Best British Gins

Top 30 British gins

Here are our favourite British gins, from well known brands such as Tanqueray, Hendrick’s and Bombay Sapphire to craft gins including Two Birds Gin and modern classic Portobello Road

We love gin here at olive magazine, but with so much choice out there, how are you supposed to know which bottle to buy? Here Olivier Ward (editor of Gin Foundry) and the olive team share top gins produced in the UK, all with varying flavour profiles. Which British gin will you pick?

Advertisement

We’ve also peppered this piece with gin-inspired recipes, from gin cocktails to cakes, just in case it gets you in the mood! To learn more about the world of gin, click here for our expert guide.

https://www.olivemagazine.com/drink/christmas-gins-for-gin-lovers/


Four Pillars Christmas Gin

A blend of gin distilled with Christmas puddings and gin aged in scotch whisky barrels – plus a touch of muscat – results in a festive spirit that will warm your cockles on cold nights.

Botanicals: Christmas pudding, juniper, cinnamon, star anise, coriander, angelica, muscat.

Perfect pairing: One to sip neat, preferably in front of the fire.

Four Pillars festive gin

Our favourite British gins to try (in no particular order)…

Buy top British gins here…

Boatyard Old Tom Gin

A beautifully packaged, cask-aged Irish gin that comes flavoured with Fermanagh honey. This comes through on the nose and palate, as do notes of hay, cocoa, vanilla and spice.

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander, honey, angelica, lemon, grains of paradise, sweet gale.

Perfect pairing: Sip on its own, or try it in a martini.

Boatyard Old Tom Gin

Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin

This fragrant number packs in lots of juicy citrus – with dryness from Sicilian blood oranges that pairs well with the gin, and subtle notes of orange peel and pepper

Botanicals: Juniper, orange, lemon, orris bark, coriander seed, angelica root, blood orange extract

Perfect pairing: Enjoy in a G&T with fresh slices of orange, or try it with fresh grapefruit juice and lime for a zesty paloma.

Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin

Pickering’s Original 1947 Gin

Made using an old family recipe written in Bombay in 1947, this is a super-powered spiced gin with notes of cloves, cinnamon, anise and cardamom, and some subtle citrus. Soft, and almost creamy on the palate, with background sweetness and a long finish.

Botanicals:  Juniper, cardamom, coriander, fennel, anise, lemon, lime and cloves.

Perfect pairing: Garnish with a slice of fresh orange.

Pickering’s Original 1947 Gin

Darnley’s Spiced Gin

One for those who can find some spiced gins a little overpowering, this Scottish number has a subtle, restrained spice that’s balanced by juniper, with a lingering, peppery finish.

Botanicals: Juniper, cloves, grains of paradise and ginger.

Perfect pairing: Drink with ginger ale.

Darnley’s Spiced Gin

Salcombe Gin – Start Point

Devon distillery Salcombe Gin ‘s London dry is a classic, super-smooth affair. Though earthy juniper is dominant, it’s followed by bright, zingy citrus – as well as a subtle, warming spice.

Flavour profile: Juniper

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander seed, ruby grapefruit, lemon, lime, cubeb

Perfect pairing: Slice of ruby grapefruit

Buy Salcombe gin here…

salcombegin.com


Ramsbury Gin

This single-estate gin is made in Wiltshire by a distillery whose ethos is very much grain to glass – the gin’s base spirit is distilled onsite using wheat grown on the Ramsbury estate (and chalk-filtered water from their own aquifer). A lovely, balanced London dry gin with heady citrus and floral aromas on the nose and a smooth, fruity finish.

Flavour profile: Citrus.

Botanicals: Juniper (picked nearby on Salisbury plain) and homegrown quince. 

Perfect pairing: Twist of orange peel.

Buy Ramsbury gin here


Tarquin’s Gin, Cornwall

With English wine growing in stature internationally, and Craft distilling moving from urban hubs and out into the countryside, Tarquin’s Gin isn’t just representative of a burgeoning movement; it’s one of the leading lights within it.

To taste, Tarquin’s Dry Gin is a well-balanced gin with all the classic botanicals coming through on both the nose and the palate. The juniper is prevalent (as it should be) but a strong lemony coriander reminds us of a deep pine forest on a hot summer stroll – earthy notes and warm orange blossom faintly joining in.

Distiller and owner Tarquin Ledbetter’s Devon violets (which he grows in his back garden) only come through after a couple of sips, but are balanced by the amount of citrusy and rooty/earthy botanicals mingling around.

