GOOD TASTE CIDER TIME COTTONING ON TO GIN Friends Nicola Lambkin, Geri Howson and Alex Ives have managed to pull off what many of us would love to – creating a new gin. Trying and testing are order of the day and one of their willing volunteers and expert ‘nose’ was their chef pal James Martin – they also feature on his new website James Martin Market. The result is the made in Yorkshire Cotton Gin – the name reflects the distillery premises – a former cotton and silk mill on the outskirts of Skipton. Their business is Otterbeck Distillery named after the water source nearby. Cotton Gin was 18 months in the planning and creation, with the signature recipe chosen out of 16 different recipes. Key fresh flavours are locally-foraged pine, lemongrass and watercress – these are added to a separate chamber of the still, named Eliza after the mill-owner’s wife - to create a smooth and creamy flavour. The team – with distillers Chris Ives and Jamie Baxter at the helm are just at the start of their spirits journey with plans for vodka, rum and whisky to come. Having tasted the first batch, Michelin-star chefs Paul Ainsworth and Michael Wignall are stocking it in their restaurants. It is also available from the distillery, wine shops, delis and farm shops. It’s peak picking time at the Holme Valley orchards of Pure North Cider where the North family create fine natural cider from a blend of traditional cider apples. Fermented naturally and full of anti-oxidants, these ciders are lovingly nurtured, pressed by hand and delivered with care. The Pure North Cider Press is a family farming affair and the onsite café is a much-loved community hub as well as a go-to for lovers of the Pure North range of ciders. It’s been a tough year for Robert North and the team – the closure of pubs meant demand for cider was stripped away but the harvesting goes on says Robert. ‘We are pressing in September for the apple juice then the cider crop is October to mid-November. As its nature’s way, it’s not been a brilliant year in terms of fruit which is not a bad thing given that we have a lot of stock from last year.’ The Pure North operation relies on an army of fruit pickers at this time of year – and Robert will also take local apples that are brought in by neighbours and locals – and exchange them for apple juice or cider – everybody’s happy! There are four orchards of 400 trees which supply 8–20 tonnes of fruit and this equates to around 15,000 bottles of cider (11 types) , apple juice and elderflower cordial for a harvest. Robert has planted a carefully chosen blend of cider apples for their flavour and these are all picked and processed on site. The cider can be cloudy and this is because it is naturally produced and full of goodness, says Robert. Although thought of as a summer drink, Robert hopes cider fans will ‘drink up to help out’ farmers and producers like him in coming months – the Pure North cider range is available at the farm shop as well as in many Yorkshire farm shops. otterbeckdistillery.co.uk Supplier shout-out Field and Fawcett Wine Merchants and Delicatessen was founded in York in August 2006 by Peter and Cathryn Fawcett. After 22 years in the wine trade, Peter decided it was about time he set out on his own. He invited his wife Cathryn to go on the journey with him to run a delicatessen alongside his wines. Once they had planning permission they set to work renovating part of the redundant buildings on the family farm which once housed dairy cows. Three years later they had outgrown this space and doubled the size of the shop in 2009. Peter and Cathryn are passionate about wine, food and excellent customer service. Their shop at Grimston Bar, York provides a range of quality wines, champagnes, spirits and beers to suit all budgets and provides an over the counter service, by the bottle or by the case. The deli offers mainly British artisan cheeses. The salamis are made locally and Cathryn also bakes for the deli – sausage rolls are a speciality! purenorthciderpress.com fieldandfawcett.co.uk Yorkshire Life: October 2020 115
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