Xavier Baker is the co-founder of the Isle of Wight Distillery, the maker of Mermaid Gin and Vodka, and HMS Victory Gin and Rum. When they founded the distillery in 2014, Xavier and his co-founder Conrad Gauntlett wanted to create a sustainable operation working in harmony with its environment (both terrestrial and marine). With the array of flora available to them on the island, they have created some stunning spirits, including the 2022 release Mermaid Zest Gin.
Gin #1: Mermaid London Dry Gin
Number one has to be Mermaid Gin, of course. Our signature London Dry Gin, with a hint of sea air from wild-foraged fragrant rock samphire. Smooth yet complex, a refreshing sundowner with Fever-Tree Refreshing Light Tonic, a few slices of cucumber and a sprinkle of juniper berries. An easy drinking sessionable gin that’s versatile enough for a classic G&T or cocktails.
Gin #2: Greensand Ridge Rye Cask Gin
My second choice would be Greensand Ridge’s Rye Cask Gin. Smooth-sipping gin, matured in rye casks for mellow, layered flavour, I imagine this would be great for sipping around a beach fire on a desert island. Greensand have some brilliant sustainability credentials, so they tick that box too.
Gin #3: Tarsier Taipei Old Tom
Third would be Tarsier’s Taipei Old Tom. Inspired by South East Asian cuisine, oolong, kumquat, hibiscus and ginseng give this gin a unique and memorable flavour profile. Another gin company with a sense of purpose, Tarsier do great work highlighting the plight of the Philippine Tarsier monkey and raise vital funds for conservation projects – they’re a good bunch!
My ultimate gin cocktail has to be the Negroni. I could imagine sipping away on a desert island; it’s suitably strong and also hugely versatile. I like to play with different vermouths and bitters to suit the occasion or mood. My current favourite is one part Mermaid Gin, one part Starlino Rosso, one part Campari. Simple but delicious!