Dorchester gin maker Ros Nelmes tells Joanna Davis how her favourite drink inspired her to set up an artisan gin company

A gin maker is providing the perfect tonic for Dorset drinkers.

Ros Nelmes is finding that her uniquely created Fordington Gin is going from strength to strength.

Creator Ros is passionate about her home in Dorset and named her product, which she is equally passionate about, after the area of Dorchester in which she lives.

Ros, who is qualified as a chiropractor, uses juniper, star anise and lemon balm to create a subtle and original flavour.

She was inspired to set up Fordington Gin in 2014 after a talk from gin maker Rupert Holloway of east Dorset-based Conker Spirit gin.

"It was that gin evening in Bridport with Conker which sparked it all off," she said.

Ros realised that her love of gin could be so much more than a hobby.

"It's more than a hobby, it's certainly taken off.

"Gin is the only spirit I drink. I've never drunk anything else. It's always been a favourite of mine.

"I've got a huge collection of gin, probably over 100 bottles and there's not a bottle I have tasted and enjoyed more than Fordington Gin.

"We use disproportionately expensive water which makes it smoother than most gins. We add juniper to the base ethanol and other ingredients."

It was important for Ros to do something that had never been done before.

She said: "We wanted to find and develop something different and new. There are so many gins on the market, we wanted to find something we were happy with that was different.

"So we started to look at other spirits that were different like Cointreau and were thinking about what goes brilliantly with gin like botanicals and used things like star anise."

All operations are run from Ros's home in Fordington.

"We make small batches 'on still' and wait for the magic to happen," Ros said.

Fordington Gin's success has come about because of the team she is surrounded by, Ros said.

"The real strength of Fordington Gin is the team I have managed to get together.

"What's really important is getting the people around you who really get your business."

The company has teamed up with upmarket wallpaper firm Cole and Son, Weymouth-based photographer Lara Jane Thorpe and designer Blossom Evans.

Ros has extensive knowledge of the world of gin and gives regular talks on the history and making of the drink over the decades.

She said: "We did a massive fundraiser for Weldmar Hospicecare Trust and an evening for 80 people at Brownsword Hall in Poundbury.

"It's all good fun, I love it. I love getting involved in things and I love going around Dorset delivering the gin. People are really supportive of us."

Ros tries to keep the products she uses as local as possible.

She said: "I think Dorset has some excellent producers, not just gin, but wine and cheese too. Dorset has got a phenomenal reputation for the food it produces. We try to keep it as local as possible by using local producers."

Among the produce Ros recommends teaming gin with are grapefruit and basil, strawberries, tellicherry peppercorns, a wedge of cucumber and a cherry soaked in brandy.

*Fordington Gin, Dorchester W: