The Best Gins To Try
The North East and Yorkshire have made their way firmly onto the map as the best gin regions in the country. With distilleries popping up all over, each company is unique in its techniques and flavours. As well as the local contribution to the thriving gin scene, Yorkshire and North East folk are drinking the rest of the country (aside-from London) under the table.
So, whether you’re looking for the full guided tour, or a dash of the juniper spirit to enjoy from the comfort of your own home, look no further than one of these gin companies — if gin isn’t your favourite spirit, it’s about to be.
The Northumberland Gin Company currently produces one handcrafted gin – Hexham Premier Cru – and is run and owned by four friends Peter, Jane, Ian and Deb, with a love for gin – collectively known as the Gin Twins. Making high-quality small batch gin, they plan to grow the Hexham brand to introduce new full strength gin infusions.
A beautifully well balanced and smooth-tasting gin boasting a delicate juniper flavour with citrusy notes. In one sip, you can identify crisp, fresh and sweet characteristics as well as smooth, warm and bitter notes.
The Modern Long Pink Gin: Add 50ml of Hexham Gin to a tall glass, half filled with ice. Add Angostura Bitters and top up with soda water. Add a twist of orange and stir.
*Stocked in Fenwick,
Newcastle and online
When whalers left the coast of Whitby, the local fishermen became acquired to the taste of Jenever, a spirit introduced to them by the Dutch specialists to keep them warm out at sea. With the gin prohibition in full swing on land, the Whitby fishermen smuggled the ingredients ashore to keep the spirit alive, and now Whitby Distillery are bringing us our very own Jenever.
Distilled in small batches using the same smuggled ingredients including juniper, citrus and liquorice root, as well as local products including moorland heather flowers, honey and sugar kelp. They produce quality gin in a single pass of the still, it’s refreshing on the tongue, with a lasting finish symbolic of its origins in the North Sea – watch out for its
pearlescent glow as you add ice, it’s the flavoursome oils being released from the botanicals.
Classic G ‘n’ T.
Fill a glass with lots of chunky ice and add 50ml of Whitby Gin. Pair with 150ml of Mediterranean Fever-Tree tonic and garnish with pink grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary.
After William Slingsby discovered the unique properties of the water held in the Tewit Well, he had a vision that was a little different – Slingsby sought to bottle the beauty and restorative nature of Harrogate. Containing only pure, natural, hand-grown local plants which seek to compliment the water, the spirit is expertly brought together in a 100-year- old copper still and is hand-finished in North Yorkshire.
Not only do they produce barrel-aged gin with rich and woody notes, and extra-strength gin with dominant earthy botanicals, Slingsby have branched out into the fruity variety with rhubarb gin — a limited edition recipe so popular it became part of their permanent collection. Aside-from gin production, they also offer gin fanatics something a little different – an experience with their favourite spirit. Whether it’s mastering cocktails, sampling over 80 gins, or trying your hand as a mixologist —there’s something for everyone to enjoy at their Spirit of Harrogate store.
Shake 40ml Slingsby Gin, 60ml pink grapefruit juice, 10ml elderflower syrup
and 20ml sugar syrup, then strain into a highball glass over ice. Top up with soda and garnish with fresh grapefruit wedge and a sprig of tarragon.
5-7 Montpellier Parade,
Harrogate HG1 2TJ
The Lakes Distillery created a world-class distillery ‘from scratch’ within a National Park – making what may seem like the impossible, possible. To produce spirits in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, they have adopted a distilling process with no waste and, wherever possible, they recycle water and heat.
Local junipers found on the fells are at the heart of their gin. Other native botanicals, such as bilberry, heather and hawthorn, also feature and all are combined with water sourced high up in the Cumbria fells from the River Derwent. The Lakes Distillery’s signature recipe creates an easy-drinking and award-winning artisan gin, with delicate floral notes and
a vibrant citrus. Elderflower and damson variations cater for the flavoured gin craze, with their latest release – rhubarb and rosehip – providing a fruity yet floral flavour for a well-rounded drinking experience. For a glimpse of the excitement, see behind the scenes and take a tour of the working distillery – we’d recommend the one with extra tastings.
The Pink Lady:
Add 50ml Rhubarb and Rosehip Gin Liqueur, 20ml lemon juice, 10ml grenadine and 25ml cloudy apple juice to a shaker and dry shake without ice. Add ice to shaker and re-shake. Single strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with an apple disc.
Another small family business, producing great gin. This time specialising in a particular kind – gin infused with sloes and other hedgerow fruits. At Green Farm, they were proactive in maintaining the habitats of local wildlife and would allow fruit to develop as a source of food for birds and small mammals, before long, large amounts of fruits began to appear. And so, the idea of gin infused with the hedgerow fruits formed – and sloemotion was born.
At Sloemotion, it’s all about the quality so for their sloe gin they only use gin which is specially produced for them by the Thames Distillers. The making part is much like it is if you’ve tried it at home –three simple ingredients, handpicked whole fruit, sugar and good-quality gin, all combined on a slightly larger scale in a 500-litre tank. They avoid leaving the gin steeping for too long to produce a clean, crisp texture with a purefruit flavour, that still keeps it’s a dry gin finish. They also hand-make small batches of their very own Hedgerow gin, highlighting their Yorkshire roots, it features grassy nettle leaves and the wildflower of the meadow hay.
Add 25ml gin, 50ml Sloemotion, Sloe Gin, the juice of half a lemon and the juice of a quarter of a lime to a shaker filled with ice, shake, then strain into a glass filled with fresh ice.
As an ancient city, York almost has it all, but five local friends are now providing the magic ingredient it’s been missing – a gin of its very own. After hatching their plan in the pub, they managed to move past the drawing-board stage to launch York Gin Company in summer 2017, and a distillery fully-equipped with a 300-litre copper still named Ebor, the shortened form of Eboracum, the Roman name for York.
