The making of gin has seen a tremendous resurgence since 2009 when the production rules were relaxed. The UK alone now has more than 500 distilleries, up from 140 a few years ago. Distilleries large and small produce gin today from all over the world. Gins are no longer only juniper based but can include myriad botanicals, with one brand using as many as 74 different botanicals.
With so many great new gins out there, you may not even know that you’re missing out on having a much better gin that is sitting right in front of you on that shelf.
At the prestigious 2020 London Spirits Competition, experienced judges have tasted their way through gins from 65 different countries to suss out the very best. The best among them is Barossa Distilling’s Barrel-Aged gin which was awarded the Gin of the Year at the 2020 London Spirits Competition scoring a whopping 94 points.
In picture: Barossa Distilling’s Barrel-Aged gin which was awarded the Gin of the Year at the 2020 London Spirits Competition
Barossa Distilling Barrel Aged Gin: Australia has seen a sharp rise in the number of gin distilleries in the past few years. Today, over a hundred distilleries in the country produce gin. The best among them is Barossa Distilling’s Barrel-Aged gin which was awarded the Gin of the Year at the 2020 London Spirits Competition scoring a whopping 94 points. Aged for eight months, it delivers flavours of rich caramel, toffee, and hints of fruitcake. The finish is long and reassuring, a trademark of all Barossa Distilling products and it can be hand with a dash of ginger and fresh lime. A very limited, single barrel-aged gin and the only double award-winning gin at the competition.
Petoskey Stone Gin: The best New American style gin on show, the first set of Petoskey Stone Gin was released in February 2018. Named after the Michigan region the distillery calls home the Petoskey Stone Gin is a delightful combination of juniper seeds and lavender. The makers wanted to stray away from the typical gin while making this one and that decision definitely shows in the quality of their product.
QVT London Dry Gin: Unapologetically ‘Provencal’, the QVT London Dry Gin contains coriander, citrus and lavender. The initial taste is that of juniper seeds, but the other ingredients slowly give way. The thought behind making this one was to give drinkers an expression of Provencal sunsets and the cafes that light up the area where the distillery is based. French artistry shines through every sip of this gin.
Miss Yoko (Lychee Infused): The unmistakable smell of lychee dominates the nose along with vanilla and baking spices. The suppressed fragrances of juniper and citrus then come into play as the finish is rounded up by a lingering lychee flavour. A refined lychee martini or your favourite fruit cocktail are drink options. It is a gin you do not want to miss. The bonus to this gold-medal winning gin is how perfect its bottle looks. Finish the gin and hold on to the bottle for your display cabinet!
Little Lon Distilling Co., Source Facebook
Hill Billy Red: Coming closer to home and the country with the largest gin distilleries (by some distance) in the world. The Hill Billy Red from Black Mountains Botanicals is a delightful infusion of apple juice and premium organic alcohol. Twelve botanicals including hill cardamom, angelica, orange, and lemon, complete this London Dry Gin. You can enjoy the flavourful Hill Billy Red simply with tonic water or ice and a slight garnish.
Black Mountain Botanicals, Source Website
Skyline Gin: The second of the two American-distilled gins on the winners’ list is the Skyline Gin from Stark Spirits Craft Distillery. A smooth, refreshing spirit to wind up your day, the Skyline gin was inspired by the sunset view at the Stark Distillery. The nose has hints of spiced chai and black pepper while the palate consists of fennel, cumin, citrus, and coriander. There is a touch of heat and lingering spice at the finish of the Skyline gin.
DryCat Nut Gin: The highest scoring spirit from Brazil in the competition. Defined as a tour of sensations that only Brazilian nuts can provide, this traditional spirit contains floral, woody notes. Rested in Brazilian nuts cask, this is a pretty exclusively made gin that you are unlikely to find at any other distillery except DryCat. It is infused with camera woods (also referred to as Brazilian Teak) and is rested in Chestnut barrels. A distinctly flavorful gin!
Barrel-Aged Gin: Matured for about a year in a Stauning rye whiskey barrel, the Barrel-Aged Gin contains notes of vanilla, caramel, oak and a hint of smoke. This London Dry gin has rosehips, sea buckthorn, mare straw and heather that give it its complex base. Great gin to have as is, with tonic water or in combination with a ginger beer. Along with cookies, you can add this gin to the list of things to love from Denmark.
Sheep’s Eye Gin: Ten botanicals, each selected in a way that they complement each other, Sheep’s Eye Gin is a truly unique blend. The nose is soft and floral. The palate is led by traditional juniper notes and followed by hints of pepper, thyme and basil. It is one of those new-age gins that have come to the market over the past few years and changed the gin making game. Keep an eye on Sheep’s Eye gin and grab it the moment you get a chance.
The judging process at the London Spirits Competition is meticulous and leaves distilleries with no scope for error. A combination of quality, value for money and attractive packaging is what swings the judges in the gins favour. These gins impressed the judges, each a heavyweight of the drinks industry on all three fronts and were awarded gold medals.
With the guesswork out of the way, pick out any of these gins for your home bar or your G&T on your next night out and know that you’re drinking only but the best.