Flavour profile: Citrus.

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander seeds, orange, lemon, grapefruit, angelica root, orris root, green cardamom seeds, bitter almond, cinnamon, liquorice root, violets.

Perfect pairing: Twist of grapefruit peel.

Get a great deal on Tarquin’s gin here…

Tarquin’s Gin, Cornwall

East London Liquor Company Batch No.2

The first gin distillery in London’s East End in over 100 years, ELLC distills its gin in hand-built copper stills in an old glue factory in Bow Wharf. June is Negroni Month, so we’ve chosen this herbaceous and savoury gin as it stands up really well in a negroni.

Botanicals: Batch No.2 gin is made with eleven botanicals inspired by an English herb garden – thyme, winter savoury, sage, bay leaves, lavender, fennel seeds, orris root, coriander seeds, lemon peel, angelica root and juniper berries. 

Perfect serve: This gin is made specifically for negronis, so combine with equal parts of Campari and Cocchi Storico Vermouth Di Torino for the perfect serve. 

Buy our ELLC negroni gin here…


Hendrick’s Gin, Scotland

Clean, floral and refreshing, since launching in  2001 Hendrick’s Gin has been the success story that has set the template for modern gin brands to follow,   spearheading a resurgence in the spirit. It can now be found in all bars across the globe, with glasses of Hendrick’s and tonic served with cucumber instead of lemon or lime. We’d recommend that if you don’t like gin or don’t know where to start, this is the place to do so as Hendrick’s is not a juniper-forward gin.

Flavour profile: Floral.

Botanicals: Juniper, rose, cubeb berries, elderflower, chamomile, yarrow, coriander, angelica root, lemon & orange peel, orris root.

Perfect pairing: Classic slice of cucumber, or a twist of lemon peel.

Buy Hendrick’s gin here…

Hendrick’s Gin, Scotland

Recipe: try our rhubarb and rose gin fizz

We’ve given a classic gin fizz an update, swapping orange blossom water for rose water and adding a touch of homemade rhubarb syrup to give it a blush of pink. It’s delicate in flavour and creamy enough to replace dessert, and is bound to impress.

Valentines Cocktail For Gin Fizz With Rhubarb Syrup

Tanqueray No.10, London

Launched in 2000, Tanqueray No. 10 is an exceptionally smooth and fresh tasting gin. It’s handcrafted in small batches using an unique quadruple distillation process, with the heart of the gin created in the affectionately named Tiny Ten still. Using fresh, whole citrus fruits during the process greatly adds to the depth of character inherent in Tanqueray No.10 Gin.

Indisputably a step up in class, this gin is smoother than Tanqueray’s classic offering. It has a full-bodied grapefruit and citrus hit and is recommended by many bartenders as the perfect choice for a martini gin. There’s still plenty of juniper in the mix, as well as a lovely floral note on the nose. The smooth citrus finish and the relatively high strength (47.3% ABV) makes this gin one of the very best on the market.

Flavour profile: Citrus.

Botanicals: Juniper, grapefruit, lime, orange, chamomile flower, coriander, angelica, liquorice root.

Perfect pairing: Wedge of grapefruit or a bay leaf.

Find Tanquery No.10 gin online here…

Tanqueray No.10, London

Two Birds Gin, Market Harborough

Two Birds Spirits is a relatively new craft gin. Its London Dry Gin has a distinct initial mixture of pine-fresh juniper and orris root on the nose. On first taste, the earthy pine backbone prevails, with a touch of sweetness that looms later into a spicy note. The juniper maintains right into the finish, which is very smooth and delicate on the palate.

It’s a great gin for someone looking to start their journey in craft gin, as it’s reminiscent of the bigger names like Gordon’s Export Strength and Beefeater, but with a personality of its own.  Keep an eye out for its recent Old Tom Gin, too.

Flavour profile: Juniper forward.

Botanicals: Juniper, citrus, orris root, coriander and a ‘secret’ ingredient.

Perfect pairing: Wedge of lime or slice of cucumber.

Two Bird's Gin
Two Birds Gin, Market Harborough

Recipe: try making your own clementine, ginger and bay gin

Infuse your own gin with festive flavours, wrap it up nice and give it to a special someone. It’s a unique and thoughtful gift that’s really easy to make.

