The Legend of Young Tom, St David and Free Love

Signs of spring and emerging daffodils were silenced by snow fall and a beast from the east this week. We looked to the patron saint of Wales and the legend of St David to spur us on and battle the elements despite his monastic rule that monks had to drink only water – a fact we chose to politely disregard at Still & Heart HQ.

The Welsh distilleries continue to produce some wonderfully complex gins at the heart of their communities and we raised a glass at the news of the St David’s Day (1st March) launch of Cygnet Gin in Swansea this week.

After welcoming guests with a Red Dragon cocktail of Brecon Botanicals Gin, Belvoir Lime and Lemongrass cordial, cranberry juice, soda, ice, pomegranate seeds and fresh mint we moved on to taste:

1. Da Mhile Organic Farmhouse Botanical Gin
Cardiganshire, West Wales, 42% ABV

Bold and Green

The first organic, farmhouse distillery (Glynhynod Farm in Ceredigion) in the UK, Da Mhile (pronounced da-vee-lay) is Gaelic for ‘two thousand’ to commemorate the millennium. Made with 18 botanicals, both classic and unusual, with rose petals, star anise and fennel coming through. The nose is subtle fresh rose petals, then spice and a hint of juniper. The initial palate is floral with bitter, fresh notes of dandelion and peppery cloves with a silky texture. They also produce an organic seaweed gin which is definitely worth trying, especially with a side order of seafood!

Serve with a lemon twist and Lamb and Watt Hibiscus Tonic.

2. Eccentric Gin Young Tom
Glamorgan, South Wales, 46% ABV

Young and Ambitious

Eccentric Gins are based in the cellars of an 18th century building which has stood in Llantrisant for over 200 years. The town is well known as the home of William Price – an eccentric who legalised cremation, practised Druidism and believed in free love! They make a range of different gins and this variant is fermented from Indian Pale Ale (IPA) wash and refined to a clean aromatic distillate. Naturally sweetened and vapour infused, it is then rested for 6-weeks to develop its flavour. This is a sweet and floral style of gin with fennel, wild sunflower root and star anise seeds but like an Old Tom there is a malty or ‘woody’ flavour on the palate.

Serve with a slice of orange and Peter Spanton’s Chocolate Tonic.

3. Aber Falls Distillery Rhubarb & Ginger Gin
Abergwyngregyn, North Wales, 41.3% ABV

A Taste of Home

At the gateway of the beautiful Snowdonia National Park, this ‘taste of home’ contains Welsh-inspired botanicals to evoke memories of Sunday dinners and family gatherings. Their copper still helps to create well-rounded, balanced flavours. Subtle spices and tart rhubarb balance with the piney juniper notes which is warming with a taste of ginger to finish.

We suggest serving this with fresh raspberries and premium tonic or ginger ale.

4. Aber Falls Distillery Orange Marmalade Gin
Abergwyngregyn, North Wales, 41.3% ABV

Bitter Sweet Symphony

A bitter sweet gin edition to follow their whisky and Rhubarb & Ginger Gin; this zingy citrus hit hits home and works in harmony with the juniper. The distillery is one of only a small handful of businesses in the village so it works very closely with its residents to integrate into the community.

Try it with rosemary and premium tonic.