British troops fighting inÂ Holland during the Thirty Years' War were givenÂ 'dutchÂ courage'Â to warm them upÂ in the freezing cold weather and boost their spirits before battle. On their return toÂ Britain, theÂ troops developed their own varieties but these early Gins were uncontrolled and of poor quality. This resultedÂ in much ofÂ London going to ruin whichÂ forcedÂ ParliamentÂ in the 1740sÂ to restrict the production and selling of gin.
At the same time theÂ whalingÂ industryÂ was booming in Whitby. The early whalers consisted of both local fishermen and a number of Dutch specialists who got the Whitby fisherman acquired to the taste of jenever, keeping them warm out onÂ the North Sea.
Since the production of gin was prohibitedÂ on land, the WhitbyÂ fishermenÂ used the town's smugglingÂ talents to get the ingredients ashore.Â
SmugglingÂ wasn't just a man's job, in Whitby, thefishermen'sÂ wivesÂ were encouraged to get involved as they could get away with many of their crimes unnoticed â€œ aside from their buttons bursting, from hiding contraband goods.Â According to tales of the times, there was a clever way in which certain Whitby women managed to bring in prohibited goods. In fact, when a woman did lendÂ her mind to smuggling, she was full of resources, and tricks, and impudence, and energy more so than any manï¿½.
The Whitby recipe is a combination of those smuggled items as well as local products including moorland heather flowers, honey and sugar kelp.Â
Hand distilled in small batches, they fill, label and package each of their bottlesÂ by hand.
The carefully selected botanicals are a mix of the traditional elements including Juniper, coriander seed, citrus peels andÂ LiquoriceÂ Root. Along with Heather tip, Yorkshire Moors Honey and Sugar Kelp foraged from Robin Hood Bay.Â
You may notice a pearlescent glow when tonic or ice is added to Whitby gin. It can goÂ from clear to cloudy because of the flavoursome oils released from the botanicals. This can happenÂ because they choose not to chill-filter the gin. To do this would remove the oils and in turn reduce the bold flavour.
Whitby Gin is a sweet savour gin. It is refreshing on the tongue with a lasting finish representing harsh North Sea crashing against East Cliff, the home of the Whitby Abbey. The lasting earthy finish signifies the range of the rolling heather moorland.