Founding an Empire of Tipples

About a year ago I noticed a buzz on social media about Nelsons Gold. Then a few months later I bumped in to Steph and Matt at a trade fayre,  the couple behind Founding Drinks. Now the proud parents of three little beauties – Wild Knight Vodka, Nelsons Gold and the new baby Boadicea Gin.

We got talking about my love of cocktails and in turn I keenly agreed to create some original recipes for Wild Knight Vodka (see below).

I had a great time tasting them all mid-week in my cookery school Kitchen, here at Lodge Farm – in fact the plumbers were here that day. I wasn’t going to finish off half a dozen cocktails that I’d just photo’d so I offered them a taste – – they guzzled the lot, with good feedback and a few hiccups while they staggered off, luckily, they were here for the day so had time to sober up!

All three handsome bottled beverages are made in Norfolk at Foundry distillers in Beachamwell. Foundry drinks was only set up a few years ago with the aim to create an original Vodka made with local barley. Its distilled by their head distiller to perfection to create a smooth vodka, without any harsh tones and smooth it is, so much so it can be simply enjoyed neat. But because of its smooth nature it blends very well with a whole host of goodies to make a quality cocktail.

I say quality cocktail with a note of sarcasm, because so many cocktails are made using harsh alcohol, inferior juices, sweet syrupy mixes & acidic liquors. I’ve been blending cocktails since I was 16 – – & even then it was illegal.

It was certainly fun coming up with the recipes and taste trialling them, but hard to make sure the flavours complimented the quality of the pure vodka without drowning it. Because with something that good and pure, it would be criminal to add anything inferior to it. A bit like when someone makes a delicious succulent burger and then covers it with a cheap, frozen, airy bun #wrong.

But it’s the Nelsons Gold that gets my vote, it’s just so darn gorgeous words cannot express how silky it glides across your lips, you need to taste it to believe it. Nelsons Gold is made from smooth wild knight but with tastes of caramel. Of course, I do have a feline sweet tooth so find it very moorish to sip over ice as an after-dinner drink (not with friends, its mine!!!!) But it’s also scrumptious in deserts – I made mini Tiramisu’s for an afternoon event for 50 odd people. (p.s – the people weren’t odd!) it went down very well. I’ve also flamed bananas in it for a quick indulgent 5-minute desert on the quick with scotch pancakes. But then realised it was going down to fast and stopped. It’s just so good – – you almost don’t want to waste it.

Then there’s the bottle designs. Wild Knight is black and gothic, with a heritage silver embossed ‘knights shield’ badge on the front. Very medieval looking. I did hear one bar man complain that he couldn’t see how much vodka was left in the bottles but you can generally tell by the weight, that’s why I’m so good at Guess the Weight of the Cake. Nelsons Gold has a vintage shape, with clear glass so you can see the caramel gold inside.

But then the couple toppled us all with Gin – – – well why wouldn’t you.

The thing with Gin is its just flavoured vodka which by definition has to be distilled with juniper. And many Gins are made with imported base alcohol. Anyone can make Gin, all’s you need is a distiller, some base and your choice of botanicals. Many include citrus notes but you can add anything from nettle to peppercorns, from thyme to cinnamon. That’s why there is so many exciting flavours to try. But hardly any of them are made with a local base, let alone an English base.

So, if you make your own vodka using local barley, why not distil it further with juniper and a great blend of ancient botanicals to make the smoothest aromatic and originally local Gin around.

So, they did and Boadicea Gin was born – – – I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch, where I got toppled on Gin cocktails – it’s a hard job.

Because it’s top quality it’s just as good sipped over ice. But I do prefer it with my home-made elderflower cordial and some elderflower tonic with a few slices of lime and a good measure of crushed ice.

But if I can be bothered like I was last weekend I’ll knock up a Mojito with Boadicea with a good generous handful of fresh lemon mint from my garden, 2 heaped teaspoons of light brown sugar, a whole juicy lime, juiced & then mulled in a tall glass with crushed ice, add Boadicea and then traditionally top with soda (I’m sorry I used lemonade, it was bloomin lovely).


