What did you do before creating your tonic range?
From a young age, I worked in the hospitality trade but moved from the world of bars and cocktails to the equally exciting challenge of start-up businesses. I have been involved in tech companies in London for several years but always wanted to get back to food and beverage, to set up a company in the drinks world.
What made you decide to create your tonic range?
Like all good things, Navas started over a conversation in a bar. After a long walk around the headland near Mousehole, we stopped for a drink and while surveying the beautiful Cornish spirits, questioned why there wasn't a great choice of natural mixers. So we set to work to change this.
In Cornwall, we are fortunate to have an inspirational coastline, and we wanted to create a tonic to fit this. Taking advice from over thirty distillers, and using water from the Cornish Moors, we decided on the type of mixer and range we wanted to create.
What is the story behind the Navas name?
Our name reflects our shared connection of the Helford River and the small creek village, Port Navas. Our packaging is inspired by the smooth dark green and red serpentine rocks found at Kynance Cove and the Lizard Peninsula, polished by thousands of years of crashing waves.
Can you tell us more about the ingredients and where are they sourced from?
To make our tonics, we carefully blend a range of over seven natural citrus oils with two forms of cinchona, and we then mix this with Cornish Spring Water.
We source our ingredients from all over the world to ensure that we are using the best ingredients from sustainable sources. As an example, our limes are from Mexico, bergamot from Italy and cinchona from Ecuador. Our Spring Water is the leading ingredient that holds the drink together, and we source our water from the beautiful Moors in North Cornwall. It has an excellent mineral quality to it that gives a crisp taste to our mixers and shines through in our Light Tonic.
The provenance of ingredients that we use is critical, and as we grow, we will continually improve our supply chain. It's one of the reasons that we are working with the Eden Project and look for their guidance as we source new ingredients.
What makes Navas Tonics different to other tonics?
Our focus is on creating drinks that bring out the character of the spirits they are paired with. We use a comprehensive variety of botanicals in our recipes that reflect and enhance the quality and variety of botanicals found in a great gin. Rather than one dominant flavour, by using a blend, we want to bring forward the characteristics of the gin that the distiller wants you to taste.
As a company, we support the Eden Project, 1% for the Planet and are working towards a B-Corp Certification. Establishing the company with principles that balance purpose with profit is fundamental to how we want to grow.
What have been the biggest achievements so far?
For me, the most significant achievement is always in seeing people enjoy our drinks. I like nothing more than mixing someone a great G&T and receiving positive feedback from distillers. I also love seeing our drinks in the fridges of exceptional restaurants and hotels. We are fortunate to work with some great trade partners, chefs and hoteliers.
How would you describe your tonics in 3 words?
Clean, crisp, refreshing.
What's your favourite way to drink your tonics?
Location is critical, and we love enjoying an ice-cold Navas while sitting on the beach, or enjoying sundowners on Tremayne Quay in Helford. To pair, we love a classic London dry gin, poured over plenty of ice. And for the garnish, we keep it simple and generally will go with the distiller's recommended citrus or herb.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
We love trying new gins and recently when up in London for a weekend met the team from Cardrona Distillery and Sacred Gin - they both have beautiful gins.
If anyone takes a look at our Instagram, they can see that we work with quite a few of the Cornish Distilleries. Some of our favourites right now are Caspyn Cornish Dry Gin, Wrecking Coast's Cornerstone Gin and Trevethan's Cornish Gin.
However, a bottle doesn't tend to last too long on our shelf. After a few G&Ts (with Navas of course), we like to explore how a gin works in different cocktails. So a good bottle never lasts that long!
What's next for Navas - any exciting plans?
We are just putting the finishing touches on a few new mixers to add to our range, to make sure that we have the mixer to pair with every gin. Very excited about these new mixers and pouring them with some exciting new spirits coming from Cornwall.