What I know - Daniel de Carteret
Daniel de Carteret is the winemaker and distiller at La Mare Wine Estate, which introduced gin production in the past few years
- I’m a purist, so with a good characterful gin I like to enjoy a Gin Rickey. Squeeze half a lime and drop it into a highball glass with ice. Add a proper ‘free house pour’ measure of gin and top up with carbonated water. No sugar.
- Having a distillery allows for experimentation, and we have been doing that for the past 20 years at La Mare, including early gin runs. Trials for our Royal Gin in its current guise started in 2012, and it was launched in 2013.
- Our customers love the gin. It has character that stands alone and it shines in cocktails or with mixers.
- The ongoing demand has really brought our Alembic Charantais still to life. She makes a great gin (when not making apple brandy), which happens a lot more often these days.
- L’Etacq is my favourite spot in Jersey – staring out west over the Rigdon Bank.
- My favourite times of the day are at the start and at the end.
- Gin is predominantly made from juniper berries. We add citrus peel, cardamom, angelica root, coriander and elderflower from the estate. These botanicals are used to flavour the base, which is part grain and part potato spirit, and soaking with heat over time extracts the flavours. The flavoured spirit is run through the still, making it a ‘London dry gin’.
- We keep the spirit at 42 per cent, which allows more flavour to be packed into the gin. The trick, in my opinion, is to keep it simple, use the best quality ingredients possible – no distracting or confusing weird and wonderful herbs and spices.
- The last time that I really belly-laughed was watching an old ‘Bottom’ DVD with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson at their best. The episode ‘Gas’ is particularly amusing...
- Making gin is very different from making wine. Wine is agriculture – working with plants and nature in a specific place; growing and fermenting the grapes to make wine. The wine is flavoured by the grapes, the weather and by the yeast, with other factors, such as barrels, also playing a part.
- Gin is a mixture of different ingredients sourced from different parts of the world, fused together using a still. The seasonal variables of growing, nature and place are not as present and it is up to the distiller to basically craft a product alone.
- My favourite word is ‘however’. You always have to consider that there is something else.
- If I could create one law it would be to increase carbon tax to £150 per ton overnight. That would spur desperately needed change.
- Gin is very popular at the moment because a change in legislation, driven by pioneers in the craft distillery movement, has allowed small craft distilleries to become established both in the UK and globally. It is popping up everywhere and driving the awareness and gin revival forward.
- For me, provenance is a big draw. La Mare gin is made in the Island by a local business. Gin also tastes nice, is complex and a mile away from ‘lolly water’ – sugar-laced pre-mix drinks.
- Apart from Jersey, the best place I have lived is Central Otago, New Zealand. It is a land of defined seasons, mountains and wilderness, outdoor lifestyle, vineyards, wine and good people. When you wanted to catch up on current affairs, it was just a short hop to Queenstown.
- My biggest fear is living to a ripe old age and having had a life only partially lived.
- The thing that makes me happiest is appreciating the finer things in life, my two boys, and the sea.