Did you know that June 13 was World Gin Day, a day dedicated to the wonders of Britain’s most discerning – and enduring – tipple? If you missed it, don’t fret, we’ve got another good reason to enjoy a tipple. The sheer variety of new gins hitting the market makes it almost a crime not to ditch the Gordon’s and Beefeater and try something new, whatever the day of the week or year.
Avid gin drinkers or alcohol historians may remember a time when the arrival of Bombay Sapphire caused a stir with its fancy aquamarine bottle and thoroughly modern appeal. Aficionados also looked with suspicion upon the arrival of the likes of Whitley Neill, with its extravagant cape gooseberries and baobab fruit, and Hendricks, which is served with cucumber.
Today, however, many gin experts are excited by new arrivals, as are the lovers of a good splash of Mother’s Ruin, and it’s a good job given the sheer number of products entering the market. You turn your back to refill your glass and another one seems to jump on to the shelves. One of the most appealingly named new additions to the gin market is Bramley & Gage’s 6 O’Clock, but don’t worry – despite the title, there’s no time lock on the cap. Gin Mare, meanwhile, offers a refreshing mixture of salty olives and rosemary that makes it perfect for enjoying on its own or with a savoury meal.
You wouldn’t expect good gin to come from an IT expert, but Jensen’s Old Tom and London Distilled Bermondsey Gin prove you can never judge a book by its cover – or a good gin by the history of its maker. Old Tom recreates an 1840s recipe and boasts the pungency and potency that you would probably expect. Adnams gin is a more drinkable option for an average afternoon, created in a traditional copper house distillery using six botanicals and sumptuous malted barley.
This latest wave of gin interest has been inspired by America’s new-found love of artisan distillers. The only problem is that, by their very nature, many of these gins are only produced in relatively small quantities, meaning that you can have to get in early to secure your tipple. Some suppliers and manufacturers have also been surprised by the amount of interest being shown in the new products.
This could actually be good news for gin lovers, however, as it is likely to mean that more and more varieties will continue to hit the marketplace. It’s also a good excuse to buy more than one bottle at a time, using them all sporadically to create a range of different drinks. Use juniper-scented Tanqueray gin for a great G&T or as a base for cocktails, whilst Sipsmith is the ideal martini choice. No 3 London Dry is the ultimate stress-buster thanks to its intense and smooth flavour, and it also mixes well with tonic, whilst Old Tom is a sin in a bottle that is perfect for those moments when you’re feeling naughty but want to drink something nice.