Create your Christmas cocktails, stocking fillers, wine cellar, party bar and more all from incredible local award-winning craft drinks producers.
GETTING IN THE SPIRIT OF THINGS
Rockfield Spirits, Hereford
Newly opened in May 2023 in Rockfield Road, Hereford, on the site of an old cider mill, you’ll certainly get into the festive Spirit of Hereford with their range of fruity gins to accompany Rockfield’s signature London Dry Gin. Cute gift packs on smaller bottles enable you to taste the range before choosing a favourite. A brand new spiced rum adds to the festive cheer and all are available to buy from the website or from the onsite shop.
While you’re there check out the gin lounge, ideal for hosting a party or group of gin-lovers for an event, and distillery tour and tasting makes a great gift, while their gin-making experience will have you crafting your very own gin with personalised label.
Discover more at rockfieldspirits.co.uk
Penrhos Spirits, Kington
A chance conversation about a vision to create small-batch, artisan, copper distilled spirits, using their orchard and farm botanicals, grain spirit and their own natural water, led two neighbouring farming families on the road to create Penrhos Spirits.
Now you can purchase a range of flavoured gins, a spiced rum, a raspberry zero spirit and a blueberry gin liqueur.
Presented in beautifully styled bottles, Penrhos also introduced a fully re-useable, recycled aluminium bottle (very transportable), plus gift packs with smaller sizes and even some essential branded gin glasses.
Black Mountains Botanicals
This is a really festive story; when Glyn, then the landlord of the local pub, had a New Years Eve bash, Lloyd, a visitor to the area, and he immediately bonded and, looking for a life-change, Lloyd moved his family from Wales to the rural Herefordshire borders, going into business with Glyn to produce their original cheeky Hill Billy gins.
Developed in the shadows of the Black Mountains, in rustic farm buildings, these authentic award-winning gins range from silky smooth cuts, to fruity Herefordshire apple blends – on account of their base created from nearby cider apples.
They now also make rum, a fabulously festive toffee apple liqueur (that will give any mulled wine an amazing kick) and a very party friendly coffee liqueur with their own vodka and ground coffee.
Meet Glyn and Lloyd on a Distillery Tour & Tasting, and Gin School Experiences are also available. Great for a family or friends day out and an ideal gift voucher.
What will be the story behind your first ‘Cheers’ of Hill Billy?
Look out for their distinctive bottles at indie retailers and also buy direct online at blackmountainsbotanicals.co.uk
The inspiration behind the Gattertop brand is founder Gemma Standeven’s childhood spent roaming the Herefordshire hills, woods and farmland at the family estate of Gattertop.
Experimenting with the rich bounty of produce in the organic orchards and surrounding she created a collection of extraordinary vodkas that are versatile and encourage curious drinkers who seek flavour.
This year, for the festive season, Gattertop Drinks also proudly presents an exclusive range of luxurious hampers perfect for family, friends, clients and team members alike. They not only capturethe spirit of Christmas but also pay homage to the exceptional small businesses that grace the UK’s incredible food and drink scene.
Buy direct or why not subscribe-and-save with a monthly or bi-monthly order accompanied by treats, extras, and a note from Gemma, with updates on all things Gattertop.
Check out Gattertop’s Advent Giveaway and Offers here
Gun Dog Gin
These vegan friendly gin liqueurs have no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, and are crafted with real fruit and steeped in Herefordshire. Using British gin as the base, many of the fruits are grown on local Herefordshire farms to produce deep flavours and you’ll find a handy guide to mixers on their website.
Discover them at local and national foodie festivals and shows, buy direct or see their range of independent stockists on gundoggin.co.uk
In 2018 Shaun Ward began distilling gin as it has been crafted for hundreds of years; using only the finest natural botanicals, and definitely no artificial colours or flavours. Launching with their iconic Ludlow Gin, whilst based in north Herefordshire, Ludlow Distillery is now in shiny new premises just outside the town of its name in Shropshire, using a traditional, copper-pot distillation, and all they add is water to bring the gin to bottling strength.
It was only a matter of time before they used their skills to bring a premium whisky, vodka and rum to the market as well. Now too you’ll find a Brandy range and a collection of Eau de Vies, all created with the same commitment to handcrafted excellence.
Buy their spirits in quality independent outlets, directly from their website or from their distillery shop where you can sample the ranges. Look behind the scenes on a Distillery Tour or try your hand at your own personal botanical blend with their Gin School Experience … both great group activities or gift voucher presents.
What next? They also offer a curated range of quality wines to discerning private customers by the case including seasonal selections… which leads us nicely into our next beverage topic
DREAMING OF A WINE CHRISTMAS
Frome Valley Vineyard
What about some classically English still and sparkling wines from the Frome Valley in the heart of England this year to grace your Christmas table, or to give as gifts to family and friends. This beautiful range of wines will compliment any festive feast you have planned and will thrill any ardent wine drinker or budding sommelier that you may invite to dinner.
A gift voucher to tour the vineyard later in the year tops this off perfectly.
Wythall Estate Vineyard
In its rural Ross-on-Wye location, the McIntyre family have resided at stunning Wythall Manor for over 500 years. Producing wine since 2014 their low-intervention approach, combined with rich Herefordshire soil means that they can grow grapes of the finest quality, producing complex wines that characterise the terroir.
