Do you love gin? WE DO! But like us, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the plethora of choices now available. Everywhere you look there seems to be a new gin to take note of and to try. That’s why we have created this one-stop gin guide to the very best in premium gins on the market. Get your tonic and a wedge of lime ready, you are going to need it!
All prices listed relate to 70cl bottles, unless otherwise stated.
Cotswolds Dry Gin (£34.95)
A multi-award winning London Dry Gin, this is one to watch out for and one to try if you haven’t had a chance. Crafted in the Cotswold Distillery, this aesthetically striking gin utilises 9 botanicals for a powerful and memorable offering.
The gin is very much a twist on the classic flavours of the traditional London dry style and techniques. Pure wheat is macerated to which coriander and angelica root are added. This forms a well know base of flavours and it is from here the creative flourishes are added. In addition, a unique blend of lavender, bay leaf, grapefruit and other botanicals, are added where they are then distilled in a bespoke Holstein pot still. The final touch is refined Cotswold water.
The outcome of this care and attention is an intense and spicy gin, with a particular presence of juniper. Finely balanced, the intensity is not overbearing, but it just tastes… well, wonderful. Furthermore, there is a smoothness which allows for it to be consumed over ice or in a spectacular gin martini. One particular point to note is the freshness of the grapefruit and subtle lime. Simply delicious.
Suggested Serve: Cotswold Garden
- 50 ml Cotswolds Dry Gin
- 25 ml Elderflower liqueur
- 10 ml Elderflower syrup (to taste, if you like a touch of sweetness & enhances the elderflower)
- 15 ml Lime Juice
- 75 ml Pressed Apple Juice
Garnish with cucumber, mint & viola flower. The garnish is totally edible, creating another play on the senses!
Cotswold Distillery 1616 Barrel Aged Gin (£39.95)
Created with the 400th Birhday of Shakespeare in mind, this gin offers a completely different set of flavours and feel to the London Dry. Deriving much influence from the kinds of gin Shakespeare would have possibly consumed himself, this gin is created using malt spirit, redistilled and then flavoured with juniper and other botanicals.
Distilled in the Holstein pot still, this is redistilled in honor of the 17th century flavour, a flavour emanating originally from Holland and the main reason for the coined phrase “Dutch Courage”. As you would expect, this is a completely different flavour to the London Dry and there are woody notes running throughout. The outcome is also surprisingly mellow.
A great way to refine a classic and executed well.
Hayman’s London Dry Gin (RRP £24)
Hayman’s is a gin producer steeped in family principles and at the hub of these principles is a specially coveted family recipe. An award winning gin, Hayman’s London Dry Gin sees 10 individually collected botanicals coming together for a vibrant and enjoyable gin.
Measured by hand, juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelic, orris root, cinnamon, cassia bark, nut meg and liquorice are tastefully blended with fantastic balance. To finish off the gin, the botanicals are steeped in English wheat just before distillation to allow for oils and essences to infuse fully.
Superbly crisp and refreshing throughout, this is a perfect partner for tonic and a must-have in your favourite gin cocktail. Plus, there is a delightful citrus twist to end off with. If you are looking for a great gin & tonic, then one can easily be achieved with Hayman’s. The freshness of this particular London Dry Gin also makes it great as a base for more complex cocktails too. Contrary to your typical tonic accompaniment of lime or cucumber, we would certainly opt for the Hayman’s recommendation of a lemon peel, as it just elevates the citrus finish further.
This is a gin we haven’t tried before, but it is certainly one we will revisit and we look forward to doing so.
Suggested Serve: Gin Jewel
- 50ml Hayman’s London Dry Gin
- 10ml elderflower cordial
- 10ml lime juice
- 60ml cloudy apple juice
Shake all of the ingredients with ice. Strain into ice filled highball glass. Garnish with an apple twirl and mint sprig.
Available nationwide at Waitrose (in store and online), Ocado, Master of Malt, Amazon and is also available at Harvey Nichols, specialist retailers and premium bars around the UK.
Tanqueray London Dry Gin (£26.00)
Tanqueray has to be one of my personal favourites. The taste is crisp, clean and pure. Using four botanicals and four times distilled, the flavours are simple and smooth. In fact, we are even led to believe that Frank Sinatra favoured Tanqueray, so if it’s good enough for him, we dare say it’s good enough for us.
The exact recipe for Tanqueray London Dry Gin was created back in the 1830s by Charles Tanqueray himself. Since then, the recipe has stood the test of time and passed through some challenging eras, such as the 1920s American Prohibition. Unscathed and still as great tasting as the day it was created, Tanqueray has a rich history and real sense of heritage. Did you know? Tanqueray sells over 2 million nine litre cases each year, making it comfortably one of the top five selling gins in the world.
