I will be honest. I joined the gin bandwagon the same time as the majority of the UK. Throughout my early 20s, my idea of a drink on any night out was probably a flat pint, a harsh cider that would ruin your gut on the way down or something blue and in a glass bottle.
But then I grew up (thankfully), and so did my love of gin. And now the world is your gin-oyster with hundreds of distilleries of all sizes open across the UK. It would take a lifetime to try them all (a challenge I would happily take up, wouldn't you?).
So whether you like a gin cocktail, a gin and tonic or prefer it neat, below are just 5 of my top gins to try for World Gin Day on 13th June - we all know there are so many more.
Last month I put a call out on my twitter feed to discuss favourite gins. I have put a link at the bottom of this article, have a read through, find some new brands and join the discussion.
My Top 5 Gins To Try For World Gin Day 2020
Isle of Raasy Gin
Isle of Raasay Scottish Gin is the first legal spirit from Raasay, an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling. If you are unsure where Raasay is, it lies to the east of the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides which is well known for its breathtaking natural beauty, rugged and exaggerated landscape. Alongside being just a beautiful part of the world, the island (home to just 161 residents) has a diverse ecosystem and a wonderful back garden of pure water and botanicals to choose from.
The handcrafted Scottish island gin combines ten carefully chosen botanicals, including Raasay juniper, and is then distilled and infused with traditional botanicals in a copper malt spirit still, along with water from our their own well.
The result: a refreshing, zesty dry gin with a lasting aftertaste, best served with orange zest strips and a premium mixer.
Visit: Raasay Distillery
Purchase: £34.95 for 70cl from Masters of Malt
I believe the best ideas are created over a few drinks at a pub quiz, and this is how three friends living in the same Cornish village came up with the idea for creating Penzance Gin. Made in the heart of the town the inspiration for this bathtub gin is taken from the Art Deco period. This is when both this style of gin and indeed the label's illustration 'The Jubilee Pool' were both created.
Penzance Gin has a smooth, earthy flavour with an exquisite aftertaste. There is a hint of citrus that runs alongside this amber nectar. It has just the right amount of botanicals to give it a unique flavour and depth all of its own. The gin, when poured is also amber in colour, created due to the amount of time the botanicals are steeped.
Penzance Gin also featured in our Top New Drinks To Try 2020
Visit: Penzance Gin
Purchase: £38 for 70cl
My love of Fidra Gin came from a memorable night talking into the early hours of the morning sharing a bottle of this gin, neat. My first time drinking spirits neat, and to be honest I haven't looked back.
And that is why Fidra Gin is so perfect, it should be drunk pure. It is not harsh and I am pinky promising you that my usual horrific hangover did not happen. And why was I spared the brain pain the next morning? Probably, because this is stunning quality gin.
Inspired by the stunning East Lothian coastline and landscape Fidra Gin uses a variety of hand-picked and homegrown botanicals, including rosehip, sea buckthorn and lemon thyme, to create this dry gin that almost tastes of the sea (in a good way).
It was so good, I still have my original bottle surrounded by fairy lights in my home.
Visit: Fidra Gin
Purchase: £39 for 70cl
An Dúlamán Gin
Named after an Irish folk song that relates a conversation between two seaweed collectors, An Dúlamán is a gin born 100% from its locality. The coast around the sea cliffs of Sliabh Liag in County Donegal hold an extraordinary bounty for local sea foragers who use centuries-old knowledge of harvesting and harnessing the qualities of natural seaweeds.
This gin uses five locally harvested varieties of seaweed, as well as six other botanicals to create a spirit as a spirit punchy as the Donegal coast itself. The seaweeds include Channel Wrack (also called Dúlamán) imparting bitter tannic notes; Dulse offers salty umami flavours; Sugar kelp offers a sweetness and dusty lime flavours; Carrageen moss provides an earthy nutty sweetness; Pepper dulse provides a huge burst of garlic, mineraly, aromatic and intense peppery umami.
The result? On the palate to start, it is deceivingly light, but then moves into rich umami, brisk salt and then a buttery oyster smoothness and then ebbs to a comforting warmth. Perfect.
This is definitely present worthy for a friend or family member who is serious about their gin.
If you are looking for something even punchier, then An Dúlamán Santa Ana Armada Strength Gin is the barrel-aged, navy strength expression of An Dúlamán and is the first Irish navy strength gin to come to the market. Aged in Rioja wine casks from the home region of the Santa Ana’s commander, the gin takes on a beautiful rose gold hue and a slight sweetness which complements the rich umami notes of An Dúlamán Gin. After ageing, Santa Ana is bottled at “Armada” strength of 57% ABV. Hairs will be on your chest.
Visit: Sliabh Liag Distillery
Crazy Gin Company
For many years Wolverhampton alcoholic beverage scene has been led by breweries. And, some mighty fine ones too. But move over real ale, there is a new kid in town in the shape of Crazy Gin - a clear lassi gin.
Crazy Gin is delicately spiced with British and Indian flavours to represent the combined cultures of India and Britain.
The spirit combines a traditional gin base with fruit lassi which is then vacuum distilled. Its ingredients include a perfect balance of turmeric, black pepper, black cumin, coriander, angelica and is kept sweet with subtle hints of pomegranate, ghee and yoghurt.
Already being picked up by some of the biggest restaurants in the UK including The Cinnamon Club, Michelin Starred Opheem and is due to be available at Great British Menu Finalist Kray Treadwell's new restaurant, this is a gin that needs to be in your drink cabinet.
Visit: Crazy Gin Company
Purchase: £39.95 for 50cl
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[Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases]
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Chatting Food Contributor: Ellen Pope
Self-confessed potty mouth, mother of guinea pig and eater of 99.9% of food (don't bring me marzipan and tell me it is food). Ellen is the founder and Editor of Chatting Food Magazine and on a one-woman mission to talk food at everyone. Usually found tweeting, eating, sleeping, repeating.