With record sales in 2016, gin has never been so popular in the UK. Boasting established distilleries and a growing number of boutique manufacturers, it's a gin lover's paradise. But with so much choice, where is the best place to start?
Below you'll find a list of 16 gins worth travelling across Britain for, compiled by the team at Sykes Cottages.
1. Tarquin’s Gin (South West)
Cornwall’s first gin in over a century uses an unusual ingredient to get its unique flavour: the Devon violet. Tasting notes include juniper from Kosovo and lemon sherbet coriander seeds sourced from Bulgaria. The fresh zest of orange, lemons and grapefruits are also used along with angelica root, green cardamom, almonds, cinnamon and liquorice root.
2. Edinburgh Gin
With his scientific background, Head Distiller David Wilkinson is an expert in progressive distillation processes. Edinburgh Gin is a classic London Dry style gin with a unique blend of mulberries, lavender, pine buds, cobnuts, lemongrass and lime peel.
3. Two Birds Gin
Produced by hand in small batches of just 100 bottles a time, this gin contains a “hush-hush” secret ingredient as well as natural spring water from Charnwood Forest in Leicestershire. Flavour notes include sage, coriander, lavender, big pine and winter berries.
4. Plymouth Gin
Distilled using soft Dartmoor water and pure grain alcohol since 1793. Tasting notes include a blend of juniper berries, coriander seed, orange peels, lemon peels, green cardamom, angelica root and orris root
5. Cotswolds Dry Gin
A classic well-balanced juniper-led gin with crisp citrus and spice. Cotswolds Dry Gin is made from wheat spirit and nine botanicals – juniper, coriander, angelica root, Cotswolds lavender and bay leaf, grapefruit, lime, black pepper and cardamom seed.
6. The Lakes Gin
The Lakes Gin is distilled with pure Cumbrian water from the River Derwent. Developed in the space of weeks, The Lakes Gin includes botanicals foraged from the Lake District region, including Cumbrian Juniper, bilberry, heather, hawthorn, mint and meadowsweet.
7. Slamseys Sloe Gin
Distilled onsite with wild blackberries picked from the farm at Slamseys. Named after Great Slamseys Farm where it is made and the key infusion ingredient, sloeberry. Interestingly, the original name of the farm (dating back over 1,000 years) was “Slamondesheia”, which is thought to mean “enclosure of the sloe (tree) hill.
8. Sipsmith London Dry Gin
Distilled at Sipsmith Distillery, the first copper-pot distillery to open in London since 1820. Sipsmith is made Macedonian juniper berries, Bulgarian coriander seed, French angelica root, Spanish liquorice root, Italian orris root, Spanish ground almond, Chinese cassia bark, Madagascan cinnamon, Seville orange peel and Spanish lemon peel.
9. Start Point Salcombe Gin
Blended with the softest Dartmoor water and traceable botanicals, using the old-fashioned one-shot method. Start Point Salcombe Gin is distilled with 13 fine botanicals sourced from around the world, including English coriander seed, Macedonian juniper and fresh citrus from historical trading routes.
10. Star Of Bombay
Master distiller Nik Fordham underwent extensive flavour trials to get this gin’s flavour. Star of Bombay features two additional botanicals – Bergamot orange peel from southern Italy and Ambrette seed from Ecuador – on top of the 10 botanicals included in their flagship gin Bombay Sapphire.
11. Rock Rose Gin
Only after 55 experiments was the recipe finalised, with the very first batch distilled in 2014. Juniper is the predominant botanical, along with locally harvested Rhodiola rosea, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, blaeberries, cardamon, coriander seed and verbena.
12. Brecon Botanicals Gin
Winner of the International Spirits Challenge top prize in 2014, and the 2015 Gin Masters. It features eight botanicals from across the world, water from the Brecon Beacons National Park and pure grain spirit.
13. Manchester Three Rivers Gin
Distilled by hand in small batches at Manchester city centre’s first ever dedicated Gin distillery. Botanicals include oats (which pay homage to the workers of Victorian slum Angel Meadow), juniper, orris, coriander, almonds, vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel and black pepper.
14. Newcastle Gin
Distilled at Newcastle’s first gin distillery in over 200 years—the stillroom literally touches the ancient City Wall. Featuring nine botanicals, including juniper, sumac, orange peel, Iranian hibiscus, Rose petal, coriander and three secret ingredients.
15. Jawbox Classic Dry Gin
Distilled on the 300-acre Echlinville Estate, which dates back to the 16th century and is home to the grain used in the distillation process. Eleven botanicals make up Jawbox Classic Dry Gin’s recipe: juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, grains of paradise, liquorice root, cubebs, cardamom, cassia quills, black mountain heather and lemon peel.
16. Caorunn Gin
Pronounced ‘ka-roon', which is the Gaelic word for Rowan Berry—a Celtic botanical that is the essence of the gin’s flavour. Caorunn's dedicated team of foragers have searched throughout Europe and the USA to find the finest elderberry, Rowan berries, blackthorn, hawthorn, water mint, bamble, sweet cicely seeds, rose, apple and bilberry.