My Top Gins of 2019

There’s not a day goes by where I don’t get asked for a gin recommendation. But it’s so difficult as there isn’t generally speaking a “one size fits all” gin. It can be really subjective. One person will rave about a certain brand and others will dislike it. So there are often a few questions you have to ask in order to discover what should be a good match for someone.

Do you like tradition London Dry style gins?
What gins have you tried and what have you thought about them?
Do you have a favourite gin?
Do you like citrus/floral/earthy/spicy?
Are you up for something totally different?
Do you prefer sweet or flavoured gins?

These questions can be matched to the flavour profiles of lots of gins. For instance, if someone loves citrus I immediately go to Martin Millar. If someone likes spice then it’s Pickering 1947 I’d recommend (or Opihir if they like harder spicing). Flavoured gins then you can’t go wrong with Warner Edwards.

Below I have made my recommendations for my favourites of the year and a little about them to let you see if they would be for you.

These are some gins that I think most people would enjoy.

Top Easy Drinking Gins

Sipsmith London Dry Gin:
Traditional flavour, rounded juniper, nice bite, fresh and zesty. £23 from Tesco at the moment.

Harris Gin:
Soft and sweet. Famous for a reason. Infused with sugar kelp it has a distinct flavour and you can’t deny the bottle is beautiful with their distillery coordinates on the paper seal. £37 direct from the distillery.

First founded in the USA before entering Europe this brand is now owned by Campari Group. It’s bold branding does nothing to convey the Asian botanicals and complex flavours. This is a gin that I really enjoy, it is refreshing and bold in juniper flavour yet so underestimated. Can be found at Tesco for £15.

Pickering 1947 Gin:
Spicy and sweet Bombay style gin. Fragrant and warming it is a big hitting gin and very moreish. The guys at Pickering are so proud of their gin and a visit to this distillery in Edinburgh is a must. £29.95 direct from Pickering.

Hills And Harbour Gin:
Crafty Distillery created this as a gin to be drunk.  They wanted it to be easy drinking and have more than succeeded. The noble fir and bladderwrack seaweed give this a unique profile. More more more! £40 direct from Crafty Distillery. (Also the epitome of craft gin, check their story out).

The following are my Top 6 Craft Gins that each provide more than just a drink, they have a story and the teams behind them all are amazing. If you like a bit of provenance to your drinking experience then these hit the button.

My Top 6 Winning Gins

Mackintosh Gin:
Jim,Debs and their lovely family make this more than just a product. Distilled in Angus they have created a brand that has a big following. Passion pours out of them and they are happy to discuss all aspects of their product.  The drink itself is complex, juniper forward and so refreshing with citrus. £37 direct from Mackintosh – Debs does a little dance every time an order goes through!

Shetland Reel Original
Apple mint makes this gin so bright and crisp. So unique but still that lush juniper that reminds you why you started drinking gin. It really sings and is amazing in a Negroni. I keep finding something new to like about this gin it is so complex.  £34 direct.

Kintyre Botanical Gin
Sustainable production using renewable energy makes this a forward thinking gin. The team behind Kintyre are informed and the whole concept down to bottle design and other products are well thought out. This gin is delicate and traditional in its flavours and I think that’s the beauty. £36 direct.

Pothecary Trinity Gin:
Juniper bang straight away. This gin is both warm from the spicing but apple crisp and fresh. A delight in the mouth.  These guys know what they are doing. They wrote the book on restraint. Less is more as this gin brand prove. £45.95 from Master of Malt.

Silent Pool:
Fresh and floral this gin is so well balanced. I get amazing citrus all the way through and beyond the tasting. Delicate yet bold. £37 direct – their website hosts an array on goodies to buy!

Garden Shed Gin:
Firmly a favourite for me it is complex and earthy. You get some floral lavender along with the juniper then a depth from the blackberries. Deliciously smooth. They also give a percentage of their profits to charity so if you like to feel good as you sip then check them out!  £38.95 from Craft 56.

These last gins aren’t yet household names, but they can more than hold their own against some of the big brands.

My Top 4 To Try.

Cotswold Dry Gin:
Robust and complex. Unique flavours that have you wracking the corners of your mind to work out the botanicals – angelica, bay laurel, black pepper, cardamom, coriander, grapefruit, juniper, lavender and lime! £34.95 direct.

Avva Scottish Gin:
Hailing from Elgin, Avva Gin is showing why Speyside is about more than just Whisky. Bitter citrus, crisp and fresh yet floral and moreish. You can buy small 20cl bottles for £15 direct from Avva.

Lussa Gin:
The folks at Lussa in Jura say they are not only gin lovers but gin adventurers. Tasting this gin you can totally get that. Zesty lemon and bold juniper but deeper flavours making your tongue work. A small 20cl bottle is £17.50 direct.

Graveney Organic Gin:
I wrote about this gin not long ago you can check out my full review here – Graveney Gin. Definitely one to check out next year. £20 for a 250ml bottle direct.

So, I hope this has been helpful to you and I cannot wait to explore further in 2020!!  This year has been fantastic for Sipping and Styling! I have enjoyed getting to know so many people in the drink industry but most of all I have really enjoyed the chats with people who are drinking gin and interact with me week to week.  Much love to you all and wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

As always my thoughts are my own and although I was initially gifted a few samples and bottles of the mentioned gins I have gone on to purchase them all and all those pictured above are my own.