Christmas Gin Recipe With Clementine, Ginger And Bay on a snow covered table with pine cones and clementine segments

Star of Bombay, Hampshire

Featuring two additional botanicals – Bergamot orange peel from Calabria in southern Italy and Ambrette seed from Ecuador – on top of the 10 botanicals that feature in its flagship gin Bombay Sapphire, Star of Bombay is packaged in a sexy-looking bottle with an amazing amount of detail. It is slightly musty on the nose, with dried flowers and an underlying spice.

Almost strangely, the classic notes of juniper, angelica and coriander have been intensified, but ambrette is immediately apparent. It’s jammy to taste, with piquant spice, bergamot and ambrette seeds offering an exotic twist. It’s an intense gin, but one that also retains the lightness of Bombay. At 47.5% ABV, the finish is both long and richly aromatic, but not oily or full – just rich when it hits and leaves behind a vivid memory.

Flavour profile: Spiced.

Botanicals: Juniper, grains of paradise, coriander seeds, cassia bark, orris root, liquorice, lemon peel, cubeb berries, angelica root, almonds, bergamot peel, ambrette seeds.

Perfect pairing: Wedge of orange.

Get a great deal on Star of Bombay gin here…


Portobello Road Gin, London

Portobello Road Gin has established itself in bars and cabinets alike over the past three years, with its classic flavour and a name that’s reminiscent of an iconic bar.

Designed by the team at Portobello Road and distilled at Thames Distillery nearby, this is a gin that is hard to knock. With its booming juniper, classic coriander seed core and peppery nutmeg finish, it’s a perfect choice for those who like a classic G&T with a wedge of lime. Great price and great design – expect it to be a lot more visible in the next few years, as legions of gin fans discover this modern classic.

Flavour profile: Citrus/spiced.

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, orris root, lemon peel, orange peel, liquorice root, cassia bark, nutmeg.

Perfect pairing: Grapefruit peel and cracked black pepper.

Get a great deal on Portobello Road gin here…

Portobello Road Gin, London

Recipe: try our double lemon, gin and tonic cake

This double lemon, gin and tonic cake combines two of our favourite things. It’s easy to make and sure to please a crowd – a new way to enjoy your G&T.

 

Gin and Tonic Cake Recipe With Lemon

Caorunn Gin, Scotland

Distilled and bottled in Scotland, Caorunn firmly takes on the mantle of a national product. The distillery is situated in the heart of the Cairngorm National Park, at the foot of the Haughs of Cromdale. It’s inspired by the landscape that surrounded them – Simon Buley (one of the distillers) wanted to use the ancient skills and recipes of spirit-making, using age-old Celtic botanicals that grow on the surrounding hills of Balmenach Distillery.

Drunk on its own, the gin is crisp, dry and well-balanced yet still full-bodied. The botanicals jump out in the palate with spices, citrus and floral notes all working well to compliment a dry juniper note that leaves you with a crisp, clean finish.

Flavour profile: Floral.

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander, lemon peel, orange peel, angelica root, cassia bark, rowan berry, heather, dandelion, coul blush apple.

Perfect pairing: A thin wedge of red apple.

Buy Caorunn gin here…

Caorunn Gin, Scotland

Warner Edwards Gin Harrington

Created by best friends Sion Edwards and Tom Warner, Warner Edwards Gin is made in a 200-year-old converted barn in Harrington, Northamptonshire.

Its flagship Harrington Dry is soft on the nose, with warm citrus from the orange peel and piney juniper. There’s a touch of juniper on the nose and a good dose to taste. It’s orange forward gin for sure, but coriander, cardamom and juniper anchor the gin while balancing out the flavour profile. Warner Edwards is a beautifully soft and crazy smooth gin with a sweet and moreish lingering aftertaste. It’s a must try for any gin fan.

Flavour profile: Spiced.

Botanicals: Juniper, cardamom, black pepper, orange peel, coriander.

Perfect pairing: Twist of lemon peel.

You can get Warner Edwards gin here, with tasting notes…

Warner Edwards dry gin

Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin, London

The advantage of having been in the gin making business for generations is that one can always look to the archives to find inspiration from the past. This is very much the case with Hayman’s Royal Dock Gin, as records show that it was supplied to both the Royal Navy and trade from 1863. More precisely, it was delivered to the Royal Dock in Deptford, South London (established in 1513 by Henry VIII) on the River Thames.

