February may be the shortest month but with lots of new gin releases, and plenty of booze news, there’s loads to catch up with. And, because February 29th doesn’t really exist, I’m publishing my gin monthly a day early. You can use your extra day to read it!
“Man Shocks Nation By Admitting He Doesn’t Like Gin” sounds like a headline worthy of The Daily Mash but actually it was Jay Rayner’s pretty unimaginative (if not also fairly uninformed) rant in The Guardian. But (like the best clickbait) his column still got everyone talking…!
More worthy of discussion is the World Gin Awards 2020 results in which we saw some really well known winners alongside a fair few – I’m not too ashamed to admit – I’ve never even heard of! This year there is no overall World’s Best Gin, but below you can find the full list of taste winners for your perusal. Congratulations also to Twisted Nose who won World’s Best Bottle Design, and to Desmond Payne, Mr Beefeater himself, who was inducted into the Gin Hall of Fame!
- World’s Best Classic Gin: Bergslagens Organic Gin (Sweden)
- World’s Best Compound Gin: Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin (England)
- World’s Best Contemporary Style Gin: Sky Wave Gin (England)
- World’s Best Flavoured Gin: Marylebone Orange & Geranium Gin (England)
- World’s Best Genever: Gospel Spirits Barrel Aged Piet Honingh Genever (Netherlands)
- World’s Best London Dry Gin: Cruxland Gin (South Africa)
- World’s Best Matured Gin: Lubuski Aged Gin (Poland)
- World’s Best Navy Gin: Hout Bay Harbour Navy Strength Gin (South Africa)
- World’s Best Old Tom Gin: Basilisk Old Tom Gin (Switzerland)
- World’s Best Signature Botanical: Copper Republic African Dry Gin (South Africa)
- World’s Best Sloe Gin: Hayman’s Spiced Sloe (England)
Finally, in sadder news, Chapel Down has closed its King’s Cross gin distillery and bar after just a year of trading, stating they couldn’t get the scale of traffic they needed to make it profitable. I had a lovely evening there late last year but, while the upstairs restaurant was quiet, the downstairs bar was entirely empty so I can’t say this comes as a big surprise. Gin definitely works but, sadly, the Gin Works didn’t.
New Gin Alerts
There’s been a whole load of new gin releases from some of the big distilleries this month including Silent Pool‘s Rose Expression (only available in independent shops), Martin Miller’s first ever seasonal variant Summerful Gin (on sale from May to September), Tanqueray No. Ten Citrus Heart (currently only available from travel retail), Hernö x Four Pillars’ second collaboration Botany Bay, and Hendrick’s Lunar Gin.
However, the one that has really caught my eye is Arbikie’s “Climate Positive” Nàdar Gin. Created following five years of research by master distiller and PhD student, Kirsty Black, Nàdar Gin goes beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions to create a positive environmental benefit. Using a base spirit made from peas – which improve soil quality by taking nitrogen out of the air and fixing it in the ground – Arbikie eliminated the use of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser, thereby avoiding any negative impact on waterways, air and soil. Better still, the leftover pea protein and spent yeast create a waste product (known as pot ale) which is used to feed animals. With a negative carbon footprint of -1.54kg of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per 700ml bottle, this is a gin you can definitely feel good about. Featuring locally grown lemongrass and citrus leaf, and described as silky and smooth, it promises to taste pretty good too!
My Month in Gin
With the exception of a lovely half-term trip to Scotland (where I got to savour a little Seven Crofts and Lind & Lime) it’s been a fairly quiet month for me. I did get to enjoy a fruity little Valentine’s cocktail courtesy of The Ice Co. and Silent Pool though, and – in the spirit of Galentine’s – I even made mini mocktails for my little ladies! If you fancy giving it a whirl the recipe is below.
1 handful The Ice Co. Premium Ice
50ml Silent Pool Gin
25ml lime juice
15ml rhubarb syrup
15ml Merlet Crème de Fraise des Bois
Sparkling apple juice
Add ice and ingredients to a highball glass and top up with sparkling apple juice. Stir well, garnish with a strawberry and spoil your special someone.
Welcome to My Collection
Thank you to Silent Pool and welcome to Wye Valley Gin who I must praise for sending their bottle in 100% cardboard recyclable packaging with not a piece of plastic in sight!
Catching Up and Looking Forward
Recently I, and a host of other experts, spoke to The Gin Magazine to discuss what lies ahead for gin in 2020; catch up with all our thoughts here. Next month I’m really looking forward to joining The Gin Guide Awards 2020 judging panel and also attending Gin Live London once again. If you haven’t been before, check out my review from last year here. See you next time for mega March! 🍸🛎🛎