The Blowing Stones Crabapple & Royal Ginger Gin Review


Blowing Hot and Windy

We returned to the Beetle and Wedge on the Thames near Wallingford for the first time in nearly seven years for Juliet’s birthday to be met by some sodden spring weather, but also the place’s fabulous food and the first crabapple gin I’ve ever sampled.

The beautifully refurbished Thameside boathouse and spacious cottage accommodation provided an ideal refuge after five hours of traffic jams and diversions, while the cosy bar offers a fine choice of spirits – as well as wines and beers – but while Juliet decided to destress from the drive with a safety first Tanqueray, I opted to try the locally made Blowing Stones Crabapple & Royal Ginger Gin.

And given that we felt compelled to sit outside for our aperitif, a few yards from where we’d first had dinner along with our beloved Josh, the drink’s gift of inner warmth was very welcome as the clouds grew darker and the wind whistled up the river.  I had wondered whether the foraged fruit in this offering from the Hawkridge Distillery near Newbury might be a little sharp, but it is actually very smooth and reminded me more of some of the Rhubarb and Ginger concoctions we’ve recommended for the old hip flask.

Ignoring our headline image, the range’s name alludes to the terrain and history of the distillery’s setting – where Alfred the Great locked horns with the Viking invaders some 1100 years ago in what turned out to be the decisive Battle of Ashdown.  And the makers have chosen to theme the Blowing Stones selection on what could have been growing wild back then.  Hence my choice is partnered by Nettle & Blackberry and Wild Strawberry alternatives; as well as the World Gin Awards’ choice of Best English London Dry for 2021.

Like the websites for so many excellent craft gins, the Hawkridge pages are short on information or even tasting notes, but if you do happen to spot the intertwined pattern of the labels identifying the ‘Ashdown Series’ bottles on a back bar somewhere, I would recommend you try a drop.

Blowing Stones Crabapple & Royal Ginger Gin can be purchased online for around £37