It’s World Water Day today [see below], and we’re taking a deep dive into the important role that water plays in the production of all of our gins. We’ll discover how this most vital ingredient not only enhances the smoothness of 6 O’clock Gin, but also how we work to ensure that our water is sourced responsibly.
Water is used at every stage of the gin-making journey, from the initial distillation to the final bottling, and the quality of the water used has a significant impact on the taste, aroma, and overall ‘mouthfeel’ of our gin.
In the UK, the water used in gin production comes from a variety of sources; some distilleries use natural spring water, while others use water that has been filtered and purified. Regardless of the source, the water used must meet strict standards to ensure the quality of the final product. Water is also a valuable natural resource, and we need to ensure that we source it sustainably.
When we developed our London Dry recipe over 10 years ago, we thought carefully about the water we wanted to use. Luckily for us, we found an ideal match, delicious Tarka Springs water that is still used for bottling to this day. The water comes from North Devon, and is known for its purity, high mineral content, and softness. It’s a perfect partner for our London Dry, and its gentle taste lets our botanicals shine through.
Tarka Springs water is filtered through the Bude Formation, and pops up in natural springs all over the farm. It is bottled just 50m from its source, and is filtered 7 times during this process to remove any impurities. The water is naturally low in sodium and contains calcium, magnesium and sulphates. We love the taste, but we also love to use Tarka Springs as they have always been committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship. They’ve won awards for their eco-friendly practices, including the insulation of a 50 kilo-watt solar array which powers the bottling plant.
The first step in making gin is to carefully distill our botanicals with neutral spirit in ‘Kathleen’ (our copper still). Because we are distilling at this point (and the mineral content won’t be carried across in the final product) we are able to use local water, but we still need to make sure it is up to standard. We are luckily enough in the UK to take this for granted, but we still like to double check!
Once we have run the still and extracted all the delicate flavours from the botanicals, we use Tarka Springs water to bring down the strength of the gin to the magical 43% ABV – this is carefully calculated for our London Dry gin, as it’s the optimal level of alcohol to carry through the delicate layers of flavour. Each and every one of our iconic blue bottles is filled on a manually operated bottling line that allows us to fill 4 bottles in just 15 seconds! The quality of the water really comes into play here, as any impurities would show through and could sediment in the final product.
Our new bottling line (coming into full-scale use later this year) will allow us to keep up with the ever-growing demand for 6 O’clock Gin, but we’ll still be doing everything on-site, and ensuring that every bottle is made with the same care and attention that we have prided ourselves on since the very first bottle.
If you’d like to learn a little more about this fascinating process (and much more besides), why not join us on a distillery tour – we’d love to see you! They run on most weekends and our expert tour guides will walk you around the distillery (after a refreshing G&T) and let you in on a few of our little secrets along the way!
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about just why water is so important in the production of 6 O’clock Gin. The next time you enjoy a refreshing gin and tonic, remember the crucial role that water plays in creating this delicious drink!
* Today (22nd March 2023) is the 30th anniversary of World Water Day; an important day of global awareness and activism. This year’s theme is ‘Accelerating Change’, and the focus of the day is to push for greater progress on the promise that everyone would have safely managed water and sanitation by 2030 (Sustainable Development Goal 6).
Billions of people and countless schools, businesses, healthcare centres, farms and factories are being held back because their human rights to water and sanitation have not yet been fulfilled.