10 best flavoured gins to stock up on, from marmalade to cloudy lemon
Find a fresh take on the juniper-based spirit in our mouthwatering roundup
Here at IndyBest, we love discovering new flavoured gins. From the fresh and fruity styles to the downright whacky, our favourite brands have been very creative; cleverly combining botanicals, infusing with fresh fruit and macerating with citrus.
In fact, aside from the obligatory juniper which all gin must legally contain, gin actually starts life as a neutral spirit. Therefore, in order to make a gin stand out from the crowd, these added flavours are very important. And while all gin contains botanicals which will impart subtle differences, flavoured gins take it one step further, with decidedly deliberate flavour profiles.
Just as non-flavoured gins can be used in a variety of ways, their flavoured counterparts can be just as versatile. Try adding an unexpected twist to your favourite cocktails, mixing up your regular tonic and adding fresh fruit garnishes to really bring out their star quality.
A simple G&T is undoubtedly one of the easiest cocktails to rustle up and with one of these flavoured varieties, you’re sure to get something extra special with no extra effort.
We were keen to try seasonal styles that utilised real ingredients, sipping our way through nearly 30 new and recently released bottles to bring you our favourites. When testing our gins we were looking for well-balanced, natural flavours, being sure to try both neat and in their suggested serves.
For the purposes of this roundup, we’ve focused on full strength styles (anything with 40 per cent ABV or above), not to be confused with gin liqueurs which are sweetened and contain a much lower alcohol content.
So, with the nation’s love for the humble G&T showing no signs of dying out, we think it’s about time you give the classic cocktail an easy update, with one of our favourite flavoured gins to hit the market.
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Slingsby marmalade gin, 70cl, 40%: £39.99, Spirit of Harrogate
Sweet and fruity, marmalade is the brand spanking new flavour to be released by the Harrogate based distillery. As ever, they combine water from the famous aquifer with locally sourced botanicals and in this case zesty marmalade from Yorkshire. Rich orange citrus and tangy tangerine flavours with a touch of crisp grapefruit make this is a flavour we can see ourselves drinking all year round – in a mulled wine cocktail right now and with Mediterranean tonic water and a twist of orange peel during the summer months.
Manchester Gin blackberry infused, 70cl, 40%: £35, Manchester Gin
With its deep red hue and intense jammy profile, this is an unapologetically autumnal flavour which lends itself well to fruity cocktails. The sixth flavour from the Manchester Gin Distillery, a third of each bottle contains the juice of blackberries alongside their signature botanicals – dandelion and burdock – resulting in a slightly sweet yet full strength gin that still manages to pack a punch at 40 per cent ABV. The brand recommends serving with elderflower tonic water but it’s another flavour that works well in hot winter cocktails too.
Sipsmith orange & cacao gin, 50cl, 40%: £22.50, Ocado
Is there anything more festive than the wonderful pairing of chocolate and orange? While we may be used to finding zesty citrus notes in our spirits, the bitter cacao nibs are an unexpected but welcome twist. Ensuring we don’t forget this is a full-strength gin, juniper has been dialled up a notch, with 50 per cent more added than in its classic London dry. If you’re a fan of the good ol’ Terry’s chocolate orange, this is a must-try – simply served with tonic water and garnish with a slice of fresh orange or mix in a decadent dessert cocktail.
That Boutique-y Gin Company smoked rosemary gin, 50cl, 46%: £29.95, Master of Malt
Proving flavoured gins needn’t be sickly sweet, That Boutique-y Gin Company has created a deliciously aromatic, savoury spirit infused with smoked rosemary. Forget subtle botanicals you need to tune into, we love that this brand always delivers the flavour it promises, and then some. The upfront herbaceous character would lend itself well to a red snapper (aka, the gin bloody mary). Spicy and smoky, cracked black pepper and sweet lemon peel add both complexity and balance.
Warner’s raspberry, 70cl, 40%: £38, Warner’s
Picking up silver in the prestigious Gin Masters flavoured gin 2019 category, Warner’s vibrant raspberry version bursts with foraged British summer fruits. With a third of each bottle containing raspberries, blackberries and hand-picked hedgerow elderflower, a good quality Mediterranean tonic and a sprig of fresh mint is the ideal serve. Sweet and tart like our favourite jam, a percentage of sales going to the People’s Trust for Endangered Species – a charity that protects British hedgerow species.
Lonewolf cloudy lemon gin, 70cl, 40%: £26, Brewdog
From the craft beer Brewdog team comes this intensely citrusy small-batch gin. Sicilian lemon peel is left to soak for a full seven days which gives this it’s sharp, bitter bite. Undeniably heavy on the juniper; grapefruit peel, cardamom, lemongrass, kaffir lime, almonds, coriander, lavender and spicy peppercorn are among the other botanicals vying for attention. Like a boozy cloudy lemonade, we’d imagine it disappearing quickly on a hot summer’s day.
Dockyard strawberry gin, 70cl, 40%: £37, Selfridges
Produced using all-natural British ingredients, including hand picked strawberries from the Garden of England, this new flavoured gin from Kent’s Copper Rivet Distillery is a sweeter take on its naval style. 10 juicy berries make their way into each 50cl bottle, which results in a rich, naturally sweet, creamy and super smooth flavour profile. However, there’s more to this than meets the eye, with juniper, warming spicy cardamom, and liquorice base notes. We’d recommend serving with a good quality tonic, plenty of ice and fresh strawberries to boot.
Penrhos Spirits apple and elderflower gin, 70cl, 40.5%: £32.29, Winebuyers
With tart British apples, floral hedgerow elderflower, sweet blueberries and delicate cherry blossom, this is a decidedly fruity gin with an elegantly perfumed nose. Backed up with a touch of warming pepper on the finish, it’s (perhaps unsurprisingly) the result of two fruit farming families who were looking for new ways to put their produce to good use. It’s definitely our preferred way to go about getting our five a day. With elderflower dominating the glass, we’d team with tonic and garnish with fresh summer berries to transport us to the English countryside in spring.
Chase Pink grapefruit & pomelo gin, 70cl, 40%: £38.50, Chase Distillery
A best-selling flavour for the British brand, we were instantly enamoured with the powerful zesty grapefruit and elegant light pink hue of this gin. Like all spirit’s from Chase Distillery, this utilises the farm’s potatoes for the base spirit, before adding the additional botanicals (in this case juniper, almond, nutmeg, coriander and lemon). Pomelo tends to be sweeter and milder than grapefruit which provides the necessary balance to stop this from being too bitter, without losing any of the power. Garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit and serve with tonic for the ultimate fresh G&T.
Fortnum's English cassis gin, 50cl, 42%: £26.50, Fortnum & Mason
Cassis liqueur is excellent in champagne or other cocktails needing an intense blackcurrant hit but in our opinion, it’s even better in this full-strength gin from Fortnum & Mason. Made with blackcurrants grown on the Welsh border (cassis has until now been a French import), with an underlying liquorice twang, it’s delicious drunk neat or in an extra boozy twist on a kir royal.
The verdict: Flavoured gins
We’re always delighted to try the latest Slingsby release and this hot-off-the-press marmalade flavour has such versatility that it’s well and truly earned its place on our drinks trolley. Mouth-wateringly juicy, delicious hot or cold, we’ll be buying one for us and one to gift this Christmas.
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