FRUIT from historic mulberry trees in the garden of Shakespeare’s New Place has been harvested to produce a very special Stratford tipple.
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, which owns New Place, is working with local artisan gin company, Shakespeare Distillery, to produce a batch of mulberry gin, expected to be available later this year.
Glyn Jones, head of gardens at the Trust, said: “The mulberry has ripened earlier than expected this year due to the warm temperatures we’ve been enjoying.
“Rather than let the fruit go to waste, we approached our friends at Shakespeare Distillery to see if they could make use of the early harvest to produce a special batch of mulberry gin and we’re delighted they said yes.”
The oldest mulberry tree in the garden is thought to have grown from a cutting taken from a tree planted by Shakespeare himself.
The original tree was cut down by the Reverend Francis Gastrell more than 250 years ago after he became fed up with visitors who wanted to see it, but it is thought the cutting from it lives on.
While there is no way of proving the truth of this tale, the age of the tree that stands today fits.
Made in small handcrafted batches – taking inspiration from the Tudor period – Shakespeare Distillery uses botanicals that would have been common in Shakespeare’s time.
The mulberry gin is made by combining mulberries with Stratford gin and leaving them to steep for several months before decanting and bottling.
The result is a deep rich fruity gin ideal for sipping or using in cocktails.
Simon Picken, director and master distiller at Shakespeare Distillery, explained: “We originally created mulberry gin in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, purposely choosing mulberries due to their connection with the bard.
“It was incredibly exciting to be invited to harvest the fruits from these very special trees and we hope they will make a great special edition of our mulberry gin.”
Shakespeare Distillery’s Mulberry Gin will be available from the New Place gift shop on Chapel Street later this year.