Whilst out walking our dogs along the beautiful River Bovey the other morning, we were welcomed with lots of wild garlic ripe for the picking. As it’s lockdown and many of us are looking for new ideas to try out in the kitchen, we felt enthused to share a recipe which we make every spring which not only tastes delicious, but makes use of an abundant food that would otherwise go to waste. Picking wild garlic is a great way to get kids outside and interested in nature and food on their daily walk outside.

Foraging For Wild Garlic

Wild garlic can be found blanketing the banks of rivers and the edges of country lanes from March-April in the UK. Look for smooth broad green leaves and a white flower head with lots of individual dainty flowers. The flower has a tall and thin green stem. As with any kind of foraging for wild foods, to identify the plant as wild garlic, it’s best to use all your senses. You’ll know it’s wild garlic because you’ll smell it right away. 

Wild Garlic Pesto

Wild garlic pesto is a great way of using up this spring foray. You can make a big batch and freeze it into smaller portions to enjoy at a later date. Wild garlic pesto is delicious stirred through pasta, added to soup, brightening up quiches or spreading on pizza.


Wild garlic leaves

Lemon juice

Nuts - hazelnuts, pine nuts or cashew nuts work well

Hard cheese - a Parmesan or cheddar (we used Quicke’s Goat’s Cheese)

Olive oil or rapeseed oil

Salt & pepper


  1. Wash the leaves and flowers thoroughly and leave to drain 
  2. Blitz in a food processor until broken up and place to one side in a large mixing bowl
  3. In the food processor, blend nuts until small
  4. Add the nuts to the mixing bowl and mix together well
  5. Add a squeeze of lemon juice (we only had limes)
  6. Add a good glug of olive oil until you reach your desired consistency and mix further
  7. Add grated cheese and mix
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper

We used the wild garlic pesto to make Wild Garlic Pesto & Chicken Pasta. To make it follow the following steps;

  1. Cook the pasta
  2. Cut the chicken into strips and cook in a pan until white all over
  3. Add the wild garlic pesto to the pan and stir through to cover the chicken
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir thoroughly until it is evenly coated
  5. Serve and enjoy!
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Westcountry Gin Masterclass with Wildmoor Deli

In April we organised our very first Gin Masterclass with our friends at Wildmoor Deli. We had a blast tasting various gins whilst listening to our guest speakers from Salcombe Gin, Tarquin’s Gin and Jeremy from Wildmoor Fine Food & Drink.

Dartmoor Whisky - Gin Tasting Group

Throughout the evening we sampled four locally crafted gins, focusing on each gin’s tasting notes. We started by tasting them straight, then adding a drop of water to the gin to open it up and get the most flavour out of the spirit. We paired each gin with our preferred tonic and enjoyed delicious appetisers made by Wildmoor Deli.

Dartmoor Whisky - Wrecking Coast Gin 


First Tasting: Wrecking Coast Clotted Cream Gin

Wrecking Coast Clotted Cream Gin is produced at Wrecking Coast Distillery based in Cornwall. They use a quirky approach when creating their gin. The gin flavour profile was built around the creaminess and smooth flavour of clotted cream. The body of the gin is initially created on an IStill. 10 different botanicals are used including juniper, coriander, chamomile, vanilla, angelica, liquorice, orris, grains of paradise, cassia bark, cinnamon quills, lemon peel and aniseed. The gin is then left to rest for a week before blended with the clotted cream gin which is then cut down to 44% with Cornish spring water. We paired our tasting with Fever Tree Aromatic tonic water.

Tasting notes: The sweetness from the liquorice is the initial flavour but a surprising earthy and woody note from the cassia bark, cinnamon and the grains of paradise start to come into play. With its scent and flavours, this is a gin full of sweetness and creaminess with a hidden warmth.

Dartmoor Whisky - Salcombe Gin

Second Tasting: Salcombe Gin

Salcombe Gin is produced in a 450 litre still in sunny Salcombe. Made with over thirteen botanicals including grapefruit, cardamom, and liquorice, the inspiration for the gin comes from the Salcombe 'fruiters' that brought exotic fruit into Devon from the Azores, West Indies and the Mediterranean in the 19th century. The water used to bring the alcohol down to 44% is sourced from Devon.

Tasting Notes: You are initially hit with the citrus and floral aromas from the lemon, grapefruit which is followed swiftly with the notes of juniper. A depth of warmth, spice and a peppery heat from the coriander seeds, cinnamon bark and cubeb berries on the finish.

Dartmoor Whisky - Lilliput Gin

Third Tasting: Lilliput Dorset Gin

Lilliput Dorset Gin features an interesting recipe to captivate the Dorset coastline within its flavours. The process is started with an old-fashioned London Dry Gin recipe where homegrown organic Rosemary, basil from Egypt, Thyme from Spain, and Kalamata olives from Greece. This combination of flavours and aromas create the feeling of being by the coastline. This is the perfect tipple for the warmer days.

Tasting Notes: The initial taste is punchy and flavoursome, with strong hits of juniper and citrus elements. There is a very subtle hint of warmth with a slight peppery bite which is mellowed out with bold hints of the Rosemary. To finish you are welcomed with a very slight sweetness of the basil and olive which lingers.

Dartmoor Whisky - Tarquins Gin

Fourth Tasting: Tarquin’s Gin

This Cornish Dry Gin captures the essence of the scenic coast. The hand-sorted botanicals are steeped in wheat spirit overnight which is then distilled in a small flame-heated still. 300 bottles are made per batch. The water used to cut is sourced near Boscastle on the coast of North Cornwall.

