Winter Wassail Gin is part of selection of limited edition Hampshire Gins made at Winchester Distillery (of Twisted Nose Watercress Gin fame). It complete a quartet of seasonal gins alongside the “spring in a bottle” Spring Meadow Gin, the floral and blossom-y Summer Garden Gin and the autumnal, rosehip, apple, hawthorn botanical of the Autumn Hedgerow Gin. Winter Wassail Gin is small batch, micro-distilled Hampshire gin which owner and distiller Paul Bowler only makes once an year.
All of the gins at Winchester Distillery are distilled in a traditional copper pot still, a descendant of the alembic still, used to make batches of spirits, unlike the continuous distillation of large, more commercial column stills. Pot stills produce a very fine grade of spirit. The botanicals are gently crushed, mixed and macerated pure, neutral spirit to release the oils that give the gin its characteristic flavours. The spirit and macerated botanicals are then re-distilled in the pot still and only the heart of the distillate is used for the final bottling.
Winter Wassail Gin is dry gin rich with Christmas-y botanicals including juniper (of course), festive spices (including cinnamon), fresh Bramley apple and whole cranberries, all distilled slowly in the distillery’s traditional pot still.
If serving in a gin and tonic, make sure you have a good Indian Tonic Water and garnish with some cranberries or a slice of apple to complement the botanicals. Winchester Distillery also recommend that it can be served with sparkling apple juice for a refreshing winter pick-me-up, or with hot apple (or cranberry) juice and honey for a toe-tingling hot toddy.