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  • Gin’s in the Air this Spring

    You’d have to live on the moon not to have noticed the renaissance gin is having globally. Not since the 1700s, when a gin still could be found in every fourth house in London, has this complex, imaginative spirit been so popular, with a raft of new and re-established distilleries creating both odes to tradition and bold new expressions of this most versatile of spirits. Here are 17 of our favourite gins for the year ahead.

     

    The Boutique-y Gin Company, Hernö - Batch 1

    Part of a launch series of – get this – 11 gins from Swedish distillers The Boutique-y Gin Company, Hernö – Batch 1 is a true gin for connoisseurs. Small batch, to a classic London dry recipe, this limited-release super-silky spirit comes with the added botanicals of red rose petals, as well as meadowsweet and lingon berry, with the primary distillate then blended with the distillery’s juniper cask gin to give a luxurious depth.   www.hernogin.com 

    Generous Gin

    Dressed in a super sexy bottle that marries the traditions of east and west, Generous Gin is produced in Cognac by French artisanal distillers Creative Spirits and is now available in Asia. A gin that’s remarkably floral and naturally sweet, Generous is presented in a porcelain-styled bottle as if the Emperors of China had been hiding away a few bottles for a rainy day. This striking design, combined with citrus-forward spirit with touches of pepper and summer fruits, creates a beautiful balance for an unashamedly contemporary gin. Try mixing Generous with elderflower, seasonal fruits and good tonic water to bring out the rich, zesty profile. www.generousgin.com

     

    Warwick Rustic GinDistilled from New York corn and produced at Warwick Valley winery, New York state’s first distillery since prohibition as part of the city’s spirit renaissance, award-winning Warwick Rustic Gin employs fresh lime, lemon, juniper, coriander, angelica root and star anise to create a beautifully-balanced and confidently modern spirit. Crystal clear with a blend of citrus and juniper notes backed by a hint of anise and bitterness from the lime, gin lovers should expect a touch of spice and a smooth coriander finish in a gin that lends itself as much to a classic martini as it does a range of innovative seasonal concoctions. www.wvwinery.com

     

    Brockman’s Intensely Smooth Premium GinFor a gin to remember, Brockman’s Intensely Smooth Premium Gin is a beautifully-made modern spirit that adds a touch of daring to gin cocktails in time for summer. With a unique combination of botanicals that includes Bulgarian coriander, bitter sweet Murcian orange peel, ripe blueberries and blackberries, almonds and orris, as well as juniper from Tuscany, Brockmans is made with a steeping distillation process, conducted in antique copper stills, that ensures a bold yet supple finish quite unlike any other gin. Look for touches of strawberry, hibiscus and raspberry on the nose, followed by gingerbread and angelica, and a distinct, robust sweetness to the finish. Oh, and the black and red bottle is pretty eye catching too! http://brockmansgin.com

     

     

    Portobello Road No 17

    If you’re travelling to merry old London town and like your gin, you’ll want to look out for Portobello Road No 17, the only London Dry Gin in the premium category to win the top ranking ‘Master’ accolade in last year’s Global Gin Masters competition. A championship-level craft spirit and homage to London’s gin distilling heritage, Portobello Road features an unashamedly juniper-heavy profile, with touches of bitter citrus and hints of sweet liquorice that lends itself perfectly to long gin cocktails under the summer sun. Created by award-winning Notting Hill bar Portobello Star, home to London’s own Ginsitute, Portobello uses traditional botanicals and spices to create a traditional gin with a clean, modern presentation. Expect fresh citrus and lime on the nose, with touches of spice, and a clean palate with instant freshness. Each bottle comes individually numbered and signed by the proprietors. www.portobelloroadgin.com

     

     

