Meet the Yorkshire Gin Makers: Raisthorpe Manor
What started as a kitchen experiment, trialing a family recipe for raspberry gin, has since transformed into an award-winning business
Nestled in the beautiful dales within the Yorkshire Wolds, Raisthorpe Manor farm is surrounded by a plethora of wild ingredients and fine natural spring waters, ideal for flavour inspirations. Back in 2008, a light-bulb moment occurred in the farmhouse kitchen when their first bottle of gin was created. Using a family recipe that had been passed down through generations, the famous Raisthorpe Raspberry Gin Liqueur was crafted. ‘Using my grandmother’s recipe, we extracted water from the Gypsey Race River and started to distill our own gin,’ Oliver Medforth, Raisthorpe Manor Operations Director, explains. Running under the Manor’s gardens and through the Yorkshire Wolds, the Gypsey Race River is a chalk stream, and the water is distilled by Raisthorpe in the traditional way, before being infused with fresh botanicals.
What started in the farmhouse kitchen has since gone on to grow into a fully-fledged, award-winning business. ‘Back in 2018 we planted 20 miles of sloe bushes in hedgerows,’ Oliver tells us. Using rhubarb from the Yorkshire Rhubarb Triangle, as well as locally-grown raspberries, Raisthorpe Manor pride themselves on using only the finest ingredients, locally sourced when possible, to create their food and drinks. ‘We use all natural ingredients so there are no artificial sweeteners or preservatives – everything is as natural as possible,’ Oliver explains. Unlike many other gin companies, Raisthorpe Manor don’t use artificial flavourings, but instead distill each beverage the traditional way. ‘From the base gin to the fruits we use and the liqueurs we produce, they’re all made with fresh ingredients.’
The success of the original trial gin with friends and family meant Oliver and his mum, owner Julia Medforth, soon realised the appeal of their newly-founded gin. ‘After friends tried our raspberry gin, they all said we should bottle it and sell it. We realised how good it was and because it’s a family recipe, it’s really unique,’ Oliver explains. After the success of their first launch, the family headed to local farmers’ markets, farm shops, delis and cafés to ask customers what flavours they wanted to see next.
‘Our best seller is definitely the Oak Aged Distilled Dry Gin, as well as our Raspberry Gin,’ Oliver tells us. The Oak Aged Distilled Dry Gin balances juniper and citrus notes with sweeter botanicals. ‘The gin is rested in a low cage barrel for around seven months after it has been distilled,’ Oliver continues. ‘This process gives a smooth and mellow quality to the spirit, alongside a subtle oaked flavour.’ They recommend pairing the popular gin with their award-winning Pink Grapefruit Tonic, which won two gold stars from Great Taste Awards in 2019 – overtones from the grapefruit add a crispness to the gin.
Having recently opened their flagship store in McArthurGlen York Designer Outlet, Raisthorpe Manor expect to expand further in the near future, and are hoping to get their award-winning spirits and beverages into more bars and restaurants.
Their Yorkshire Tonics are produced in six flavours including the classic Premium, Pink Grapefruit, Apple and Elderflower, Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Pomegranate, and Citrus flavours. In celebration of Yorkshire Day, Raisthorpe Manor have just released a brand new tonic called Paradise. Inspired by one of his favourite places, Oliver coined the idea for the latest flavour that uses natural extracts of quassia and Mediterranean botanicals including lemon, thyme and rosemary. ‘The name comes from a bank that sits opposite Raisthorpe and is between the chalk valleys. It’s one of my favourite places to go,’ Oliver tells us. The natural ingredients used gives the Paradise Tonic a crisp and refreshing flavour, making it a versatile mixer that can be paired with a range of spirts, or simply enjoyed on its own with ice and a slice of lemon.
Discover Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods at Living North’s Christmas Fair at York Racecourse, 11th–14th November.