This is a public service announcement: Don’t make the mistake of heading into a bar and asking for an anonymous G&T – those days are over and you’d massively be missing out.
Drinking gin is becoming an art form – it’s not just which gin you choose but how you choose to drink it. Long gone are the disastrous days of ‘ice and a slice’ – we now care greatly about the quality of our mixers, we are experimenting with serves, we care about locality, how it was crafted and you’re more likely to find slices of ginger and petals in your glass rather than the more traditional garnishes.
In 2016, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association reported the largest volume of gin sales on record, with British drinkers purchasing the equivalent of 1.12 billion G&Ts. But it’s not the volume of gin sold that matters, for the enthusiasts it’s all about quality and essentially drinking better gin.
The growth in demand for gin is being driven by the rise of boutique distilleries, small batch production, home grown ingredients, artisan techniques and specialist gin-only bars. Excitingly distillers are taking their traditional knowledge (given that the UK is the home of gin) and adding a healthy dose of modern thinking – breaking the rules and challenging perceptions.
Leading the charge of this 21st century gin renaissance is a passionate army of craft distilleries, bar tenders and knowledgeable drinkers – demanding the British staple be given the respect it deserves. Gin is no longer viewed as a humble white spirit - it has shaken off its bleak image and nickname of ‘mother’s ruin’.
For gin lovers their passion is driven by the stories behind each bottling, understanding the essence that has been captured and exploring the far-reaching ingredients used to cultivate the growing array of complex flavours.
So which gins are in? It can be hard to stay abreast of the key players in the vibrant and ever changing scene but here are five top recommendations to get you started:
If you’re looking to expand your taste repertoire why not try some of these top sellers which showcase the sheer breadth of the complex flavour profiles available:
Edinburgh Gin's Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur - perfect to drink neat over ice, or alternatively with lemonade or simply with soda water garnished with a slice of lemon. A deliciously different tipple that is versatile, fun and original.
Ableforth's Bathtub Gin is produced in small batches using a traditional method called cold compounding, with botanicals such as juniper, coriander, clove, cinnamon, orange peel and cardamom.
Blooms Gin is a light, delicate and floral gin with a slightly sweet taste created by a bespoke blend of three botanicals: honeysuckle, chamomile and pomelo.
If you’ve got a real thirst to learn more about gin it can seem quite a daunting task. The category is hot and growing at an astonishing rate – it can be hard to know where to start. But it’s a good problem to have. To help we’ve take a look at our ever expanding collection of gins, shortlisted our favourites and put them into four simple categories – The Gin Graze. So dive in and start exploring the flavours.
Another way to get to grips with the medley of gins available is to attend a gin festival – cut through the noise to discover the right gin for you (and it doesn’t have to be just one). Check out Gin Festival – founded in 2012 by husband and wife team Jym and Marie. They are passionate about bringing the people more interesting gins, more exciting gins, more knowledge and the right garnishes. Check out their events page. Happy exploring.