Drink This!

Ready your ice cube trays and raise those tumblers. From aperitifs to post-prandials, we’ve taste tested three of the most festive feeling tipples that Cornwall has to offer, all in the name of glowing cheeks this Christmas.

By: Nicola Robey,   2 minutes

Morvenna Spiced Rum

A biochemistry PHD graduate walks into a distillery. Not the beginning of a cracker joke, but the genus of The Cornish Distilling Company, the Southwest’s only true rum distillery.

Born and bred in Bude, with a doctorate freshly tethered under his belt, Tom Read met Richard and Fiona Harding, owners of the Norton Barton artisan food village two years ago. The pair had everything set up for creating a new spirit, apart from the key ingredient – a distiller. Cue Tom. Using his chemistry alchemy, Tom has created what only a handful of distillers in the UK have achieved, a rum made on site, from scratch. The team even ferment their own molasses to flavour their smooth sippable spirits.

The newest rum creation to get the League of Strangers stamp of approval is Morvenna, a spiced rum, flavoured with a cacophony of spices including saffron, thyme, oak, clove, cardamom, apricot, lemongrass, cacao nuts.

How to enjoy: Morvenna is more botanical-tasting than standard spiced rums, so enjoy with tonic water and lime, for a twist on a classic G&T.

Quinta de Val da Figueira Port

A post-dinner prandial that’ll have Bailey’s quaking in its boots, Quinta de Val da Figueira 10 year Old Port is fresh off the boat. The Bessie Ellen trading ketch to be precise. Shipped under sail by the New Dawn Traders – a band of trading revolutionaries, dealing in delectable cargos shipped by sail, from Caribbean chocolate, to Portuguese olive oil.

Quinta de Val da Figueira has been making organic Port wine in the heart of the Duoro valley since 1759. This particular batch of bottles contains a blend of the finest Tawny reserves with an average age of at least 10 years. Aged in wood to give it an amber colour and complex spicy aromas, this is the ideal snifter to accompany firelit, boardgame nights.

How to enjoy: Straight up, with a side of potent Stilton and some sail-shipped Portuguese almonds.

St Ives Blood Orange Gin 

Around their family’s kitchen table, the three Thompson brothers hatched a plan to make a different type of gin, drawing on botanicals from Cornish cliffs, coasts and cottage gardens. St Ives Gin was born, Cornwall’s first cold-compound gin – a traditional method that infuses botanicals with high-quality raw spirit for a really flavoursome tipple.

Now the Thompson clan has welcomed their newest creation to the shelves in the form of St Ives Blood Orange Gin, balancing the bitter sweetness of blood orange with earthy notes of ancient Safflower blossom, and blended with plump rosehips picked from Cornish hedgerows. Infused alongside red peppercorns, juniper and cardamom, and a subtle stirring of cinnamon and nutmeg, this is one liquor that’s set to be the spirit of Christmas present, and future.

How to enjoy: A hefty tot of St Ives Blood Orange Gin, topped with Fever Tree Indian tonic water, a slice of blood orange and a sprig of thyme.

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