Gin bar and school at new distillery on the Isles of Scilly
PUBLISHED: 11:45 16 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2020
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The award-winning Scilly Spirit has won accolades for its distinctive bottle in the shape of Bishop Rock lighthouse
Scilly Spirit is the new Island Gin on St Mary’s, with heritage at its heart. Founded by husband-and-wife-team, Arthur and Hilary Miller, the gin launched in 2019 alongside the distillery, gin school and bar. The award-winning spirit has won accolades for its distinctive bottle in the shape of the nearby Bishop Rock lighthouse; the inspiration for the recipe stems from a shipwreck. In 1665, a spice trade ship was wrecked off, what is still now, the most south-westerly island of the UK – Bishop Rock.
The ship was carrying peppercorns from Java – one of the six key botanicals of the gin’s unique recipe (reflective of the oarsmen) plus juniper (the cox to lead) that make up this gin.
The dramatic event concluded with the survivors being rescued by the pilot gig boats which on sight of the wreckage coming ashore, set off from St Mary’s, now home to the Distillery, where the gin is crafted.
With an ethos of truth, bravery and vibrancy behind the captivating story, alongside its vibrant design, it’s hard not to be drawn to the spirited gin.
“Considering the fantastic story, along with the beauty of the Islands, whose heritage revolves around the sea, it gave us such rich territory to inspire the brand-development and bottle-design,” Art enthuses. “We had the challenge of capturing the essence of the archipelago, whilst paying reference to the original inspirations for our brand. Furthermore, in light of the numerous shipwrecks off Scilly’s Western Rocks, one of the most majestic lighthouses now stands proud on Bishop Rock – we felt it imperative we pay homage to this important icon of the Scillies.“
Having moved permanently to Scilly in 2017, co-founders, Art and Hillary knew they had to find something they loved fitting of island life. Having always appreciated a good gin with a unique bottle design, and Arthur having experienced over 20 years in the alcoholic drinks industry, it seemed a non-brainer to create their very own island-gin.
The gin enthusiasts invested in state-of-the-art equipment, ensuring they got to work with contemporary stainless-steel designs to marry with their distillery interior design ideas. Equally, they had to be cognitive of electricity, being the most efficient power source on the island, as there is no mains gas option.
“Juniper is a defining ingredient, delivering a true London Dry-Gin experience, with kaffir-Lime, pink-peppercorns and sweet orange peel the distinguishing botanicals in terms of aroma and taste,” says Art.
For a bespoke experience, participants are invited to Gin School; for the chance to create their own gin, leaving with a 50cl bottle of Island Gin as well as their own creation. Alternatively, visitors and islanders can book in for a distillery tour, including a tasting – both run year-round, and are held at the HQ in Old Town, St Mary’s.
Keep an eye out for Art and Hillary’s new creations – Atlantic Strength Island Gin, Aged Rose gin, and Cold Brew Coffee gin, to be launched later this year.
The perfect pairing: Scilly Spirit Gin - Best enjoyed with, Peninnis Farm sausage, beach BBQ classic hot dog in a white bun!
This article first appeared in Cornwall Life. For the latest subscription offers, click here