Gin is a classic drink, especially at this time of year, so we thought that we'd put together a quick guide on the top five best gins this Christmas for you to try.
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The business of gin is having a roaring success, and in the midst of all the options out there, Rebecca Anne Milford is here to give a brief run down of five premium gins that she’s got her eye on for 2016. Gins from across the world have made it on this list and we think you'll enjoy every single one of them, and you might even learn a bit about the drink itself as you can put more than cucumber with your gin.
The Foraged One
The Gin: The Botanist
Why it Rocks: The first and only gin from the Scottish island of Islay.
Tasting Notes: There’s a definite crisp, citrus freshness running through, but the gin soon mellows out to a warming finish with a hint of spice.
More Info Please: Nine classic botanicals are perfectly combined with 22 local herbs and flowers that include Mugwort Leaves and White Clover, all hand-foraged from the hills, shores and bogs of the Hebridean Island by botanical scientists. These ingredients are all etched into the bottle, making it a very attractive item.
Drink how? The Botanist encourages imbibers to come up with their own seasonal garnishes, so we’ve been drinking it with a festive twist by adding tonic, orange peel, cloves, and stirring the whole thing with a cinnamon stick.
The Historical One
The Gin: Jensen’s Old Tom Gin
Why it Rocks: The recipe comes straight from a distiller's handbook from the 1840s.
Tasting Notes: There’s a real punch of flavour in this gin (they weren’t messing about in the 1800s). It’s deep, earthy, and the lack of added sugar gives it a fabulous eucalyptus, menthol-esque aftertaste.
More Info Please: Distilled in Bermondsey, this is gin that honours forgotten, vintage recipes. Christian Jensen only uses classic botanicals and produces small batches of this traditional tipple.
Drink how? You can definitely taste a rooty essence in Jensen’s Old Tom, meaning their suggested serve of a sprig of rosemary brings a real smack of pine forest to your palate. For something a little fruiter, we liked combining it with blackberries.
The Nordic One
The Gin: Helsinki Gin
Why it Rocks: It’s made in the first distillery that Helsinki has seen since prohibition, and one of the ingredients is Finnish loganberries.
Tasting Notes: A great blend of the traditional and the modern, this gin has a definite piney, juniper base, with notes of delicate sweetness from fennel and berries, and a citrus edge.
More Info Please: Created by three friends, this gin has been a labour of love that has, luckily for us, come to fruition. It is the first gin to be created in Helsinki after an absence of 100 years, and fresh rose and lemon are added just prior to distillation.
Drink how? Grab some loganberries and add to a G&T for a real traditional serve, or make your own martini and garnish with a slice of fennel and a rose petal for an elegant and delicate cocktail that brings out the aniseed notes. We also enjoyed it when garnished with red currants for that touch of tartness.
The Quintessentially British One
The Gin: Pinkster Gin
Why it Rocks: This blushing beauty of a gin combines juniper with abundant raspberries for a unique and delicious sip.
Tasting Notes: Pinksters is delightfully smooth, with the creamy sweetness of raspberry dessert nicely tempered by a spiciness of peppercorns.
More Info Please: Real men drink pink – and we can see why it has been bestowed with many accolades, and has been awarded the title of the UK’s third favourite gin. It uses five botanicals, two of which are top secret.
Drink how? Drinkers are encouraged to ‘spank the mint’ when drinking Pinksters, and naturally add a few fresh raspberries to their G&T. For an unusual martini, we used Pinksters, a couple of drops of balsamic glaze, and garnished with fresh raspberry and peppercorns.
The Seaside One
The Gin: Brighton Gin
Why it Rocks: The first gin made in Brighton, this is a true homage to a city – even the blue of the bottle is matched to the bus shelters and railing along the seafront, and is known as ‘Brighton Seafront Blue’.
Tasting Notes: Like the city itself, this gin can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s smooth, with a strong hint of fresh orange citrus flavour, and also contains milk-thistle – essentially preemptively cleansing for your liver.
More Info Please: This gin encapsulates the fizzing, vibrant, nostalgic and beloved Brighton, created by five friends who love the city and love gin.
Drink how? The orange is nicely tempered by a note of coriander, making this ideal in a Negroni or simply with a twist of orange peel. We had great fun mixing into a White Lady – 4 parts gin to one part Cointreau and one part lemon juice.