SITTING in the garden with a summery G&T seems to be the plan for most people during these Summer months, so we spoke to Julie Heap and Pat Patel all about their own creation, Wicked Wolf Gin.

Julie explained: “There are two main reasons why gin is so popular today, firstly the change in the law in 2009, which allowed the distilling of gin on a smaller scale.

“At the time, the government had stated that producing less than 300 litres of gin at a time was so small it was technically classed as “moonshine”. We have to thank Sipsmith who actually got the law changed after two years of lobbying.

“Secondly our taste buds have evolved over the years, with the wonderful array of food on offer now in the UK, we have been exposed to many wonderful flavours from across the globe.”

Gin itself is made by combining ethyl alcohol with flavours, either artificial or natural. Distilled Gin involves the re-distillation of ethyl alcohol in the presence of natural flavours. After the distillation, further flavours are added and they can be either natural or artificial.

London Gin is slightly different again. After distillation only ethyl alcohol, water and a tiny amount of sugar can be added.

The most important thing, Julie explained, is that gin itself should taste predominantly of juniper berries and the common minimum strength should be 37.5% abv.

Julie said: “Many of the flavoured gins out there are really not true gins, they are just flavoured Vodka. Our making process is what makes us truly different, we are one of the very few distillers who distil each botanical individually and extremely slowly to capture the full gamut of flavour from each botanical. We then blend these botanicals to our secret recipe and drop the drop it down to 42% abv with distilled water.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Ingredients are extremely important to the team at Wicked Wolf Gin. Pat and Julie use premium grade ethanol as the base of most of their gins and their botanicals come from the Organic Herb Trading Company.

“We also believe that mixers make a huge difference - a quality Indian Tonic water cannot be beaten if you wish to make the most of a flavourful gin” added Julie.

At Wicked Wolf Gin however, they have created many gin variations over the years. These include:

n Full Moon 42%abv: This is a Juniper led gin with hints of mango, lemongrass, hibiscus and black pepper.

n Exmoor Gold Gin 42% abv: This is created using Exmoor Ales, Exmoor Gold Ale, double distilled and then the gin is built around it. Juniper, lemon verbena, elderflower, coriander, meadowsweet and a unique citrus mix brings this gin to life.

n 1869 - Lorna Doone Gin 42% abv. (This is the latest limited edition): To celebrate 150 years of the publication of R.D. Blackmore’s classic ‘Lorna Doone’, Wicked Wolf Gin created ‘1869’ with more Exmoor influences - flavours such as meadowsweet, heather and whortleberries combine with juniper, coriander and our citrus fruit mix. Pat and Julie live in the valley in which the book is set.

n Silver Bullet 57% abv: This is a stunning Navy Strength gin, developed with Wicked Wolf Gin’s original 11 botanicals but carefully rebalanced to work at 57% abv. They only make 300 bottles a year of this as it is a slow process to create this beautifully smooth and flavoursome gin.

Julie said: “It’s our unique process, the sourcing of amazing premium botanicals, following the time-honoured distilling process of all copper stills run slowly to extract the best out of every botanical. We have watched people in pubs pouring a whole bottle of tonic into a gin - we really wanted to ensure you can still taste the whole of our gin when they did this.”

Somerset County Gazette:

Although there is clearly a market for sweet flavoured gin, both Julie and Pat prefer their juniper gins and so they love a traditional G&T.

“We hope gin will remain popular - but now we as a nation have a palette for gin and premium gin, we do not see it changing” Julie explained.

“As with many foods we now have a huge and varied range available to us and we are becoming quite astute in our likes and dislikes. Thankfully we are a nation of gin lovers!

“We want to thank everyone for their support over the last few years - especially our customers. We are truly proud of our gin and are very grateful to all our loyal customers who share our enthusiasm. It is always a real pleasure to meet customers at food festivals and so on and get their feedback and thoughts.”

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