With a reported 441 gin distilleries in the UK in 2019, its fair to say there isn’t a shortage of gins on the market to try. But how to choose? We’re all guilty of sticking to favourites and old faithfuls but with new distilleries on the up and established brands widening their ranges, there is so much to discover and enjoy.
From floral to spicy and citrus to herbaceous, we generally know what works for our own palettes but join us on a little journey across Britain and Ireland to discover some spirits that proudly produce some great gin.
Origin: Drumshanbo, Ireland
Botanicals: Juniper, angelica root, orris root, caraway seed, Chinese lemon, kaffir lime, coriander seed, meadowsweet, cardamom, star anise, oriental grapefruit and gunpowder green tea.
Strength: 43% abv
About: Oriental botanicals meet local irish ones in this mixture of 12 botanicals (4 of them vapour infused.) It takes its name from one of the signature botanicals, Chinese gunpowder tea, named due to the shape of the tea (it comes in little pellets for optimum preservation) rather than the explosive, but it does pack a pleasant punch with the tea somewhat surprisingly at the forefront, giving a lovely spice profile.
Try it in: Gunpowder chilli serve
Origin: Fife, Scotland
Botanicals: Elderflower, juniper, coriander seed, orris root, angelica root, lemon peel
Strength: 40% abv
About: Named after Mary Queen of Scots second husband, Darnley gin calls the place the royal couple met home, that being Wemyss Castle in Fife. Inspired by its history and the wild elderflower that grows around the castle, both the name and their first gin recipe, a light and floral gin, stems from times past.
Try it in: A Grapefruit Sparkler
Origin: Ceredigion, Wales
Botanicals: 20 including juniper, coriander, red clover, white clover, gorse, rose, fennel, chamomile, cardamom, sage, angelica root, star anise, elderflower
Strength: 42% abv
About: Dà Mhìle (pronounced ‘da-vee-lay’) hails from beautiful West Wales and like many gin distillers, has strong ties to whiskey. With a strong sustainability and organic ethos, Dà Mhìle is only the second 100% organic gin made in the UK, at their farmhouse distillery. They create a range of artisanal spirits, including this craft gin and grow a lot of their botanicals on their farm.
This distinctive gin uses more unusual botanicals such as red and white clover and gorse, which makes for a bold flavour journey.
Try it in: Botanical Gin refresher
Origin: Yorkshire, England
Botanicals: undisclosed - key botanicals juniper and orange
Strength: 42% abv
About: The UK’s largest county is famously known for the dales and tea, amongst other things, and since 2013, Masons gin. Made using Harrogate spring water, this bold and aromatic gin is wonderfully smooth. Creators, Karl and Catherine Mason set out with the simple goal of making their ideal gin and it turns out their ideal gin is a lot of other people’s ideal gin as it has enjoyed great success and is a product Yorkshire can be proud of.
Try it in: Phoenix Rising
Origin: London, England
Botanicals: juniper, lemon peel, lavender, dill, rosemary, cardamom, Angelica root and pimento berries a.k.a. ‘allspice’
Strength: 41.2% abv
About: Cabby’s are known for their award winning rum but thanks to a happy accident of trying juniper in a spiced rum, their fresh and balanced gin was born. Distilled in the heart of London by Taxi Spirit Co. this small batch gin is named after the founder's profession, which is as you might have guessed, driving a London cab. The distillery is proud to be a part of the craft revolution so they are definitely a brand worth keeping your eye on for new things and of course, trying in your drinks.
Try it in: A classic martiniBUY IT HERE