Somerset stormer spotted at Berry Head …
Our wind battered top floor room at the Berry Head Hotel offered an ever changing panorama of the sunshine and streaming squalls across Torbay’s choppy waters, but one of the strongest memories I brought away from the clifftop retreat was the surging flavour of a Somerset gin I chose to sharpen my appetite, before tucking into a crab starter, landed by fishermen from nearby Brixham.
In fact like the mini-cyclone which whipped up when we’d walked in earlier for a pint at a pub on the harbour-side, my first taste of the 43.2% Newton House London Dry Gin rocked me on my feet; though I think the effect was partly due to the barman having generously added the final half- measure from the bottle to the double I’d ordered.
The smart brasseries bar overlooking the sea – popular with locals as well as residents – actually offers a wide selection of gins, but it was difficult to ignore the large board detailing Newton House’s attributes: including its Gold category win at the World Gin Awards.
Although Somerset might be famous for its cider apples, it is pears and blueberries which add the fruity dimensions to Newton House: named after the Jacobean Mansion where some of the botanicals grow in the walled garden. Fans of London Dry gins will also appreciate the liquorice, coriander seed, angelica root and three types of citrus peel which infuse the English made grain spirit. Less common constituents are the almonds and Bergamot.
Robin and Jane Cannon report that they originally created Newton House in a ten litre copper still called Hermione, but that production now takes place in her big sister, Henrietta. Discovering Newton House was amongst the highlights of a mini-break just before the lockdown – when we also purchased the Copper in the Clouds Marmalade spirit – and when life returns to normal the makers will be welcoming the public back to their ‘Bespoke Gin House’ on the beautiful 17th century estate where regular events are staged.