A smooth, drinkable and juniper led gin, this is a classy offering available from most stores and supermarkets.
Suggested serve: Quatro
Throw some rocks in a Copa then slice a lime and place on top. Add 35 ml of Tanqueray® London Dry & 85 ml of tonic. Swipe some lime around the rim and dunk. Then swirl and serve.
Martin Miller’s Gin (£26)
Martin Miller’s Gin is a fascinating offering, which takes the best of British and Icelandic to form a very high class gin.
This gin is created with a great ethos and attention to detail. In fact, Mr Miller takes a tea making philosophy to his gin. The process of creating this gin centres around the concept of using “loose tea” rather than “tea bags”. So, rather than the gin passing over berry trays or Carterheads, the botanicals are carefully measure and stepped overnight in the spirit. Hence, the botanicals are more gently introduced to the spirit, as you would loose tea.
Plus, Martin Miller’s uses a single pot for distillation, Angela. (distillers have a fondness for naming their stills.) Angela was made back in 1898 by John Dore and sons, and is universally accepted as one of the ‘Rolls Royce’ of gin stills.
Enhancing on the British aspects of the gin distilling is the addition of pure Icelandic spring water. A unique ingredient and one you will not find in any other gin in this guide, the addition of such pure water results in one of the finest and purist gins. With unbelievable clarity, the flavour is also there to match and it is also incredibly soft on the palette. Juniper notes radiate from tis gin, but the balance is maintained perfectly and the drinking experience is wonderfully mellow.
Suggested serve: Grapefruit and Basil Gin and Tonic
- 50ml Martin Millers Gin
- Premium Tonic
- Slice of Pink Grapefruit
- Two fresh Basil leaves
- Glass – Martin Miller’s Balloon Glass
- Fill the glass with ice
- Pour Gin over the ice
- Top up with tonic
- Garnish with the pick grapefruit and 2 awakened Basil leaves
Martin Miller’s Gin (40% ABV) RRP from £26.00, available now from leading wine and spirits merchants, supermarkets, selected retailers and the best bars in the top cities across the world.
Rock Rose Gin Summer Edition (£37.50)
The embodiment of Summer, this gin is vibrant, fun and delectable. Hailing from the Dunnet Bay Distillery, this premium Scottish gin has been created specifically to tie into the Sunny weather.
The Dunnet Bay Distillery is set on the gorgeous bay of Dunnet, miles away from civilisation and surrounded by fresh air and untouched water. A perfect location for creating a truly high quality gin, you may say!
Rock Rose Gin is created using the traditional hand made copper head and botanical vaping basket method. Hand crafted in a small batch process of only 500 litres, real care and attention is given to each drop. We love the hand waxing of the bottle and signing too, it gives a really resonant reminder of the hands on nature of the creation.
Citrus in concept, this gin was months in the planning and includes lemon balm, clover, lemon thyme and pineapple. The result is a refreshing and pleasantly citrus flavour. Ideal for kicking back in the Summer sun this weekend. Available here.
Brockmans Gin (£31.99)
From the dark and sophisticated, to the smooth and refined taste, this gin is one of our favourites of the year.
Bulgarian coriander and ginger orange give this gin a unique depth and definition. The Valencia oranges combine well with the silky texture for one of the most exciting gin experiences of the season.
Brockmans is available at specialist retailers, Oddbins, Wine Rack and through online retailers priced at around £31.99
Suggested serve: The Brockmans Bramble
Method: Fill your glass with crushed ice. Add 40 ml Brockmans, 20 ml squeezed lemon juice and 15 ml of sugar syrup into a shaker with a handful of ice. Shake and strain into the glass. Then pour 15 ml of crème de mure over the top and add two blueberries.
Gin Mare Premium Mediterranean Gin (£39.50)
Gin Mare (pronounced mar-ray) offers up the taste of the Mediterranean and we love it! Unlike most of the gins in this guide, Gin Mare uses an eclectic mix of ingredients from across regions the med region. Four botanicals take the pride of place here, with the arbequina olive from Spain, thyme from Greece, basil from Italy and rosemary sourced from Turkey.
Each botanical is steeped for more than 24 hours and the distinct flavour produced is a real joy to drink. The addition of basil, especially, is a master stroke and the olives also work well on the nose. If you are looking for a taste of things from further afield, then this offering is a real contender. Both on taste and on the nose, this gin delights the senses. Unusual, but very enjoyable.
Suggested serve: Red Tonic
- 60ml Gin Mare
- 10ml tomato juice
- 2 slices of fresh ginger
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- 200ml of 1724 Tonic Water
Muddle lightly together the ginger, tomato juice and rosemary against the base of the glass. Then build your usual G&T and garnish with a fresh basil leave.
