How Conker puts Dorset into its gin

Let’s face it: gin is everywhere. Exceptional gin, however, is harder to find. You see, with its carefully balanced botanicals, it’s a tricky thing to get right; get the balance wrong, and the subtlety that defines gin goes out the window.

Which is why we’re so excited about Dorset’s very first gin distillery, Conker Spirit. Nestled in the sandy backstreets of Bournemouth, Conker Spirit bows to the classic notes of juniper but marries it with the botanicals that define Dorset – marsh samphire, elderberries and handpicked gorse flowers. The result? An alarmingly drinkable gin, even on the rocks.

Conker gin is made with marsh samphire

To say this gin is a labour of love is an understatement. Conker Spirit quietly distils its Dorset Dry in tiny 60-bottle batches. And when it needs more gorse flowers, the team go out and pick them; the scratches on their hands are testament to that.

So when they say they’re the real deal, they mean it; these guys are the distillers, bottlers and labellers. They’re the ultimate small-batch gin distillery doing it for themselves, and they’re darn good at it. Combine this authenticity with one of the best gins we’ve tasted in a long time, and you can see why they’ve become so popular, so quickly.

Conker Spirit is the brainchild of Rupert Holloway, who left his nine-to-five to create Dorset’s first gin distillery that would, in just 19 months, have 10 industry awards under its belt and be the only gin served at River Cottage HQ. It also launched in Fortnum & Mason this year, who know a good thing when they see it.

Rupert says: “I wanted Conker to be a genuine alternative to the mob of London Dry gins out there, without being a gimmicky flavoured gin that you politely decline the second time around. When it comes to getting it right, subtlety is king; I recommend serving Conker with just a strip of fresh lime peel.”

Gorse flowers also go into Conker

The proof is in the tasting, so we’ll leave you to make up your own mind. We’ll just say that you may find yourself happily sipping Conker straight over ice, giving you a heady blend of sweet, sour, bitter and dry. Mix at your leisure, but this gin can definitely hold its own.

Philip Seaman
The author:

Philip lives in West Cambridgeshire in the Parish of Catworth with his wife. He loves eating out which he does for both pleasure and business. His other interests are collecting cookery books and menus, driving his tractor and working on the renovation of their old farm.