However can we sing the praises of a glass of gin enough? Whether you love a Gimlet, a G&T or a classic Negroni, the possibilities are endless - and that's why, a whole millenium after gin first came to be, it's still the most popular drink at the party.
And let's not forget that Martinis, James Bond's favourite drink, are made with gin. Satirist H. L. Mencken once called the Martini "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet", which, poem-lovers as we are, we would have to agree with.
We've rounded up ten of the most exciting, memorable and hot-off-the-press gins available to drink in the world today. Enjoy!
Launching in the UK this very weekend, Spanish Santamania is brand new to our shores, and is a quirky, tasty gin with notes of raspberry and a zesty, citrus feel. With a wine base, the gin has a hint of spice and a subdued juniper tone, making it an unusual but authentic gin experience. Plus, don’t you want to be the first of all your friends to try it out?
Best with: For the ultimate Spanish vibes serve in a G&T, ideally in a Copa glass with plenty of ice.
Buy it: £32.95, Gin Foundry
This premium gin uses demineralised fresh spring water and is infused with botanicals like chamomile, honeysuckle and pomelo, evoking a feeling of being in a beautiful, floral spring garden – but there’s still the juniper, angelica and coriander you’d expect to keep it tasting like a London dry. Plus, the feminine, floral bottle would go down a treat in our drinks cabinet. For those experimental gin drinkers, Bloom's other offerings, including Bloom Strawberry Cup, Bloom G&T and Bloom Gin & Rose Lemonade, are sure to hit the spot.
Best with: Bloom tastes marvellous with strawberries, as they bring out its floral flavours. Chop up some strawberries, add them to your glass with some ice and tonic water, pour your Bloom gin over the top, mix well - and enjoy.
Buy it: £25, Waitrose
Created by Howard Raymond as a tribute to his father Paul, the original “King of Soho”, this is a family gin that we can all get behind. Quadruple distilled, the gin is made with twelve different botanicals, and combines sweetness, citrus and earthiness, but with a hint of grapefruit bitterness to leave you with a taste to remember.
Best with: A simple tonic and a slice of grapefruit to really let the gin do the talking.
Buy it: £34.95, The Spirit Cellar
Boodles professes to be unique in its heritage and history as an entirely and quintessentially British gin, and it’s certainly unique in its flavours, too, as it contains no citrus, obtaining its flavour instead from nine botanicals: sage, rosemary, coriander, nutmeg, angelica root and seed, cassia bark and caraway. The gin has understated notes of juniper, and offers a clean, crisp taste with no real burn.
Best with: According to those in the know, this gin works a treat with a generous helping of Fever-Tree tonic water.
Buy it: £20, Sainsbury’s
This is a delicious gin with an international outlook, with its botanical roots originating from four different countries: the arbequina olive from Spain, the thyme from Greece, the basil from Italy and the rosemary sourced from Turkey. Evoking the Mediterranean, the drink contains notes of juniper, balanced with aromatic tomato plants and olives.
Best with: The word from the experts is that Gin Mare works best blended – simply mix almond milk, agave syrup, fresh lime juice and basil leaves with the gin in a blender and add ice for a delicious summery drink.
Buy it: £38.35, Waitrose
We’d buy this gin purely for how sleek the bottle looks, so it’s an added bonus that it tastes excellent, too – light, creamy and easy to drink, but exotic, with a blend of distinct flavours including Moroccan coriander, Chinese liquorice and Spanish almonds. It’s a gin for gin lovers, that’s for sure.
Best with: Bulldog Gin works nicely as a dirty drink - just mix with olive juice and serve in a martini glass for a classic kick.
Buy it: £23, Waitrose
Developed lovingly and painstakingly in Yorkshire by a husband and wife duo, Masons is distilled in 200 litre batches, and drinking it feels like a personal experience, with each bottle bearing its own batch and bottle number handwritten by the couple. With juniper, citrus elements and just the right blend of secret botanicals, Masons is a unique craft gin that is worth trying out – if only so you can try to guess all its mystical ingredients.
Best with: Tomato juice, Tabasco and Yorkshire Sauce, the juice of a whole lemon, and some pepper for a real kick.
Buy it: £45, National Railway Museum Shop
Created in 2013 in Australia, Four Pillars is a modern gin that combines elements from around the globe - Asian spice, Mediterranean citrus and native Australian botanicals – for a unique, refreshing taste. The company says they “didn’t want to make another London Dry Gin but we couldn’t ignore juniper” – so instead, they approached it from the standpoint that “the juniper is the canvas and the other botanicals paint the picture”. With juniper berries, coriander seeds, cardamom pods, Tasmanian pepperberry leaf, cinnamon, lavender, angelica, star anise, lemon myrtle and frsh oranges, it’s a colourful picture indeed.
Best with: Campari, Red Cocchi Vermouth De Torino and a slice of orange, mixed together with ice in a lovely glass.
Buy it: £34.95, The Fine Wine Company
Gin Lane 1751 is an exciting new product which launches this month, and celebrates the Victorian gin-making era with classic bold juniper, hints of liquorice and citrus botanicals including orris root, Seville oranges, cassia bark and coriander. Drinking it is treating yourself to a slice of history, too – the product has been named to mark an important historical landmark on the Gin timeline - the Gin Act 1751, which banned the sale of gin in prisons, the workhouse and any shops selling everyday staples. Gin became less available and more expensive, with its quality improving significantly - by the Victorian era, it had become a respectable, sought-after drink, and one that we still love today.
Best with: Tonic, lemon and ice for a classic drink.
Buy it: £26.99, Selfridges
The only gin created by two women, Brighton Gin uses organic British grain alcohol, subtle notes of juniper and a touch of spice to create a gentle, approachable gin, perfect for those who like the odd martini or two, but who’ve never dared to pour themselves one on the rocks before. The botanicals include angelica, lime and fresh orange, and also milk thistle, which is well-known as a liver-cleanser – so you can tell yourself you are detoxing when you sip on your gin (whether that's true is another matter).
Best with: Brighton Gin works excellently as a martini or on its own – our personal favourite is neat, over ice, with a little segment of orange or lime.
Buy it: £42.95, Gerry’s Wine and Spirits