s very new but it already feels very at home.   Q: Why is your produce important to the area?   A: Our goal is to make products that are synonymous with the Wye Valley using local produce to showcase the flavours of the area. Wye Valley Gin was made with that in mind and in addition we have started a small batch spirits series which allows us to be creative and nimble around the same theme. So far we have made Catbrook Honey Gin with locally produced honey and a Blackberry Liqueur with blackberries from the valley and there’s loads more in the works. Our distillery in Catbrook is open on Thursdays from 10 – 4pm for visits. Come and visit to see what we’re up to.   Q: Apart from your own, what is your favourite local produce?   A: Ah there’s so much! We love Wye Valley Meadery and what they are doing. They look after the hives at the distillery so our honey gin was made in partnership with them. We’d highly recommend anything that Parva Spices make in particular their Ting hot sauce. So good. The Preservation Society’s Blackcurrant Syrup is beautiful and definitely worth getting your hands on. There really is loads!   Q: Can you give us a little known or quirky fact about either your own produce or produce from the area?   A: Our distillery is located in the village of Catbrook which was once home to Sporty Spice!