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