Think of gin and you might think tonic. But now think gorse, heather, thyme and mint and you might be thinking of Ramsey!

Just across Ramsey Sound our neighbours and friends at St David’s Kitchen have been hard at work creating a new and exclusive product. The Kitchen’s ethos has always been rooted in local provenance and high-quality produce. The map of the St David’s peninsula on the wall of the restaurant proudly displays where they source the key ingredients for their menus.

St David’s Kitchen traditionally purchase our conservation grade lamb and venison, but with a little help from Ramsey have branched out into the world of gin, producing a range of local St David’s peninsula varieties.

The first ever offerings from our partnership are Ramsey Island Welsh Dry Gin and St David’s Seaweed Welsh Dry Gin.

The new Ramsey Island Gin varieties will include botanicals carefully collected by St David’s Kitchen  from the island under supervision of RSPB staff and 5% of net sales will be donated to RSPB Cymru to fund our conservation work and special projects on Ramsey and Grassholm islands and further afield in Wales.

In addition to this St David’s Kitchen are making a further donation of 5% net sales to RSPB Cymru from all their other local gin varieties starting with a seaweed gin, gathered by local foraging company Pembrokeshire Seaweed Ltd under licence from Natural Resources Wales. The exclusive artwork displayed on the bottles is also available to purchase as mounted frames of which £10 from each sale will be donated to RSPB Cymru 

The plan is to produce seasonal Ramsey Island gins based on the botanicals available at different times of year. Each batch of gins will have their own unique seasonal island flourish. Spring will incorporate gorse flower and wild thyme, summer includes sheep’s sorrel and wood sage while autumn and winter sees a return of the original heather and mint. Throughout these periods harvesting on the island will occur primarily from areas already earmarked for cutting or grazing for conservation purposes (for the benefit of chough, wheatear, linnet or the vegetation itself) and the quantities involved are small, ranging from 750g (for herbs) to 2kg (for gorse flower) for an entire season’s edition. This ensures that there will be no detrimental environmental impact to the island from this project, and RSPB and NRW will review this after the first year.

St David’s Kitchen are, eventually, hoping to make the gin using juniper berries from the peninsula. Currently the rarity of the plant in Pembrokeshire (and Wales) means this is not possible. The plant has been lost largely due to overgrazing, wild fires and natural rockfalls. Working with NRW, RSPB and local botanists, St David’s Kitchen is seeking to sponsor a project to cultivate new plants (taken from cuttings of the remaining wild plants), propagate them in polytunnels on their farm, use the berries in their gin and re-introduce plants to areas of Pembrokeshire where they have been lost, including areas on Ramsey. Given that it can take anything up to eight years for juniper bushes to fruit, this is very much a long-term vision.

How do I get hold of a bottle and where will my money go?

Exclusive and due to arrive from the distillery in the new year is Ramsey Island Welsh Dry gin which is infused with the delicate accent of bell heather flowers and water mint. This limited edition is a 400 bottle run and is ready to pre-order now.

For more information on the products available and to make that all important purchase to help fund our work on Ramsey Island, Grassholm and beyond please see the following links.

Click here to pre-order 1st edition Ramsey Island Welsh Dry Gin

Click here to pre-order 1st edition St Davids Seaweed Welsh Dry Gin

Click here to order associated artwork

Click here to read more on St Davids ethos and relationship with RSPB

If you would like to pre-order a bottle and try for yourself, donations to The RSPB from sales of both gins will initially help fund:

  • The installation of a UV filter in the Ramsey shop will allow visitors to re-fill their own drinking bottles and so remove the need for us to sell plastic water bottles on the island as part of our plastic free pledge.
  •  Our annual gannet research projects on Grassholm, the periodic aerial surveys and our annual October trip to cut free birds entangled in marine plastic debris
  • The re-introduction of juniper to lost sites on Ramsey and other parts of the county and the bolstering of the plant at the few remaining sites.

RSPB would like to express our sincere gratitude to St David’s Kitchen for their generosity and vision and we look forward to building on our existing relationship with them over the coming years.

Merry Christmas from all the RSPB Ramsey staff and we hope you enjoy a Ramsey Island Welsh Dry Gin to keep you warm through those cold January nights – cheers!

An example of some of the artwork that will appear on bottles and is available to order as a mounted frame (from top: view of Ramsey from mainland, raven on the rock, gannet with seaweed - all artwork produced by Gareth Chalmers)

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