the making of queen cleo
The Little Gin & Rum Co started life as an events business, born from a love of all things Gin and Rum. Over the last 6 and ½ years the events core of the business has grown and evolved but we now also have our very own range of gins and spiced rum.
We're often asked about how we got to where we are today - and so thought we'd share a blog post dedicated to life behind the scenes at The Little Gin & Rum Company.
How do you go about creating you own gin, without your own distillery?
These are exactly the questions we asked at the beginning of our journey. By early 2017, we had been running the events business for nearly 2 years and in that time we had gained a lot of insight into what flavours and pairings consumers were looking for in their gins and we knew what was popular on the bar and in tastings. We also knew what we wanted in a good gin and the flavours that were important to us. We wanted to combine these two pools of wisdom and create our own fabulous range of gins. But where to start?!
Finding the perfect pairing
The first step was several conversations with local distilleries to see if this was something we could partner up on. Our discussions led us to Mark at Union Distillers and from our first meeting we knew Mark was a man we wanted to work with. Mark was warm, welcoming and had us sipping tasters within a very short space of time! His passion and expertise was clear to see but he also listened to what we wanted to create and was able to give us the creative licence to develop our own unique recipes. We saw this approach as a win win - we would be able to create our own unique gin recipes with the support and expertise of an experienced distiller.
We got to explore the distillery in Market Harborough and meet the family led team and haven’t looked back since. The process of creating each of our own Gins was a lot of trial and error, trying different botanical combinations, trusting our palates and the expertise of head distillers Simon and Mark. We started with a classic, easy drinking London Dry and continued with Elderflower, Old Tom, Rhubarb and most recently Pink Grapefruit.
How are Queen Cleo gins made?
Each gin is made using a high strength base alcohol, and for ours it is a grain base spirit. Each gins selection of botanicals (the herbs and spices used the flavour the gin) are added to the base spirit in the still and are left to infuse overnight. Did you know...all gin must contain Juniper Berries in the botanical mix to officially be classed as a gin. There are lots of other common gin botanicals that are widely used and most gins will have juniper, coriander seeds, a root (usually angelica) and an element of citrus (quite often orange or lemon peel). Other additional botanicals can vary widely - hence the unique flavour among different gins. We have stayed true to quite traditional botanicals in our range and have used only natural flavours across all 5 gins to give an authentic taste.
The botanical mix that has infused overnight is then heated in the still and the vapours are collected and condensed as they are cooled to create our high strength gin. The high strength gin can then be cut to the required bottling strength using water (or in the case of our Rhubarb Gin we use Rhubarb Juice as well as water).
These lovely gins are then bottled, labelled and are pretty much ready to go. A couple of weeks is ideal to let the flavours settle, but then our gin is ready to be enjoyed. Each gin is made one batch at a time, and one batch typically makes around 80-90 full size bottles.
It has been such a fun process developing our own gins and we have learnt (and sampled!) a lot along the way. The best part is sharing them with you lovely lot and hearing how much you enjoy them. In fact we had so much fun creating our gins, we then moved on to creating our very own spiced rum - but that deserves it’s own blog!
Keen to try the Queen Cleo range for yourself? Grab your friends, family, clients or colleagues in a fun, informal, virtual or in-person setting - with lashings of gin! Our tasting experiences can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home, either in person or virtually. Contact us today to get a date booked in!