Us Brits know what’s up when it comes to gin. We go way back, namely to the 18th century ‘gin craze’, where we sank so much that a panicked government and disgruntled church bods tried to encourage beer-drinking as a healthy alternative.
We unleash more ‘Mother’s Ruin’ onto the rest of the world than any other country. And, we’re practically born with the skills to make a spot-on G&T. Go on, pat yourself on the back: we’re the gold standard when it comes to this juniper berry-based tipple.
Only, we got stuck in a rut. For years, we’d simply reach for old faithfuls like Gordon’s or Hendrick’s. Gin, the spirit of fun, got boring.
Thankfully, on the coattails of the craft beer movement, men and women of Britain have said ‘to hell with dull gin’. Independent micro distilleries have made it exciting again, taking advantage of the gung-ho approach to distilling and perfecting their own, very different batches and bringing complex taste and depth back to your glass.
Here are a few of the best bottles around...
This one is a delicious, mum-friendly blend of honeysuckle, chamomile and Asian citrus fruit pomelo. £29, thedrinkshop.com
Scotland’s Islay is famed for peaty whiskies like Lagavulin. Now it has its own gin, flavoured with 22 local botanicals foraged from the local hills.
Next time you’re in London, hit up one of Ross Butler’s ‘Drunch’ (drunken launch) parties, and jump aboard his Thames-going, gin-making vessel to drink like a potty-mouthed sailor.
Chase Elegant Gin
Gin can begin life as vodka and Hereford’s Chase distillery makes this A-grade spirit using its potato voddy, 11 select botanicals and mineral water.
This Sussex distillery may be under a year old, but they’ve gone back to 16th century Holland for inspiration to become England’s first grape-based gin.
Da Mhile Seaweed Gin
Its golden hue is the product of its three-week infusion with organic Cornish seaweed. Smells like a classic, but sure doesn’t taste like it.
Ophir Oriental Spiced
Only one year old, these guys have scoured the globe for the best ingredients, including Moroccan coriander, black pepper from India and cubeb berries from Indonesia.
Sipsmith London Dry
These guys are owning the drink scene in the capital right now. Not bad for a booze created in a tiny garage, right?
What happens when two gin-loving lifelong pals join forces in an old barn, and combine their Welsh and English farm produce? A bottle of this.