With the ‘ginaissance’ in full swing we are seeing new brands and varieties of gin gracing our supermarket shelves year on year, so when it comes to deciding which one to buy the choices available can make the process a little overwhelming.
Last year the UK had 80 new distilleries registered showing an increase of 22% from 2018, bringing the total number of distilleries in the UK to 422. The gin boom has been the main contributor to this increase, with the number of UK distilleries more than doubling in the last 5 years.
In 2009 London gin maker Sipsmith were granted a license to open the first new distillery in London in almost 200 years (which is pretty amazing!) allowing them to distill gin in small batches. Sipsmith are the trailblazers who sparked the UK’s gin revival and paved the way for other craft distilleries to set up business across the UK.
With rumours that gin is set to eclipse vodka as the UK’s favourite spirit in the next few months, it looks like 2020 is going to be another big year for gin!
With that being said, let’s now take a look at the 10 best gins to try in 2020…
The Gin: The inspiration for this small batch gin was created at Ms Gracie’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ at the Hendricks Gin Palace on the Ayrshire coast in Scotland. On one clear night whilst Ms Gracie was tending to the botanicals in her hothouse, she was looking up to the stars and was inspired to create this “rich, warm and alluring gin”.
Describing the gin Ms Gracie says, “There is the rich aroma of night-scented flowers and in the background there, you can just about make out the refreshing burst of citrus”.
Serving Suggestion: Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour over 50 ml of Hendrick’s Lunar followed by 150 ml of a premium tonic water
Recommended Garnish: 3 thinly sliced rounds of cucumber and a twist of black pepper
2. Roku Gin
The Gin: Roku gin is produced at Japan’s legendary Suntory Yamazaki distillery, where they are best known for making single malt whisky. This is the first gin that the Suntory Distillery released in July 2017, since then it has proven to be a hit with gin consumers due to its fresh taste and floral, aromatic botanicals. The gin also comes in a truly gorgeous bottle with the label printed on Japanese ‘washi paper’.
The word “Roku” is Japanese for six and this is where the 6 botanicals in this gin come in to play. The six unique botanicals which separate this gin from others are Sakura flower, Sakura leaf, Sencha tea, Gyokuro tea, Sanshō pepper, Yuzu peel which sit alongside traditional botanicals such as juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander and cinnamon. Each of their six botanicals represents a specific season, taking you on a whistle-stop tour of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Serving Suggestion: Fill a glass to the rim with ice cubes, pour over a premium tonic water followed by 50 ml of Roku gin
Recommended Garnish: Add six thinly sliced sticks of ginger into the glass and stir gently
The gin: J.J. Whitley Pink Cherry Gin is a creation that has been inspired by flavours from the British countryside and offers a delicious twist on a G&T, as well as working great as a base in cocktails.
Bursting with flavours, this versatile gin has an initial sweetness that leads into flavours of marzipan, sour cherry and juniper on the palate. On the finish, it’s smooth with cherry, almond and a little lingering spice. Notable botanicals include juniper berries, coriander, cassia bark, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice root powder, angelica root, orris root and cherry.
Serving Suggestion: Fill a highball glass with ice cubes, pour in 50 ml of J.J. Whitley Pink Cherry Gin and top it up with a light premium tonic water and a spoonful of cherry syrup, stir thoroughly
Recommended Garnish: Cherries
The gin: In 2009 Sipsmith set up their distillery, making them the first traditional copper distillery in London since 1820 and Sipsmith London Dry Gin was their first product. This multi-award winning gin is hand crafted in small batches using only the finest ingredients. Inspired by a very traditional recipe, it is the quintessential expression of a classic London Dry style.
A smooth and characterful gin, it is distilled with ten botanicals carefully selected from around the globe: Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Sevillian orange peel and Spanish lemon peel.
Serving Suggestion: Fill a highball glass with fresh ice cubes, pour in 50 ml of Sipsmith London Dry Gin and top up with a premium tonic
Recommended Garnish: A wedge of fresh lime
5. Monkey 47
The gin: Hailing from the Black Forest in Germany this well balanced and complex gin contains a unique and aromatic blend of 47 botanicals, hence the name 47. It has notes of crisp citrus, layers of sweet floral flavours and a hint of peppery spice with subtle bitter fruit. Monkey 47 is a truly exquisite gin that has won multiple prestigious awards. Notable botanicals include locally grown herbs such as angelica, coriander, elderflower, hibiscus, citron verbena, pimento, and spruce.
