Gin originated in the Middle Ages as a herbal medicine which has gone in and out of fashion over the years and is now one of the most popular spirits in the world. There are a variety of different ingredients used to distil gin but the key one is juniper, with distillery’s mixing in others to create their own unique flavours and aromas. Here is a list of ten of the best gins available for enthusiasts or those interested in sampling this unique drink.
A gin that needs no introduction as it is the top Dry London Gin sold in the world. Gordons is triple distilled and though its exact recipe has been a closely guarded secret since 1769 it contains coriander seeds, angelica root, orris root, juniper berries, orange, lemon, and liquorice. Not having sugar added to it is what makes it a dry gin.
Originally distilled in London in 1830, Tanqueray is now produced in Scotland and its biggest market is the United States. Tanqueray is a London Dry Gin with four known ingredients added during the second distillation to produce its unique flavour – coriander, juniper, liquorice, and angelica. It is available at a number of strength levels ranging from 40% - 47.3% ABV.
Another well-known brand, Beefeater has been produced since 1862 and is now sold in over 100 countries. The producers note that there are nine different botanicals used during distillation to create its flavour – angelica (root and seeds), juniper, coriander, liquorice, orris, oranges, lemon peel, and almonds. A long steeping of the botanicals prior to distillation gives it its unique flavour.
Bloom is a London Dry Gin that was created and made by Joanne Moore – a master distiller. Bloom produces a number of interesting gins such as their Jasmine and Rose Gin that has a floral flavour, a Strawberry and Gin Liquor. They also make a couple of smaller premix bottles that are perfect for warmer weather enjoyment.
Inspired by exotic images of the ancient spice route, Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin contains ingredients that read like a trip from Asia to Europe. Botanicals used include cubeb peppers, cardamom, Tellicherry black peppers, cumin, juniper, coriander, orange, all distilled in one of England’s oldest distilleries.
Whitley Neil is produced in small handmade batches using an antique copper still. Its maker Johnny Neil took his inspiration from the continent of Africa to create a gin that has won praise and awards from both sides of the Atlantic. Its flavour inducing botanicals include coriander, lemon, orange, angelica, juniper, cassia, Florentine iris, and two from Africa which are Cape Gooseberries and Baobab fruit.
Plymouth Gin is made by the Black Friars Distillery in Plymouth, which started life as a monastery in 1431 and began distilling gin in 1793. The two key gins they produce are the Plymouth Original Strength which is 41.2% ABV and is less dry than London Dry Gin, and a gin for the British Royal Navy which is 57% ABV.
Martin Millers Gin has won more awards over the past ten years than any other Gin. The makers have stuck to traditional production methods and ingredients going for an old-school gin with a 40% ABV. They use two separate distillations combined with pure spring water from Iceland to create their award winning gin.
Greenalls is one of the oldest distillers in the UK and their original recipe has remained unaltered since 1761. In fact, only seven master distillers have ever known the recipe, including their current distiller Joanne Moore. This award winning gin is perfect for purists and it works well mixed with tonic or used in other cocktails.
Bombay Sapphire is a relative new comer to the gin market beginning life in 1987 and its name takes its inspiration from the era of British Raj. Its distinct flavour is produced by ten ingredients – lemon, juniper, almond, angelica, orris, coriander, cubeb, grains of paradise, and cubeb. Bombay Sapphire East was released in America in 2011 and added peppercorns and lemongrass.