The Royal Dock and the surrounding areas were known as one of the largest Navy food and drink headquarters, with London being the largest port in England. Other ports famously made their own Navy Strength Gins, notably Plymouth and Liverpool, but with the Navy’s thirst for gin reputed to be several tens of thousands of barrels a year, the London dock would have been awash with the stuff.

Navy Strength Gins are at 57.5% ABV and as a result, Hayman’s Royal Dock has an aromatic nose with citrus and floral notes, namely orange blossom wafting out as soon as you begin to pour. The mouthfeel is smooth, but also carries an unrivalled botanical intensity of flavour thanks to the higher strength. It’s a classic of the genre and a must-have gin for lovers of this over proof style.

Flavour profile: Juniper forward.

Botanicals: Juniper, citrus, coriander.

Perfect pairing: Wedge of lime.

Here’s where to get the best value Hayman’s gin…


Rock Rose, Scotland

Proving the British craft distilling movement has gone all the way to the Northern tip of Scotland, Rock Rose harnesses their regionality in their gin. One of the few craft distillers to also have a British made still, they vapour-infuse all the botanicals in a steam basket at the neck of their custom made John Dore & Co beauty.

Rock Rose is bright and packed with fruity berries and a delicate astringency. Combined with a beautiful ceramic bottle and a passionate team, this gin is perfect for summer.

Flavour profile: Floral.

Botanicals: Juniper, rose root, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, bilberries, cardamom, coriander seed, verbena.

Perfect pairing: Sprig of rosemary.

Get a great deal on Rock Rose gin here…

Rock Rose, Scotland

Olivier Ward wrote the above, and all the gins he recommends are available from ginfoundry.com


The olive team have chosen plenty more favourite British gins below

Recipe: try our Bramble gin cocktail

This recipe for a classic Bramble cocktail is a great one to have in your repertoire. Invented by Dick Bradsell in the 80s and is now a modern classic.

Bramble gin cocktail

Ophir Oriental Spiced Gin

A well-balanced gin, perfect for colder nights, with exotic, spicy botanicals that make it warming and easy to drink.

Flavour profile: Spiced.

Botanicals: Juniper, cubeb peppers, cumin seeds, coriander, black pepper, orange peel.

Perfect pairing: Slice of fresh ginger.

Buy Opihr gin here

Glass bottle of Ophir gin

Pipe house Earl Grey and Cucumber Gin

Proof that flavoured gins don’t have to be sickly sweet, this small-batch number, made in Tunbridge Wells, is clean and refreshing, with an intriguing vegetal back note. A less flowery alternative to Hendrick’s.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: juniper, angelica, cucumber, earl grey

Perfect pairing: A slice of cucumber

Get Pipehouse gin here…


Lilliput Dorset Gin

Lilliput’s makers wanted to evoke summer on the Dorset coast in this small-batch gin, with botanicals of herbs and fresh-water fermented Kalamata olives. Fragrant with rosemary and thyme on the nose, this is a deeply herbaceous gin with a subtle but distinctive briny twang from the olives, and hints of lime.  

Flavour profile: Herbaceous.

Botanicals: Rosemary, thyme, basil and fresh-water fermented Kalamata olives

Perfect pairing: Sprig of rosemary

Get a great deal on Lilliput gin here…


Silent Pool Gin

A clean juniper-driven spirit that uses an impressive 24 botanicals and fresh spring water from the Albury Estate, where the gin is made. The end result has gentle citrus and perfumed floral notes that make it the perfect summer tipple.

Flavour profile: Floral.

Botanicals: Juniper, chamomile, lavender, citrus, honey.

Perfect pairing: Twist of orange peel.

Buy Silent Pool gin here

Bottle of Silent Pool gin

Porter’s Gin, Aberdeen

Made in Aberdeen, this is a classic gin with bold juniper and bright citrus notes. It’s created using a combination of old and new techniques. Light flavours are extracted from delicate botanicals through cold distillation so as not to damage them with heat, while other more robust ingredients are distilled at one of the UK’s oldest gin distilleries, allowing the unique characteristics of each to shine through.

Flavour profile: Juniper forward.

Botanicals: Juniper, angelica, almond, coriander, liquorice root, lemon, orange, buddha’s hand, pink peppercorn, orris root, cassia bark and cinnamon.

Perfect pairing: Pink peppercorns.

Porter's Gin Bottle
Porter’s Gin, Aberdeen

Victory Gin, London

A peppery gin made with 10 botanicals, this cold-distilled gin is light and fresh with bright notes of orange and anise, warmth from cardamom and black pepper plus a subtle sweetness from liquorice and chestnut.