Tasting Notes: Juniper is the pivotal flavour to start, with subtle hints of cardamon which gives the woody and earthy note. Orange blossom starts to appear which adds a welcoming sweetness.

Dartmoor Whisky - Gin Tasting

Be sure to be following Dartmoor Whisky Distillery and Wildmoor Deli on all of our social media platforms for all the latest information on the next Gin Masterclass events or sign up to our mailing list here.

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Sunday, 18 March 2018 15:18

The Frank McHardy Distillation

Frank’s visit to Devon for the one year anniversary of the First Distillations also saw him complete a distillation of his own. During the day we were joined by a number of whisky enthusiasts, and also Mr Ian Cobham, Head Brewer at Dartmoor Brewery – the man responsible for making our beer wash to Frank’s specification.

The spirit started flowing at just after 10.00am. Frank let the heads (or foreshots) run for just over 9 litres before he was satisfied that we were ready to collect the hearts. The spirit then flowed until almost 2.00pm until the alcohol content had come down from 75% to just under 60%. At that point, Frank made the cut to cease collecting the hearts, and we were into running the tails. He then evaluated the new spirit produced. We had run 275 litres with an ABV of 70.6%. A second spirit run, incorporating the low wines from Frank’s first spirit run brought the volume up to 500 litres. Frank then cut the spirit by adding 60 litres of pure Dartmoor spring water to bring the spirit down to optimum barreling strength of 63%.

In classic tradition, Frank selected two Olorosso Sherry casks to mature his distillation. Frank specified a light toasting to the interior surface of the casks, plus that they were freshly emptied sherry casks. As with our first distillations, Frank had directed that one barrel should be bottled at 3 years, and the second at 5 years. He also suggested that they are to be bottled at cask strength. At this stage, we are not sure what that will be, but we estimate it to be between 55-60% ABV. Frank will return to monitor maturation on his distillation, and our other casks in the near future.

The Frank McHardy Distillation will soon be available to reserve on our website. Sign up to our mailing list and follow us on our social channels to be notified of the release date.


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Frank’s Visit to Dartmoor Whisky Distillery

On Wednesday 7th February, one year after our first distillation, we welcomed back our Master Distiller Frank McHardy to sample our spirit so far. It was an honour to have him join us for the momentous occasion of reviewing the progress of the whisky maturation, one year in. Frank had three objectives for his time here; to review our processes, to assess the spirit after one year's maturation in the casks, and to assess the spirit production. Excitingly, Frank also carried out a distillation himself here at the distillery using our still, read more about the Frank McHardy distillation here.

Frank’s Findings

Our Still ‘Mariannick’

Day one saw Frank and the team begin with the first distillation of the beer wash to produce the “low wines” of the Frank McHardy distillation. As part of Frank’s review, he inspected the inside of the still to make sure it was maintained at its optimum condition. One year into full-time whisky production, Frank was very happy with our still, Mariannick and very pleased with quality of the spirit it is producing.

The following day saw us clean out the still ready for the spirit run for the next day. From our tests, we knew from the start that our still produced a very smooth, sweet spirit, and we knew that the size of the still, and the bulbous head creating a high degree of reflux contributed to this. Something new we did learn, was that the slow rate at which our still operates is significantly contributing to the smooth nature of our new spirit.

Casks & Maturation

Spirit must be in a cask for three years and a day before it can officially be called ‘whisky’. When our whisky is first distilled it starts as a clear spirit, which slowly turns to the golden colours we know as it draws flavour and colour out from the cask itself.

Here at Dartmoor Whisky, we used three different casks for our First Distillations: Spanish Sherry, French Bordeaux and American Bourbon. Each barrel gives a different expression to the finished spirit. Some will be bottled from a single barrel type, some will be bottled according to our Master distiller, Frank’s selection of barrels.

The Spirit So Far

During Frank’s visit, he tested our spirit from the first distillations, to give us an idea of progress so far and flavour notes from the different casks.

Flavour Notes by Frank McHardy:

Cask 2 Spanish Sherry - Filled 16.2.17

The spirit has already taken on a rich golden colour from the sherry cask, and distinctive sherry aromas. Frank identified rich, fruity notes. Initially, a lot of sweetness comes through on the pallet, then, hazelnut, coconut, marzipan and sultanas come through. There are hints of gingerbread and treacle. Already the spirit has a long finish on the pallet.

Cask 4 French Bordeaux - Filled 21.2.17

This cask had previously held cabernet sauvignon wine, and so naturally the spirit has developed a warm red hue. On the nose, Frank immediately detects soft fruit, blackcurrant aromas. To the pallet, there are wine gum flavours, and a hint of coconut and chocolate. It is a sweet floral expression.

Cask 5 American Bourbon - Filled 24.2.17

Here the spirit has taken on typical golden colour from the bourbon cask. On the nose, there are vanilla aromas as you would expect from a bourbon cask. There are toffee notes on the pallet, and Crème Brulee, and marshmallow. It is very sweet to the taste, almost honeyed.

You can still reserve a bottle from the French Bordeaux Casks, or the American Bourbon Casks, if you have not already. We will be sure to keep you informed of their progress when Frank samples them after two years!

To keep up to date with all the latest information from Dartmoor Whisky, be sure to sign up to our mailing list and follow us on our social channels.

Greg, Frank & Simon at Bowerman’s Nose, Dartmoor on the one year anniversary of the First Distillation

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