4 fabulous cocktails created with Devon-made spirits

PUBLISHED: 19:29 09 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:36 11 June 2020

Cove Vodka is a clear water-white spirit with wonderful pure aromas. Photo: Emma Tolley Photography

Cove Vodka is a clear water-white spirit with wonderful pure aromas. Photo: Emma Tolley Photography


Gin, vodka, rum and Dappa are some of the award-winning spirits distilled or blended in Devon

Britons’ love of spirits seems to be on the increase following a recent surge of interest in all things botanical and the rise in popularity of gin.

We are fortunate in Devon to have a wide selection of locally distilled and blended spirits right here on our doorstep. So, let’s take a look at what’s on offer and find the true spirit of Devon.

Here are four award-winning local Devon spirits - and a cocktail recipe for each.

Use Cove Vodka as the base for a Mint Condition. Photo: Emma Tolley PhotographyUse Cove Vodka as the base for a Mint Condition. Photo: Emma Tolley Photography

1. Cove Vodka 

This exceptional vodka is the brainchild of Leanne Carr whose family have been growing Lidstone’s potatoes in the South Hams since the 1960s. Leanne made her first batch of Cove Vodka (RRP £39.50 per 70cl bottle/£18 per 20cl bottle 40% abv) from home-grown Devon potatoes harvested in September 2018. This hand-crafted single batch distilled vodka is made from high quality King Edward potatoes which are lovingly grown in the Atlantic sea air on their family farm overlooking Hope Cove. Their artisan distillery houses a copper pot still into which only the finest ingredients are added, to ensure a smooth, luxurious taste. Leanne explains: “After many discussions around the dinner table about the different ways you can cook and enjoy potatoes, we decided to take things a step further and make potato vodka.

“We found that using the finest Devon potatoes and spring water combined with small batch traditional copper pot distillation creates a distinctly smooth and delicious vodka that captures the essence of our county. Who doesn’t love the sea and fresh home-grown food?” Cove Vodka is a clear water-white spirit with wonderful pure aromas of lime-blossom and fresh Jersey cream. It shows great finesse on the palate with an incredible purity of flavour and a clean taste of fresh sea air combined with Granny Smith apple and a smooth and creamy flavour of potatoes and a lingering finish.

Vodka is the dieter’s choice of spirit as it’s exceptionally low carb and there is no sugar either, so it’s about as low in calories as an alcoholic drink can be. Enjoy it neat with a cube of ice and a slice of lime. Or serve it long with chilled premium soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Make a Mint Condition cocktail: crush three blackberries and five fresh mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Add 15 ml of lemon juice, 50ml of Cove Vodka and plenty of ice. Shake! Strain into a tall glass full of ice and top up with soda or lemonade. Garnish with blackberries, mint and lime. You might also light to try Cove Damson Liqueur (RRP £33 per 50cl bottle/£18 per 20cl bottle). Available from Barrel & Still in Kingsbridge and Plymouth, The Shops at Dartington, Stokeley Farm Shop near Torcross, the Dartmouth Wine Company, and Fordmore Farm Shop in Cullompton. Find out more about Devon Cove Drinks (Tel: 07779 008842).

Use Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie as the base for a Devon Bramble cocktail: Salcombe Distilling CompanyUse Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie as the base for a Devon Bramble cocktail: Salcombe Distilling Company


2. Salcombe Gin

Dive into summer with the taste of Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie (RRP £40 per 70cl bottle 41.4% abv). Launched by Salcombe Distilling Company last summer, this exceptional dry rosé gin recently won Double Gold at the San Fransisco World Spirits Awards 2020. Rosé Sainte Marie is one of only two pink gins in the world to have achieved this prestigious award. It joins the other award-winning products in the Salcombe Gin range including Start Point and the Voyager Series Mischief, which received the same accolade in 2017 and 2019 respectively. Salcombe Gin is distilled in a 450-litre copper pot still called Provident behind a glass screen next to the tasting bar overlooking the Salcombe estuary. Co-founders Angus Lugsdin and Howard Davies, were influenced by the nautical heritage of their location: “The recipe draws inspiration from the heritage and trading routes of the Salcombe fruit schooners and the citrus fruits and herbs they carried back to England”. Rosé Sainte Marie is named after the iconic Sainte Marie lighthouse which marks the southern entrance to the Old Port of Marseille where Salcombe fruit schooners would load their cargo of Southern French produce, including citrus fruit and herbs, bound for English ports during the 19th century. This exquisite rosé gin, reminiscent of a Provençal rosé wine, was crafted by master distiller Jason Nickels using 15 carefully selected botanicals inspired by the vibrant colours, decadent aromas and exquisite flavours of the Mediterranean coast, giving a touch of Southern French glamour to each batch. It has pretty pink hue which captures the essence summer in each bottle. A backbone of juniper, strawberries and angelica is enhanced with herbal notes of lemon verbena. Citrus lemon and orange peels marry floral scents of rose petals, lavender and orange blossom on the nose, whilst red berry fruit is combined with spicy notes of pink peppercorns that dance on the palate. Enjoy Rosé Sainte Marie as a sophisticated pink G&T served with premium Indian tonic water and ice, garnished with fresh strawberry and a twist of lemon.