Flavour profile: Spiced.

Botanicals: Juniper, coriander, liquorice root, angelica, orange, cassia bark, orris root, black pepper, cardamom, chestnut.

Perfect pairing: Twist of orange peel.

Victory gin bottle
Victory Gin, London

Recipe: try our winter-spiced pear gin cocktail

Winter-spiced pear cocktail

Willem Barentsz Premium Gin London

Named after a 16th-century Dutch explorer, this light gin features classic botanicals like juniper and orris root, as well as jasmine, which gives it a beautifully floral nose that’s perfect for this time of year.

Flavour profile: Floral.

Botanicals: Jasmine, junior, coriander seeds, angelica root, orange peel, almond, liquorice, cassia bark, orris root.

Perfect pairing: Twist of orange peel.

Barentsz gin
Willem Barentsz Premium Gin, London 

Sipsmith London Dry Gin, London

You can’t have a list of British gins and not include Sipsmith. In 2009 the first new licence to distill in London since 1820 was granted to Sipsmith Independent Spirits and since then, a raft of new micro-distilleries have followed. This original recipe is bold, complex and aromatic with a floral nose followed by dry juniper and citrus on the palate.

Flavour profile: Juniper forward.

Botanicals: Juniper, angelica root, coriander seed, cassia bark, orris root, ground almond, cinnamon bark, liquorice root, lemon peel, seville orange peel.

Perfect pairing: Wedge of lime, or a few coriander seeds.

Sipsmith London Dry Gin, London


Boatyard Double Gin, Northern Ireland

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but this smooth, juniper- led gin lives up to its classy label. It also has a hint of floral sweetness thanks to the wild sweet gale that’s foraged from Boatyard’s farm in Fermanagh. 

Flavour profile: Juniper led.

Botanicals: Juniper, sweet gale, grains of paradise, angelica, lemon, orris, liquorice root, coriander.

Perfect pairing: Twist of orange peel and juniper berries.

Boatyard Double Gin
Boatyard double gin, Northern Ireland

THE BEST CASK AGED GINS TO TRY

These are our three favourite cask aged gins of the moment…

The Collection oak-aged gin

This stylish juniper-led bottle has an impressive 22 botanicals and the result is a subtle, elegant gin with slight oak, spice and citrus notes, and intriguing hints of aniseed that don’t overwhelm the palate.

Marks & Spencer

The Collection oak-aged gin

Finisterre cask-aged gin

Salcombe Gin has teamed up with sherry maker Bodegas Tradición to create this gin, aged in fino sherry casks. With a perfumed (think CK One, in a good way) citrus scent and subtle salinity, it comes with a bottle of bone-dry Tradición 12-year-old fino sherry from the same barrel the gin was aged in.

salcombegin.com

Finisterre cask-aged gin Salcombe

Durham cask-aged gin

A relatively young brand (it launched in 2014), Durham Distillery produce traditionally made, award-winning small-batch gins (plus vodka, liqueurs and, as of later this year, whisky) in a 400-litre copper still called Lily, named after founder Jon Chadwick’s daughter.  

One of their latest iterations is an ambitious experiment in cask-aging; a limited-edition run that blends gins rested in American bourbon and Spanish oloroso casks for eight months. It’s fragrant, smooth yet complex, with pleasing notes of bitter citrus, subtle oak, honeyed spice and an almost herbaceous aroma and flavour that’s very appealing.

durhamdistillery.co.uk

Cask Aged Gin Tube Bottle Visual 2

Make your own gin

So you like drinking gin? But how about making your own? Award-winning Salcombe Distilling Co boasts a gin school at its Devon home. Best known for its refreshing citrus spirit, the team now has its own classroom, complete with mini copper stills for budding distillers.

Advertisement

After a quick distillery tour (with G&Ts in hand), students are given
 a guide to the hundreds of botanicals on offer (from spicy to floral, herbal to citrussy) and can get creative with their own recipe. It then takes less than an hour to infuse and imbibe the base spirit, giving you plenty of time to choose your gin’s name, and to sample some more Salcombe, before your personal blend is bottled and given a bespoke label. £100 per person or £150 for two. salcombegin.com


We also have a list of the best gin bars in the UK here…

Gin cocktail recipe: try our cucumber gin fizz

Cucumber gin fizz