Created by the Isle of Wight’s first and only distillery, Mermaid Pink Gin is distilled using fresh strawberries from the island’s Arreton Valley, which has some of the best sunshine levels in the UK. The strawberry flavour gives the gin a delicate pink hue, and the flavour is blended with lemon zest, grains of paradise and fragrant rock samphire.
The samphire is foraged from the island’s cliffs and is known locally as ‘mermaid’s kiss’, hence the name of the gin. The drink is less sweet than most pink gins and has no added sugar. Getting out the cocktail shaker was our reviewer Sara Walker.
“When we’re all a bit fed up with staying indoors, this bright, summery drink is just the thing to lift the spirits a bit. With the subtle flavours in mind I didn’t want to overpower it by adding lots of other ingredients, so I settled for making up two G&Ts using Fevertree low sugar tonic water, fresh raspberries, mint from the garden and lots of ice. I’m not normally a big gin drinker, but this was delicious – not too sweet and really bursting with floral, zesty flavour. It’s still a bit chilly to sit out, but the second it gets warm enough I’ll be out there in the garden with a glass of this – it’s summer in a glass.
“Next, I wanted to put this gin through its paces a bit so I invented a ‘gin and strawberries’ cupcake recipe which is best started the night before you want to make it. To make around eight, you’ll need:
Summer gin and strawberries cupcake recipe
- 120g butter or margarine, softened
- 120g granulated sugar
- 135g self raising flour, or plain flour with 1tsp of baking powder (I only had plain in, and obviously couldn’t go out!)
- 2 free range eggs, beaten
- 200g fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons Mermaid Pink Gin
- Decoration (I used pink buttercream icing, gold sugar sprinkles and some fresh mint)
- The night before you want to bake, chop the strawberries into little pieces, put them in a bowl and add the gin. Cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, and line eight holes of a muffin tin with paper liners.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating between each addition.
- Beat in the flour until you have a smooth batter (there’s a little more flour than in a normal sponge recipe, to compensate for the addition liquid from the strawberries and gin)
- Fold in the strawberries and mix until evenly distributed.
- Spoon into the paper cases, filling each one no more than 3/4 full
- Bake for around 12 to 15 minutes, until well risen and golden
- Turn onto a wire rack, and allow to cool completely before decorating.
“I thought these worked really well – you could taste the gin, which added an extra layer of flavour, and the slight sharpness made the whole thing not too sweet.
“The gin itself comes in a beautiful bottle, which would make an impromptu single-stem vase or a candle holder when you’ve finished with it, and the Isle of Wight Distillery is committed to environmentally friendly, plastic free packaging (even the cork is made from sustainably sourced cork and wood). As a gift to cheer up a friend or as a treat for yourself, I’m sure this would be very much appreciated. ”
Mermaid Pink Gin costs £40 for a 70cl bottle from Marks & Spencer, or there’s a gift set of a 70cl bottle and two glasses available directly from the Isle of Wight Distillery for £62.50. To find out more about the product or the Isle of Wight Distillery’s range of other drinks, take a look at the website.
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