The Lickerish Tooth
The story behind Lickerish Tooth gin started a number of years ago in a land far away – in Abu Dhabi! Steven Donnelly, an ex-steelworker from Marske, was working as a Health & Safety Officer in the steel industry in the Emirates, and was shocked at the price of his after-work G&T. He came up with a novel solution; make it myself! He fashioned a still, and produced a half-decent tipple.
When he returned home for good in 2015 he brought his gin-making skills with him and, with his wife Tracey, started production in Skelton before moving to a converted cow byre in Egton.
‘I’m pretty much self-taught’ says Steven. ‘I had a tiny still at home, and it was a case of trial and error – and drinking! We sold the first bottle at the Saltburn Farmers’ Market in 2015 – we only had two products at the time, but it seemed to go down well, and we were inspired to add two more.’
‘We let the ingredients sit in the alcohol for up to two days to allow the flavours to come out, then run it though the still, before redistilling it to remove any colour. Then it’s bottled and waxed.’ The waxing process – every bottle is done by hand – ensures a bespoke product. ‘We press a tiny silver toad into the wax – during the time of the plague, doctors would wear a toad around their neck in order to fight off the disease, and each bottle comes with its own little lucky toad.’
Gin traditionally contain three ‘botanicals’; juniper, coriander and angelica, but there are 12 in Lickerish including ginger and star anise in the Nijna Ginger ‘my childhood nickname!’ Sheep’s Eye uses flavours including celery seed, black pepper and thyme. ‘All of our drinks are distilled using Sarah, our 400 litre copper pot still.’
They came to their name quixotically; ‘there’s a quote from the musical Guys and Dolls “Standing there, gazing at you, with a sheep’s eye, and a lickerish tooth” that inspired the name of the business and the name of our first brew’ says Steven.