On the blog this week we showcase a grape-based drink that isn’t wine, brandy or even those purple cans of fizzy drink that used to be a fixture at school discos. It’s an intriguing new gin from Foxhole Spirits…
Sustainability is a good thing. This is something we can surely all agree on. From responsibly sourcing ingredients to using recyclable materials, it’s great to see a brand embrace the ethical and innovative.
It’s an approach that informs everything about our New Arrival of the Week: HYKE Gin. It’s made by Foxhole Spirits, a company that specialises in making drinks from excess produce, which you may know as the brand behind Foxhole Gin (which was made from the grape marc crafted by an English winery in Sussex).
The inspiration for HYKE actually came from one of the UK’s largest fruit importers, Richard Hochfeld Ltd, which is also one of Foxhole Spirits’ suppliers. The company noted that when British supermarkets packaged imported table grapes (these are the ones that you eat, not those used to make wine), the grapes are cut and trimmed to fit punnets. This leaves a surplus of loose grapes and tiny bunches that can’t be sold as fresh.
So, what do you do with all these excess grapes? Richard Hochfeld felt they could be put to good use making delicious gin. This is our kind of logic.
It approached Foxhole Spirits with this idea and, unsurprisingly, the brand was very much on board. James Oag-Cooper, MD and co-founder of Foxhole Spirits, explained: “We knew that there was something special that could and ‘should’ be done with this quality by-product, so we applied our expertise and craftsmanship to the challenge.”
The result? A base spirit made from 713 tonnes (about 1.4 million punnets-worth) of fresh grapes that would have previously gone to waste. Hurrah!
Foxhole Spirits distilled this grape spirit with a blend of botanicals inspired by the grapes’ African and South American origins, including juniper, myrrh, Nigella seed, rooibos, cumin, bay leaf, green cardamom, black cardamom, coriander, angelica root, angelica seed, orris root, liquorice root, aniseed and lemon zest. A hearty and exotic list if there ever was one.
The approach to sustainability extends to every element of HYKE Gin, including the bottle, which was made from recyclable material. The fact that it went on sale on Monday 18 March, Global Recycling Day, is no mistake.
But let’s get down to the thing you all want to know. How does it taste? Well, here’s a classic MoM Tasting Note to give you an idea of what to expect:
Tasting Note for HYKE Gin:
Nose: A lively, aromatic nose begins with plenty of rich baking spice, an underlying forest-air-freshness and a touch of flint. Warming citrus notes are present throughout, with soft aniseed, floral vanilla and piney juniper in support.
Palate: A full and silky palate begins with delicate juniper, a touch of liquorice and a little pink grapefruit bitterness. Earthy spice flickers away underneath, among plenty of fragrant cardamom and menthol herbaceousness.
Finish: The finish is long and peppered with dry, spicy citrus.
Overall: Luxurious, complex and very moreish stuff from Foxhole Spirits.
We’ve also included a couple of recipes of the brand’s recommended serves, featuring a refreshing Spritz or a sophisticated Martini, so you can make the most of this sublimely sustainable gin. Enjoy!
Ingredients: HYKE Gin, rhubarb and ginger cordial, sparkling Rosé wine and soda water.
Garnish: A lemon twist and a sprig of thyme.
Method: Begin by filling a Copa glass with ice, then add 20ml of rhubarb and ginger cordial and 35ml of HYKE Gin. Then add 75ml of sparkling Rosé wine and 50ml of soda water before garnishing your cocktail with a lemon twist and a sprig of thyme.
Garnish: Lemon zest and a green olive.
Method: Combine 60ml of HYKE Gin, 15ml of Crème de Cacao Blanc and 15ml of Amontillado Sherry with ice and stir. Strain this mix into a chilled Martini glass, then squeeze lemon zest on top and garnish with a green olive.