As the popularity in gin continues to ride the crest of the wave, so too does the diverse variations on offer; and taking pride place on our bar right now, here at The Duke, is the delicious Nibbs Gin.
This local family-run artisan gin distillery prides itself on making small batches of gin using fresh, handpicked elderflower from the Surrey and Sussex countryside offering a unique flavour and gin experience. What’s more, as the family live right here in Farnham, we couldn’t be more proud of their success and continue to support them where we can.
What makes this gin so unique?
Handpicked fresh elderflower, lemon and lime are the key ingredients used to provide the beautifully fragrant, natural flavours of Nibbs gin. Categorised as a speciality cocktail gin, which has been cut to a drinking strength of 40%, this gin provides an incredible depth of fresh elderflower, whilst still enjoying the subtle tastes of juniper. This gin can be enjoyed on its own over ice, paired with a natural tonic and even used to create a unique twist on flavouring sorbets and cakes!
For those of you who are new to Nibbs Gin and its back story, we wanted to shine our light on the creative founders and so met up with husband and wife, Richard and Nicki, to learn more about their story.
Tell us a bit about how the concept of Nibbs Gin came about and your journey to today.
The concept for Nibbs Gin was a homage to Nicki’s Mother who was inspirational with her experimentation of food and drink; her legacy and important skills were passed onto Nicki who, in turn, created the unique concept we have today. After many years of traditional gin and vodka cocktails ruling the drinks market, Nicki created an elderflower cordial that became so popular amongst her friends, she experienced a eureka moment, whereby she trialled mixing this deliciously fresh cordial with gin and vodka… it was an instant success!
It was really important for us to create a gin that could combine and marry the uniqueness of fresh elderflower with the traditional juniper taste and so after much experimentation and many tastings later, Nibbs Gin was born. The name of the brand was simple, Nibbs was the nickname that Nicki’s mother gave her as a child and therefore, we felt, very appropriate in paying homage to her legacy.
From concept to reality has been a long and somewhat complicated journey; from developing the product, understanding and meeting all the legal criteria, designing the artwork to the intricate requirements and knowledge associated with its branding, promotion and sales – it has been an incredible journey, albeit a steep learning curve.
Nibbs Gin is a family-run business, which family members are involved and what roles do they play?
All our family members are involved in the business, which extends to every aspect, including picking and processing the elderflower. We are all involved in the running of events (farmers markets, workshops, festivals etc) and are incredibly lucky to have such a diverse and complementary skillset between the five of us; without us sounding like The Waltons, we really are a great team.
Our three children Matt, Susannah and Emily are the creative force behind the brand and they manage all the marketing, artwork and social media. Richard is an accountant by trade and therefore manages the books, ensuring they remain balanced alongside any legal aspects, whilst Nicki who, being the Mothership, is the overriding boss and a great organiser to boot! She manages all aspects of the gin’s production and keeps everyone in order. Apart from creating a successful brand, our core objective really is to have fun and enjoy every step of this crazy and unique journey.
What has been your biggest ‘business success’ moment so far?
At the early stages of this venture, when we had insurmountable obstacles and red tape to jump, we never actually believed or envisaged seeing our product being born commercially. The crowning moment was most definitely the day we placed our very first commercial bottle onto the shelves of Wine Rack, on the evening of our product launch; it made all the hard work and stress worthwhile and the reality of our new venture really hit home. Today we are stocked in over 11 venues, shops and markets across Surrey, including here at The Duke and also at The Duke’s sister pub, The Castle Inn (Farnham).
What would you say is the ideal food pairing with your elderflower gin?
We would like to think that our gin is very versatile and serves great as a cocktail, it really can be enjoyed with most types of food. In particular, it complements lighter foods such as chicken and fish – it is also incredibly delicious with cake at tea time – think lemon drizzle with an elderflower gin twist!
Do you have any more top tips on how else Nibbs Gin is put to good use (other than drinking!)?
It works really well with raspberries, as the gin is absorbed into the fruit, we are currently having fun experimenting with desserts using gin-infused raspberries such as pavlova and trifle. It also works incredibly well as a sorbet or posset. In fact, everyone really should have a bottle in their kitchen cabinet!
Do you have plans to extend the product range?
Yes, we do, so you need to watch this space! We will be hosting another Gin Workshop at The Duke in December and so will be a great opportunity for some festive fun. We will have some exciting updates and new drinks to showcase too. Keep an eye on The Duke’s website, as information and tickets will be released for sale over the summer.
What is a typical ‘day in the working life’ for you both?
Quite honestly, a day in our life is long, hard and busy as we also run another family business, plus we have a dog and family to keep up with – it keeps us out of mischief for sure!
If you have a day off, what would be the perfect way to spend it?
Wow, a day off!! hahaha, it would involve us relaxing at a spa with our feet up and a Nibbs gin and tonic (or three) in hand.
What would be your ‘last meal’ and accompanying drink?
For Richard, it would have to be baked beans on toast – simple but delicious! For Nicki, it would be rather more exciting and would be a toss-up between a delicious Sunday roast dinner or a pad thai noodle dish. We would, of course, drink the remaining Nibbs gin stock so as not to leave anything behind!
Why not try it out for yourself and enjoy a Nibbs gin & tonic the next time you pop in, if you make it a Wednesday, you can enjoy our Gin Wednesday offer and have a Nibbs gin and Fever-Tree tonic for just £5!