Gin is such a fast-moving drinks category that new releases are appearing every day and old favourites sometimes get forgotten. In an attempt to make sure that you don’t miss out, here’s a list of some great gins that you should really know about.
Scottish gin is booming and Edinburgh Gin was one of the first to appear that was brazen about being distilled north of the border. Along with the flagship gin, the distillery also make a range of very popular fruity gin liqueurs. The Scots might be best known for making whisky, but their reputation for gin is fast catching up.
Jumping to the other end of the country, Silent Pool is made just south of London, near Guildford in Surrey. Named after the nearby lake and spring that supplies the distillery’s water, it’s a citrus-forward gin that’s classic in style, although the inclusion of local honey and the floral notes it produces are a nod to more modern recipes.
3. Opihr Gin
While juniper adds a spicy note to gin, some gin makers have taken things to the next level and upped the spiciness even further. Opihr is influenced by tales of the Oriental spice route, and the recipe is full of spicy ingredients: black pepper, coriander, cubeb, cumin, cardamom and ginger.
Built on the site of Seggie distillery, which closed in 1850, Eden Mill is not only a gin maker but also produces beer and spirit that’s currently maturing to become whisky. The distillery produces a wide range of gin that covers everything from the classic to the very modern, including cask-aged gin.
A cult gin from Islay, made at Bruichladdich distillery. It’s got one of the most complicated botanical lists we’ve seen, with 22 locally foraged plants on top of a classic nine-ingredient recipe. The result is complex but surprisingly approachable and versatile. It’s the go-to gin for whisky fans with a soft spot for Islay drams.
Read more about The Botanist in my post from earlier this year.
6. Bloom Gin
Floral by name, floral by nature. Bloom is made by Greenall’s, one of the UK’s oldest gin distillers, and was created by head distiller Joanne Moore, one of the best gin makers in the world. The sweet and floral character comes from a blend of honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo and makes for an impressive and complex gin.
One of the biggest success stories from the new wave of craft distilling in Scotland. The team at Rock Rose use a vapour basket rather than putting the botanicals directly in the body of the still, giving their range a light and delicate character, with the eponymous rock rose adding rosy notes to the finished gin.
Many gin companies have looked overseas for inspiration, and Whitley Neill has focused on the flavours of Africa. Rather than using exotic spices, the recipe is built around cape gooseberry and baobab fruit, adding a softly citrus character to the finished gin.
As one of the ports at the heart of the British Empire, Liverpool has in the past been the landing point for many of the botanicals used to make gin. Liverpool Gin builds on that history, with a crisp and classic take on London Dry. For some reason, it’s also popular with certain football fans.
One of the biggest names in London gin, leaping out of The Ginstitute bar on Portobello Road and into the limelight. It has a very classic recipe of nine botanicals and is produced by gin master Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillery. They haven’t stopped with just gin, and have now opened a gin-themed hotel a few doors down from The Ginstitute.
11. Pickering’s Gin
Another Edinburgh resident and the first gin distillery to open in the city for more than 150 years. The gins have been picking up awards since the first release and the success doesn’t look to be stopping any time soon. The core gin is based on a secret recipe from 1947 but Pickering’s also produce special editions including a great oak-aged bottling.
12. Elephant Gin
Another African-inspired gin, but this time beefing up the spice – the recipe of 14 botanicals includes eight herbs and spices – to create a floral and spicy combination. Not only is it a punchy gin that works well in both G&Ts and cocktails, the creators also donate 15% of their profits to charities that look after elephants in Africa.
13. Caorunn Gin
Another pioneer of Scottish gin, Caorunn is made in its own stillhouse attached to Balmenach distillery in Speyside. The recipe is a combination of classic and locally sourced botanicals including heather, rowan berry and bog myrtle, adding a Scottish twist. Their signature serve is a gin and tonic with a slice of apple – it’s well worth a try.
14. Brockmans Gin
The secret to being popular in the gin world rests on two tenets: being different and tasting great. Brockmans fully embraces both, with blueberries and blackberries adding a fruity berry tartness to the mix. This expresses itself in the final gin as a perfumed and aromatic floral note.
15. Chase Gin
Last but definitely not least, the leader of the craft distilling renaissance in the UK, with its vodka’s international award wins focusing the world’s eyes on our country as a great producer of spirits. Chase has since branched out, and uses not only the award-winning potato vodka to create its range of gins, but also spirit made from the produce of the distillery’s apple orchards.