    Jensen’s GinClean, fresh and modern, Jensen’s Gin is an unashamedly contemporary gin that still has its roots in London’s distilling heritage. Founded by Christian Jensen, the creative Danish character behind Bermondsey Gin, this elegant spirit is also distilled in Bermondsey, London, in small batches that pay homage to the vintage gins of distilleries past. Using traditional London Dry Gin botanicals to an original recipe, Jensen’s is a recreation of the classic gin style, with its delicate floral and citrus notes, that gave birth to the dry martini, as well as a host of other timeless concoctions. Produced by Dr Anne Brock, one of the few female gin distillers, Jensen’s lends itself to robust gin cocktails, while its sibling Old Tom is for truly nostalgic connoisseurs. www.bermondseygin.com

     

    Givinity ginFor a truly luxurious expression of the London Dry Gin distilling renaissance, look out for new Givinity, a handcrafted spirit from Cambridgeshire that upholds the proud British legacy of distilling to perfection. Boasting a beautifully-curated collection of nine botanicals, including staples like juniper, coriander and angelica, as well as Szechuan peppers, mandarin zest, rose petals and raspberries, each of which is infused from its natural essence (unlike the liquid flavourings and additives found in many other gins), Givinity is distilled in small batches and presented in a crystal decanter with 11-carat gold printing and topped with a gold-plated stopper. Look out for this savvy new spirit in Europe’s top cocktail bars. www.givinitygin.com

     

    Sipsmith VJOP 2015 - no backgroundGin is a delightfully playful and complex spirit that’s perfect for drinks across the cocktail spectrum. Ginophiles Sipsmith has created a spirit for true gin connoisseurs with their Sipsmith V.J.O.P. (Very Junipery Over Proof) gin. A robust yet surprisingly elegant spirit, VJOP brings the prime ingredient of gin – juniper – to the forefront. Made with the brand’s mainstay gin, but with the juniper dial turned to 11, expect a hefty spirit kick thanks to a 57.7% ABV bottling, with touches of junipery pine and cedarwood and hints of zesty orange on the nose, followed by big juniper notes, plenty of spice and a long dry finish. This is a drink for real gin lovers, and for those looking for a martini or negroni with plenty of nostalgia. www.sipsmith.com

     

    Arbikie Kirsty’s GinScotland is making serious headway in the non-whiskey categories, including artisanal gins like Arbikie Kirsty’s Gin, produced by a farm-to- bottle distillery from the Arbikie Highland estate of the Stirling family, fourth-generation Angus farmers who nurture the potato crops used to make this unique spirit. The producers of Scotland’s first potato vodka, the gin, named for Arbikie’s master distiller Kirsty Black, has a traditional juniper base, with three traditional Scottish botanicals, kelp, carline thistle and blackberries (all of which grow wild in the Angus area). The gin is made from Arbikie’s award-winning potato vodka giving the gin an extra smooth and refined taste of depth and character. www.arbikie.com 
    BLOOM GinAnother springtime gin that needs to be on your home bar is Bloom. One of the controversial, less juniper-forward gins, Bloom is produced in the second largest gin distillery in Britain and is triple-distilled using honeysuckle, pomelo and chamomile, in addition to the more ‘standard’ botanicals of juniper, angelica and cubeb berries. This means you can expect a suitably light and fresh note with floral touches, making it an ideal sipping gin, especially as it’s a comparatively sweet spirit. A touch of dilution helps bring out the flavours. Alternatively, add seasonal flare to your Negroni or Tom Collins. www.bloomgin.com

     

    Opihr Oriental Spiced GinFor a gin that’s not afraid to be different, try Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin. Bottled at 40% ABV, this unassuming but unashamedly modern gin has already developed a firm fan base among drinkers looking for something a little different. Inspired by the ancient Spice Road that joined Europe with the Far East, the gin is crafted with exotic hand-picked botanticals, including spicy cubeb berries from Indonesia, black pepper from India, and coriander from Morocco. The botanicals in Opihr Gin make the journey to England, where they are married with fine English spirit to produce an exotic, oriental-spiced gin that’s citrusy on the nose and offers a refreshing finish with a touch of spice. www.opihr.com

