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CIty Guide

Top 10 Gins To Celebrate International Gin Day This Year

Image Source: Igor Normann / Shutterstock

Invented initially as a medicinal tonic named ‘genever’ by a Dutch chemist in the 16th century, gin has swiftly risen to prominence as one of the globe’s favored spirits.

Renowned for its low calorie count and adaptability in mixed drinks, constantly new elements are introduced to its recipes, embracing everything from jasmine blooms to marine algae, and from kaki fruit to cocoa.

In anticipation of International Gin Day on June 8, we present our ‘innovation map’ showcasing the assortment of botanicals employed by a variety of European spirits producers from disparate nations, with many offering open tours and even gin-crafting classes.

Monkey 47 – Paradise grains

Hailing from Germany’s Black Forest, the distillery known as The Wild Monkey—Black Forest Distillers—claims that their gin features 47 distinct botanicals, hence its moniker. Included in the recipe are paradise grains, sweet almonds, peppermint, Jamaican pepper, elderflower, pomelos, oranges, brambles, cloves, liquorice, sagebrush, acacia blossoms, ginger root, jasmine, rosehips, lemon beebrush, and chamomile. Their retailer, The Bottle Club, characterizes it as having ‘pronounced florals, complex spice undertones, and subtle fruitiness.’ Given its intricacy, it’s advised to enjoy it with carbonated water or neat with ice

An Dúlamán – Marine algae

Blending five types of locally sourced seaweed with six additional herbs, Sliabh Liag Distillers crafted Donegal’s original maritime gin in Ireland’s northwest. It’s bottled at a potent 57% and matured in Rioja barrels. Co-founder Moira Doherty proclaims her product to bear a “rosy metallic tint,” with the Spanish timber imparting “blossomy spice and a citrusy-sweetness akin to Madeira, married with saline undertones, succulent blackberry, anise, and candied zest.” Emblematic of the era of the Spanish Armada, the wax-sealed flasks showcase an elaborate Celtic motif by the skilled illustrator, Sean Fitzgerald.

1777 Gin – Mountain ash berries

Nestled in the tranquil settlement of Tenure amid Ireland’s Boyne Valley, Listoke Distillery & Gin School fabricates a 9-ingredient spirit. Bronagh Conlon, the co-creator, refers to it as “hearty and harmonious, with a prominent flavor,” further elaborating, “the blend of jasmine with fir, karisimbi spice, and mountain ash berries gives an enduring sizzle and warmth.” An alternative concoction is their Cacao & Raspberry Gin, composed of unprocessed cocoa seeds and raspberries, offering fruity tones with a slightly bitter edge. Their label’s owl emblem honors the avians nesting in the vicinity.

Rhuberry gin – Pieplant

The Copeland Distillery lies along Northern Ireland’s northeast passage close to Donaghadee, coming to life five years ago through a successful community funding initiative that rallied 390 pioneers. Stationed on an erstwhile 20-year vacant venue, where once a movie house and a bottling plant stood, this expansive 6,500 square-foot space is mere moments from an age-old dock. Locally sourced pieplant and bramble serve as key elements in their Rhuberry Gin, along with homegrown maritime plants like sea pink from the adjacent Copeland Isles. Their Jones 1778 Navy Strength gin undergoes a maturation of 120 days in bourbon barrels from Kentucky followed by an additional 20 in Oloroso sherry barrels.

Great bustard – Eruca sativa

Just outside Salisbury in England’s southern reaches lies the hamlet of Downton, home to the abode of Sir Walter Raleigh, the famed 16th-century pioneer. His former coach house now accommodates Downton Distillery, opened by Hugh Anderson and recently relocated to Botley Farm, where a 15-botanical gin (including Himalayan timur and Hanyuan pepper) dubbed Explorer’s, in Raleigh’s honor, is produced. Their alliance with conservancy advocates aiming to safeguard the rare bird, the great bustard, lends the gin its name. Intriguingly, four ingredients of this prizewinning spirit, rightfully named Great Bustard, mirror the forage of the avian on the neighboring Salisbury Plain, including eruca, milfoil, alfalfa, and clover.

Bertha’s Revenge – Smyrnium olusatrum 

Ballyvolane House Spirits Company honors a fabled Irish bovine, thought to have been the oldest in existence, with their esteemed boutique ‘milk’ gin. Concocted by comrades Justin Green and Antony Jackson, this spirit marries whey alcohol from area dairy farms with a mix of sweet citrus, cilantro, and fiery smyrnium, together with jeera, clavus, and elaichi for a peppery, silky finale. Residing in Cork, Ballyvolane likewise concocts a slow gin titled Sloe Bertha from berries often gathered on their own estate.

Xin Gin – Khaki

Michelle and Gareth McAllister, having spent considerable time in Asia, sought to amalgamate their appreciation for European and Far Eastern cultures. Their Ahascragh Distillery, nestled in a restored 19th-century milling establishment in Ireland’s western county Galway, delivers Xin gin—the moniker signifies ‘heart’ or ‘sentiments’ in Mandarin. Infused with rose, persimmon, citrus zest, and a medley of Eastern herbs, the duo prides themselves on operating Ireland’s initial zero-emission distillery, abstaining from the use of fossil fuels or gas throughout the manufacturing journey.

Runway 28 – Cocoa

Boutique gin brand Runway 28, established four years prior by aviation industry veterans and life partners, owes its genesis to former flyer Colm O’Dwyer and airline associate, MarieAnn McLoughlin Dwyer. Their project, in tandem with Listoke Distillery, crafts a quintessential ten-ingredient gin blend, packed with juniper, angelica, cilantro seeds, tailed pepper, sumac, meridian fennel, and more. Another variety celebrates ‘Women in Aviation’ with a ‘Chocolate and Raspberry’ motif. Inaugurated in 2020, the designation draws from a notable airstrip in Dublin.

Thin Gin – Crataegus

Overlooking the city hall in Waterford, a city in the south-east of Ireland, a charming Georgian edifice exists, recognized as the original site where the Irish tricolor was raised. Presently, this site houses Anchor Spirits, which distills an invigorating gin known as Thin Gin. Named for Isacc Thin, a man celebrated for bringing his robust homemade liquor to soirées in the 1920s, this spirit encompasses apple, bitter buttons, Roman camomile, hawthorn, and garden mint, exclaiming it’s “sparked by antiquated Irish recipes, sagas, individuals and locales that were never meant to be forgotten.”

Arctic Blue Gin – Whortleberries 

Artisan distillers Asko Ryynänen and Jaakko Sorsa at Arctic Blue Beverages in the quaint town of Ilomantsi in Finland’s east, have meticulously created a fragrant gin spotlighting whortleberries as its hallmark ingredient. The Bottle Club, a retailer, depicts it as “crisp, heartwarming, interspersed with juniper, woods-borne berries, and gentle elaichi tones alongside a trace of pine.” Cultivated in the hushed forest territory, the berries marry with conifer scents and seasonings, creating a clouded alabaster visual upon merging with tonic water.

Image Source: Igor Normann / Shutterstock

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