One of the boldest bottles on show in the Newcomer’s zone at Junipalooza was today’s dram, Sandhills gin. A big, bright yellow bottle certainly stands out and draws your attention in. Husband and wife team Jeanette, plus long time family friend Brian, take a scientific approach to making their gin. They distil the ‘heavier’ botanicals such as juniper and coriander in a traditional copper pot still before blending it with their cold vacuum distilled ‘lighter’ botanicals. Vacuum distilling allows them to capture the softer notes from ingredients such as gorse flowers, Douglas fir, yuzu peel, Tasmanian pepper berry, dandelion root, and local honey. Located in the Surrey countryside (a 34 minute drive from where I grew up, just saying), the area is covered in gorse and heather which attract the bees, making the local honey used to sweeten the gin, the hives sponsored by Sandhills gin to support the colony. Their spring water comes from their own bore hole drilled 65m deep to ensure purity, and as you might guess, this distillery has an ethos of sustainability. Any waste from the production is recycled (where possible) and a percentage of their profits go to charity – split between CountryMice (a local charity providing end of life care) and Clockhouse (a project aiming to end loneliness with activities, healthy meals and the opportunity to meet new people).