As new members of the CGUK Marketplace, we would like to introduce ourselves and our business – The Oxton Liqueur Company.
We have always made Sloe Gin & Damson Gin for friends & family to enjoy out shooting. As we experimented with different fruits and spirits it was obvious that the next step was to scale this up. We have now been going for 5 years and have gone from strength to strength – along the way picking up 10 Great Taste Awards and 3 World Liqueur Awards including the two Best Vodkas in the World in 2020 for our Elderflower Vodka and our Christmas Vodka. Since we are now in the Rhubarb season (another ‘World Best’ with our Rhubarb Gin), we wanted to share the story of our ‘Field to Bottle’ craft.
(The Team – Christopher, Emily, Poppy & Bizzie)
We are passionate about taste, and passion makes a difference. We, therefore, start by sourcing the finest ingredients.
We use fresh Timperley Early Rhubarb from the Rhubarb Triangle in West Yorkshire – a 9-square-mile area that is famous for producing early forced rhubarb.
This happens in darkened sheds and is harvested in January. You can hear the rhubarb growing in the dark where there is a constant creaking caused by the buds cracking open.
The sticks are then handpicked by candlelight – to maintain the tenderness of the shoots. If the crowns are exposed to too much light, they will cease to grow and photosynthesis will occur resulting in a bitter flavor. The benefits of the lack of natural light are that the plant is much more colorful (a vivid red), more delicate, sweeter, and a lot tastier than normal rhubarb.
Not only does it taste better but forced rhubarb also has proven health benefits. The petioles contain ideal levels of oxalic acid, which help to cleanse and detoxify the body, and high concentrations of polyphenols – special molecules in plants with powerful antioxidant properties. In addition, it boasts a lower acidity than the outdoor crop!
Alas, the result is that being so special, forced rhubarb is 3 to 4 times as expensive as normal rhubarb…. but what a difference it makes to the taste!
The next step is maceration. This breaks down the rhubarb and amplifies its natural flavour. We chop the rhubarb into smaller pieces, add a little cane sugar and leave for 48-72 hours. Then we add some fresh ginger. This also has health benefits. Ginger is loaded with antioxidants (compounds that prevent stress and damage to your body’s DNA).
Steeping: Next the macerated rhubarb and the ginger are left to steep in barrels with the award-winning London Dry Gin. Winner of Gold at both the prestigious International Spirits Challenge (ISC) as well as at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC). It has independently been described as one of the best in the world!
After steeping for many months, we then taste it, tweak as required, gently press, filter and bottle our classic award-winning liqueur – ready to be enjoyed. Not surprisingly our sons never knowingly miss this opportunity!
The judges from the Guild of Fine Food (where it won two stars at The Great Taste Awards) were certainly impressed – giving us this feedback:
‘Wow, what a nose! Rhubarb through and through, and perfectly balanced with its beautiful blush pink appearance. On the palate, it’s quite delicious, not too sweet, full of honest fruit, and with just the slightest hint of ginger towards the end of the taste note. A revelation in tonic, or on its own, judges can imagine a plethora of uses for this superb product’.
Great as a gift or just a treat for yourself! Personalise your choice of bottle with a message.
The final touch is for Emily to add a handwritten message to the bottle to make it extra special. In addition to ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ & ‘Happy Christmas’, we have also had a few marriage proposals but the most requested is still ‘Hands Off It’s Mine!’
What to mix it with?
We love it on its own, on ice, with tonic or ginger ale, with fizz or as an exceptional base for a cocktail.
Elegant & Fresh:
- Add either the Tonic of your choice or a splash of Ginger Ale
- Garnish with a slice of orange
Rhubarb Gin Fizz:
- Two parts fizz (Champagne or Prosecco) to one part Rhubarb Gin
- Garnish with lime
- Two parts of Rhubarb Gin to one part of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Add soda to taste.
- Serve over ice.
- Garnish with lemon.
Rhubarb & Lime Cocktail (with Tequila and Vermouth):
If you are not a fan of sweet cocktails, this might be one for you.
- Juice of half a lime
- Add equal parts of Rhubarb Gin, Tequila & dry white Vermouth
- Dash of Angostura bitters.
- Serve on ice
- Garnish with Lime