The Estate vineyard benefits from a unique micro‑climate, which protects the vines from cold weather and ingeniously harnesses the warmth of the sun during the growing season. Their award-winning reds, whites, roses and sparkling wines are wonderful additions to any dining table or as a refined gift.
Adding to the success of their summer series of wine garden events, book onto their Christmas tasting sessions on 16 December.
For event details and to buy wine direct go to wythallestate.co.uk
A VERY BERRY CHRISTMAS
White Heron Drinks
For delicious French-inspired touch liqueur and an amazing aperitif, a dash of British Cassis or British Framboise will take a glass of fizz or champagne to new heights or the creation of a magical cocktail to remember. The White Heron Drinks liqueurs, made from blackcurrants and raspberries respectively, have everything you need to add that bit of sparkle to the festive season.
With a lovely range of gift sets too you’ve got your liqueur lovers covered. Why not book a group tour of the stunning north Herefordshire family farm and blackcurrant fields, then see into the Cassisery and distilling process to bottle your own Cassis to take home. Something to bring you all together for the New Year?
We couldn’t complete this boozy blog without featuring some of Herefordshire’s leading cider producers that make our county famous.
WISHING YOU AN APPLEY NEW YEAR!
The Orgasmic Cider Company is a family business and working farm on the famous Black & White Village Trail in Eardisland. Some of the most sought-after cider and perry in the county, from their award winning ‘White Jersey’ cider to their ‘Parton Perry’, every drop of this golden nectar is made in the traditional way. So if you’re looking to do some food pairing this Christmas or maybe a gift for the cider lover in your life, why not go online or pop by for a tasting at the shop.
Ty Gwyn Cider, Pontrilas
This festive season discover cider and perry made in tune with tradition at Ty Gwyn Cider, based out in the wonderful Golden Valley. Visit their brilliant cider shop and bar directly on the farm to taste for your preference and purchase gift packs, merchandise and accessories.
Having a party with lots of cider lovers? Ty Gwyn’s handy flagons and large bag-in-a-box will ensure you don’t run out of the amber nectar. The boxes feature a clever tap to let you pour pints of draught Cider at the press of a button. Stored in a cool environment, the cider or perry inside will easily last 2-3 months, and maybe as long as 6-12 months. (Though once opened, and with cider-loving friends round, they rarely last the weekend!).
Visit or buy online for delivery on tygwyncider.co.uk
Newton Court Cider
With humorous names like Little Owl, Gasping Goose and Panting Partridge, it’s clear that Newton Court likes to have fun with its ciders. Though be assured that they take the alchemy of its production very seriously.
So impressed is multi-award-winning writer, broadcaster and campaigner Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall of River Cottage fame, that he has even collaborated with them to produce a River Cottage Organic range.
Blessed with a wonderful location on the family farm in Leominster, the Newton Court’s newly launched cider shop is also a vast restaurant and farmshop, so you’ll easily get your local artisan Christmas speciality goods here… while enjoying a drink at the big feature bar before loading your boot.
Few people have the passion and commitment of James and Susanna Forbes, at their cidery near Bromyard. Working with their home orchard and some of the most talented orchardists in its environs, Little Pomona crafts ciders and perries and other fermented beverages that speak of the land, that taste of the harvest, that illustrate the wonderful cidermaking heritage the region is built on, and that look to the future.
Their ciders and perrys are often designed for food pairing and as an alternative to wine, and we certainly know that these discerning blends will be very welcome at your table.
They’re also running a great 15 & 20% discount off various gift and multipacks until 19 December 2023.
For stockists and to buy direct look on littlepomona.com
This well-known producer needs no introduction and you’ll find Weston’s iconic brands like Stowfords Press and Henry Westons Vintage readily available in supermarkets across the country. But you won’t find the 3-10L boxes and why not mix up your selection with some Rosie’s Pig, Mortimers Orchard, Caple Rd or Wyld Wood Organic.
Westons might be over 140 years old, but there’s still something new to try. Call into their Much Marcle shop … just make sure your boot is empty, or buy online direct for some great festive offers.
From the way it’s made to the look of the labels and bottles, and even Denis Gwatkin himself, Gwatkin Cider conjures up visions of The Darling Buds of May; characterful, traditional and uncomplicated. With names like Squeal Pig Perry, Barb Wire Rhubarb Cider and Silly Ewe Cider (just a few of the 35 varieties), you can imagine what was in view during production on the authentic farm and homestead from where it is made.
And that’s the whole point of this craft producer, who’s cider is one of life’s simple pleasures; especially with your Boxing Day ham or festive Ploughmans.
Something tells us that their Perry Vodka, Apple Brandy, Rum and Plum Port will be equally evocative.
Look out for Denis’s distinctive beard at foodie shows, selected Gwatkins ranges in rural indie shops and buy direct from their website for UK mainland delivery.
Two Farmers Cider
For our finale we finish with Herefordshire’s newest cider kid on the block, Two Farmers Cider. They of the Two Farmers Crisps fame have turned their hand to the county’s liquid gold with two canned varieties.
The Apple Cider is wonderfully fresh and blossomy, while the Fruit Cider mixes the berry flavours of local growers Pixley Berries with the farmer’s orchard crops.
Launched just this November, these cans also have elegant matching branded glasses when you buy them in a crisp gift pack.
See their website for details twofarmerscider.co.uk
Now all that remains is for us to say Cheers and to raise a glass of some lovely liquid localness.
For locally produced Herefoodiness, have a look at our festive artisan food blog here.