A taste of the sea…
Winning a coveted ‘Silver’ in the Taste of the West awards in 2021, we had high hopes for Red Sails when our trusty Gin Scouts, Bill and Lesley presented us with it to review – we had enjoyed Brixham Gin’s Deck Chair gin and we weren’t disappointed with this recipe either.
This distiller’s flagship London Dry comes in at 42% ABV and really is evocative of Brixham’s seascape thanks to the samphire – although it does offer a very smooth citrus taste from the lemons … with subtle spiciness too towards the end. You can imagine sailors leaving this famous fishing port, perhaps aiming for the unknown lands of the orient to discover fragrant spices and herbs, which might have been gently dried on the deck in the sunshine on the way back to British waters …
But I’m daydreaming, as usual – the herbs and spices might well be bought en-masse from Amazon – or they could have come from the Amazon River; the distiller needs to keep a few secrets. However we do know it is distilled in their ‘Gin Genie’ still and really does promise a whiff of fresh sea air along with the exotic mystery of distant shores. It is named after the old heritage trawlers of the time, which sported traditional red sails.
Brixham is famed for the development of its large sailing trawlers in the early 19th century, brought about by the demise of inshore fish numbers around Torbay. These trawlers had big powerful rigs which allowed them to sail quickly to more fertile fishing grounds; and could also harnesses this energy to drag large nets behind them when working. The design of the Brixham trawlers was copied by boat builders around Britain and helped to establish fishing fleets in Hull, Grimsby and Lowestoft.
We enjoyed Red Sails with a light tonic and lime, although I feel it would be equally good with Fever Tree’s Mediterranean as it would complement the slight saltiness of the samphire – to be tried another time, no doubt.
Meanwhile, you might wonder why this nutty blogger has added a video of Rod Stewart’s ‘I am sailing’ – but my abiding memory of red sails is from when I first went solo in Snoopy, our ancient Mirror dingy, with its red sails flapping in the wind on the River Exe – and me singing the song at the top of my voice – what a sense of freedom, and although nobody could hear me, what a great song!
Red Sails Brixham Gin can be purchased through several online retailers – or from the distillery – for around £36