Foxhole Spirits launches Hyke Gin made from surplus table grapes

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

11 March 2019

Foxhole Spirits is expanding its range of spirits made from otherwise unused resources with the launch of Hyke Gin.

To produce Hyke, Foxhole Spirits has partnered with Kent-based fruit supplier Richard Hochfeld. Foxhole has taken the importer’s surplus table grape supply – the equivalent of 1.4 million punnets, sourced mainly from Africa and South America, that can't be sold in retail outlets – and turned it into the grape spirit that forms the base of Hyke. 

Hyke co-founder James Oag-Cooper
Hyke co-founder James Oag-Cooper

‘We've been working with Richard Hochfeld for about a year to collect their surplus grape material, ferment it and distil it,’ James Oag-Cooper, co-founder of Foxhole Spirits, told Imbibe.

This latest expression follows in the footsteps of Foxhole’s first product, Foxhole Gin, which is made from leftover wine grapes from English vineyards. The use of table grapes as opposed to wine grapes allows Foxhole to place Hyke at a lower price point than its first gin, so that '[Hyke] is still premium but more accessible'.

According to Oag-Cooper, table grapes also create a spirit with a flavour profile that is distinctly different from one made with wine grapes.

‘Wine grapes have bags of flavour when you distil them,' said Oag-Cooper. 'You get lots of rich fruit, lots of aromatics [with wine grapes], whereas table grapes are bigger and a lot more dilute.  Flavour-wise [Hyke's base spirit is] much more neutral, with white flowers and citrus, and that's kind of it.’

This neutral character inspired the Foxhole team to be bold with botanicals – drawing on the table grapes’ international origins, Hyke marries coriander, myrrh, rooibos and juniper for a palate that is rich, spicy and aromatic. 

Oag-Cooper said this spiced quality makes Hyke a versatile cocktail ingredient.

'One of the craziest things we've found is that chocolate and Hyke work really well. The Hyke Martini is made with Hyke Gin, amontillado sherry and creme de cacao, and it's an incredibly rich, spiced and chocolaty, and then you get all that saltiness from the sherry. However, it also pairs beautifully with rhubarb. You can pull out all these ripe fruits, but also spice and savoury characters.'

Hyke Gin & Tonic
By Jamie JonesGlass: Lowball
Method: Combine ingredients over ice, stir and garnish.
Garnish: Lemon slice and fresh thyme sprig50ml Hyke Gin
Schweppes 1783 Crisp Tonic

Hyke Spritz
By Jamie Jones
Glass: Copa
Method: Combine ingredients over ice and stir.
None35ml Hyke Gin
20ml rhubarb & ginger cordial

Hyke Martini
By Jamie Jones
Glass: Martini
Method: Combine ingredients in mixing glass over ice and stir. Strain into glass and garnish.
Discarded lemon zest,
green olive60ml Hyke Gin
15ml crème de cacao blanc
15ml amontillado sherry

POA/70cl, Highball Brands, (available from 18 March)

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