York Gin creates a classic, smooth and balanced craft dry gin, that captures the city’s long history with its bottle a nod to the medieval past and association with the cat trail. The company uses a secret recipe with no one note left dominant, but instead balances a mix of botanicals, including the classic juniper, black pepper, cardamom and grains of paradise – sounds good to us.
Serve with a light, quality tonic and a classic lemon peel, or to suit a more citrus pallet, try lime or grapefruit. For simplicity serve neat over a block of ice with a few juniper berries or peppercorns.
RARE BIRD DISTILLERY
Created by a group of like-minded individuals in search of a gin more superior, more flavoursome and more satisfying than the massproduced gins lining the aisles of supermarkets. Their desire; to be recognised for creating a local produce, for a local community and delivering a high-quality product to a consumer that demands the best ingredients and flavours.
After being distilled in a 300-litre copper still named Florence, in a Grade-III listed building overlooking the stunning Malton landscape, a beautifully-smooth and balanced gin is produced. Featuring 11 fine quality botanicals (including juniper, green pepper, rosemary, hibiscus and citrus) all carefully selected due to their distinct flavours.
Add 50ml of Rarebird dry gin to a balloon glass filled with ice, top up with a good quality tonic, before adding a slice of lemon, blood orange or pink grapefruit as the perfect
The Newcastle Gin Company boasts the city’s first commercial distillery in the
centre of Newcastle at Bealim House. Their still room sits touching the ancient City
Wall, producing a spirit with Newcastle at its heart.
As with all good things, patience is the key to Newcastle Gin. It takes over 72 hours to create a light floral gin using a combination of age-old distilling techniques, including maceration and vapour infusion through a 450-litre traditional copper pot still. They even use Newcastle City water to take down the final new spirit from 85 percent to a strong (but hearty) 43 percent. Distilled with nine botanicals, juniper, sumac, orange peel, hibiscus, rose petals, coriander and three secret ingredients that can’t be revealed.
In a balloon glass of ice, add 50ml of Newcastle Gin, squeeze and add a wedge of lime and a slice of lemon, before topping up with Fevertree premium Indian tonic water.
Starting out small, Raspberry Gin Liqueur was Raisthorpe’s first step into the gin world. Providing their shoot guests with gin made from an old family recipe, its popularity was soon discovered and, despite their modest beginnings creating homemade gins and liqueurs from their farmhouse kitchen, they now operate from a factory facility in the heart of the Yorkshire Wolds. Picking, production and packing is all carried out by their own team, so not only do you have gin full of the finest ingredients, it’s thoughtfully crafted too.
Raisthorpe are famed for their innovative fruit gins – from sweet violet to gooseberry, and everything in between. They also do dry gin pretty well too. Water from ancient ‘Gypsey streams’ running beneath the Yorkshire Wolds has long been considered to bestow good luck on those who drink it; those at Raisthorpe have not only infused it with fresh botanicals and watercress, but traditionally distilled it to produce their Raisthorpe Distilled Dry Gin and Oak Aged Gin. A tipple that promises to bring you good luck — it’s a yes from us.
Cut a quarter of fresh mango into cubes andmuddle with 10ml of sugar syrup. Add 25ml of Raisthorpe Manor Rasberry Gin Liqueur, 50ml of spiced rum and 50ml of lemon juice to a cocktail shaker. Fill with cubed ice and shake well. Strain straight into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a slice of mango.
HADRIAN’S WALL GIN
A company heavily involved in all aspects of their small batch gin production, with
generations of experience. From the gin production itself, to the bottling and labelling, this is a hand-crafted gin in every sense, and one reflective of traditional methods. At the heart are their ingredients which provide a true reflection of Roman culture – the Romans were particularly influential in introducing us to a variety of botanical ingredients.
Drawing its inspiration from ancient history and tradition, Hadrian’s Wall Gin is handcrafted in Northumberland. Infused with traditional Roman herbs and botanicals including coriander – they use a variation of seeds synonymous with Roman life during the occupation of the wall. As well as chamomile, a botanical vital in providing sweet undertones, there are floral notes, and mint which contributes to its oriental flavour. When all of the botanicals come together, they provide a truly fragrant finish.
The Northumberland: Add 50ml Hadrian’s Wall Gin, 25ml of simple syrup, fresh rosemary and 1/2 a pink grapefruit to a shaker and muddle thoroughly. Add fresh ice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain contents into cocktail glass filled with fresh ice. Top with pink grapefruit tonic water and garnish with fresh grapefruit and rosemary.
During the prohibition, Neil’s Grandad Willy began utilising the bounty of the local countryside, nearby farms and his own orchard, to produce a sizeable quantity of beer, cider and gin in a collection of buckets, jars and steel containers – he was generally believed to have brewed them pretty close to perfection. One summer, Neil began pondering, taste testing and researching to replicate the gin his grandfather had made. Eventually a rich, smooth flavour began to emerge – and so the Northumberland Spirit Company and Alnwick Gin was born.
Renowned for its smoothness and unique flavour Alnwick Gin use fine ingredients to create a high-quality gin. Savour the key flavours of lemon botanicals with juniper, rosehip and lavender; rounded off with just a hint of fennel to give a sublimely smooth taste. Enjoy their three gin-based fruit liqueurs in rhubarb and strawberry, lime and ginger and raspberry and vanilla, as well as the sublime Alnwick Sloe Gin when in season (usually
September to February).
Small batch production guarantees premium quality and the most worldy of flavours. Serve 50ml of Alnwick Gin over ice, with a pink grapefruit tonic with a wedge of pink grapefruit and a sprinkling of rosemary, then let the gin do the talking.