Cheers! Why Dorset park is fired up about its new gin

Taste of success: members of the Martin's Bar team celebrate their success in the Taste of the West awards

Taste of success: members of the Martin’s Bar team celebrate their success in the Taste of the West awards

GUESTS at Highlands End Holiday Park in Bridport are raising their glasses to a new artisan gin which celebrates the proud history of firefighters in Dorset.

Barkis gin has been specially crafted and distilled for the park, and is named after one of the historic fire engines on display in Martin’s Bar and Restaurant.

Barkis gin is a fruity grown-up treat bursting with delicious summer flavours

Barkis gin is a fruity grown-up treat bursting with delicious summer flavours

Since launching this spring, the strawberry pavlova flavoured tipple has been a top seller in the bar, and is also being bought by the bottle by holiday guests and local residents.

Barkis gin also helped the park gain a top gold accolade in March’s Taste of the West awards which highlight businesses championing locally-produced food and drink.

Judges praised the “excellent local sourcing commitment” of Martin’s Bar and Restaurant, and the first-class choice of dishes prepared with West Country ingredients.

Its new gin is produced by Devon-based “Still on the Move” which operates a mobile gin distillery mounted on a 45-year-old VW pickup truck nicknamed “Ginny”.

Ginny recently caused a mini-sensation when she joined the bar team in Bridport market square to help publicise the arrival of the gin, and performed some on-the-spot distilling.

Martin Cox, a member of the family which has owned Highlands End – and today its four sister-parks – for almost 50 years, said everyone was delighted at Barkis’s reception:

“We wanted to create a laid-back fun gin which would complement our role as holiday providers, but still have an appeal to more serious gin connoisseurs,” he said.

Ginny, a mobile gin distillery, brought Barkis to life in the centre of Bridport

Ginny, a mobile gin distillery, brought Barkis to life in the centre of Bridport

“Barkis does the job wonderfully, and its clever blend of spices, botanicals and fruit extractions evokes one of our favourite summer puds – but for grown-ups only!

“Dorset and West Country products in our bar and restaurant are a firm favourite with guests and local people, and of course allow us to keep our food miles to a minimum,” added Martin.

Martin’s Bar is home to one of England’s largest and most important private collections of fire service memorabilia, built up over three decades by Martin Cox.

Exhibits on view range from historic firefighter helmets and other curios to a magnificently restored 1936 Leyland fire engine, and a 1902 Merryweather horse-drawn steam engine.

A wall of photographs depicts local firefighting history, and Martin himself previously served for many years as a Retained Leading Firefighter with the Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.

Highlands End Holiday Park provides holiday caravans for sale and to rent, plus luxury glamping accommodation, and pitches for touring caravans, motorhomes and tents.

For more information about the park, visit www.wdlh.co.uk

In all its gleaming glory, the restored Barkis fire engine is one of the main exhibits of fire service memorabilia in Martin's Bar which draws enthusiasts from across the UK and overseas to view its celebration of firefighting history in Dorset

In all its gleaming glory, the restored Barkis fire engine is one of the main exhibits of fire service memorabilia in Martin’s Bar which draws enthusiasts from across the UK and overseas to view its celebration of firefighting history in Dorset

Flashback to 1936 when the Mayoress of Weymouth christened Barkis in a ceremony attended by the public and members of the local fire services. The Leyland engine, built at a cost of £1,585, saw action in the area over successive years

Flashback to 1936 when the Mayoress of Weymouth christened Barkis in a ceremony attended by the public and members of the local fire services. The Leyland engine, built at a cost of £1,585, saw action in the area over successive years

 

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