I've moved out of Suffolk for this post but not too far. In a little village called Newton, just south of Cambridge, you'll find things looking a slight shade of pink.
In 2013, Stephen Marsh or "Chief Ginmeister" created Pinkster Gin. Stephen set about experimenting with a huge range of fruits before deciding raspberries were the way to go. I'm really glad he did, with raspberries being one of my favourites, this gin didn't disappoint! The raspberry flavour is really subtle but I love that you can still taste it.
Pinkster starts it's journey of distillation with G&J Distillers, who have been in the game since 1761. They run the first distillation with an initial 5 botanicals. Pinker then distill it again with a further 3 botanicals including the locally grown fresh raspberries.
Not only do Pinkster create a beautiful gin, they also recycle the raspberries used to create "Gin Jam" and "Boozy Berries". The Gin Jam is a must try and will be featuring in all the Christmas hampers I'll be giving out this year (sorry family - spoiler alert!). Everything you'd expect from a delicious raspberry jam but with a kick!
Then you have the Boozy Berries, these are the raspberries, still soaked in gin, reused from when the gin is made and are ready for you to use in any way you wish. Personally I put a few back where they came from and that's in a nice cold glass of Pinkster and tonic! When you buy a jar, you even get a fun little cookbook that'll give you some ideas how to use them in the kitchen.
Pinkster has really taken off since it was first made in 2013, being served all over the UK as well in Australia and Hong Kong!
ASK THE CREATOR - STEPHEN MARSH
To find out more about Pinker Gin, I got in touch with Stephen Marsh, "Chief Ginmeister" at Pinkster and here's what he had to say...
I see you worked your way through the fruit bowl before settling on raspberries, which other fruits worked and which did not?
You name the English fruit and I've tried it. None really worked; strawberry was particularly disappointing and had little impact upon the spirit whilst blueberries worked quite well. However the eureka moment was when I tried raspberries as combined with juniper it does something really special. A natural culinary combination, if ever.
It’s brilliant that you’ve managed to crack Australia was well as Britain, why Australia and any more countries on the horizon?
We were approached by an Australian importer and it seemed a natural fit as gin is enjoying a resurgence as one of the fastest growing spirit with sales up almost 20% in the last three years down under. The market isn’t nearly as crowded as it is here in the UK and British gins carry plenty of kudos. Quite rightly so.
We’re already exporting to a fair few markets and we’ve just launched in Hong Kong. Next stop USA.
It’s great to see that you recycle the raspberries you use in gin to make your Gin Jam and Boozy Berries. What’s your favourite recipe out of your Boozy Berries Cookbook?
That’s an easy one. We’re a sweet tooth office so Ginspired Chocolate Brownies are a winner every time.
Apart from your own, what's your favourite gin and why?
I like all sorts of gins (many made by friends) and it would be rather invidious to choose the best but the most recent additions to my drinks cabinet include Monkey 47 and Elephant Gin.
What’s next for Pinkster?
More of the same. Our turnover is doubling year on year, so as well as scaling up production we have all the usual challenges that accompany a fast growing business. A key objective is making our tipple more widely available in the UK and our sales team are busy chatting up delicatessens, farm shops, food halls, and independent wine merchants. At the same time, Pinkster is popping up on more back bars across the UK.
And then, there’s a little product innovation in the pipeline (watch this space).
All in all, it’s a mighty exciting time for the company and we’re fortunate to have such an enthusiastic, gin-loving team.
Describe your gin in 3 words…
Quirky, TASTY, SMOOTH
Thank you to Stephen and Will at Pinkster for helping me out with this blog post, I looking forward to seeing what the product innovation is going to be!