Our Supplier’s Stories - Pocketful of Stones
Meet the maker of one of our all-time favourite Cornish gins, Caspyn, made just down the road in Longrock - introducing head distiller, Shaun Bebbington.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself & what made you choose Mount's Bay?
Yeah sure. I was born and raised in Southern Africa and had an amazing introduction to life, either in the hot, sweaty melting pot of cultures, flavours and tastes that is Durban, or in the big open expanse that is the African veld. In my mid-twenties I moved to London. I started out serving tables and pouring pints and worked my way up through the ranks and eventually ended up owning my own bar there, called The Lukin - you should check it out, it's a great boozer! Anyway, I got to a stage where I felt I needed more. I needed a move! Grass under my feet and the ocean were the only criteria, and, well, somewhere to start a business too. Mount’s Bay fit the bill. It's beautiful and nourishes the soul and I can work within walking distance from the beach, with views of St Michael's Mounts. What's not to love?
How did Pocketful of Stones come about?
A few years back, a friend and I were tinkering with making some beer. We bought a little 10 litre kitchen kit and were doing some cool stuff. My brother Dale, I think, wanted to go one better and came home one day with a little copper still. We started messing around with infusions and distillates in the cellar of the pub. We were instantly hooked!
I don't really understand why it has taken so long for this gin revolution to come around, it is such an amazing spirit. You just have to go down to your nearest off license to see the selection and the creativity that is happening with gin at the moment. It's a great vehicle for distillers to unleash their curiosity and create new and exciting flavour combinations. This is the part of gin making that I love the most - the creating and experimenting.
What gin do you currently distil?
At the moment we have two gins available, a classic Cornish Dry Gin and our Midsummer Gin, which is infused with cucumber and dill. We also do a seasonal Caspyn Summer Cup which is similar to a "Pimms" style of drink.
Can you sum up the tasting notes of each of your gins in three words?
Cornish Dry Gin - Clean, complexed, balanced.
Midsummer Gin - Fresh, crisp, invigorating.
Can you tell us a bit of the inspiration behind the Summer Cup?
It’s the classic British summer drink, so we wanted to take that and make it better. Make it Cornish! Ours flows and changes with the summer. It's made using fresh fruit from Thorne’s in Longrock, so sometimes its strawberries and raspberries and at other times it’s blueberries and loganberries. We use the fruit that is ripe, fresh and ready. The team at Thorne’s are really good to us and will give us a heads up the day before, " Hey Shaun, tomorrow we've got some amazing Cornish blackberries coming in". We also use raspberry juice from Polgoon Vineyard and Orchard - so it really is a Mount's Bay/Penzance product!
How do you choose which ingredients go in your gin?
Taste and smell really. So, at the moment we are working on a Mediterranean style (kind of) gin. We came up with the idea to have a look at local produce, local flavours, local food recipes, teas, wines, spirits, and classic combinations of flavours, and make a gin. So, we made a basic recipe and then it is a case of dropping some ingredients, adding others and doing it over and over and over again until we are happy. I love it!
Using your gin, what is your favourite cocktail to make?
Do I just have to choose one?!? That’s not easy… But, if I had to choose one I would probably go with a Cosmo Daisy. It's bright pink and not what you would expect me to drink at all, but it really does showcase the lemon flavours in the gin.
Oh… and a Sour… and a Gibson (I couldn't do it, I couldn't just choose one)!
Do you have anything in the pipeline that we should keep an eye out for?
Ah so much! I've been distilling whisky all week this week, but for that you'll have to wait three years minimum! In the more immediate future we have an absinthe coming out. We are also hugely proud to be a part of Tinkture's Rose Gin, which will be available again in May. A few other things but I'm keeping those to myself for the time being!!