Mango meets….. cook, writer, broadcaster and fisherman, Valentine Warner
Valentine Warner and his childhood friend Walter Riddell are the creators of HEPPLE GIN. Together with industry experts Cairbry Hill and Nick Strangeway, they have created a brilliantly distinctive gin using a pioneering 3-part process that goes beyond traditional distilling methods, to reveal the botanicals at their freshest and most vital. Hepple Gin is made with junipers that grow around the distillery at Hepple, alongside other botanicals harvested from the soul-restoring Northumberland moors.
This summer, Val and Walter are bringing a taste of Hepple to The Goring, in the heart of London. As their living bar opens its doors and a gin safari in the hotel’s private garden gets underway – all in an impeccably English way – we spoke to Val for his take on today…
What’s best about now?
The Mr. Tom peanut bar I’ve just demolished whilst writing this – and knowing I have my children this weekend.
What makes you tick?
My children, nature, people, words, art, fishing, having fun and cooking outside, the smell of wood smoke and glowing embers, dancing feverishly, lots of music, the sea, scenery that blows me away, cold weather, getting engrossed in a drawing, fabrics, nakedness. Hepple Gin and the Distillery and a good cold Martini
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A massive platter of Fruits de Mer, mayonnaise, good bread and an endless bottle of cold Sancerre.
What is your favourite journey?
Wherever I’m getting into the spirit of things. Just been to the jagged lava fields of Lanzarote. Loved it! What a great island
What is your favourite place?
An ancient wood of huge moss covered beeches that puts on a bluebell show like no other, on a steep hill overlooking the glittering Dorset coast.
Who are your heroes in real life?
Creative people with real conviction. Outsiders. People like the artist, architect and Lanzarote hero, César Manrique.
What talent would you most like to have?
To be able to build a house from scratch myself. I’d just love to own that information in my head.
What is your worst fault?
My defensiveness – instead of hearing what I’ve obviously missed
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fears are now for my children growing up in a time that seems to dismiss the natural world as essential. However I will certainly be careful not to instil fear in their outlook on life. The world is bright with wonderment, storytelling, amazing folk and an ability to change.
What is your favourite pastime?
Fishing fishing fishing. One of the few things that give me a sense of being lost to the madness I navigate daily. When fishing I feel deeply concentrated with a feeling of something being second nature. It takes me to wild places and where I can listen to water. I’m fascinated by fish. I love the kit too.
What is the quality you like most in a person?
Effortless manners, generosity of spirit and humour.
If you had one superpower, what would it be?
An ability to restore nature immediately anywhere I chose.
What would the Val of today tell his 18-year old self?
Listen carefully to others! Make your decisions in the time you need. Don’t do things in order to be liked by people………unless you want to marry them.
What will we be all talking about in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully not Justin Bieber! Hopefully Hepple Gin.
Hepple Gin’s bar at The Goring is now open, offering guests an irristible menu of specially created cocktails (don’t miss the Hepple Martini!) and gin-inspired light bites (think pine and juniper cured salmon with black bread) curated by The Goring’s Chef Shay Cooper in collaboration with Valentine Warner. www.thegoring.com.
@TheGoring | @Hepple_Gin | @ValentineWarner