Serving Suggestion: Fill a glass with fresh ice cubes, add 1 part Monkey 47 and 2 parts plain tonic water
Recommended Garnish: A wedge of grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary.
The gin: Produced by Sovereign Brands, a wine and spirits company based in New York, this unique small-batch gin is made in the hills of Jundiaí, Brazil using a combination of 21 botanicals, including six signature botanicals “found in no other gin in the world”. Production of this gin is limited to 500 litres per batch using a unique distillation technique.
Firstly, they macerate 15 botanicals in a neutral sugarcane spirit which extracts flavour compounds and essentials oils. They then infuse six additional signature botanicals into the gin via vapor infusion through a copper basket. These six botanicals include handpicked basil leaves from India, Portuguese rosemary, Mediterranean fennel seed, calamansi from the South Pacific, star anise native to Vietnam, and acai locally grown in Brazil, all of which make this gin a truly unique creation.
McQueen and The Violet Fog offers a combination of “heat, spice, juniper, herbal, citrus and floral notes, all the touchstones of gin, balanced perfectly”.
Serving Suggestion: To create McQueen and the Violet Fog’s signature cocktail, the “Violet Fog”, pour 40-60 ml of the gin and 30 ml of lime juice into an ice-filled glass and stir. Then top it up with ginger beer
Recommended Garnish: Butterfly Pea Flowers for a violet hue
The gin: From Scottish distillers Brewdog Distilling Co, LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin is citrus-forward with a strong juniper kick. In the production of this mouth-watering delight, the gin is macerated for 7 days in fresh Sicilian lemon peel creating its sharp notes of lemon.
Notable botanicals used to create LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon include the likes of Scotch pine, Tuscan juniper, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, pink peppercorn, orris root, angelica, mace, cardamom, lemongrass, kaffir lime, almonds, coriander and lavender.
Serving Suggestion: LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin is best served over ice with a light premium tonic water
Recommended Garnish: A wedge of lemon
The gin: Created by the family owned distillery located in Moncalieri, Italy just outside the city of Torino, Malfy Blood Orange Gin is a fine example of superb Italian craftmanship. Well known for their selection of beautiful fruitful gins, this offering is another refreshing citrus-forward gin that is distilled with Sicilian blood orange peels.
The blood oranges are harvested in the cooler month of November, when they develop into their distinctive rich red colour and it’s this ingredient which gives Malfy Blood Orange it’s vibrant colour. The infusion is then blended with juniper and a selection of six botanicals including grapefruit peel, Amalfi Coast lemon peel, coriander, cassia bark, orris root and angelica root before being distilled in a stainless steel vacuum still.
Serving Suggestion: For a delicious summery G&T, Malfy Blood Orange can simply be served over ice with a premium tonic water or with Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemon Tonic
Recommended Garnish: A slice of blood orange
The gin: This is the first gin to hail from Edinburgh’s Port of Leigh Distillery. This gin pays homage to Dr James Lind who discovered that citrus based fruits have a healing effect for those suffering from scurvy. Born in 1716 Dr. Lind’s efforts in the scientific community strung from the 18th to the 19th Century at the time when Scotland played a key role in scientific advancements.
Hence the scientific insight discovered by Dr. Lind, this Lind & Lime gin comprises lime as a key ingredient alongside juniper and pink peppercorn to balance out the strong citrus flavour.
Serving Suggestion: To accompany the fresh citrus flavour, we suggest simply adding Merchant’s Heart Pink Peppercorn tonic, served over ice
Recommended Garnish: Wedge of Lime or Grapefruit with added pink peppercorns (optional)
10. Dingle Gin
The gin: This award-winning artisan gin in is crafted in County Kerry, Ireland at The Dingle Whiskey Distillery. Dingle Gin has won top prize at the World Gin Awards, which is no small feat. The awards are based on a blind-taste test of over 400 gins from across the globe and is carried out by gin tasting experts, where Dingle Gin scooped the top prize.
Their recipe is comprised of local and quite unique botanicals including rowan berry, bog myrtle, hawthorn and heather. These botanicals give the gin a well-balanced smooth, fresh and floral taste with a highly clean finish.
Serving Suggestion: Dingle Gin works beautifully with a touch of 1783 tonic, served over ice
Recommended Garnish: Pink Grapefruit or Blood Orange