So, if you fancy trying one of my cocktails: –


Mulled Cider with a Wild Kick

(10 – 12 party size mix)

A more mature and tastier alternative to Mulled Wine. It might seem a little unusual making a dessert and then saturating in scrumpy but it really works and is always popular in my house at Christmas.


Baked Apples

3 cooking apples

2 tablespoons local honey

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

2 peels of orange

½ pint cranberry or apple juice


Addition ingredients –

2 – 3 shots Wild Knight Vodka

5 pints’ local cider



  • Make the baked apples – simply place whole apples in a suitable roasting dish, pour over the honey, add the cinnamon stick, 3 cloves and a few orange peels – pour the juice on top and bake in a preheated oven gas 5 / 180*c for 30 – 40 minutes – cooking until the apples start oozing apart.
  • Place the apples and all the juices and bits in to your slow cooker or saucepan.
  • Add 2 – 3 shots Wild Knight Vodka
  • Add 5 pints’ local cider
  • Gently heat – for 20 minutes, not boiling or even simmering.
  • Use a ladle to push down on the apples – encouraging the flavours and juices to mingle.
  • The mix should be around bath hot – serve hot or best served warm when cooled down a tad.
  • Ladle in to goblets avoiding the apples and all.



Wild & Fruity (1)

A warming blend with a moorish sharpness from the lemon and cranberry & a pep of seasonal allspice.


40ml Wild Knight Vodka

30ml cointreau or other orange liquor

100ml cranberry juice

3 dried whole allspice (all spice berry’s –  just for flavour)

½ fresh lemon juice – save a twist of the skin for a garnish



  • Shake vigorously over ice in a cocktail shaker.
  • Strain over ice cubes in chunky glass.




Knight & Day (1)

A more impressive Black Russian.


30ml Wild Knight Vodka

30ml kahula or tia maria

1 shot espresso – cooled

60 – 80ml single cream



  • Shake over ice in a cocktail shaker.
  • Then pour in to a chunky short glass.




VIP Bloody Mary (1)

So, good it takes a whole ‘Knight’ to VIP the flavours. Instead of mixing to order, here we infuse them overnight making a rich, succulent & well infused blend


100ml good quality tomato juice – left to infuse (covered) overnight (in the fridge) with

½ cinnamon stick

½ HOT red chilli – seeds removed (cut length wise)

3 – 4 black pepper corns

½ teaspoon horseradish cream (or 1 teaspoon sauce)

sprig fresh thyme (2 – 3 inches) (optional)

few drops angostura bitters

Plus, the Vodka*



  • Strain the tomato juice & pour over –
  • 40ml *wild knight vodka (no need for ice) – in a tall glass.
  • Garnish with 1 stick of leafy trimmed & cleaned celery.
  • Plus, a sprig of rosemary (optional)




Wild Knights & Lady Earl Grey (1)

The perfect cocktail with afternoon tea. Lady grey has added bergamot flower making the flavours delicate and intriguing.


1 handful mint

1 heaped teaspoon light brown sugar

50ml Wild Knight Vodka

30m limoncella or other lemon liquor

1 cup / 100ml lady early grey or earl grey tea – cold (mildly brewed)


  • Place the mint, sugar and liqueur in a tall glass – mash with a cocktail muddler (or bash about a bit with a spoon).
  • Add a few cubes ice (as you like).
  • Pour in the vodka.
  • Top with the cold strained tea.
  • Serve with a stirrer.




Bakewell Knights (1)

No points for guesting this is based on the delectable bakewell tart its even got a cherry on the top!


40 ml Wild Knight Vodka

30ml disarano or amaretto liquor

40ml cherry liquor or cherry brandy

120ml raspberry juice

Optional – ½ digestive biscuit or 1 lotus biscuit (to add a pastry flavour)

1 glace cherry for garnish (preferably with a stem)



  • Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over a handful ice. If you add the biscuit shake some-more!
  • Strain over crushed ice in a coppa cabana glass or any of choice!
  • Cut a slit in the cherry and slot it in to the top of the glass.




Medieval Musters (1)

A mixology blend of liquid smoke balanced with sweet & bitters. Think of bonfires and hickory smoked ribs.


¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

40ml Wild Knight Vodka

30ml apple brandy (or calvados)

1 generous tablespoon maple syrup

few drops bitters (optional)



  • Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over a handful of crushed ice – just a quick shake.
  • Pour into a margarita glass with one ice cube and a sprig of mint (optional).

