Salcombe releases Restless gin with Niall Keating

English spirits producer Salcombe Distilling Co has teamed up with two Michelin-starred chef Niall Keating to launch the latest gin in its Voyager Series, called Restless.

Each gin in the limited edition Voyager Series is developed in collaboration with a renowned chef or winemaker and reflects their “individual personality and style”.

Devon-based Salcombe has previously collaborated with Port producer Niepoort, British restaurateur Mark HixMichelin-starred chef Michael Caines and acclaimed chef Monica Galetti as part of its Voyager Series.

The fifth edition in the series is said to “push the boundaries of gin distillation” and was inspired by Keating’s love of Asian cuisine. Keating is the executive chef of five-star hotel Whatley Manor in Wiltshire, home to two Michelin-starred The Dining Room, and the winner of this year’s Great British Menu.

Restless marks the first time a gin has been created using a liquid botanical and is made using Keating’s blood orange kombucha produced at Whatley Manor.

The kombucha is made by fermenting Sencha Sakura tea and blood orange pulp. The blood orange kombucha is then distilled with English wheat spirit to create a distillate with “complex citrus and floral aromas”, which is then combined with kombucha as a liquid botanical, along with 15 other botanicals.

According to Angus Lugsdin, co-founder of Salcombe Distilling Co, during the development of the gin it was decided the kombucha would be used in two ways and treated as a botanical to “capture the best of the aroma and flavour profile” which provided liquorice wood, citrus and vanilla notes.

Asian influences

Botanicals used in the gin include Asian pears, Japanese salted plums, Chinese black dates, perilla leaves, Sencha Sakura tea, Mexican orange blossom and citra hops. Like the rest of Salcombe’s gins, the botanicals are distilled using the one-shot method.

The addition of kombucha to the gin is said to offer hints of blood orange and vanilla while the Asian spices add sweet, smoky notes.

The botanicals used in the gin were inspired by Keating’s love of Korean and Japanese cuisine. The addition of citra hops from California marks Keating’s time spent in San Francisco, where he worked at three Michelin-starred Benu.

Salcombe and Keating had begun working on the gin in January, with the chef visiting the distillery prior to the coronavirus lockdown. However, the pandemic saw the development of the product continue remotely with Keating shipping ingredients to the distillery in Salcombe, south Devon.

Each gin in the Voyager Series is named after a famous fruit schooner, sailing boats from the 19th century that were built in Salcombe. The name Restless was selected to reflect Keating’s “constant strive for perfection”.

The gin’s signature serve is Relentless, a cocktail inspired by Keating’s culinary journey. It is made with Restless gin, Choya yuzu liqueur, Asian pear and Indonesian long pepper syrup, plum bitters and kombucha. The gin is also recommended served with Indian tonic water and garnished with a slice of Asian pear.

Limited to 3,500 bottles, Restless comes in a white ceramic bottle featuring a green label to reflect the product’s use of Asian ingredients. It is priced at £65 (US$85) per 500ml bottle and available to buy online from Salcombe’s website and at the distillery, as well as Victuallers, Amazon and Master of Malt.

Salcombe has already begun work on the sixth edition in the Voyager Series, which will be released this autumn in partnership with a winery. The distiller plans to release two gins in the Voyager Series every year.

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Timothy Kelly

Tim is the Founder & Master Distiller at Felene. He developed his passion for the spirits and hospitality business while growing-up and working in his family's restaurant and liquor store business. Tim’s passion for the epicurean lifestyle has found it’s latest manifestation in the Felene Distillery. Tim is a 5-time Gold Medal Award winning Distiller. He has won a Platinum medal at the Prestigious Los Angeles Spirits Awards and his signature vodka was named Best-in-Category by the American Distilling Institute. Mr. Kelly is also a prolific author and writer and his blog is filled with ideas, discoveries, observations and recommendations to help his readers enjoy life’s simple epicurean pleasures.

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