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Gin lovers, listen up. Meet Dragon Slayer Distillery who brings us smooth moreish artisan gin with a unique local twist

We go behind the botanicals to find out how father-daughter duo, Paul and Yasmin are using their gin to tell the mythical tales of County Durham folklore.

Written by Rachael Nichol
Published 22.06.2022

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‘Heroic tales inspire our gin; one sip ignites the courage within’ – Dragon Slayer Distillery

 

THE DISTILLERY

Home in the heart of Darlington, Country Durham, Dragon Slayer Distillery provides pure quality gin to the North East. Created from locally sourced ingredients, botanicals and medieval spa water, their small-batch dry gin tells the story of local culture and heritage of dragon slayer folklore.

But who are the brains behind this brilliant business? The dynamic father-daughter duo, Paul and Yasmin, that’s who. After always being gin lovers themselves and fascinated at how their favourite tipple was produced, when covid hit they thought that life’s too short, so they channelled their passion, investigated more into gin making and took the risk ­– or as you could say, decided to tickle to the dragon’s tail ­– and Dragon Slayer Distillery was born.

This Darlington artisan gin distillery has really fired things up in the North East distillery world, with their smooth, moreish gin served in unique bottles that you’ll be able to spot a mile off due to their distinctive detail and design. And rumour has it that their gin tastes that good that you can drink it neat with ice – pretty dangerous, right?

THE STORY  

Did you know that you don’t have to travel far to walk on the same soil as mythical dragon slayers? County Durham is home to plenty of folklore tales.

That’s why when it came to looking for a name and theme for their business, Yasmin and Paul didn’t have to look too far. Just three miles away from their distillery is Sockburn Hall which was once said to be the home of the man, the myth and the legend and valiant dragon slayer Sir John Conyers –­ whose story inspired Dragon Slayer Distillery’s first dry gin.

Legend has it that in medieval times the Sockburn Worm terrorised locals and killed their livestock for seven years. Sir John Conyers was a knight who killed the beast with his falchion, a bladed sword, which is still displayed at Durham Cathedral.

Yasmin and Paul are set to bring more folklore tales to light with every new flavour they create. That brings us to Dragon Slayer Distillery’s newest flavour ­­– Sir John Lambton Strawberry and Mint Gin, which is inspired the by folklore tale of Sir John Lambton from Durham. He’s said to have battled against the giant worm (which is also known as a dragon) but sadly the tale ends with Sir John and his family bearing a curse for generations.

THE GIN

As we all know, the taste of every gin is important. So, Yasmin and Paul decided that their first gin, Sir John Conyers Dry Gin, should be a classic dry gin with a traditional citrus profile created by throwing lemon peel and orange peel into the mix. With the aim to make their gins smooth and moreish, they then tailored the amount of juniper down meaning there is a less harsh and bitter aftertaste. Then the dynamic duo wanted to add a local botanical and give the gin a slight floral hint.

But they didn’t have to look too far from home as Yasmin has two lavender plants on either side of her front door. Many of their botanicals come from a local family-run supplier JJ Blair and Sons in Darlington who sell high-quality, juicy pieces of fresh fruit. In their Dry Gin, Dragon Slayer Distillery uses 15 botanicals that all meld and complement each other perfectly.

THE PROCESS

It’s a long process to get such a perfect taste. It takes Yasmin and Paul around 12 hours to distil one batch of gin in their 200L handmade copper still, which is affectionately known as Bertha.

Step 1: The dry botanicals go in the pot of the still along with the water and all-important alcohol. The fresh botanicals go in a basket sitting directly above the pot.

Step 2: Heat is added to the bottom of the pot and the wait begins. When distilling gin the master distiller must constantly taste the gin throughout the 12 hours to make sure that the taste is consistent and there are no off-flavours.

Step 3: Once the gin is collected it is watered down to 40% abv, filtered and then bottled.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR DRAGON SLAYER DISTILLERY?

With the aim to become more sustainable, Dragon Slayer Distillery is currently looking into a returns scheme. This is where you’ll be able to return your empty bottle and you’ll get a new bottle for a cheaper price. Your empty bottle will then be cleaned thoroughly, refilled with gin and then can be reused, which means they will be limiting wastage and improving their environmental impact.

WHERE YOU’LL FIND THEM

Hurworth Country Fair

Saturday 17th September 2022

Pop along to see Yasmin and Paul at the Country Fair that will be taking place at Hurworth Grange, a Victorian residence home in the heart of the picturesque village of Hurworth, near Darlington. The Grange is an astounding venue for the day’s proceedings that will host a medieval country market within its lavish grounds and estate.

 

MORE INFO

 

 

Inside their favourite local bar for a gin

Yasmin: ‘My absolute favourite bar for a gin in the North East is The Juniper Tree in Darlington. They know how to serve a proper gin with the correct mixer that brings out the profile of the gin rather than hiding it behind the mixer.’

 HLN LOVES:

Sir John Lambton Strawberry and Mint – £39.99

Sir John Lambton Strawberry and Mint Gin is the perfect tipple for summer, so light and refreshing, made with 11 botanicals. A unique summery flavour with hints of refreshingly cool mint finished off with an array of spices.

 

SHOP NOW

Sir John Conyers Dry Gin – £39.99

Sir John Conyers Dry gin is a classic gin with a citrus profile, a touch of floral aromas and a hint of spiciness. This new and innovative flavour was passionately created by subtly blending 15 botanicals that meld and complement each other. A gin is so smooth you can savour it without tonic.

 

SHOP NOW

To find out more about Dragon Slayer Distillery’s journey and gin visit their website.

To stay up to date with announcements of new flavours and where to find Yasmin and Paul, follow Dragon Slayer Distillery’s Instagram and Facebook.

Dragon Slayer Distillery, Spa Wells, Low Dinsdale, Darlington DL2 1PL

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