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  • Writer's pictureJude

Did someone say gin in the Caribbean?

Updated: Mar 12

Antilles Stillhouse, Antigua

Yes you heard that right. High in the hills overlooking English Harbour lies a compact, family owned and run gin distillery, the only one on the island of Antigua. With a background in wine making, David and his family packed up their belongings, left Canada and moved to Antigua. Six years ago, Antilles Stillhouse was born and they have never looked back. Working together, David makes the gin and his wife, a talented artist, designs the colourful bottle labels. Gin has certainly risen in popularity recently and it is exciting that it has taken off in Antigua too thanks to the work gone into developing Antilles Stillhouse.

Views from Antilles Stillhouse

Between the gin making process, tending to herbs and picking flowers from those prickly acacia trees, David likes to experiment with flavours. Some of the botanicals he uses are home grown, others imported from nearby islands - nutmeg from Grenada and oversized cinnamon from Dominica for example. Ingredients are only obtained from further afield if absolutely necessary. He also gets creative with colour - the pastis variety of gin available has blue tones created from the infusion with the butterfly pea blossom flower. The sorrel gin, not dissimilar in flavour to cranberry for those who have not tasted it, creates a vibrant splash of pink. When topped with tonic you could be forgiven for thinking it was a sparkling rosé.

Gin is certainly a drink longing to be played with. Top it with champagne for a French 75 or transform it into a foamy cocktail, the variations are endless. However keeping it simple is often the best. Add the gin to a bowl shaped glass filled with ice, pop in a couple of sprigs of herbs, some berries then top up with a preferred tonic. What better way is there to relax on a warm evening as the sun sets.

Tasting sessions are by appointment only and cater for small groups up to 8-10 people to enhance the visitor experience. It is a highly recommended place to come for solo travellers, couples or friends, as a gin lover or for someone who is keen to try it.

Bottles of gin sold at Antilles Stillhouse

During the tasting session, it is recommended to sniff the gin, then swirl the liquid in the glass to release more of the aromas. Take a sip and allow it to rest in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing, as with wine tasting. Some of the flavours are not apparent immediately and take a while to develop on the palate. Four different gins are available to taste - Pastis, fevergrass, wood and sorrel. Each has its own incredible, distinctive flavour, making it very difficult to choose a favourite. Luckily, the shop sells 100ml bottles of each, making it a cost effective way to take away a sample of each.

100ml bottles gin

But that is not all that goes on here.... a wonderful range of shampoo and body bars and soaps have been created for sensitive skin with subtle scents of star anise and tangerine.

Handmade soap at Antilles Stillhouse

Also lining the shelves are flavourful mustard and unique jams...

mustard and jams on sale at Antilles Stillhouse

Although the distillery is small, the gin making process can be completed within a few weeks. In addition to purchases made from visitors, bottles are also distributed around the island selling through a number of outlets including Cork & Basket, Epicurean and Crab Hole Liquor.

Click on the Antilles Stillhouse link to enquire about availability and book a tour.


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