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A bottle of Fishers gin on a pebbly beach

Best UK gins

Published: September 2, 2021 at 3:24 pm
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From using native botanicals to being inspired by local history, explore the vibrant British gins that celebrate a sense of place

The gin boom in recent years has seen gin distilleries spring up the length and breadth of the British Isles, and it's likely that wherever you go in the UK you'll discover a locally made gin, often using botanicals and ingredients from the surrounding area, whether that's wheat grown on Salisbury plain, Yorkshire gooseberries or foraged sea vegetables in Suffolk. Here are some of the best gins that make the most of where they come from.

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Want to discover more unique gins? Try our favourite Scottish gins, Welsh gins and flavoured gins, or travel the world from your home with our unusual international gins. Looking to really impress fellow gin lovers? Bring the bar to your home with our best drinks trolley ideas, and buy from one of our favourite online bottle shops.


Our favourite UK gins to try

Norfolk: Bullards Coastal Gin, £38.95, Master of Malt

Inspired by the Norfolk coastline, this is the gin equivalent to a fresh sea breeze, with a subtle salty, savoury profile and complex notes of sea vegetables, citrus and fennel. We were also impressed with their eco-friendly refill service, which offers 700ml pouches of gin to top bottles back up (and you can post the pouch back to Bullards free of charge for recycling).

Flavour profile: herbaceous

Botanicals: juniper, sea purslane, marsh samphire, sea aster, Douglas fir

Perfect pairing: Try in a dirty martini, with a couple of raw oysters alongside.

Buy it now

A bottle of Bullards Coastal Gin

Suffolk: Fishers Gin, £41.75/70cl, Master of Malt

This unusual gin features a host of rare botanicals foraged on the Suffolk coast. Herbaceous and subtly saline on the nose (we were reminded of sea vegetables), it’s slightly sweeter to taste, with aromatic cardamom notes.

Flavour profile: herbaceous

Botanicals: spignel, rock samphire, wood avens and bog myrtle

Perfect pairing: try it in a dirty martini

Buy it now

A bottle of Fishers gin on a pebbly beach

Yorkshire: Slingsby Gooseberry Gin, £30, Amazon

Slingsby’s rhubarb gin was a hit at olive HQ and now the Yorkshire distillery has released another tart and zesty winner. Here, tangily fruity gooseberries (also sourced in Yorkshire) marry perfectly with the citrussy notes of the base gin.

Flavour profile: citrus

Botanicals: severn sea rosemary, silver posie thyme, green and jasmine tea, citrus thyme, garden thyme, rhubarb, sage, lovage, chervil, nettle, sweet cicely, rose hip, angelica, cassia, orris root, coriander, liquorice, grapefruit and juniper

Perfect pairing: the gin’s creamy mouthfeel means it would be lovely sipped neat with ice, or try topping up with some sparkling white wine for a spring-like spritz

Buy it now

Slingsby Gin

Lanarkshire: Biggar Gin, £35.63/70cl, Master of Malt

This award-winning small-batch gin uses botanicals local to the Scottish town of Biggar, where it’s made. As to be expected from a London dry gin it’s got plenty of juniper character, as well as vibrant orange notes, subtle herbaceousness and spice, and a restrained sweetness. It’s also super smooth to drink, with a lingering finish.

Flavour profile: juniper

Botanicals: rowan berry, rosehip, nettle, pink peppercorns, coriander seed, cardamom pods, lavender cassia bark, orris root

Perfect pairing: tonic and a few pink peppercorns

Buy it now

 

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Devon: Salcombe Start Point London Dry Gin, £40.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

The Start Point lighthouse in Salcombe marked the beginning of the voyages of the 19th-century fruit schooners that carried exotic goods from the Azores and Mediterranean to the UK. This produce inspired this super-smooth London dry gin's flavour. 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 red grapefruit

Buy it now

Salcombe Gin

Wiltshire: Ramsbury Gin, £33.50/70cl, Waitrose Cellar

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: tonic and a twist of orange peel

Buy it now

Ramsbury Gin

Cornwall: Tarquin's Gin, £32.50/70cl, Amazon

Featuring 12 botanicals sourced across the globe as well as locally along the Cornish coast, this 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. Floral notes from Devon violets 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

Buy it now

Tarquins gin bottle and a glass of gin and tonic on a beach with blue water in background

Cambridge: Three Seasons Gin, £90/70cl, Cambridge Distillery

We've come to expect great things from the Cambridge Distillery and their latest release doesn't disappoint. Designed to evoke the changing seasons of an English country garden, this is a botanical powerhouse of a gin. Featuring local and seasonal ingredients of lemon verbena, blackcurrant leaf and rose, it's fresh yet richly floral, with herbaceous citrus notes, hints of dark fruits and a complex, evocative finish. Yes, it's priced on the steep side, but with a beautiful bottle it would make a special gift for a gin lover. The more budget conscious should try their excellent Cambridge Dry Gin, at £39.99.

Flavour profile: floral and citrus

Botanicals: Lemon verbena, rose, blackcurrant leaf

Perfect pairing: we think this richly complex gin would shine in a dry martini.

A bottle of Cambridge Distillery Three Seasons Gin

The Cairgngorms, Caorunn Gin, £28/70cl, Tesco

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: tonic and thin wedge of red apple

Buy it now

Caorunn Gin, Scotland

Thurso: Rock Rose, £32/70cl, Amazon

Proving the British craft distilling movement has gone all the way to the northern tip of Scotland, Rock Rose harnesses its regionality in its gin, using local and regional botanicals such sea buckthorn and rhodiola rosea for a bright gin packed with fruity berries and a delicate astringency.

Flavour profile: floral

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

Perfect pairing: tonic and a sprig of rosemary

Buy it now

Rock Rose Gin Scottish Gin

Surry: Silent Pool Gin, £37.75/70cl, Master of Malt

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: tonic and a twist of orange peel

Buy it now

Bottle of Silent Pool gin

Wales: Aber Falls Small Batch, £23.85/70cl, Amazon

Piney juniper and lavender are surprise best pals in this subtly floral number that showcases Welsh-inspired botanicals, with peppery notes adding to its complexity. One for those who prefer sweeter gins.

Flavour profile: floral

Botanicals: lavender, rowan berries, black pepper, juniper, angelica and liquorice

Perfect pairing: tonic and a slice of cucumber

Buy it now

Aber Falls Welsh Gin

London: Sipsmith London Dry Gin, £29.95/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

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. A modern London dry gin that pays tribute to its city heritage.

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: tonic and a wedge of lime, or a few coriander seeds

Buy it now

Sipsmith London Dry Gin Bottle

Northern Ireland: Boatyard Double Gin, £33.95/70cl, Master of Malt

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: tonic and a twist of orange peel and juniper berries

Buy it now

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Boatyard Double Gin

Make your own gin

So you like drinking gin? But how about making your own?

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

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