Produced by the Southwestern Distillery, Tarquin’s Gin (42% ABV) is made in Cornwall with hand-picked Devon violets and fresh orange zest. The grain spirit is diluted to bottling strength with Cornish spring water.
I first tried this at a hotel in Bath, and then had the pleasure of meeting Tarquin himself at this year’s Junipalooza. It’s clear that he’s passionate about this stuff; he hand-fills, signs, corks and seals every single bottle.
You’ll be hard pushed to find this small batch gin (at just 300 bottles per batch) on the shelves unless you live in the West Country, but the good news is, you can buy it online – and it’s well worth seeking out.
Made in Hackney Wick, I first discovered Butler’s Gin (40% ABV) a year ago, when I received a bottle as a Christmas present. Produced on a boat by Ross William Butler (aka The Butler), Butler’s Gin is made with cardamom and lemongrass for a light, crisp flavour.
The spirit is infused with nine botanicals for 18 hours, before being hand bottled and signed by The Butler himself. The cardamom and lemongrass give it a yellow-y, greenish tint (similar to the colour of the glass bottle in which it’s stored).
The best bit? Butlers Gin is currently offering £6 off the bottle price. Snap it up, quick!
Christmas, for me, means Champagne. The immaculate conception and birth of baby Jesus miracle thing aside, it’s the best thing about the festive season. Couple that with gin, and you’ll find me in a happy drunken haze from somewhere around mid-December until the 1st January.
These gin and fizz cocktails are sure to please fans of either.
The French 75
A true classic, which first appeared in The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. Put 2 measures of gin in a champagne flute, add a measure of lemon juice, half a measure of sugar syrup (make your own, it’s easy), and top with champagne.
The Millionaire’s Martini
What can possibly improve a Martini? Champers, duh. Combine 2 measures of gin and 2 measures of Vermouth in a glass filled with ice. Stir until chilled and strain into a Martini glass. Top with champagne.
A different take on the Kir Royale. Put 2 measures of sloe gin into a flute and top with champagne for a festive treat.
I like my gins strong and bold, with lots of juniper, lots of citrus, and clean, fresh, zesty tastes. That’s my go-to, my basic, and exactly what I want from an every day gin and tonic. But every once in a while, something different crops up that makes me question what I know.
Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin (40% ABV) is bold, and it is clean, but it also has lots of spicy, sweet, peppery flavours. Cardamom, cumin and ginger are dominant on the nose and it has a warmth that tingles and lingers on the tongue without an overpowering heat.
The cutest gin miniature ever?
Made with botanicals found on the ancient Spice Route, this Oriental spirit is a London Dry Gin made at England’s oldest gin distillery. I was first introduced to it served warm with ginger ale (I hate ginger ale) and it was delicious; aromatic and spicy and sweet. Since then, I’ve heard of it served with tonic and a slice of ginger or a red chilli. There are so many things about this that I shouldn’t like, but I really, really do. A must-try for those looking for something a bit different.
Exciting news for those of you still struggling for Christmas present ideas; this weekend (12 and 13 December), Bombay Sapphire is offering bespoke engraving on their bottles of gin.
Pop into Selfridges between midday and 8pm, and for the price of a bottle of gin (£29.99), they’ll engrave a personalised message while you finish your shopping. Tempted to get one for myself and have them put ‘NOT YOURS’ on it in big letters.
What’s better than a really bloody good gin? A really bloody good gin which donates 15% of its profits to charidee, of course.
Elephant Gin (45% ABV) is created by three friends who, following their own adventures in Africa, felt passionate about what they saw and wanted to help elephant conservation trusts. What’s more, this tastes really rather excellent, too.
Using a whopping fourteen botanicals, including some rarities from the African Savannah, Elephant Gin is fruity, floral and spicy and best served with a wedge of apple.
The next time you’re stocking up on gin, give this one a go. You’ll be helping to save the lives of Africa’s great elephants, and you’ll have a cracking drink in hand while you do it.