THERE are two main people behind North Yorkshire’s Little Red Berry Company. Rachel Jamieson, 32, is the founder and business brains behind the popular flavoured liqueurs. Husband Rob is chief taster. Good choice…

“He does have another job, though,” laughs Rachel, “as a sports therapist. He’s also great for bouncing business ideas off.”

And it has to be said, Rachel and Rob have had some excellent ideas lately. One of their latest creations, Elderflower and Cucumber Gin, recently won a coveted two stars at this year’s Great Taste Awards. “Very clever,” said one judge. “Once tonic was added, magic occurred,” said another. It’s not the first award they have won, but they had a feeling this concoction was special when it sold out within eight hours of its launch. They have also been shortlisted for a White Rose Award.

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Little Red Berry Co products put a modern twist on a traditional product. The alcoholic liqueurs and flavoured gins are made at Berry HQ, at Copt Hewick, near Ripon, a rural business park just outside the market town.

“We are full steam ahead all year round,” says Rachel. “In summer our workload doubles with fruit collecting, with long days and nights. We start making our Christmas stock in July, and then we’re into Christmas sales.”

The drinks are made the traditional way of maturing the fruit and sugar in the spirit. All the fruit is sourced locally: soft fruit, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries from Spilman's of Sessay, near Thirsk; cucumbers from Anchor Nurseries, Beverley, for example. They keep a frozen stock to use all year round. “That way, we know we are still getting local fruit,” says Rachel. Finally, the drinks are hand-bottled.

Rachel has a background in food, drink and hospitality, including working at Alnwick Castle and for Bettys and Taylors in Harrogate. Her Little Red Berry adventure began in 2011. “I always wanted to work for myself, probably because I’m from a family who have always had their own businesses,” she says. “At home, we always had a jar of something maturing on top of the fridge – sloe gin, raspberry gin... I once made some very explosive cider!”

The Little Red Berry Co offers nine flavours at present, some of which are on seasonal rotation. They make a combination of gin, vodka and whisky-based liqueurs and recently created two flavoured gins, which are less sweet and great served simply with tonic. Best sellers are the Raspberry Gin Liqueur and the award-winning Elderflower and Cucumber. “I'd class myself as a real foodie so I’m always looking at flavour combinations, whether it's for new drink flavours or my dinner,” says Rachel. “We have been mulling over a few flavours recently, all of which are top secret of course!”

The drinks are for sale online and at market throughout the region, including York Christmas market (Nov 16-Dec 10) and Otley Christmas market. Gift boxes are available too. You might also come across the Little Berry Bar at a festive function. “She was a horse box in a previous life, but has been lovingly restored into a beautiful cocktail bar which is available to hire for private events,” says Rachel. “She’ll be serving up some mulled winter warmers at the Christmas markets.”

MULLED WINTER SPICE

You can use Raspberry Gin, Sloe Gin, Damson Gin or Blackcurrant Vodka for this drink.

Pour half a carton of apple juice and half a carton of cranberry juice into a pan, add a large cinnamon stick, a mulled spice sachet, three cloves, two star anise and one orange chopped into chunks, peel left on. Heat up to a gentle simmer. Strain the liquid to remove all the spices and mulled wine sachet.

Add 50ml of your favourite liqueur from The Little Red Berry Co and top with the mulled liquid. Add a slice of fresh orange and a cinnamon stick to stir.

T: 01765-602-335

W: thelittleredberry.co.uk

E: info@thelittleredberry.co.uk