Available from www.waitrose.com.
Conker Spirit Gin (£39.95)
Now, this is a very charming and premium tasting gin! Conker Spirit is Dorset’s first gin distillery and it aims to embody all of the areas natural elements for an astounding gin. The Dorset Dry gin uses Dorset marsh samphire, elderberries and hand-picked New Forest gorse flowers for a distinctive taste.
Through the grapevine, we have heard that founder and Head Conkerer Rupert Holloway’s is obsessively focused on quality and is endlessly tinkering with the recipe and balance. Complex on the palette, we found sourness, sweetness and dryness in each drop. There was even a dash of bitterness too. All of these elements marry together with a great balance, making this one of the most exciting gins of the guide. But all of this excitement is offset by a great level of smoothness, making this gin the complete package.
Conker Spirit Dorset Dry Gin available to buy from their website. 70cl RRP £39.95 and 37.5cl RRP £22
Caorunn gin (£26)
One of our favourite gins of this selection, Caorunn gin is foraged and handcrafted in Speyside, Scotland.
Sophisticated and refined, this gin has a lasting dry and crisp finish. Locally sourced botanicals such as dandelion, heather, coul blush apple, bog myrtle and rowan berry give this gin a unique and endearing feel. Rowan Berry is actually the source for the gin’s name, as Caorunn originates from the Gaelic name for rowan berry which grows in the local area.
A treat for the hose and mouth, this is a clean tasting and well executed gin. The Scottish ingredients also inspire the modern and elegant bottle, which has five sides to represent the five botanicals.
A further twist is the Caorunn G&T, uniquely served with thin slices of red apple along with premium tonic water and lots of ice.
Visit www.caorunngin.com/ for further details. Caorunn available from £26.
Bill’s Restaurant London Dry Gin (£29.99)
New to Summer 2016, this gin has been created by Bill’s Restaurants for sale at these restaurants or on their online shop only. As you would expect, Bill’s founder, Bill Collison, has an eclectic and vast knowledge of all kinds of produce, drink and food. In this gin, he has distilled all of his passion and knowledge into a high end and premium tasting offering.
Bill says: “We’ve joined the gin revolution! My roots as a greengrocer mean I’ve always had an interest in botanicals and and so I’m really excited about launching our very own gin.” And, so are we! With notes of coriander, grapefruit, cubeb berries and cardamom, Bill’s interpretation of London Dry Gin is feisty with the juniper and with hints of spice on the finish.
One to watch, it may just be worth a trip down to your local Bill’s Restaurant to pick up a bottle. Or, you can by online.
Suggested serve: Bill’s Elderflower Cocktail Recipe
- 50ml Bill’s Gin
- 150ml Bill’s Elderflower Pressé
- 1 whole lime
- Sprig of fresh mint
Fill a Collins glass with ice. Pour the Bill’s Gin into the glass, top with the Elderflower Pressé. Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of fresh mint.
Bill’s Gin is be available to buy in restaurants and online at bills-shop.co.uk. RRP £29.95.
Gordons London Dry Gin
Ok, so you may just have heard of Gordon’s® London Dry gin. Being the world’s best-selling London Dry gin, you may have seen it around and for good reason. It is a good value and solid gin. However, when taste tested on its own against the likes of Cotwolds Distillery London Dry, Tanqueray and others, it just doesn’t have the same level of refinement. It may be the world’s best seller, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.
Suggested serve: GORDON’S PINK LADY
- 40ml Gordon’s® gin
- 25ml triple sec
- 20ml lemon juice
- A dash of grenadine
- A raspberry to garnish
- Raspberries and lemon bring out the very best in each other – especially in union with Gordon’s gin.
- Place all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Shake well then strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish your Pink Lady with a raspberry.
- Serve in a martini glass.
Dha Mile Small Batch Farmhouse Botanical Gin (£17.50, 35 cl)
Looking for something different and against the grain? Then Dha Mile Small Batch Gin is certainly one you should add on the shopping list. Made at the first organic distillery in the UK, the nose is subtle, fresh rose petals, with spice and juniper. The initial palate is floral with bitter, fresh notes of dandelion and peppery cloves. Silky in texture, exuding a superb botanical mouthfeel, finished by intense juniper and peppermint cool
For me, this gin was maybe a tad too intense in taste. However, other members of our tasting team really enjoyed the peppermint and juniper combination here. But nonetheless, it is a gin which will evoke conversation and debate, so is worth considering if you are a connoisseur or in search of new, exciting gin offerings.
Available from Vintage Roots here for the RRP of £17.50.
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