Hand-crafted gin inspired by the Cornish coast

The wonderful Lantic Gin is incredibly local to Boconnoc, in fact it is distilled right here on the Estate at the Skylark Distillery. This award-winning gin is the creation of Alex Palmer-Samborne who started his business only last year. Hand-distilled with care using a traditional copper pot still, he was inspired by the coast and had a desire to create an exceptional hand-crafted gin using Cornish foraged botanicals. Lantic Gin expresses the wild Cornish coast and all its elements.

As part of our blog series, we caught up with Alex of Lantic Gin with a few questions about his growing business:

Tell us about Lantic Gin, why did you start it and what makes it so special?

Lantic Gin is inspired by coastal meanderings, and the vibrant botanicals found along the Cornish coastline.

Using a traditional 150 litre copper still, it is hand crafted from a unique blend of nine carefully sourced botanicals chosen for their distinctive flavour, combined with six hand foraged herbs and flowers which provide the character of Lantic Gin, and blended with the purest of Cornish spring water.

I have always had an interested in foraging for ingredients and consequently, always been aware of what is around, and started playing with the concept of making a gin which would try and capture these coastal elements of our Cornish coastline in a bottle of Lantic Gin.

Lantic Gin moves away from the more traditional heavy juniper gin to a distinctively flavoured gin from the inclusion of Cornish foraged botanicals of rock samphire, gorse flowers, water mint, heather, lemon thyme and apple mint. It is an exceptionally smooth gin which the distillery believes expresses the wild Cornish coast.

Where does the name Lantic Gin come from?

Lantic Gin derived its name from the picturesque Lantic Bay which was the initial inspiration for a coastal gin. The coastline around Lantic Bay is where a number of the key Lantic botanicals are foraged which creates the character of Lantic Gin. The bay is also steeped in spirit smuggling history which seem very apt for a Cornish Gin.

What did you do before starting up Lantic Gin?

I spent a number of years in the finance world in London, overseas and most recently back in the South West. But always have been searching for an opportunity to express my more creative side.

Why do you think gin is so popular at the moment?

Gin is highly versatile – as long as its main ingredient is juniper it can be a gin. It can take on different strengths, tones, tastes and more recently colours. The rise of craft gin distilleries has taken advantage of this along with changes in laws, resulting in offering customers a huge range of gin choice and moving away from more traditional heavy juniper gin to lighter, floral gins which may be more enjoyable for some.

I also think a shift in social attitudes has also helped. People are more health conscious and prepared to pay for better quality.

What is the best garnish for your gin?

Lantic Gin is a pretty adaptable gin – it is even smooth enough to be drank neat.

I personally recommend a good measure of Lantic Gin, cubed ice and a premium mediterranean tonic to allow all of Lantic’s characteristics to come through. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a sprig of thyme. Super fresh and aromatic.

Tell us one of your favourite gin cocktails?

I am quite a fan of a Cardinale which is a variant of the popular Negroni. The Cardinale is even parts Lantic Gin, Campari and Noilly Prat (or another dry vermouth rather than a sweet vermouth) served with an orange slice and ice. If you have a cocktail shaker put all the ingredients in the shaker and give it a shake and strain into an ice filled glass and garnish with an the orange slice.

Its pretty punchy and perhaps not for everyone.

How have you been keeping busy during the lockdown?

This part of the year is usually a busy time for Lantic Gin as Spring is the best time to pick some of our key foraged ingredients. Fortunately all of which are right on the doorstep of the distillery and consequently we have been using our hour of exercise to forage.

But apart from distilling Lantic Gin and fulfilling online orders, the lockdown has also created an number of opportunities to focus on new exciting projects. 

During the development stage of Lantic Gin, I experimented with a wide variety of different and unusual foraged botanicals which resulted in some wonderful flavoured gins. But due to the short season of those botanicals, it was not sustainable to produce a gin year around. However, I have revisited those interesting botanicals, and am working with a talented chef (Pastry Chef Mariana previously of Fifteen Cornwall, now at Appletons in Fowey) who is helping to bring different techniques to the development of a new and exciting seasonal foraged gin.

Isolation has also given me the time to build our online presence through social media. You may have seen Lantic Gin’s instagram page (@lanticgin) a bit more industrious than usual, with a number of cocktails and virtual tours recently being posted.

Also following a change in regulation in April, we now have been making hand sanitiser and donating them for free to support front line services in Cornwall. Consequently, quite a bit of time more recently has been spent making, bottling and delivering the sanitiser to GP surgeries, nursing homes and other services in need in Cornwall.

How can people buy Lantic Gin?

Lantic Gin is available online at lanticgin.com – currently with free delivery on all orders.

Thank you so much to Alex for sharing his world of gin with us, if you haven’t tried it already we highly recommend you do!