Gin’s more popular than ever! Here are our thoughts on the industry…
If you’ve been anywhere near a bar in the last two years you’ll have noticed the explosive growth of gin in the UK. Almost every licensed venue in the country has started to catch on, stocking a greater variety artisan gins and offering more and more interesting ways to drink it than in your standard gin and tonic with a slice of lemon.
According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association 49 gin distilleries opened in the UK in 2015, up 50% on 2014 and 296% on 2010. In shops across Britain we spend £400 million on gin, a growth of 10% on the year before.
And pubs and bars are selling more than ever before, which an incredibly £500 million worth sold in 2015. In 2016, gin will become a billion pound industry just in terms of domestic sales.
Exports are also astronomical – the world wants UK gin, with international sales worth £1.76 billion.
Gin has traditionally been seen as a drink for the over 40s but research by Mintel says differently. Over 40% of people in the UK aged 18-34 have drunk gin in the past year, which compares to 27% for the over 45s.
There are plenty of theories for why all this has happened. They ranged from a move away from nightclub culture, where vodka is king, to early evening parties and meals out. It may also be related to the growth of better quality mixers such as Fever Tree, which have helped change the drink’s image.
How is gin made?
Some sort of high proof (around 96% ABC) neutral spirit, which is produced from an agricultural product such as grain or corn, is the base for all gin.
From there, it is redistilled and infused with the flavour of ‘botanicals’ in a pot still. Predominantly, the flavour we all recognise as gin comes from juniper berries but distillers use a wide range of botanicals to create interesting flavours and aromas. These can include coriander, orange peel, lemon peel, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and much more.
Our favourite gins
We’re big fans of gin and at Thackeray’s, Pearson’s Arms and The Windmill we’ve steadily increased our selection over the past year or so. We now have 8 or more different gins available in every venue, and like to experiment with different ways to drink it. Please don’t hesitate to ask at the bar – we’ll gladly give a recommendation.
For now, here we have picked out a gin from each venue…
Thackeray’s – Burleigh’s London Dry Gin
Distilled using 11 botanicals including dandelion, elderberries and silver birch, Burleigh’s is an incredibly balanced, fresh and smooth gin with wonderfully English aromas.
It works fantastically in a traditional gin and tonic with a little orange zest or even a little fresh grapefruit.
Pearson’s Arms – Gin Mare
Gin Mare is an experimental gin that offers a broad, interesting array of flavours including herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary as well as the usual juniper notes and a hint of olive. It’s a Spanish gin, and the citrus elements come from Spanish oranges and lemons.
Paolo at Pearson’s Arms recommends it with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic.
Monkey 47 is a quirky gin from Germany that gets its name from the 47 botanicals used in making it (including cranberries, giving it a unique flavour) as well as its ABV or 47%.
It won Gold in the World Spirits Awards in 2011, and for good reason. On the nose it smells of the Black Forest where it hails from – woody, grassy notes. In the mouth it’s an unusual, robust taste with plenty of fruity, citrus flavours.
Will at the Windmill likes to garnish it with a little orange, cloves ad juniper.