Make a Devon Bramble cocktail: 25ml of Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie, 25ml lemon juice, 25ml sugar syrup, 25ml crème de mure (blackberry liqueur). Fill a Boston shaker with ice and add the Salcombe Gin Rosé Sainte Marie, lemon juice and sugar syrup and shake vigorously for ten seconds. Double strain the mixture into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes. Add plenty of crushed ice on top and drizzle with crème de mure. Garnish with two blackberries.

You might also like to try Salcombe Gin Start Point (RRP £40 per 70cl bottle). Available for home-delivery from salcombegin.com/shop or via Amazon Prime. For more information about the Salcombe Distilling Company or the Salcombe Gin School contact (Tel: 01548 288 180)

Hattiers Rum has 'Caribbean roots and pure Devon soul…'. Photo: Rhona McDade/Goodrest StudiosHattiers Rum has 'Caribbean roots and pure Devon soul…'. Photo: Rhona McDade/Goodrest Studios


3. Hattiers Rum

This stylish rum was created by Philip Everett-Lyons and his family team, based on the south coast of Devon. Philip blended his first batch of Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum (RRP £42 per 70cl bottle 40% abv) in May 2018 and has gone on to win multiple awards for his Devon spirit. Philip’s mission at the HB Evelyo Distillery is to create exceptional blended rums sourced from the finest distilleries around the world which has sparked a desire to become the finest aged rum blender in the UK. Hattiers Premium Reserve has a base of eight-year aged Barbados Foursquare rum distilled from sugar cane. It has been skilfully blended with hand-selected premium single-estate rums from The Dominican Republic, Panama and Guatemala before mixing with a little soft Devon spring water from Dartmoor. Philip describes this wonderful smooth rum as having “Caribbean roots and pure Devon soul…” It certainly evokes flavours of the tropics with wonderful spice notes and hints of vanilla oak combined with the adventurous spirit of Devon. It has a clear golden amber hue with aromas of caramel, toffee, cacao and clotted cream combined with a light spice scent. Vibrant flavours of stone fruit dance on the palate including dried apricot and mango with an exotic flavour of Caribbean spice - cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. The taste is dry and medium-bodied with rich base notes of coffee, toffee and cacao. The finish is wonderfully smooth and long. Serve Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum neat with ice, or with a mixer such as signature release spice coke, ginger beer or ginger ale.

Make a Hattiers Jensen cocktail: use 40ml of Hattiers Premium Reserve Rum, 25ml of elderflower cordial, 10ml of acacia honey, and the juice of half a lemon - add these to a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake! Strain into a glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a scattering of elderflowers.

Watch this space for new releases from the Hattiers range coming later this year. Available from masterofmalt.com drinkfinder.co.uk or thewhiskyexchange.com. Find out more about Hattiers Rum and HB Evelyo Distillery (Tel: 01803 226 322).

Dappa is the UK’s first and only grape-marc spirit. Photo: Devon DistilleryDappa is the UK’s first and only grape-marc spirit. Photo: Devon Distillery


4. Dappa

This outstanding grappa is the UK’s first and only grape-marc spirit, made by Devon Distillery , Dappa (RRP £30 per 35cl bottle/£7.50 per 5cl bottle 43% abv) is unique and was first distilled by Cosmo Caddy in September 2013 using grapes sourced from the Sharpham Estate in Ashprington.

Cosmo’s grandfather planted Sharpham Vineyard in the year that Cosmo was born, so 30 years on it seemed only natural for Cosmo to source the fermented grape skins from there for his first vintage of Dappa.

Grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Rondo, Dornfelder and Regent left over from red wine-making are distilled in a bespoke Italian copper pot still which was designed in Sienna and following advice from Marco - a ninth generation grappa producer from northern Italy - Cosmo created his very own grape spirit. Now Dappa uses grape skins from additional premium quality English vineyards including Bolney Estate, Three Choirs and Biddenden.

Dappa has won several international awards including Silver Outstanding at the IWSC for the 2015 vintage. It is a water-white spirit with a clean and refreshing aroma of grapes plus a robust flavour with hints of berries, grassy notes and earthy tones. It has plenty of subtle flavour complexity and hidden layers to it.

This hand-crafted, artisan Devon spirit is far higher quality than the ‘industrial’ grappa you might find in an Italian bar. Cosmo recommends that Dappa “should be savoured with a truly Devonian nod to leisurely enjoyment”. Sip and savour Dappa neat as an after dinner digestif with coffee or use it as a cocktail base. Cosmo has recently diversified with the creation of the Devon Gin School and Devon Rum School (launching this summer at The Shops at Dartington. You might also be interested in his Still on the Move - the UK’s only mobile gin distillation facility - ideal for weddings, parties and festivals.

Make a Dappa Espresso Martini: 15ml of Dappa, double shot of espresso, 25ml of vanilla syrup - shake with ice in a Boston shaker, then strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a coffee bean.

You may also like to try Cosmo’s Devoncello - Devon’s answer to Limoncello (RRP £45 per 70cl/£30 per 35cl / £5 per 5cl). Available to buy online via the Devon Distillery devondistillery.com, also available from The Shops at Dartington, Darts Farm, and Stokeley Farm Shop near Kingsbridge. Find out more about Devon Distillery and the Devon Gin & Rum Schools (Tel: 01803 812509).


Discover the Spirit Of Devon this summer by supporting local Devon spirits producers - there are so many to choose from on our doorstep, right here in Devon. You can also learn more about spirits with an online Spirits Qualification with Rebecca Mitchell via the Wine & Spirits Education Trust .


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