I’m just not sure when the interest in gin turned in to a full-on obsession. Once upon a time, the choice was small – Gordons,

Beefeater or Bombay Sapphire. I suppose I can see why the interest has suddenly burgeoned. Gin has endless possibilities for adding flavour, the one thing that they all have in common is Juniper. Apart from that, it seems anything goes.

Where did it come from? Encyclopaedic records dating back to the 13th Century, show ‘Genever’ was being produced. It is claimed that English soldiers who provided support in Antwerp against the Spanish in 1585, during the Eighty Years' War, were already drinking Genever for its calming effects before battle, from which the term Dutch Courage is believed to have originated.

Gins’ popularity in England soared, when the government allowed unlicensed distilleries making French Brandy relatively expensive. In 1695 to 1735, Gin Shops sprang up at an alarming rate. If we think we have a drink problem now, then it was crippling London’s population. In 1736, duty

on gin was increased – this led to rioting but it solved the problem.

How is it made? Like all distilled drinks, we must start with an alcoholic base. Fermented grains are the starting point. The resulting ferment is then distilled leaving a clear liquid. The distillation is made in the presence of juniper but many other natural flavourings can be added. The key is that they are all natural. Coriander, citrus peel, cinnamon, almond or liquorice are common but it is the amounts and therefore the concentrations that make the difference.

I am particularly keen on our local producers. Spirit of the Lakes, Bedrock Gin was the first using water from Ennerdale and Penrith kiln dried oak bark in the distillation. Lakes Distillery, with the first distillery in the county, use bilberry and meadowsweet to add to the juniper. Langton’s use eleven different botanicals. Shed 1, probably the newest and smallest distillery, yes, it’s in a garden shed! They make three fantastic styles, using lime and ginger, orange and cardamom, and allspice.

Four Cumbrian brands since 2009 – three out of four in our little shop!


Wine Merchants, Delicatessen, Café Bar 01900 826427

11 South Street, Cockermouth, CA13 9RU

Eleanor, Jessica and Emily at the crafts table COCKERMOUTH MARKET NEWS

At your local Country Market, you’ll find lots of good things to eat, from lunchbox treats for the kids to special desserts for your weekend meals and plenty in between. Our baking team is gearing up for getting Christmas cakes, puddings, marzipan fruits and mincemeat completed in time for them to mature, so you can count on us for your holiday fayre.

Over the school summer holidays, we had a Kids’ Craft Table, which proved popular with some young locals and visitors to the town. We’re planning to offer this activity again at the end of term.

Don’t forget our online competition, to win a £25.00 Country Market voucher, running until the end of September. It’s on our Facebook page:


Looking for a Hall for a Wedding, Birthday or Seminar?


It’s always interesting to see what the latest trends are. We have regularly gone to visit various cities to see what’s happening in the cafes, coffee shops and bakeries around the country. We’ve been to London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh. It’s always worth doing and it can be quite inspiring.

I hear that Keswick will soon be getting a new sourdough pizza restaurant. Proper pizzas are a very trendy item. Great bases with simple toppings. Of course, we’ve been doing them for a few years now, so we must be way ahead of the trend! You can’t beat a decent pizza. It’s one of those foods that nearly everyone enjoys. Don’t complicate them. Keep them simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves.

Gin is ridiculously trendy at the moment. For a drink that used to be known as ‘Mother’s Ruin’ it has done a fantastic job at reinventing itself. Taste Cumbria is showing off some fantastic gins this year. Yet its time in the sun will soon come to an end and


something else will takes its place. My bet is on rum. I think that will be the next on trend tipple of choice. They just need a way of marketing it for Hen Nights and they’ll be away. We were recently given a bottle of rum from Cuba as a present and we loved it.

So what else can we expect? Well, still hoping James Dyson will come up with hoverboards before too soon. He needs to stop messing with other stuff and concentrate on recreating ‘Back to the Future’ for us. I can see Middle Eastern and Persian food becoming more and more available and that will be a good thing. And in coffee? The trend for smaller, tastier coffees will continue. It’s not about size but taste.

• Fully equipped kitchen able to cater for 100 people

• Disabled access and facilities • Sound & Loop systems • £9.00 per hour

Enquiries & Bookings

Contact Chris 01768776697

Embleton & District Community Hall Trust are Big lottery funded

Friday’s are Café-Bar night. Pizza and Beer

13-15 Market Place Cockermouth CA13 9NH 01900 821599

Andy and Angela The Coffee Kitchen

See www.thecoffeekitchen. for details Join us on Facebook and Twitter


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