Cheers to World Gin Day!
We’re happy to raise a glass (or two, garnished with a slice of lemon, orange or grapefruit) to World Gin Day! Over the past decade the resurgence of gin, driven by quality, craft gin distilleries, has been dramatic. Figures from the UK’s Wine And Spirit Trade Association show that last year we Brits bought a record-breaking 83 million bottles of gin. So, not surprising that gin was a favourite lockdown tipple – said in March to have been the most popular spirit bought online. In part it is because there’s a gin to suit most palates; it’s also because a G&T is easy to mix and refreshing, too.
Among the first to set up distilleries in the local area were Paul Bowler of Winchester Distillery, capturing the spirit of Hampshire with watercress’s peppery notes in Twisted Nose gin. Around the same time Rupert Holloway, just over the border into Dorset, set up Conker Spirit with signature Dorset Dry Gin and botanicals of foraged gorse.
They were joined by more small batch artisan distilleries. These include: citrus-forward Beachcomber Gin; unconventional Corner 53 with exciting and unexpected flavour combos such as lemon meringue pie, Gorilla Spirits’ fresh, modern Silverback Mountain Strength Gin; and Hiltingbury Still’s subtly spiced gin.
More ginspiration can be enjoyed with: Isle of Wight Distillery’s Mermaid Gin with foraged island rock samphire for a breezy taste of the sea; New Forest Spirits’ Wyrd Gin – a classic, smooth gin; Portsmouth Distillery’s Fort Gin with elderflower and sea radish; Pothecary Gin’s first gin is described as soft with aromatic notes of lavender and citrus (and check out the Pothecary Gin Cocktail Club and Pothecary Gin Cocktail Box – both launched for World Gin Day).
Wessex Spirits’ Test Valley Gin is a savoury gin infused with local herbs including thyme. Not to be confused, however, with River Test Distillery who picked up ‘Best London Dry Gin in England’ at The World Gin Awards 2020 for a gin with floral notes from infusions of handpicked meadowsweet flowers grown on the banks of the River Test.
For something a little bit different, try fruit-steeped gin liqueurs from Smith & Weston, using locally grown and foraged fruits and flavours such as blackberry and apple, and strawberry and lavender. Or there are fruity gin-based liqueurs from Dampney’s Remarkable Drinks, such as Damson Gin, Raspberry Gin and Redcurrant Gin. Yum.
We don’t appear to have reached peak gin – in part because gin is open to innovation and reinvention and ginspiration.