Olive Magazine
Best British Gins

Best British gins

Published: May 27, 2022 at 11:54 am
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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

Explore our favourite British gins, then read our round ups of Scottish gins,Welsh gins and international gins.

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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 there, often using botanicals and ingredients from the surrounding area, whether that's wheat grown on the Salisbury plains, Yorkshire gooseberries or foraged sea vegetables in Suffolk. Here's a taste of some of the best gins that make the most of where they come from. NEED TO ADD LOCAL HISTORY BIT

Best British gins

Bullards Coastal Gin, £40, bullardsspirits.co.uk

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 blue bottle of Bullards Coastal Gin

Cambridge Distillery Three Seasons Gin, £90/70cl, cambridgedistillery.co.uk

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 garden, this is a botanical powerhouse of a gin. Featuring 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

Slingsby Gooseberry Gin, Yorkshire, £36.95/70cl, Master of Malt

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 – 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.

Slingsby Gin

Warner's London Dry Gin, £28.25/70cl, The Whisky Exchange

A rich and full-bodied London dry gin made using lemon verbena, lavender and angelica root grown on the distillery's own farm, as well as discarded lemon peel from a local fruit factory. It's vibrant with bold juniper and zesty flavours, with a subtly spicy edge.

Flavour profile: Juniper and citrus

Botanicals: Lemon verbena, angelica root, lavender, lemon peel, coriander, elderflower, cinnamon, almond, nutmeg, juniper

Perfect pairing: tonic and a wedge of orange

A bottle of Warner's Dry Gin

Biggar Gin, £36/70cl, biggargin.com

This award-winning gin, made in batches of just 140 bottles at a time, 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.

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

Perfect pairing: tonic and a few pink peppercorns.

Biggar Gin Scottish Gin

Ramsbury Gin, Wiltshire, £35/70cl

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.

Bottle of Ramsbury gin

Fishers Gin, Suffolk, £40/70cl, fishersgin.com

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

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Perfect pairing: try it in a dirty martini.

A bottle of Fishers gin on a pebbly beach

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