10 Devon distilleries to discover
From gin and limoncello to rum and single malt whiskey, Devon distilleries are creating some fantastic tipples from incredible local ingredients.
Devon Distillery, Dartington
Run by Cosmo Caddy, who’s grandfather created Sharpham Vineyards, the Devon Distillery makes its own award-winning grappa (Dappa), limoncello (Devoncello, featured in the photo above), gin and sloe gin (SloeD).
Head to the Cider Press Centre at Dartington, here you can also learn to make gin and rum at their Gin School, where you can make your own unique gin, and their Rum School, located on a classic yellow school bus called Sparrow, where the day kicks off learning about the history of rum while sipping on rum cocktails, before making your own rum.
Their an ingenious idea – ‘Still on the Move’, a beautiful Italian copper still called Prosperity, on the back of a 1970s VW pickup, can travel anywhere in the UK to create your very own bespoke gin for special events or ‘house’ gins and rums for bars, pubs and restaurants.
Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, Bovey Tracey
Devon’s only single malt whisky, produced by Dartmoor Whisky Distillery, is handcrafted on the edge of Dartmoor in a copper still that once produced cognac for the likes of Hennessy, Martel and Remy Martin.
Whisky lovers will enjoy their Tasting Experience, learning all about the history of the distillery and partaking in a guided tasting of their three whisky expressions, all aged in old Bourbon, Bordeaux Red Wine and Oloroso Sherry casks.
The iconic Plymouth Gin, navy strength, sloe gin and fruit cup are all distilled in the heart of Plymouth. The top secret recipe for Plymouth Gin has been passed down to Master Distillers verbally since 1793.
It is the oldest working gin distillery in England, housed in the Black Friar’s building, one of Plymouth’s oldest buildings, with a medieval hall built in 1431. You can take a tour of the distillery or distil your own gin in the distilling masterclass. But the ultimate tour would be the Smeaton’s Tower Experience with Sean Harrison, the Master Distiller, where you have welcome drinks at the top of Plymouth’s iconic lighthouse, fish and chips at the Barbican Kitchen, make your own bottle of gin and a final drink with Sean in the distillery’s own Refectory Bar.
Two Drifters Distillery, Exeter
Based in an aircraft-style hanger near Exeter Airport, Devonshire husband and wife team Russ and Gemma founded the Two Drifters Distillery with the environment at its heart. Probably one of the most sustainable Devon distilleries we’ve seen, they make carbon negative rum from raw ingredients in their electric distillery that runs on 100% renewable energy. Their range includes signature, pure white, lightly spiced and overproof spiced pineapple rum, and you can take a tour of their distillery, which kicks off with Devon Stormy cocktails!
Award-winning Sidmouth Gin is handcrafted in Verity, the 100 litre pot still, using locally sourced botanicals from Sidmouth beach and the Sid Valley. Choose from amazing flavoured gins: honey and orange, pink gooseberry, rhubarb, as well as their unique Sea Truffle and Seashore gins, made with seaweed harvested directly from Sidmouth beach. They also make Sea Breeze vodka with refreshing notes of lemon and salt, for a true taste of the Devon seaside and have a gin school on special occasions!
One of the only distilleries in the world that you can access by boat, Salcombe Distilling is the home of multi award winning Salcombe Gin – Start Point, Rose Sainte Marie and the Salcombe Gin Voyager Series, limited-edition gins developed in collaboration with world renowned chefs and iconic winemakers. They also produce New London Light non alcoholic spirits and aperitifs; Aegean Sky, First Light and Midnight Sun. Angus and Howard’s distillery, bar and products reflect their love of Salcombe’s maritime heritage and their lifestyle on and around the sea, and was born of their traditional sundowner G&T after a day’s sailing. You can learn their secrets at their Gin School, where you can develop and distil your very own 70cl bottle of gin while enjoying a G&T.
Rob at Exeter Distillery produces a great range of hand crafted rums, gins, vodkas, English Pear Moonshine and an Absinthe based on an original 1790s recipe that took 25 years to find! Self described as a spirit alchemist, flavour experimenter, legal bootlegger and drink lovers bar, Exeter Distillery certainly is one of the most unique of the Devon distilleries. Rob can even create custom-made micro batches of spirits for individual and businesses.
Copper Frog Distilling, Exmouth
Based in the seaside town of Exmouth, Taste of the West Gold Award winners Copper Frog Distilling is small batch artisan distillers producing ‘The Spirit of Exmouth’. As well as the classic Copper Frog Gin, cherry gin and golden rum, they have one of the best named gins of all the Devon distilleries – ‘Tears of a Clown Candy Floss Gin’.
Devon Coast Distillery
Home of Deckchair Gin and Riviera Rum, Devon Coast Distillery was born at the New Quay Inn in Brixham. Just looking at their jaunty bottles just makes me want to grab my bucket and spade and head to the English Riviera! As well as their spiced rum and classic gin, they produce a lovely range of fruit infused gins – lemon, raspberry, ruby grapefruit, cranberry and lime, cucumber and watermelon, and sloe, damson and plum. Delicious!
Dartmouth Distillery Co.
Dartmouth Distillery Co. can be found on the Calancombe Estate in the South Devon countryside. Distilled in a unique copper-pot still from the Black Forest in Germany, using fresh spring water, herbs, flowers and fruit from the estate, and botanicals from around the world, their award winning gins truly reflects the families’ maritime heritage and history in Dartmouth.