Friday, 13 August 2021

Spritz and sip: Seamist Liquid Garnish from the Salcombe Distilling Company

Photo courtesy of Salcombe Distilling Co.

Last Christmas a friend with a long and distinguished history of giving me unusual gins performed a sideways gifting* manoeuvre into gin 'additives', if I could loosely term them as that. You know, things like angostura bitters which go to make classic pink gin, though it wasn't those. And which until I looked them up just now I mistakenly thought contained anchovy. No, what she gave me was a 'liquid garnish' with the dreamily evocative name of Seamist. The idea is that you add it to one of several Salcombe Gins - or in my case whatever 'plain' brand I happen to have in the cupboard, more like. It is the mode of dosing that is the fun part though, for the bottle of Seamist looks exactly like a perfume atomiser of the old 'sit on the dressing table of a Hollywood starlet' variety.

Moreover, the list of ingredients (though the precise nature of the botanicals isn't specified) reads for all the world like a fragrance formula - orris root I am looking at you!:

"Distilled and crafted using the finest fresh red grapefruit peels, which are hand peeled each day prior to distillation and combined with coastal botanicals, a hint of Macedonian juniper berries, lime, coconut, orris root and bay leaf, before adding Cornish sea salt, which is first dissolved in pure, naturally soft Dartmoor water before being blended with the distillate that has been created. The salt concentration is roughly twice that of sea water."



A gin garnish in a perfume bottle: what a splendid confluence of my special interests...;)

The ABV is a whopping 60%, I should mention, which is 50% more than my usual tipple of gin at around 40%. Good job it is only finely sprayed over the finished drink...!

Now despite my alleged gin and perfume credentials, I have yet to spray the Seamist into my gin. So far I have only tipped a bit out of the neck into my glass, which wasn't very successful, as a fair bit spilled onto the worktop, necessitating my 'doing a Truffle' and licking it off. What do you mean, you don't do that too?? Having since taken a better look at the company's website, I shall be spritzing from now on. I have no idea why I even hesitated. There is lots of information on the website by the way, from cocktail recipes** to try at home, to tasting sessions on the premises - you can even go along and learn how to make your own personalised bottle of gin. Of interest too is the timeline of Salcombe's maritime past and how the distillery was set up by two sailing instructors called Angus and Howard.

The inspiration behind Seamist is also revealed:

"Seamist’ has been inspired by, and is created to, replicate the aromas and sensation of a morning walk along the shore, with your senses being filled fresh sea air and a subtle saltiness from the spray of waves as the early morning sun turns it into sea mist."

This is obviously not the sort of morning walk experience that can be readily conjured up in landlocked Staffordshire. Mind you, Stafford was built on top of salt mines at least(!), though the practice of brine pumping was banned in 1970 following some bad cases of subsidence in the north of the town. As for how Seamist tastes to me, it is not as grapefruity as I thought it would be, nor as salty, but adds a boozy citrus twist to an already boozy drink - in a good way. Which doesn't really tell you very much, I know. To be fair, I should have written this post after I had managed to get more of the garnish into my actual glass... ;).


Source: Stiller Beobachter via Wikimedia Commons

Now as any fellow sufferers of reflux / GERD will know, fizzy beverages (tonic water!), alcohol (gin!, Seamist!) and citrus fruit (grapefruit!) are the Unholy Trinity of acid-producing drink- and foodstuffs. So a gin and tonic with a slice of lemon or lime in it is already a supposed no-no, even without the addition of extra citrus and extra alcohol. But my drinking overall has fallen by about 85% (though it may creep up again presently, I sense), and sometimes you simply have to live a little (or go mad)...;)


*I swear I would not normally say "gifting", but "presenting" isn't a word. 

**As well as just adding Seamist to gin, there is also a recipe for a Martini cocktail called a Mistini, which is another great name.


Tara said...

Wow that Morning Walk description really does sound like perfume copy as well as the ingredients list.

I 100% agree that you have to break the rules every now and again. It does the soul good.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Don't they just? Though things will have to get a lot worse before I start drinking my perfume collection, hehe - even sprayed in a glass. ;)

Yep, sometimes you have to kick back a bit, especially in these difficult times we are living through!

Undina said...

Just get enough food (the “allowed” kind) to counteract the drink.

That garnish thingy looks and sounds great! But the UK shops don’t ship it to the US (and even if they would, the shipping would probably get it closer to the price of the only US site that offers it - $89. But maybe one day I’ll travel to the UK, then I’ll know what souvenir to look for :)

(Still don’t feel your pain regarding “gifts” vs “presents” :) )

Anonymous said...

What gorgeous presentation - that alone would make the drink special, and Undina's right, just make sure your tummy is lined and then enjoy your G&T as a well deserved treat.

I think this misting idea might be part of a Heston Blumenthal effect; my favourite gin company, Silent Pool, has a similar concept called "Garnishes" which come in four flavours, one of which is Mandarin and Vetiver. The SP gins are delicious already, with a lovely Rose variety, and the Colorado High is very interesting as it contains cannabis (drawing fire and calls for it to be banned from sale .... excellent publicity!).

I am ashamed to admit I do copy our cats too. Waste not, want not.

Cheers! And especially lots of bonne sante to you for the future.


Old Herbaceous said...

I love this idea! We started sampling interesting gin after a trip to the UK when I had Fentimsns Rose Lemonade and wanted to create a cocktail with it. Hendricks to the rescue! Then we visited Ireland ( Northern and Republic) and sampled several more gins, so we brought home bottles, since the only cocktail my husband ever drinks is a G&T, and I liked the ones we had on our trip. What a glamorous way to garnish a drink!

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Haha re the food offsetting idea.

Yes, come to the UK and ideally come here and help me demolish my gin stocks generally, with or without spritzable garnish - I think I have about ten bottles now(!).

I am okay with 'gift' as a noun, but the verb makes me squirm, without properly being able to explain why. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Jillie,

I was interested to hear about this other gin brand with the same garnish concept - I like the alternative term of "misting" too. The rose flavour from the Silent Pool brand (another great name!) sounds tempting, and I am still smiling at the thought of Colorado High.

I thoroughly approve of your spillage lapping MO, hehe.

Vanessa said...

Hi Old Herbaceous,

I love that Fentiman's soft drink - a good non-alcoholic standby of mine, though it is quite hard to find round this way. Not that I have been in a pub for a year and a half, haha.

Also, Hendrick's is possibly my very favourite gin - a tried and tested classic. Would be curious to know what gins you came across in Northern Ireland, as I am from there. My SIL has sent me some interesting gins, including some offbeat Scottish ones like Raasay.

Anonymous said...

One vote for Brockman's Gin, said AnnieA randomly

AustralianPerfumeJunkies said...

Heya Vanessa,
Maybe if you put an apostrophe in gift'ing and it becomes a contraction of Gift Giving? Or do you think the apostrophe is implied?

Mandy Aftel does some food spritzes too. I tried a couple and they are fun but what they really popped as for me was a rush of fragrance getting into a bath! So cool.

Also, yes to lapping up spilled stuff from bench tops.
Portia xx

Vanessa said...

Thanks for the random vote, AnnieA - will look that one up!

Vanessa said...

Hi Portia,

Ah no, I think 'gifting' is another example of the inexorable trend towards verbalising nouns. See, I went and did it myself there. ;)

Interesting about Mandy Aftel's spritzes, and pleased to hear you are a fellow lapper.