Holy Cow! Vodka made from milk? Intrigued? I for sure was.
With there being an influx of new Gin producers flooding the market, even here in this part of the country, and some good ones too, it was refreshing to hear about Black Cow Vodka.
Located just over the border in Dorset, not far from Axminster, the distillery is in the perfect spot surrounded by the herd of 250 grass-grazed cows from where they collect the milk and produce not only a wonderful smooth tasty cheddar cheese from the curds, but with the left over whey, it is fermented using a special yeast which is then distilled, blended and filtered resulting in the final product of ‘the worlds smoothest vodka’.
Because of the high fat content of the milk, the whole process results in the vodka being very smooth and having a creamy taste, so good that you can drink it on its own over ice.
I went on a Distillery Experience which includes lunch in the new kitchen/dining room area. Mr Stoneman (hubby) was able to accompany me on this trip as he had a rare day off – what a super fun and informative day it was.
Now a trip involving alcohol means that you really need to take public transport, or if going with a group of friends have a designated non-drinking driver or get someone else to pick you up.
We took the train from Exmouth to Axminster via Exeter which took about an hour and a quarter, followed by a 20 minute taxi ride to the Distillery arriving at 11.30am in time for the tour and lunch.
Our host and tour guide was a lovely young lady called Rebecca who welcomed us into the bar area of the distillery. Once all the guests arrived, and introductions made, we sat up to the bar and it is here we made our very own cocktail of an Espresso Martini, even having our own individual cocktail shakers to shake (just like the pros) and had our first taste of Black Cow Vodka.
Whilst sipping this delicious punchy ice cold alcoholic coffee drink Rebecca told us the story of Black Cow and then had a tasting of the first part of the production process – cheese. In fact the two products go hand in hand and I was already getting excited about how I could use them both at home, be it in cooking and in drinking!
The vodka making process all happens in the room the other side of the bar area in Ermintrude, the large copper still. It is in this and in the shiny pipes & vats where the magic happens. Here the whey is turned into Vodka, with the bottling and labelling all done by hand too.
Lunch was served in the kitchen/dining room and is a very relaxed, informal and chatty affair as by now, you are friends with the other guests. Rebecca cooked and served up a delicious light lunch with vodka featuring in the ingredients which was all wonderful.
A delightful cheese sauce (made with Black Cow Cheese of course) went with both the starter and main and washed down with a Highland Fling Cocktail which we watched Rebecca expertly make at the bar beforehand. Not wanting to go thirsty, she also made a cocktail out of some pickled crab apples (and vodka) which was really refreshing. I thought it was very similar to apple crumble in a glass and very good. The dessert was excellent too.
We just had time to make a few purchases from the gift shop before jumping into the taxi for our journey home. I now have bottle of Black Cow Vodka in my cocktail cabinet to enjoy drinking and cooking with. In the rush to get our train home, I forgot to buy some cheese….. or maybe it was because I had consumed a little too much Vodka!
This was an enjoyable and informative visit. Rebecca was an excellent host with attention to detail to the whole experience.
Black Cow Experience and Lunch – £70 (11.30am – 3pm)
Black Cow Distillery Visit – £25 (1 hour)
This would be a great visit to go with a group of friends or family, or a day out with your partner of if you happen to be holidaying or visiting nearby.
It would also make a great present for your foodie/drink friends. Vouchers are available on the website along with delightful items from the Black Cow Gift Shop.
Sue was hosted by Black Cow Vodka.
Where: Black Cow Vodka, Childhay Manor, Childhay, Beaminster, Dorset DT8 3LQ Tel: 01308 868844