Leading UK commercial nursery, Johnsons of Whixley, has well and truly got into the ‘Christmas spirit’ – by creating its very own company gin!

The North Yorkshire nursery’s new ‘Quixley Gin’ proved to be the perfect tonic as Johnsons worked with Corks and Cases in Masham to welcome its first batch of the cherry-infused spirit this month.

Named after the village of Whixley, which was formally known as ‘Quixley’, the area was famous for cherries originally cultivated by the friars from the Priory of Knaresborough and, in later times, were sold in London’s Covent Garden.

Quixley Gin is the brainchild of Ellie Richardson, a third-generation member of the Richardson family who bought the now-Johnsons of Whixley business from First World War veteran, Eric Johnsons, in 1964.

She said: “I’m extremely proud of my heritage and where I have grown up and, along with a natural love of gin, I thought Quixley Gin was the perfect concept.

“Our horticulturally-themed gin creates a fitting connection between Whixley village and Johnsons of Whixley which still sells 50,000 cherry trees annually.”

The gin was first produced at Corks and Cases’ Spirit of Masham’s distillery following a ‘Gin Experience’ workshop Ellie and her father, and Johnson’s Group Managing Director, Graham Richardson, attended to create their chosen cherry-themed drink.

The gin’s label also features an illustration taken from a bygone photo of the village along with cherry blossom graphics to enhance the ‘Quixley’ story.

Quixley Gin will be given to long-term customers and suppliers as a thank you for their custom.

Johnsons, based between York and Harrogate and which is one of the longest-established commercial nurseries in the UK, is no stranger to creating its own alcohol, having already brewed up two corporate ales called ‘Whixley Gold’ and ‘Copper Beech’.