Some of the gins featured were kindly gifted. Article contains affiliate links.
This year’s top ten strikes me as rather different to my last six, with notably fewer new releases, so it seems as good a time as ever to clarify how I’ve gone about choosing these gins over the years. It goes without saying they need to be exceptional (in my personal opinion!) but beyond that the only other (self-imposed) rule is that gins can only feature in my top ten once. Ideally they are gins I know well (which, more often than not, means I have a bottle in my collection) but they don’t have to be new releases; just new(ish) to me. So, with that (hopefully) cleared up, and without further ado, here are the top ten gins I enjoyed last year (and a few honourable mentions too)…
Relaunched in grand style and a stunning new bottle last year, I was lucky enough to pick up this 2011 edition at an event but am told the recipe hasn’t changed at all. Crown Jewel contains the same nine botanicals as the original Beefeater Gin (which I also love and offers incredible value for money) with the addition of grapefruit, and is bottled at a bold 50% ABV. Super citrussy and refreshing, this is a truly fantastic gin that, from the moment I tasted it, I knew was destined to make my top ten this year. But I’m double delighted you can all get your hands on it now too!
Serve in a Martini with a lemon twist.
1l 50% ABV. 2022 edition £55.75 from Master of Malt
Presented in a bottle inspired by the style of vessel used to hold jenever, and decorated with a traditional Indonesian ‘Ikat’ pattern, Bobby’s combines Dutch courage and Indonesian spice with a botanical bill including fennel seeds, rosehips, cloves, lemongrass and cubeb peppers. The enticing and aromatic nose is rich with oily citrus and notes of cinnamon and cardamom. To taste, this is a herbaceous and spiced gin offering bright lemongrass alongside heavy cloves with a long, smooth, peppery finish.
Serve in a gin and tonic, Negroni or The American.
70cl 42% ABV £31.90 from Master of Malt [Gifted]
Crossbill 200 Single Specimen Dry Gin 2021
Made using only the berries from one 200-year-old Highland juniper bush and locally foraged rosehip, Scotland’s Crossbill 200 also embraces the natural variation between each vintage. Bottled at still-strength, rich resinous pine is tempered by soft floral notes and a fruity jamminess. It may be a little on the pricey side but Crossbill 200 is definitely one to savour.
Sip slowly with a cube of ice to enjoy its luscious mouthfeel.
50cl 59.8% ABV. 2022 edition £90 from Crossbill Distilling [Press sample]
Distilled with over three times more juniper than the original Height of Arrows Gin released in the summer of 2021, Bright is made to a multi-shot London Dry method which further concentrates the flavours of everyone’s favourite botanical. With rich, oily juniper and heightened citrus, the way the gin louches when mixed may divide opinion but I think Bright is brilliant!
Serve in a Martini or Gimlet.
70cl 48% ABV £37.99 from Holyrood Distillery [Gifted]
Gordon’s Gin Traveller’s Edition
If I’m honest I never expected to see Gordon’s make my top ten, but then I’d clearly never tried their Traveller’s Edition before. I first came across this while judging for the Global Spirits Masters where it won a Master Medal, and was lucky enough to take home a bottle (a lovely little perk of the job!). A true classic, with lots of juniper alongside some citrus and spice, you simply can’t go wrong with this edition.
Serve with tonic, ice and a slice.
1l 47.3% ABV. £32.75 from Master of Malt with a reduced ABV of 37.5%
A contemporary dry gin with a twist, the three classic and five Japanese botanicals are individually vacuum-distilled and then blended with a splash of distilled sake. Featuring bright notes of yuzu and a spiced finish from sansho pepper, 135° East is a beautifully balanced and truly tasty gin.
Serve with tonic, orange bitters and yuzu peel or in a Longitude Line.
70cl 42% ABV £34.50 from Master of Malt [Gifted]
I couldn’t resist visiting the Welsh Sisters‘ delightful shop when I was on holiday in New Quay last year and, although I enjoyed trying their full range, it was Morwyn who stole my heart. Featuring pink peppercorn, grapefruit, sage, gorse, and Earl Grey tea this gently spiced and subtly sweet gin is wonderfully well balanced and a very worthy addition to my collection.
Serve with Indian tonic water or in a Blackberry Bramble .
50cl 40% ABV £37.50 from Welsh Sisters
A truly modern gin produced using not one, not two, but three different methods – including vacuum distillation and supercritical extraction – Hepple Gin is deceptively classic on the palate. Featuring unripe juniper, Douglas fir, blackcurrant leaves and lovage freshly picked from their remote Northumberland estate – alongside juniper and other botanicals from around the world – Hepple Gin is truly exquisite. On the nose there is pleasingly dry, peppery juniper, with a touch of subtle citrus. To taste it’s full of rich, herbaceous, piney juniper, with slightly sweet – almost sherbet – lemon and a crack of black pepper on the long, smooth finish.
Enjoy in a Gibson Martini or any classic cocktail.
70cl 45% ABV £38 from Hepple Spirits [Gifted]
Broken Hill Outback Strength Gin
Recently awarded Gold in the World Gin Awards, Broken Hill’s Outback Strength Gin features Australian botanicals alongside fresh orange and ginger, and is gently rested in Chardonnay barrels prior to bottling at a mighty 60% ABV. Light gold in colour, its delicate nose belies its bold palate which, nonetheless, handles the high ABV with ease.
Serve in a Gimlet or classic gin highball.
70cl 60% ABV $95 from Broken Hill Distillery (Aus only)
A multi-award winning gin I’ve long loved, but never before owned, Hernö Old Tom Gin is made using the same botanicals as their Dry Gin, but with a greater amount of meadowsweet as well as touch of sugar added post-distillation. Super smooth and utterly delicious, it also boasts one of the cutest labels ever!
Serve in a Tom Collins.
50cl 43% ABV £34.45 from Master of Malt
So there we have it, my favourite gins of 2022! Although honourable mentions should also go to Cambridge Distillery’s £2,500 Watenshi which I was lucky enough to sample on my visit to The Gin Archive (and would undoubtedly deserve a place in my top ten were it not for that rather hefty price tag!), Citadelle’s savoury Vive Le Cornichon, and Bathtub Gin Grapefruit and Rosemary, which I knocked back so quickly I didn’t have any left to evaluate for this exercise!
How many of my top ten have your tried, which are now on your wish list and what others would make your top ten? Let me know below, or check out my Top Tens from previous years for more inspiration.
Epic line-up. Gordon’s alive!
Pingback: February Gin Monthly | Gin A Ding Ding
All great choices! The ‘Hernö’ is deffinitely one that i would have featured too.
Great to hear and thanks for getting in touch.