The Old Fire Station, Old Market, Nailsworth, Gloucestershire

Spirit of Ilmington, Apple Brandy

The village of Ilmington is nestled in the North Cotswolds and in medieval times it was a village made up of farms and most of them had an orchard. One of the few benefits of a farm worker was a ready supply of free cider. The village was renowned not only for its cider but also for the wonderful varieties of old apples in its orchards. One of the treasures in the village church is an embroidered Apple Map on which the names of all the varieties are painted. The map is an exact copy of old maps which show where all the orchards were.

Today the farms and their outbuildings have been converted into houses and many of the gardens contain part of the old orchards. They started making cider in 2014 when they saw that most of the apples were not used and were left to rot. In fact, they were a nuisance to householders who had nice lawns as they got in the way of their mowing machines.

They crush the apples and press the juice using a hydropress, which produces 50 litres at a time. The juice is then left slowly to ferment and the cider is ready in the New Year.

Having made cider the next step is to distil it in 100 litre lots in their lovely copper alembic pot still, which produces a very mellow and smooth spirit with no harshness or burn. The result is the Spirit of Ilmington, Apple Brandy.

A soft mellow brandy with a surprisingly fresh cider nose, warming and refreshing on the palate with a lingering aftertaste of apple. Great to drink on its own but super in cocktails too.

Wines by grape

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We can deliver anywhere in mainland Britain from £11.95 per case.