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The Best Local Liquors Made Here in Sussex

18th August 2021

Run by local families and friends using the abundance of flavoursome fruits and grains that grow across the beautiful Sussex countryside, these award-winning, independent distilleries are producing delicious liquors right here on our doorstep. With each and every bottle locally crafted with love, we’ve chosen the very best local sprits that Sussex has to offer...

Clear Malt: Distilled in Lewes

Set on the banks of the river Ouse, the oldest independent brewery is well regarded across Sussexfor their infamous core cask ales. Having been in the guardianship of seven generations of John Harvey's descendants since 1790, it's actually their latest addition that has us excited.

Produced from barley grown at Upwaltham in West Sussex and mashed with fresh spring water from the South Downs their new ‘Spirit of Sussex’ Clear Malt is fermented and distilled at Harvey’s idyllic Victorian brewhouse in Lewes. Resulting in a 63% spirit which is then stored in wooden casks to transform into their Sussex Single Malt Whisky, a small portion is removed and bottled as a 42% vol. Best enjoyed on its own chilled, with ice, or mixed with a Ginger Ale, it is a welcomes accompaniment to a warm evening of alfresco dining with friends.

Rum: Distilled in Seaford

Started in the late summer of 2017, Harley House is a small batch distillery based in Seaford, East Sussex. Created by founders Heidi and Adam out of a desire to make unique spirits that leave a lasting memory on the tastebuds, they produce a limited number of bottles per batch, which are individually labelled and stamped before being carefully hand filled and capped at their Seaford distillery.

Produced using water from their aquifer which is naturally filtered through the South Downs, their Prohibition Spiced Rum is then double pot distilled and aged in ex-bourbon barrels, before their special (secret) blend of spices are added. Made 'proper' in the old-fashioned way, the result is golden in colour with plenty of punch. Best mixed into a classic ‘Old Fashioned’ for those looking for a cocktail or enjoyed neat with a square or good quality dark chocolate for an after dinner treat!

Gin: Distilled in Ditchling

Ditchling is no ordinary village; it is famous for the Arts and Crafts movement and is the creative home for many famous authors, artists, entertainers and eccentrics. So naturally, a small group of friends and family - with a love of gin - ventured forth with their aspirations to create their own premium liqour using the high quality local ingredients from their stunning Sussex surroundings.

Positioned at the foot of the beautiful South Downs, this award winning premium London dry style gin is produced using a unique array of locally foraged botanicals. Combining coriander, juniper, orange, lemon, bitter almond and cassia bark, this rich tasting spirit has a subtle sweet orange citrus finish. Bursting onto the gin scene in style in 2019, it has since be awarded medals by the Drinks Business’ Global Premium Spirits Masters, the IWSC, the ISC and the London Spirits Challenge.

Vodka: Distilled in Chilgrove

Nestled in the South Downs and surrounded by beautiful woodland, lies the sleepy Sussex hamlet of Chilgrove. Steeped in thousands of years of history and tradition, this beautiful corner of rural England is now home to Chilgrove Distillery, an award winning, small batch producer of premium English Vodka.

Using traditional methods under the watchful eye of their Either Generation Master Distiller, founders Christopher and Celia Beaumont-Hutchings have successfully created a 'first of its kind!' Distilled using the crystal clear natural mineral water filtered through the chalky South Downs, together with a neutral spirit distilled from grapes, it is this unique relationship which gives Chilgrove Vodka its silky-smooth and elegant character. For the purists among us, try it ice cold and neat or in a classic vodka martini. And for those looking for a mixed drink, it is equally delicious as part of a Bloody Mary.

Mead: Produced in Loxwood

Not technically a spirit but too good to leave out, Loxwood Meadworks has reimagined this ancient fortified wine for the 21st century. Starting out from a field just outside of Loxwood in West Sussex, founder Danny embarked on a mission to re-imagine how mead can look, taste and live in a modern world.

The result is a crisp, refreshing and delicately sweet honey wine with an eco-friendly conscious. Working in partnership with the Bee Friendly Trust and donating 10% of their profits every year to create habitats for honey bees and pollinators to thrive, you can enjoy this exquisite drink knowing  that you are giving something back to our local wildlife. Fermented dry then back-sweetened with honey for an enriched natural flavour, it is best enjoyed chilled or served over ice. Or for a festive twist as Autumn draws closer, mull it with cinnamon and spices and serve warm as a delicious winter mead!

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All images courtesy of the individual businesses themselves.