Sustainable Gin Liqueur Made With Local Surplus Strawberry Crop
Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash
Sorted Food - the social media movement dedicated to cooking, have partnered with Yorkshire’s Sloemotion Distillery to launch their first drink - ‘Strawberry Gin Liqueur with Vanilla & Black Pepper’.
The YouTube foodies have joined forces with the distiller to create the luscious new liqueur that is big on sustainability, supports the rewilding of our precious countryside, cuts food waste and is packed full of flavour.
A celebration of the UK’s favourite berry, the team have used last years’ deliciously sweet surplus strawberry crop along with Sloemotion Distillery botanicals foraged from the hedgerows on their farm to create the new drink. Made with environmentally friendly production methods and local suppliers - from the temperature efficient gin still, bottles made in Leeds and the strawberries grown in Yorkshire, the core elements of the gin have been sourced from within 30 miles of each other, and carefully planned to ensure it is sustainably produced.
The strawberries in the gin were grown in Yorkshire during 2021, by third generation farmer and founder of Annabel’s Deliciously British, Annabel Makin-Jones. After Wimbledon and various summer events were cancelled due to the pandemic, strawberries and other seasonal fruit were at risk of being thrown away.
The food distribution charity FareShare reports that in 2020-21 it received 3,679 tonnes of surplus fresh fruit, eight times as many as the year before. Sorted Food and Sloemotion diverted the surplus slew from Annabel’s farm stopping them go to waste andcreating this innovative new drink; they froze the strawberries and these are the heroes in the new gin.
The base of the liquor uses the Distillery’s Hedgerow Gin, that is made in a high-tech, temperature efficient and highly insulated still - this saves up to 80% energy when compared to more traditional copper stills. Novel botanicals are foraged from hedgerows on Green Farm, where the Distillery is based, these include: Elderflower, Wildflower Hay, Nettle Leaf, Crab Apple and Rosehip.
The friendship between Sorted Food and the Sloemotion Distillery began last summer, when Sorted Food published a video on its YouTube channel for its 2.5 million strong community, that discussed the importance of rewilding on UK farmland to improve insect and bird diversity.
The video featured Sloemotion Distillery’s award-winning Sloe Gin as a perfect example of a drinks business embracing this need. This was seen by the team at Sloemotion who invited Sorted Food co-founder, Ben Ebbrell, to come and visit the farm.
Whilst walking the hedgerows with founder Joff Curtoys, it became clear that they shared a common interest and they committed to find a way that the two businesses could work together to increase awareness about the importance of environmentally friendly food and drink production.
Ben Ebbrell, Sorted Food co-founder, comments:
“At Sorted Food we’ve spent many years shining a light on how food and drink is produced, as well as helping our community to reduce their food waste.
"Discovering the Sloemotion Distillery was a revelation, and after many attempts at my own home made gin, I am thrilled to be joining forces to create the first drink that our community will be able to enjoy too. Not only has it helped save much of last year’s strawberry crop from going to waste, but it’s the perfect drink to enjoy during an awesome summer of celebrations for the UK.”
Sloemotion Distillery Co-founder, Joff Curtoys, comments:
“We were delighted to be asked by the guys at Sorted Food to create this exceptional and quintessentially British summer product; it smacks of sun-drenched garden parties and pitchers full of deliciously fruity cocktails. We particularly love that, like us, Sorted Food recognises the issues that face the environment; our two businesses teaming up helps get the message out there with a product that has sustainability at its’ heart.”
Founded in 2002, Sloemotion Distillery is an artisan business creating great tasting spirits and liqueurs, based just north of York and near to the market town of Malton, Yorkshire’s food capital. The business began almost by accident, when a farming initiative to improve wildlife habitats resulted in an abundance of sloes. To founder Joff Curtoys, an ecologist by training and colleagues who had grown up drinking home-made Sloe Gin, an idea began to take shape and Sloemotion Distillery was born.
“Just as sloes plucked from the bush for sloe gin are traditionally best after the first frost, so are frozen berries best for the maceration and steeping process in our gin. Our new gin is crafted to be served neat over ice. But why not extend to a thirst-quenching summer drink by adding a splash into a dry sparkling apple or pear cider, or for a very special occasion a coupe of English sparkling wine.”
Annabel Makin-Jones, founder of Annabel’s Deliciously British comments:
“We are so thrilled to collaborating with Sorted Food and Sloemotion to produce this delicious Strawberry Gin Liqueur. It seemed the perfect partnership which ties in with our ongoing work with other specialist food and drink producers to use the waste berries towards becoming a zero waste farm and reduce our carbon footprint. Along with using waste fruit for partner drinks brands, we also use in other products including our own jams and chutneys!”
Sorted Food was started by four school friends in 2010 with the mission to help people become awesome home cooks; it has grown to be one of the world’s largest online food communities with 2.5 million YouTube subscribers.
The YouTube channel has had over 800 million views, with two to three new videos uploaded each week – from learning basic cooking techniques to investigating new food trends and taking on ultimate cooking challenges.
Helping their community to cut waste is at the heart of the business – just last month, the team launched Sidekick the first App to help home-cooks make amazing meals created by chefs, whilst saving money on their food bills and cutting down on their food waste.
A limited run of the gin will be available for consumers to buy from SloemotionDistillery.com
£22.95 per 500ml and for the trade via Sloemotion.
More about the backstory can be found at sortedfood.com/gin
Aside from freshly cut grass (and nobody wants that in a gin) is there a more symbolic smell than ripe British strawberries in the summer? Turning a surplus of saved strawberries from last year’s bumper crop into the hero of this drink we’ve crammed basket-loads of Annabel’s Deliciously British strawberries into our Hedgerow Gin. Balanced out with some natural vanilla and a crack of black pepper that accentuates the strawberry and gives the liqueur a warming savoury finish that is as elegant as it looks.
Nose – bursting with fresh strawberry and summer meadow
Palate – smooth, fruity and with a roundness of vanilla
Finish – subtle warming black pepper spice
Sweetness – medium sweetness
Botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica, orris & bay. Plus six botanicals foraged from the farm and local hedgerows: crab apple, rosehip, elderflower, nettle leaf & wildflower meadow hay