The Helford River: A Gin Makers Guide

THE HELFORD RIVER IS NOT ONLY OUR HOME BUT THE HEART OF OUR BUSINESS

Rosemullion Distillery is a family business run from the buildings and land belonging to our house on the Helford River, and using local ingredients wherever possible. We are fortunate enough to have won numerous international and national awards in our determination to create a superior standard of spirit. But hard work (and luck!) aside we also credit our local environment on the Helford Passage with being responsible for the excellent quality of our premium product as use many local ingredients in our spirits such as Summer Gin, Navy Gin, Seafarer’s Gin and Christmas Spirit. The Helford is an ecological treasure, studied by field biologists and marine conservationists, and adored by sailors and fishers, swimmers and hikers and painters and gardeners alike. But it is also home to some of the local ingredients that we use in our drinks. 

What local botanicals go in your Cornish spirits? 

The first thing we use – to create our base spirits – is our Cornish rain. Collecting and using our own rainwater is environmentally friendly because we’re recycling as much water as we can by collecting it off the guttering and rooves straight into our rainwater catchment system. Naturally we then purify it and sanitise it.

One of the most exciting local ingredients we add to our base spirit is a variety of seaweeds. We get these products from the excellent Cornish Seaweed Company who operate from Gweek (a creek-side village situated on the Helford estuary and which is also home to the brilliant and hugely important Gweek Seal Sanctuary that rescues seals, beavers, otters and so on). From the Cornish Seaweed Co we use dulse, kelp and sea spaghetti which contribute anais and liquorice-type flavours to our gins. Inevitably, because they are seaweeds, they bring a certain saltiness with them as well, but it’s not overpowering and certainly provides a nice balance in terms of the flavours. 

A little tip for readers is that a little sprig of sea sphagetti makes a great garnish for a homemade cocktail. You put it in place of` the lime or grapefruit. 

We also use a touch of salt from the Cornish Sea Salt Company (also operating from Gweek) which has a great story of how it came to be a business. They have a big range of hand-harvested and hand-blended sea salts all with different textures which have, as the company themselves says, a ‘unique Cornish mineral profile that makes our flavour so distinctive.”  Their salt gives a particularly nice flavour to Rosemullion Distillery products and this is due in part to the elements of the rocks and the elements of the water flow in and around the Lizard which is where they create the sea salt. 

Some of the fruit we use to flavour our products comes from our 19th century orchard, including our own well-established grapevine. We take the grapes and dry them out to use them for our rum and raisin infused Christmas spirit. We use some fruit from our own orchard, such as apples and Victoria plums in our Harvest Gin, but some fruit is from local suppliers like the local strawberries and raspberries which we use in our Summer Gin.  

What are you favourite things to do on the Helford River? 

Rain or shine the Helford is pretty much heaven. Daphne du Maurier based her book Frenchman’s Creek on the Helford’s very own Frenchman’s Creek. As you walk its shoreline you might see egrets, cormorants and herons as well as curlews and spoonbills, ducks and other divers. Whether you’re on a deck, kayak or hammock, one of the best things to do at the Helford is to have a locally made pasty, cream tea and drinks on a beach or boat at the Helford. Cornish potter Blue Bell makes beautiful plates to put your pasties on to save them getting all sandy. Helford village stores have scones, jam, cream and pasties, and of course here at Rosemullion we make (according to all our many awards) some of the best gin and rum in the world.

We are also proud to sponsor the Helford River Gig Club because they give everyone who can hold an oar a chance to participate in their fantastic sport which originated in Cornwall and that they are at the forefront of today. Getting out on the water here is a wonderful experience.

What is the Helford River like for nature lovers?   

Designated National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) like the Helford Passage are landscapes which are considered to be the most valuable in England and Wales. We realise we are extremely fortunate to live here. These areas, such as the rich and sheltered waters of the Helford River, are protected and manged by law to maintain their natural state as much as possible. Its 31 mile shoreline is largely untouched by developers, leaving its quiet beaches and little villages like Helford and Port Navas relatively untouched and protected from commercial enterprises. If you’re interested in helping then the Helford VMCA encourages people to become more involved to work together to help conserve its waters and wildlife for future generations. 

Become a Stockist

If you would like to stock any of our products, please give us a call on 01326 702202.