Best Craft Gins to try this World Gin Day
A demystifying look at some of the world’s best craft, independent gins, which will make you fall in love with the category once more.
Gin is a category that has exploded over the past decade. With countless new brands popping up every year, it can sometimes be tempting to stick with tried and tested brands, rather than risk trying a new gin that fails to live up to expectations. However, amongst the sea of mediocre new products, there are some truly exceptional small, craft producers that are doing genuinely fantastic things within the world of gin. Here are a few of our favourites…
In 18th-century London, Old Tom gin was a recipe popular among bootleggers. Trying to stem the country’s growing alcohol problem, the British government put heavy taxes on gin. Clever distillers found a way around this. They produced their own heavy juniper gin and signalled its presence with a wooden Tomcat-shaped plaque above the door, along with a slot for coins and a lead tube. Clients would drop their money into the slot, and from the tube would come a shot of gin.
Erika Spirit’s Old Tom Gin is an updated artisanal version of this recipe, made for the craft era. Using the same base as their original Dry Gin, the team then macerate rosemary, tarragon and wild roses, which are added after distillation. These botanicals are sourced locally from the biodiverse Altair garden in the heart of Dordogne, France. To finish off the Old Tom Gin recipe, it is sweetened with home-made acacia honey from their co-founder Paul’s bee farm.
Erika Old Tom Gin is a perfumed golden gin that is full of honey, with a velvety texture holding notes of flower, herb, and pollen. Delicious!
Creators Jérôme and Morgan invented Rétha in order to pay homage to the Île de Ré, and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. Rétha Oceanic Gin is their tribute to the sea. Using wrack seaweed freshly gathered from the shores of the island, they built up a flavour palate designed to reproduce a walk along the beach, breathing in the fresh sea air.
Each ingredient that goes into Rétha Oceanic Gin is distilled separately, using a steam-powered still. In this way, all the flavours stay as sharp and authentic as the original fresh products. The painstaking blending process builds up a balanced flavour palate, in the hopes of best encapsulating the character of the Atlantic. The maritime tones of the seaweed are balanced with notes of juniper berry, ginger, pepper, and lemon, creating a unique and harmonious array of marine notes.
Audemus Umami Gin is named after the fifth sense – savouriness, also known as “salt without the salt”. It’s a wholly original experience, escaping all labels. Its unique flavour profile rests on a base of distilled South Italian capers, combined with a distillation of Italian Parmesan cheese.
The lightly savoury “umami” flavours of Umami Gin are extracted individually during the distillation process, and afterwards the blend is left to rest in an old cognac barrel for several months. The oak adds its own character and personality to the distillate, resulting in a complex, layered, delicate flavour profile. Works wonders in a Bloody Mary or Martini!
Principe de los Apostoles is one of Argentina's first premium gins from one of the world’s most prolific bartenders – Tato Giovannoni. With botanicals coming from the forests of the east and production happening in the mountains of the west, this spirit truly captures the full essence of Argentina.
Having built a global reputation for his mixology skills and cocktail prowess, Tato came home to his native Argentina to merge his love for his country with his passion for spirits. He spent two years creating a special recipe which combines traditional Argentinian mate leaf flavours with a classic craft gin base.
Apóstoles marries South American flavours with high-quality craft gin. Argentinian plants and botanicals are macerated separately, then blended for distillation. The result is a New World gin that has tropical notes of mate, eucalyptus, fig, juniper, coriander, peppermint and pink grapefruit.