Gin’s popularity doesn’t seem to be waning. There’s barely a bar in town that’s yet to embrace the craze for the juniper spirit, and it’s thanks in part to a whole host of clever crafters bringing gin-distilling right back to its London roots. So to help make your next G&T as good as it can be, we assembled a panel of ginthusiasts to taste (neat – yikes!) and rate a glorious range of craft gins being distilled right here in the city.
The best gins in London
A dry gin that failed to make a massive impact when in among the other gins. That’s thanks to a mild, mellow blend of botanicals with nothing really screaming ‘GIN!’. It has a light, sweet finish, though, which suggests it’s best saved for cocktail time.
Great for: as bold a gin cocktail as you can dream up.
www.masterofmalt.com, £34.95 (50cl)
There was a real struggle identifying the unique flavour to this gin, throwing the panel off completely with its use of black tea and bergamot. If you’re after some complexity with your drinking, head for Half Hitch, a gin signifying the return of distilling to Camden Lock.
Great for: a fruity cocktail. Orange flavours will work great with that bergamot.
www.halfhitch.london, £39.95 (70cl)
Woody and citrusy botanicals shine in this London Dry distilled in Park Royal near North Acton. It didn’t soar like the eagle on the bottle, but the bold flavour and spicy aftertaste was admired across the board.
Great for: G&Ts with just a splash of tonic and a squeeze of grapefruit.
www.bimberdistillery.co.uk, £35.35 (70cl)
We taste-tested two of SW4’s (can you guess where it’s distilled?) London dry gins, and the Batch 47 (with the stronger ABV) won out. Its beautiful, perfumey aromas make it good enough to wear. But neck it instead, to experience its refreshing clean flavour. Traditional but modern all at once.
Great for: appreciating neat, as a bracing aperitif.
www.masterofmalt.com, £30.95 (70cl)
‘This gin tastes like London’, said one reviewer. Top of the class and cheers to you, because it’s from City of London Distillery. They even have their own crest on the ruddy bottle – does it get much more London than that? It tastes like a classic and slips down so smoothly, with heavy citrus and light liquorice tones shimmying across the palate.
Great for: none of that lime nonsense! Sweep your glass with lemon and top with tonic.
www.cityoflondondistillery.com, £35 (70cl)
The panel was quick to note that this gin is heavy on the juniper, earning it a resounding thumbs-up. The Chiswick distillers par excellence dial up the botanicals in their ‘Very Junipery Over Proof’. The group were split by the strength, though – at almost 60 percent alcohol it’s the most potent in the pack. Dilute it accordingly, or prepare to get emotional.
Great for: a navy-strength negroni.
www.thewhiskeyexchange.com, £39.95 (70cl)
‘Nice in the old mouth’, apparently. Can you tell this was sampled later on in the taste test? When the panel learned that juniper used in the drink had been picked on Box Hill and mint from the Kingston riverside, they went even more loopy. It’s a lovely story, and a lovely, easy-going flavour.
Great for: a dirty martini that’s actually quite wholesome.
www.beckettsgin.co.uk, £31.50 (70cl)
Delicate spice and sweetness hang in the balance of this green-tinged tipple that leaves a lasting clove-like flavour. It’s lemongrass and cardamom that make it so unique, added in infusion bags to a gin base for 18 hours along with a handful of Victorian-inspired ingredients. Imagine rooting around an apothecary shop and you get the idea.
Great for: a cucumber-garnished aperitif.
www.butlersgin.co.uk, £20 (50cl)
The nose is strong on this one, so our tasters were pleasantly surprised by a fiery but particularly balanced flavour from the famed Notting Hill producer. It’s a traditional London dry style that lets the juniper shine above all else.
Great for: a robust martini or a cracking red snapper.
www.portobelloroadgin.com, £25 (70cl)
There’s a distinct sweetness to this dangerously smooth, sippable number and the beautiful aroma of orange and spices on the nose. It’s like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange in gin form (sort of). What’s so cold about it? The distillation process, which allows the botanicals to shine through. We can actually tell.
Great for: A negroni with depth and intrigue, you classy bastard.
www.victorygin.co.uk, £34.50 (70cl)
Discover more gin in London
A decade ago, vodka was hip and drinking gin marked you out as fatally uncool. Now vodka’s star has waned while gin’s has soared to the highest heights of hipsterdom. Here's our pick of the best gin distilleries in London giving drinkers access all areas.
Scores of gin distilleries have been cropping up across the UK in recent years, with a new class of drink artisans helping re-popularise what was once the preserve of Dickensian down-and-outers. So where are the best places to procure a G&T in town? Here’s our list of the best gin bars in London.
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