Some of the gins featured below were kindly gifted. Article contains affiliate links.
What a year 2020 was. And what resilience, generosity and determination distillers have demonstrated; adapting events to online experiences, turning their hand to sanitiser production and continuing to not only make our favourite spirit, but create new ones too! Unsurprisingly, most of last year’s releases were line extensions rather than new brands, but my goodness, there were some crackers in there. So, without further ado, here are my top ten of 2020.
Finally; a quiet month. As you all know, the last few months have been pretty crazy. And for all we know the next few months might be crazy too. But August, for me at least, was pretty quiet. And thank goodness for that. I was able to enjoy the family holiday we booked back in February despite everything and, for better or worse, even Instagram refused to work in Portugal giving me a proper break from my blogger duties! That did mean a little more work to pull this together of course but I think it was worth it…
I thought maybe I’d have a rest after #GinADayMay but I forgot about Virtua-Palooza. And World Gin Day. And National Martini Day. And one or four virtual tours… suffice to say June has been another busy boozy month!
2019 was yet another remarkable year for gin, which is predicted to overtake vodka as the UK’s biggest-selling spirit a mere ten years since Sipsmith, the instigators of the craft gin revolution, were granted the licence that opened the floodgates. And, with flavoured gin seeing 300% growth year on year (compared to gin’s modest 11%) – and WSTA playing catch-up with a new category definition – those floodgates are well and truly open. But amongst all that there was also innovation (in the ready-to-drink and low-alcohol markets), environmentalism (with Greensand Ridge leading from the front), fun to be had (who can forget #GinADayMay?!) and some really, really cracking gins. So, after much consideration, here are my favourites:
November’s been a bit of a funny month for me, dominated by some big life choices I’ve decided to make. Thankfully my good pals in the gin industry have kept me well lubricated to help me face what may come so, as we hurtle relentlessly towards Christmas, let’s pause to take a little look back at what November had to offer.
Provenance is undoubtedly popular these days – after all who doesn’t like the feelgood factor of buying something local? – but, like anything that matters, it’s not easy to get right. There’s confusion about names (my friend up north is forever confusing Slingsby and Harrogate gins); there’s the all-important matter of honesty and authenticity (it recently transpired Snowdonia Gin is actually made over the border in Warrington); and then, to really mean something, provenance needs to go beyond the name to the product itself. It’s not just what the gin is called and where it’s made that matters, but also what it’s made of and why. Provenance is about stories and people, botanicals and landscapes. And to do provenance properly it all needs to connect with that community.