9 Gin Brands To Try Now | SLMan

9 Gin Brands To Try Now

As start-up distilleries have emerged to tinker with its age-old formula, the world of gin has well and truly exploded. To help you cut a swath through this new landscape, we asked Olivier Ward at Gin Foundry for the brands worth knowing about, how to serve them and why it’s worth trying something new.

For Those Who Want To Try Something Exotic…

India is arguably the most dynamic and interesting scene for the gin category at the moment. Craft distilling is just starting to flourish there. Just like it was here when Sipsmith and William Chase hit, or like in Australia when Four Pillars emerged, the first big names to come out are amazing. The wealth of ingredients and spices they have to work with makes what they are doing compelling and will be something to keep an eye on over the next 12 months. The two worth trying – and which are available to buy in the UK – are Hapusa and Stranger & Sons. Both are complex, with spice forward notes, so garnish with orange peel to contrast. If a G&T is not your thing, both have enough depth to work fantastically well in a Negroni.
 

For The Adventurous Drinker…

Fishers has gone through a rebrand, opting for a bigger bottle for the same price, so it’s much better value. It is also in the process of opening a distillery quite literally on the beach in Aldeburgh. The gin has a distinct flavour like no other, partly menthol-like due to foraged local botanicals like spignel and bog myrtle, but with enough citrus and juniper to make it a rich, balanced spirit. This is one to use in a Red Snapper (a gin version of Bloody Mary) or on those occasions when you want something different and unusual. If you like food and gin pairings, this is perfect in a G&T, served up alongside a half dozen Oysters.

For Those Who Like A Traditional Offering…

Dartmouth English Gin might be the most underrated gin in the UK. It’s just such a solid gin, really versatile across all cocktails, and has that magic element about it. It is classic juniper-forward gin, but also has contemporary elements like hints from rosemary, kaffir lime leaf and lavender – all grown on the company’s winery in Devon. The combination makes it deliver against all the big names, yet adds a modern edge to it, leaving you feeling whisked away into the countryside. Just add tonic to it and a pink grapefruit peel to garnish.
 

For Those Who Like Something Sweeter…

Rock Rose is a familiar name in Scotland, but lesser known down south. Its Pink Grapefruit Old Tom was released earlier this year and takes the range to a new level. Obviously the star botanical and big flavour hit is pink grapefruit, but it’s the dark sugar that adds a caramelised tone to it all. It’s a really good example of the Old Tom genre and one for those who like sweeter styles of gin. Serve it with vermouth in a Martinez.
 

For Those Who Are Environmentally Aware…

Gin Foundry collaborated with Warner’s earlier this year on a gin for which all the ingredients (farmed, foraged and hand-prepared) were taken from within a bee’s flight of the still. The point is to highlight sustainability and ingenuity in distilling. It took nine months to make because some of the ingredients needed to be planted, but this is truly a farm born and grown gin. It’s up for Gin of the Year and has been a great tool to broach talks about eco credentials and the need for the industry to keep up with the times. The gin tastes bright upfront, with a huge lemon verbena and lemon thyme hit, followed by a resinous juniper and a toasted finish. Great for those who love dry gins and serving them with low sugar tonics (or even soda).
 

For Those On A Budget….

I stand by Beefeater Dry, it's a really good cheap gin. Sadly it’s hard to find now in the supermarkets as it's been taken off the shelf for a pink version which is best avoided as it’s high in sugar. Both Lone Wolf and Plymouth Dry Gin are £20 from Waitrose right now which is a crazy price seeing as they are usually somewhere in the high 20's- so that's by far the deal of the week. Other than that, Hayman's London Dry hovers around the £19-22 mark in most supermarkets, which is a great price for that kind of quality. It's a classic juniper forward gin from a Balham based family distillery that's been making gin since the 1800's. It's a perfect workhorse across a range of cocktails and the team behind it are some of the kindest and most honest in the business.

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