It’s International Gin and Tonic day! Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re celebrating with a crisp G+T. There are certainly plenty to choose from: in the UK alone there are nearly 400 distilleries now. But how do you know which ones to pick? Here are six of our favourites from this year.
Darnley’s Smoke and Zest
Darnley’s released the second of its limited-edition Cottage Series range. To achieve its unique flavour, the gin contains barley smoked over pinewood chips, rowanberry from around the distillery, coriander from the cottage garden, orange peel and Lapsang Souchong tea. The gin has a big smoky flavour that isn’t overwhelming, with a lovely sweet citrus hit. There’s only 2,400 bottles, so it’s one to get your hands on quickly.
Tobermory, located on the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides of the west coast of Scotland, is known for its whisky. But the distillery has created the first gin in its 200 year history. The base spirit is repeatedly distilled before any botanicals are added. Unique to Tobermory, a small amount of the whisky base spirit is added, which gives the gin an interesting depth to it. The distillery has called it ‘botanical #1’. There are 13 botanicals in total, including Hebridean tea, elderflower and sweet orange peel.
Hayman’s Small gin
Fancy a gin and tonic, but don’t fancy the alcohol? Hayman’s Small gin is a bit of a game changer. It’s a full strength gin (43% abv), but you only use 5ml in a serve. That equates to 0.2 units of alcohol, and just 15 calories. Hayman’s has upped the botanicals, so you still get the flavour of a full gin, but in a tiny serving size. The bottle itself is small too, at 20cl, which will give you 40 servings (more than in a 'normal' sized bottle), and it comes with a cute 5ml serving thimble.
Bobby’s Schiedam gin and jenever
We first tried Bobby’s gin a few years ago and loved it. While it might not be a new gin for 2019, it’s been launched in the UK this year by Spirit Cartel. The recipe for the gin was based around a jenever, which evolved into a rather delicious gin. But Bobby’s has its own jenever as well, which has a base of maltwine, flavoured with juniper, cubeb pepper, lemongrass and cardamom.
Both bottles are modelled on the classic Dutch jenever ‘kruik’, and decorated with a traditional Indonesian Ikat pattern. The reason is that the gin and jenever are named after the two founders’ grandfather, who emigrated from Indonesia to Holland in the 1950s. He missed the taste of his homeland, and started infusing Dutch jenever with Indonesian spices.
Edinburgh Lemon & Jasmine gin
This might be one for summer rather than winter, but Edinburgh Gin released its second full-strength flavoured gin this year: Lemon & Jasmine. As you might expect, the three dominant botanicals are juniper, lemon peel and jasmine blossom. It’s a little sweet, a little floral, with a good hit of citrus and a sweet, long finish. It makes a good G+T, as well as a zesty Martini.
No.3 gin also commissioned artwork around what gin looks like under a microscope... who knew it was so pretty?
No.3 gin isn’t a new launch for this year, but it has come out with a fancy new bottle and some pretty cool accompanying artwork (gin under a microscope). It’s from the folks at Berry Bros. and Rudd (the UK’s oldest wine and spirit merchant), and initially took 730 days to get right. It relaunched this year with a new hexagonal bottle, to reflect the six botanicals in the gin: juniper, coriander, angelica root, cardamom, grapefruit peel and sweet orange peel. It makes a lovely G+T and a cracking Martini.