((This one went down particularly well with the plumbers!))




Ginger Vesper (1)

A classic Vesper of vodka and gin with warming ginger and lemon.


40ml Wild Knight Vodka

40ml Boadicea Gin

½ tablespoon ginger syrup (from a jar of stem ginger)

few drops fresh lemon juice (optional)

garnished with a lemon rind twist



  • Simply pour in to a margarita glass, stir and garnish with a lemon rind twist.




Bonfire Knights (1)

You can buy activated charcoal on line for teeth whitening, but make sure you are ok to digest itas it can affect medication and other issues. The latest crave in cocktails and foods as it has body cleansing qualities.


¼ teaspoon activated charcoal

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

30ml Wild Knight Vodka or Nelsons Gold

30ml cointreau or Drambuie

30ml Boadicea Gin



  • Shake all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker over a good heap ice.
  • Pour in a chilled short chunky glass.




East (Anglia) meets West (1)

A modern version of Pina Colada – but still with the addictive creamy tropical fruitiness.


30ml Wild Knight Vodka

50ml Drambuie or Cointreau

60ml pineapple juice

60ml coconut milk (go for a tin with a high percentage of coconut 65%+)



  • This needs a massive shake in a cocktail shaker over plenty of ice.
  • Strain in to a tall glass with 2 – 3 basil leaves and a good measure of ice cubes.




Beer Fest (1)

I like a fruity sweet beer for this, not an actual fruit beer but one with fruity notes.


50ml Wild Knight Vodka or Nelsons Gold

15 -20ml absinthe (or pernod)

½ tablespoon local honey

top with local fruity beer – cold



  • Pour the vodka, absinthe and honey in to a glass – stir to combine all the flavours.
  • Top with ice cold beer.




Wild & Bananas (1)

A fun and funky loosely interpreted mojito but with attitude.


8 – 10 mint leaves

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

40ml Wild Knight Vodka or Nelsons Gold

30ml banana liquor

60 – 80ml cranberry juice

60 – 80ml sparkling water



  • Place the mint and sugar in a tall glass – mash with a cocktail muddler (or bash n grind with a spoon).
  • Add a small handful of crushed ice.
  • Pour in the vodka and liquor.
  • Top with the cranberry and sparking water & stir.




Nelsons Romance (1)

This is inspired from a cocktail called ‘Bad Romance’ using just caramel vodka topped with cherry cola but Nelsons more romantic and a whole lot classier.


50ml Nelsons Gold

30ml Maraschino / Cherry Liqueur

Cherry Coke to top


  • Fill a tall glass with ice.
  • Pour in the Nelsons Gold and Liqueur.
  • Top with Cherry Coke.
  • Serve with a cocktail stirrer.




Gold-Granate (1)

The sweet richness of the caramel notes in the Nelsons Gold marries beautifully with the sharp tartness of the pomegranate.


30ml Nelsons Gold

60ml Pomegranate juice


  • Generously half fill a short glass with ice.
  • Simply pour over the Gold & pomegranate juice.




The Golden Apple (1)

The taste of liquid dessert gold – think apple pie, apple crumble or apple pudding.


40ml Nelsons Gold

30ml Apple Snapps or Liqueur

100ml fresh Norfolk apple Juice

¼ cinnamon stick or a chunk of Cassia Bark


  • Place all the ingredients with a handful ice in to a cocktail shaker and shake vigerously.
  • Pour in to a margarita glass or one of choice, using the cinnamon stick as a stirrer / garnish.




N&B = Nelson & Bailey

Equal measures of Nelsons Gold and Irish Cream over ice.



If you fancy more info – – contact Founding Drinks at

Nelson’s Gold, Wild Knight Vodka & Boadicea Gin /

See their website for suppliers –

I Get mine from Jarrod’s Norwich City Centre.

Local Bars

Gin Temple – Boadicea Gin

The Ivy – Wild Knight Vodka, Nelsons Gold & Cocktails

The Maids Head Hotel – all three

(Let me know if you stock it, I’ll add you on @foodnorwich )

By Zena Leech-Calton ©