ENGLISH GIN BRANDS YOU NEED TO KNOWIt is reported that us Brits drank a whopping 1.12billion gin and tonics in 2016. So with such a thirst and so many gins, but such little time, we thought we'd highlight nine of the very best ahead of World Gin Day on June 10th. Because, any excuse for another G&T...
These nine English gins are a selection of great-tasting, best-selling and best-kept secrets that our small but mighty country has to offer. So choose wisely (or snap up all nine and make your own mind up!)
1. THE ONE FROM THE SUFFOLK COASTFishers Gin is so much more than just a pretty bottle (although, that's a great place to start). Using once-forgotten English botanicals - foraged from along the East coastline - together with the finest East Anglian barley, this is a premium gin that is as pure and wild as the open sea.
The rare and unique botanicals used include Spignel, Rock Samphire, Wood Aven and Bog Myrtle which combine to create a unique and captivating spirit. More than a gin, Fishers is an expression of the English coast; of its awe-inspiring natural landscapes and the captivating traditions that have flourished there for so long.
2. THE ONE THAT USES THE BEST OF THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDEWilliams GB gin is not really like other gins. It's made from Chase Vodka, which uses potatoes from the family farm in Herefordshire to ensure its award-winning smooth taste. Yep, potatoes. These potatoes are all grown, fermented and distilled on the farm deep in middle England meaning (unlike other Gins) Williams GB is a farm-to-field triumph rather than simply a clever distillation of botanicals using bought-in grain spirit.
Juniper buds, not just the berries, are added to ensure the gin is as dry as possible. It is then infused with wild botanicals including cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, almond, coriander, cardamom, cloves, liquorice and lemon to give the spirit a distinct, robust and deliciously dry flavour. A bit like the English sense of humour...
3. THE ONE FROM THE HEART OF THE CITYCity of London Gin is made in a micro-distillery in the very heart of the capital after an absence of nearly 200 years. The City of London itself has a rich gin history. During the Gin Craze in the 18th century there was a gin distillery or gin shop in every street within the Square Mile, benefiting from the spices and citrus fruits coming in to the port of London. Inspired by this, City of London gin has a portfolio of five flavoursome gins, all presented in dome-shaped bottles to reflect the iconic architecture of St. Paul's Cathedral.
The City of London micro-distillery brings variety, interest and experimentation to the capital; testing new botanicals, new combinations and releasing new editions with distillers such as Tom Nichol, expert Master Distiller for Tanqueray - putting English innovation at the forefront of the gin drinker's experience.
4. THE SMALL BUT MIGHTY ONE (WITH ALL THE BEST FLAVOURS)Warner Edwards Gin is making serious waves in the gin industry. The craft distillery is known for its ambition, fresh ideas and creative flavours. Made at a family farm in Northamptonshire, Warner Edwards use fresh spring water from a local stream to create their unique, bright and crisp gin.
The star of the show is their Victoria Rhubarb Gin - made with English rhubarb from a Crown Estate farm. Delicious with tonic or ginger ale (trust us), their limited edition Botanical Gin 'Melissa' and distinctly English Elderflower Gin are also both worth sampling.
5. THE ONE THAT MAKES THE MOST OF THE NORTH
Hepple Gin utilises the much under-appreciated resource of one of the most botanically vibrant environments in England, Northumberland, where the gin's green juniper and wild aromatic plants are grown. Exceptionally well-rounded, juniper-forward and delightfully fruity - this is a gloriously bright gin.
A double gold winner at at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017, Hepple Gin is the ultimate English gin. The underlying warmth from the traditional home-grown elements and the more unusual local herbs such as the bog myrtle leaves a long-lasting and intense finish, much like a brisk walk in the English countryside on a cool, crisp autumn morning.
6. THE SMOOTH AND SILKY SECRET OF SHEFFIELD...Sir Robin of Locksley Distilled Artisan Gin isn't your typical gin! This secret Sheffield superstar has slowly became a best seller. It has incredible versatility and is one of the very few true English sipping gins, best enjoyed neat or chilled.
It also makes a mean G&T, and a wonderful martini (dry or dirty), as well as numerous other cocktails. With up-front juniper and more delicate aromas bubbling through, this deliciously smooth gin is a blend of traditional botanicals with more delicate infusions of elderflower, dandelion and pink grapefruit. One of those gins that people seem to try once, but then love forever.
7. THE "COULDN'T-BE-MORE-YORKSHIRE" YORKSHIRE ONE
Mason’s Gin is a great example of a small batch gin that taps into proud local British culture. Yorkshire folk are fiercely loyal and this Yorkshire gin uses Harrogate spring water along with juniper (a proportion of which is from their own bushes) and a combination of secret botanicals to make an English gin with a real point of difference.
This is a savoury gin, not your standard, generic London Dry. With aromas of liquorice, pepper, coriander and fennel and on the finish a little smokiness, almost reminiscent of whisky(!) this is something different. Sweeter variants in the form of the Lavender Edition and the Yorkshire Gin Yorkshire Tea Edition provide more aromatic and arguably even more Yorkshire alternatives!
8. THE MYSTERIOUS, MYTHICAL FLORAL ONESilent Pool Gin is named after the eponymous spring-fed lake near to the Aldbury estate. The 'Silent Pool' is linked to a folklore tale that accuses evil King John of abducting a woodcutter's daughter, who was then forced into the deep water and drowned. According to the legend, the maiden can sometimes be seen eerily above the water at midnight...
This juniper-driven gin is full-bodied and fresh, with depth, clarity, and above all else flavour. It features 24 botanicals that are again, locally-sourced, including kaffir lime, chamomile, local honey and English lavender. The result is a very clean, subtly sweet and intricately-balanced gin, beautifully bottled and true to its roots.
8. THE ONE THAT'S JUST BEEN NAMED THE WORLD'S BEST!
Tarquin's Cornish Navy Seadog Gin has just been awarded Best Gin at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 – the Oscars of the spirits world. You’d expect the maker of the best gin in the world to have decades of experience, and an age to match. But not Tarquin Leadbetter. The 29-year-old self-taught distiller, started making craft gin six years ago on his cooker at home in Cornwall using rustic equipment, and selling from the boot of his car.Tarquin's Gin was the first new gin to be distilled in South West England for over 100 years. The flagship gin is distilled with Cornish water and infused with local violets and fresh orange zest to create its unique aromatic flavour, inspired by the the wild Cornish coast. The micro-distillery creates brilliant gins that aren't now just amongst England's best, but the world over.