First of all – The history of Slingsby.
The name Slingsby has a long history in Harrogate. The gin is named after William Slingsby who travelled across the UK in 1571, looking for good water. The mineral water in Spa in Germany was renowned for having health benefits and Slingsby was looking for something similar. As Harrogate spring water had these same properties they settled there and told people about the unique health benefits. They had visitors come from all over the world to try it – in fact you may have even tried bottled Harrogate spring water!
Slingsby want to be the literal ‘spirit of Harrogate’. Out of its 24 botanicals, 17 are local. 12 are grown in the centre of Harrogate at the kitchen garden of the Rudding Park hotel, including the rhubarb. Green and Jasmine tea are sourced from Taylor’s of Harrogate – the famous tea brand. And of course they use the local Harrogate spring water to dilute the gin to its final strength.
Botanicals that couldn’t be found locally are sourced sustainably, the pink grapefruit coming from South Africa. Most importantly the juniper is from Madagascar (which has a more vanilla flavour and less pepperiness). Notable flavours include citrus thyme for a herbaceous note, liquorice root for sweetness and sweet cicely.
The resulting citrus flavour was planned to be not too dry to make a refreshing summer drink. It took them 11 attempts to get the recipe right!
The Rhubarb Gin
As mentioned before, rhubarb is one of the locally grown botanicals and the rhubarb gin is in keeping with their motto to restore the spirit of Harrogate. There is no extra sugar added to the rhubarb gin so it retains an astringent flavour, characteristic of forced rhubarb. When I tried it neat, you could really taste in the rich rhubarb flavour in there. Mixer wise, Slingsby recommended adding Fever-Tree Elderflower Tonic, which I definitely thought made it taste even better!