    Greenall’s GinAnother fresh-faced London-style gin that comes with plenty of tradition, Greenall’s Gin is made in the oldest gin distillery in the UK, one which dates back to 1761. The result is a pleasing, understudied gin with hints of its extensive botanicals, which include juniper, coriander, cassia, orange and lemon peel. Ideally suited for a martini, Greenall’s Gin boasts a subtle flavour profile, which makes it an ideal entry-level gin for cocktails under the summer sun.www.greenallsgin.com

     

     

    Berkeley Square ginIn a world where more and more bartenders and consumers are appreciating the beautiful complexities of gin, Berkeley Square gin brings 250 years of dedication and expertise to bear as it creates the ‘single malt of gins’. A timeless spirit made with hand-picked botanicals like sage, lavender, kaffir lime leaves and basil, and then produced in the traditional style since 1761, this complex yet refined spirit is then presented in an eye-catching Art Deco-esque emerald bottle at 46% ABV that thrusts the spirit into today’s top drinking circles. Expect a rich nose with balanced citrus fruit and a round juniper finish. www.berkeleysquaregin.com

     

    The King of SoHo ginWith an eye-catching bottle and a complex flavour profile, The King of SoHo gin is the latest to bolster London’s gin-making renaissance. Created by Howard Raymond, whose father Paul was known as the King of SoHo because of his influence on SoHo’s creative music scene, this gin boasts a vibrant juniper nose and subtle coriander behind the heady burn of a typical 42% ABV London Dry style spirit. On the palate, there is a touch of sweetness and citrus, with spice and grapefruit on a lingering finish that makes it perfect for the likes of a gin-laced spring punch. www.kingofsohodrinks.com

    Edinburgh GinAnother drop from Scotland’s growing gin following, Edinburgh Gin is distilled with classic gin botanicals in a revival of the Scottish gin boom of the 1700s, when its namesake city was the epicenter of gin distillation. Created by the Spencerfield Spirit Company, Edinburgh Gin features locally-grown juniper, coriander, citrus peel, angelica, and orris root, as well as a few more Scottish touches, including pine, heather, and milk thistle. The spirit is then bottled at 43% ABV to ensure a mellow yet floral result. Look for a crisp, clean nose with touches of juniper, with the freshness of pine following through to a lingering, slightly creamy finish. www.spencerfieldspirit.com

     

    Elephant-ginElephant Gin is another artisanal spirit produced in the UK, but in addition to being a smooth, luxurious spirit, the brand also supports its African namesake. This award-winning handcrafted London Dry Gin style is bottled at 45% ABV to ensure plenty of character, and is made with a carefully selected collection of ingredients that capture the essence of Africa, including the savannah’s ‘superfruit’, Baobab, the extraordinary Buchu plant, with a flavor similar to blackcurrant, and African wormwood. Locally sourced spring water, fresh apples, and other select ingredients enhance the purity and smoothness of the gin’s finish. In addition, you can sip easy in the knowledge that the company contributes 15 percent of all profits to the Space for Elephants Foundation and the Big Life Foundation to support the preservation of the African wildlife. www.elephant-gin.com

     

    japanese-ginThe first of its kind in the world, Japanese Gin, by the Cambridge Distillery, is a marriage of London and Tokyo, with the traditions of juniper and gin meeting a range of exclusively Japanese botanicals. Ingredients like sesame, yuzu peel, shiso, cucumber, and sansho pepper give this unique drop a fantastic, floral, and complex flavour profile that’s perfect for spring pitcher cocktails and punches. Only 50 liters of this luxurious spirit is made in each batch, with distilling taking place in Cambridge. Each beautiful bottle is silk-screen printed by hand, ensuring that Japanese Gin is as much a style addition to any home wet bar as it is an ingredient in your favourite gin cocktail. www.cambridgedistillery.co.uk

    Nick Walton
    Nick Walton

    A regular traveller, photographer and adventurer, Nick Walton is managing editor of Men with Style Asia, as well as a series of leading travel and lifestyle titles, based in Hong Kong

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