EAUX met with John McCarthy, head distiller at Adnams in Southwold to try out some of his favourite cocktails (yum!)

We caught up with John in Southwold to find out what a typical day is like for the head distiller.

What does a typical day involve?

It’s my responsibility to ensure that adequate stock of our spirits is maintained, to decide what is distilled and when. To arrange the purchasing of packaging and ingredients and generally make sure the right stuff is in the right place at the right time. I monitor distillations and ensure product quality. Product development is the fun bit and something I do around the day-to-day stuff.

How did you become a distiller at Adnams?

I started with Adnams in 2001 as part of the engineering team. I was given the project to install a distillery on site in 2010. When operational I began running the stills. As production increased I moved away from engineering and over to being the distiller.

How do you come up with new concepts? 

The world of cocktails has been around for a couple of centuries now, so most things have already been done. I like to make the classics and then do variations on those. Some are just trial and error. Who would think drinking vinegar would be good? It is a historical drink, which has just fallen out of favour.

What is the perfect summer drink?

The summer is a time for ice-cold long drinks. The gin and tonic is easy to make, relatively low in alcohol and can be easily prepared minimal fuss. A little care can make this great drink even better.

Do you have any 
upcoming projects?

The distillery is at capacity already so we are now expanding. By the end of the year we will have an additional two stills allowing greater production volumes.

G + Iced Tea

50ml Adnams Copper House Gin

50ml Earl Grey Tea

25ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

25ml Sugar Syrup

Fill cocktail shaker with ice.

Shake and fine strain into chilled

cocktail glass.

Garnish with cucumber spear and

orange zest.

Adnams First Rate Gin and Tonic

35ml Adnams First Rate Gin

100ml Fever Tree Tonic Water

Use ice filled tall glass.

Garnish of lemon zest and thyme (placed in glass before ice)

EAUX so peachy

50ml Adnams Longshore Vodka

50ml Peach Shrub

Soda water to top up


Use ice filled schooner glass.

Garnish with fan of nectarine slices.

Peach Shrub

Makes 700ml

In a large sealable jar put the following:

4 finely sliced peaches or Nectarine

1 small bag granulated sugar

Mix and seal for a few days, the juice will come out of the fruit and the sugar will dissolve

Add 500ml white wine vinegar

Leave for another few days, stirring occasionally.

Strain with double muslin into a clean bottle and seal.