Raising a glass to new 'Dandy Kat' gin - made using Rington's tea - after South Tyneside siblings launch their own business
The Dandy Kat Gin Company is the brainchild of South Tyneside siblings Suzanne Maughan and Martin Flett who launched their tea-inspired gin in March.
Suzanne, a teacher from East Boldon, has long been a collector of gins and over lockdown began writing for gin company websites, from reviewing gins to penning cocktail recipes.
Now, she’s channelled her passion for the spirit into making her own version, which has flavour notes of Earl Grey tea as well as citrus peel and lemon verbena in a nod to the slice of lemon often served with Earl Grey. The recommended serve is with Elderflower tonic and a slice of lemon.
Suzanne: “It’s very North East-inspired so we use Ringtons tea. I like gins to taste like gin, instead of being too flavoured. So ours is very juniper forward, and at 42.5%, it really packs a punch, but it’s also a very smooth drink.”
Suzanne and Martin teamed up with well-established distillery Poetic License, based at the Roker Hotel, to produce the gin. As well as producing their own brand highly-successful gins which are stocked in high end department stores amongst other places, the distillery also produce gins for other companies in its stills.
"On one of our many walks together, Martin said why don’t we look into making our own gin,” explained Suzanne. “I wasn’t sure how we would be able to do it, especially as we wanted every bottle to taste the same, but then we found out about contract distilling and how common it actually is.”
Named after Suzanne’s children Daniel and Kathryn, the gin branding features its own distinctive artwork featuring a cat wearing a Victorian top hat and tails in reference to a dandy.
The first batch was produced in March and, despite being new to a competitive market, is already stocked in both the Black’s Corner deli and restaurant in East Boldon, as well as Decantus in Newcastle, Undisclosed in Sunderland and The Stables in Cleadon.
The brother and sister have been making direct sales at festivals over the summer and Suzanne says the response has been really positive.
They’re now preparing their second batch, as well as a Christmas edition.