We love to encourage our guests to experience and interact with all of the great things the local area has to offer when staying in one of our Cornish hideaways. We have been lucky enough to chat to the great guys from St Ives Liquor Co. all about their excellent gin and multi-award winning gastrobar in St Ives. Here’s what they had to say:
Tell us a bit about St Ives Liquor Co. and the more obvious question of, why St Ives?
Pairing the inklings of an idea with a desire to create a deliciously different spirit experience – myself Tim and my two brothers Greg and Bertie Thompson created St Ives Liquor Co. Freshly founded in 2016, us three Thompson brothers hatched a plan around our family’s kitchen table, to create a liquor company that had flavour, quality and character at its heart. We’ve all lived in the St Ives area all of our lives and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, so it seemed a very fitting name for our new project. Now, whether it’s the fresh botanicals we pick from the St Ives coastline, moors and cliffs tops for our cold-compound gin, or the high-quality grain spirits we use in each and every batch – at St Ives Liquor Co. we’re bringing a new spirit experience to each and every sip and a little taste of St Ives wherever you are in the world.
The fact that you use local produce to create your gin and celebrate it in your gastrobar, is something we are inspired by. What are some of your favourite local ingredients to work with?
Together with our parents we’ve been running a multi-award winning restaurant in St Ives for many years. However since launching the gin we’ve made many exciting changes to the menu and the look of the place and are now the proud owners of St Ives only gastrobar –The SILCo Searoom. Whatever we serve however and whatever The Searoom looks like, using local produce, from local producers, has been a big part of our ethos since day one. Eating the right foods in the right season not only ensures your getting the best out of your ingredients but also lends essential support to the dedicated local businesses supplying Cornwall’s food industry. Although this approach means you can’t get everything you want all year round – we simply change our menus regularly to suit the seasons. With this being said we have wide variety of local produce that we love to work with when it is available. Local gorse flowers grow in abundance throughout the winter months. These we use as one of our 13 botanicals in the production of St Ives Gin and spend many hours a week out foraging for them ourselves – with the scratches to prove it! Its well worth it though as they add a lovely sweetness you wouldn’t always expect from a gin. We also use a local seaweed – Bladderwrack – but only in small amounts, its quite a strong one! This again can be found all over Cornwall, from the rugged coves to its white sandy beaches. Of course for food you need look no further than Cornwalls crystal clear waters and stunning coastline all just outside SILCo Searoom’s door. From mackerel landed by our neighbour at Smeatons pier and bought fresh from the sea to us to beautiful crab and lobster landed at Newlyn in the night and with us by the morning. Scallops, gurnard, mussels, bass and too many more to mention are all at our fingertips. You can even take a walk down the coast and pick yourself some lemony sorrel, salty sea purslane or crunchy samphire. With an abundance of amazing ingredients like these available it’s made our job easy.
For each of you, do you have a go-to, favourite cocktail?
Cocktails are always a hot topic for debate, a debate however that will never end. How can you pick just one?! We’ve all got a few favourites I guess like the Cornish Garden. One of our signature cocktails consisting firstly, of course, of a good measure of St Ives Gin then lemon, elderflower, freshly chopped mint and soda. Finished with a stick of rosemary, a slice of lemon and a dash of bitters its damn good! Another winner is our marmalade gin fizz made with homemade marmalade. Terrifyingly easy to drink but that’s not always a bad thing. Our youngest brother Bertie would bathe in strawberry daiquiris if it was acceptable, but its not. I guess we’re not prejudice towards any alcohol, we like it all, but a St Ives Gin and tonic served with a slice of grapefruit, a wedge of lime and a sprig of basil is certainly well up there.
We love the new look of the SILCo. Searoom. Talk us through the design inspiration and process of this project and tell us about your new menu?
The SILCo Searoom has developed a lot over the years. From our humble beginnings serving homemade tarts, cakes, cream teas and sandwiches right through to the multi-award winning gastrobar we are today. Our mum, Tamsin, has been the driving force behind its success since day one. Head chef, restaurant manager, accountant, cleaner and all things in between. My brothers and I owe her everything and wouldn’t have achieved any of this without her. She’s a bloody legend! Over the years thanks to her commitment we’ve been lucky enough to win a number of prestigious awards. From Tripadvisor Gold awards for consistently high customer reviews to 3 consecutive Good Food Awards. An award only handed out to a minuscule amount of businesses each year out of the 550,000 + businesses considered. This year we were finally awarded a Good Food Gold Award. An award we are incredibly proud of but wouldn’t have been possible without all the wonderful people we’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. Over time as we have developed our knowledge, developed our menus and received these fantastic awards, we finally felt it was time to transform the SILCo Searoom into a setting that really showcased what we’re about. We’ve taken our inspiration from the way bars used to look, dark, cosy and inviting. Have a look at our new changes at on our website. It’s taken a long time to reach where we are now – but we’ve learnt an awful lot along the way and strive to improve every year. Our menu now consists mainly of tapas style dishes showcasing the wonderful seafood and local meat on offer alongside an extensive cocktail menu of course! It’s a great place to spend a few hours working your way through both. From garlic prawns and courgette and feta fritters with a St Ives gin and tonic to local mackerel and spicy albondigas and maybe a Cornish Garden or two. Until Easter pop in any time day or night and enjoy two cocktails for £10! Or pick up a bottle of St Ives Gin direct from its creators.
To guests visiting St Ives, what would you recommend they do during their stay?
To guests visiting St Ives there is an abundance of things to do. Alongside the 3 stunning beaches located within the town itself, there is also enough art galleries, restaurants, pubs and bars to keep anyone entertained, with SILCo Searoom reserving top spot of course! Having said that if we ever have a day off, we head off down the coast path towards Zennor (where we all grew up) to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery Cornwall has to offer. Its a bit of a trek but one that’s well worth it, especially with a little trip to The Tinners Arms at the end for a couple of well deserved drinks or two!
What’s in store for SILCo. in the near future?
The future of SILCo Searoom and of course Saint Ives Liquor Co is looking very exciting. Whilst SILCo Searoom has been around many years and achieved a lot, we will always keep pushing for more. As for Saint Ives Liquor Co, having only been founded last year, you’ll have to watch this space. However with the success of our first product St Ives Gin and with big plans for the future, we can guarantee you’ll see a lot more from us.
We’ve loved every minute we’ve put into making SILCo Searoom a success together as a family and couldn’t be more excited about now turning our attentions to Saint Ives Liquor Co. It’s gonna be fun – with an endless supply of gin as well – its only gonna get better!
Tamsin, Pete, Tim, Greg and Bertie Thompson – St Ives Liquor Co. & SILCo. Searoom.
Book your stay in Cornwall now and pop in to visit the guys at the SILCo. Searoom.