I’d always known there was something special about Dorset. From the staggering cliff faces and sweeping shoreline to rolling grassy hills and gently winding streets, it always felt like the place I’d want to be most.
And on my last trip down South, I found one of Dorset’s shiniest, most spectacular gems – Black Cow Vodka. But let me not get ahead of myself or I’ll miss all the fun.
Pointed Westwards by a local, I started out early one morning, the sunrise lapping at my heels. Traipsing over lush fields, it was the perfect summer’s days – nothing but the sound of birds and villages slowly waking up around me.
Happening upon a farm, I was met by two exceptionally friendly faces who introduced themselves as Jason and Archie – exactly who I had been hoping to cross paths with! I explained who I was, a roaming cocktail man, and told them how everyone I had spoken to in town had said I couldn’t leave without trying their one-of-a-kind spirit, Black Cow Vodka.
They laughed, they were used to being met with surprise when it came to how they made their vodka. They invited me in to hear a little more and sip some of the strong stuff.
Jason, a fifth-generation dairy farmer gestured up the road to his family farm, explaining how it was there that it had all started. ‘We’ve been making cheese for hundreds of years – we’re actually the world’s oldest surviving cheddar makers!’ he said, grinning.
‘When it came to my turn, I knew I wanted to take it in a different generation and, as mad as it sounds, found some inspiration in Genghis Khan.’
I was perplexed, what could an 11th century Mongol Emperor have to do with Jason’s family farm? ‘Genghis Khan was the first person to ask if it was possible to make vodka from milk,’ co-founder Archie jumped in, seeing my confused expression.
‘Our dairy cows are grass-fed and their milk is used to make our cheeses and vodkas. We use the curds for the cheese and mix the leftover whey with special yeast to produce a type of milky beer.’
I grimaced: milky beer. Oo-er. But I was had to hear more, this was one of the most ingenious approaches to vodka making I had come across yet.
‘The beer is then distilled, blended and filtered three times. What comes out is our smooth and creamy pure milk vodka, bottled by hand and brilliant to sip neat or stir into a cocktail,’ co-founder Archie explained. ‘We’re completely zero-waste and don’t use any plastic – only fully recyclable cardboard to ship our vodkas and wool offcuts for the cheese. It’s an entirely sustainable process.’
Stir into a cocktail, hey? That set my mind whirring. A Pornstar Martini made with Black Cow vodka sounded likejust the drink I should mix up next. The smooth, creamy nature of their vodka would blend perfectly with my syrupy Sliqueur – I was sure of it.
I asked if I could go on my merry way with a few bottles of it to experiment and the rest is history. Jason, Archie and I workshopped a cocktail that’s velvety, sweet and terribly moreish. We packaged it up in signature Cocktail Man style, popping in detailed instructions on how to mix it up perfectly at home. We even popped in a special surprise for the big V-day, some vanilla massage oil to share with a lover or keep for yourself.
All you’ll need to whip up some magic at home are some martini glasses, a cocktail shaker, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, and a handful of ice cubes: Jason, Archie and I have done the rest. So, what are you waiting for? Get shaking, West Dorset style!
With love, The Cocktail Man x