If you haven’t guessed by now…we’re big gin fans in the HWO household. When I was invited to Bath Botanicals by owner Sue Mullett, my little legs couldn’t get me there fast enough!
Found in Widcombe in Bath, stepping into the distillery / shop is a time travel journey – its like being in an apothecary with jars of various botanicals lined up plus the various paraphernalia of yester-year. What I particularly loved was that the working still was right in the heart of the shop (let’s not get into the various health and safety hoops Sue had to go through in order to have it on site, in the shop, for everyone to see!)
Sue Mullett opened the doors to Bath Botanicals on 1 December 2016, just in time for Christmas and hasn’t looked back since. Sue has a varied background – she’s been a chemistry teacher, a geologist and a landscape gardener but three years ago she finished her BSc in Herbal Medicine where her dissertation was on the use of bitters in drinks.
Once she found that gin wasn’t too difficult to make she started to perfect her recipe – she uses Somerset lime flowers which are picked from St Catherine’s Valley (so keeping it really local!) plus a unique blend of 8 other botanicals which are steeped for 24 hours before the distillation process takes place. Sue carried out some blind testing using 8 other gins such as Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray and found that her No 1 gin came number one each time.
Not only is Sue a master distiller – she also makes range of Herbal Elixirs. These are alcoholic drinks containing syrups and tinctures of medicinal herbs. Herbal medicines traditionally use alcohol (Sue uses her gin…of course) to extract the active constituents of herbs, and are best taken on a daily basis to support your health and wellbeing in the long run, as opposed to modern medicine which aims to treat symptoms only. So…you can take a teaspoon of these elixirs 3 times a day…that’s 3 mini servings of gin a day!!
Sue’s favourite gin is Cotswold gin as it has a very similar taste to her Bath Botanical gin.
At the moment, Bath Botanical gin is only available in the shop but Sue is hoping to roll it out to the Tourist Information in Bath plus getting it on the shelves of some of the local pubs. In the future, Sue is hoping to create root beer and cocktail bitters.
Sue’s words of advice to anyone starting their own venture – never give up!!
We took a bottle down to our friends in Kent – neither of who are gin drinkers – and they were really impressed!! It’s a great gin to start you off if you’re wary of giving it a go!
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