Fresh, enjoyable and (most importantly) flexible. It's no surprise that gin is an all-year-round favourite for us Brits.
And although the sunny days of copa glasses packed with ice, glistening with glorious garnishes are well behind us (sorry for the reminder!). You can be safe in the knowledge that there are a plethora of gloriously warming winter gins to (yule)tide you over, until it's safe to leave the warmth and refuge of your cosy blanket in front of the fire.
But what makes a gin a 'winter' gin?
Although not exactly defined, winter gins are often characterised by their deeper, rootier flavours sometimes featuring woody notes. By comparison, summery gins showcase brighter, softer flavours usually featuring floral tones.
When identifying a winter gin, the best place to start is with the botanicals.
Many winter gins simply take full advantage of the wide array of ingredients that are commonly associated with the season. For instance, gins that focus on stronger, earthier botanicals such as cloves, ginger or nutmeg could be considered winter gins. On the other hand, utilising softer, fresher and more flowery botanicals like lavender, sage and elderflower would usually create summer gins.
One festive favourite that we'd love you to try this Christmas season is the brand-new Mulled Cranberry and Tangerine gin by Tarquin's. Infused with the all important seasonal spices like cinnamon, cloves, all spice, nutmeg and ginger - as well as cranberries for fruity tartness and tangerine for vibrant freshness - this delightful gin will take you back to warming memories of Christmas cake, cinnamon buns and orange marmalade. Delicious!
However, winter gins are not always reliant on their ingredients. Most of the time, it's down to the taste.
Some of our most-loved gins use exciting, innovative ways to get those favourite festive flavours. One fantastic example of this is oak-aged gin.
By ageing gin in oak barrels - whiskey and wine barrels especially - distillers have imbued their liquids with an amazing smokiness, as well as a hint of winter spices - usually cinnamon, nutmeg and dried fruits - flavours that are commonly associated with mulled wines. For this reason, aged gins see an explosion in popularity towards the end of the year. They also make a wonderfully complex hot G&T (see our 5 hot cocktails you have to try' blog)
Undoubtedly our favourite example of this is the wonderful Chase Oak Aged Sloe Mulberry. Sloe gin is a quintessential winter gin and this is one of our best-sellers. A gloriously warming that perfectly balances rich berry sweetness with a subtle tartness… and for the ideal winter warmer, pour generously into mulled wine to add a wonderful depth of flavour.
But sometimes it's not that simple. At the end of the day winter gins are just the gins that you enjoy in winter.
And if there's one thing that we know at 31Dover.com (besides booze), it's that the customer's always right. So, when we noticed that you were buying more fruity, flavoured gins this winter, we just had to let you know! But don't just take our word for it, Olivier Ward, co-founder of Gin Foundry has also noticed the same trend, stating "I’d be looking towards the wonderful world of quince, rhubarb, marmalade and honey infusions for where the trend is going to be."
Well look no further, Olivier. 31Dover.com has you covered with a wide range of wonderfully fruity infusions! Our current favourite has to be Daffy's Red Gooseberry, a strictly limited edition release that we managed to nab for you this winter. Not overly sweet like other fruit-based gins, this is a delicious gin when served neat, or with tonic. Perfect for those looking for a fresh winter tipple.
So, with such a wide range of new and exciting winter gins to explore why not use your new-found knowledge and browse some here.