Gin & Griddle – Top 5 Gins in 2016

Over Christmas and New Year I posted pictures and mini reviews of the gins I really enjoyed in 2016 to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Some new gins, some not so new, but all great. And here’s the top 5 from that round-up. I hope you enjoy reading, maybe learn about a new Gin and I look forward to your comments – what was your favourite gin? Have I missed your favourite from this list? Inspire me with new gins please!

5. Thomas Dakin Small Batch Gin

The gin inside is very good but there’s something about this bottle! A square bottle inspired by the original 18th century designs with embossed glass, classic but contemporary with the bright red label. Thomas Dakin is a classic, juniper led, london dry gin with 11 Botanicals including Juniper, Orange peel, Grapefruit, Liquorice and red cole. Master Distiller Joanne Moore took the original recipe and developed the new Thomas Dakin Small Batch Gin. A classic gin with a twist, earthiness, a hint of sweet but definitely more savoury, and a warming spiciness to it. Read more here.

4. Brockmans

Brockman’s gin regularly makes ‘best of ‘ lists and for good reason, its a really great gin. Born in 2007, when 4 Gin enthusiasts got together to create a new kind of premium gin. Brockmans is distilled in a 100 year old traditional copper still and made from a recipe of 11 botanicals including Juniper, blueberries, blackberries, cassia bark, liquorice, lemon peel, angelica and almonds. A smooth and well balanced gin that is floral on the nose with the fruitiness of the berries coming, followed by more citrusy notes. There’s a sweet edge to this gin with the berry flavours that come through at different points; although I know that fruitiness may not appeal to all, I really like it. Serve with a slice of grapefruit, tonic and ice. Read more here. 

3. Monkey 47

Monkey 47, a cult gin if ever there was one. From the Black Forest in Germany and made with 47 botanicals and to 47% ABV. This is a botanically complex gin, yet smooth. There’s woody pine, grassy, citrus, some sweetness, spice. You definitely won’t be able to taste all 47 botanicals in there but you can be sure each is adding something to the blend creating this quite unique gin. Monkey 47 is a full and rich gin, with spice, fruit and herb flavours.

Dry and smooth, it makes a great Gin & Tonic; it would also make a very nice martini. And once again, the bottle… so beautiful.

2. Whitley NeilL

This gin is always in my favourites list. It just really appeals to my tastes, with all of that citrus and spice. Launched in 2005, Whitley Neill is a premium London Gin, distilled in small batches in an antique copper pot still. An independent distillery since 1762 with many generations of family heritage, Johnny Neill is the distiller in situ right now and he has created an exotic and wonderful gin blend. What makes this gin, different is summed up in Whitley Neill’s tagline – “Inspired by Africa, Made in England”. Whitley Neill gin contains two African botanicals – Baobab fruit and Cape Gooseberries as well as the more traditional and classic ones –  juniper, coriander, lemon, orange, angelica root, cassia bark and orris root. Again with this gin, I love the bottle – the solid black, bold design makes it really stand out. It’s evocative and inspiring. Read more here and here.

Citrus, a little floral and pepper… on tasting, there’s a spiciness and warmth, then the more traditional gin flavours of citrus and a floral note come forth. The citrus goes quickly while the peppery spice lingers after the initial taste. A smooth, soft and balanced gin that’s quite light but full of interesting flavours and sensations, the zing of the citrus, a hit of coriander spice and the classic juniper.

1. Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin

While some of the earlier order of this list was was more difficult, it’s fair to see this was the easiest decision. Without doubt, my favourite gin in 2016, a new gin, that lived up to any hype. It’s just superb – Gunpowder Irish Gin.

Made by PJ Rigney in the Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim; Connacht’s first distillery in over 100 years. Batch distilled, oriental botanicals including star anise, Angelica root, as well as juniper berries and locally foraged meadowsweet are added to traditional medieval copper pot stills where they soak for 30 minutes ready for the vapour infusion. The vapour infusion is made up of lemons, limes and grapefruit with Gunpowder tea (a Chinese green tea). This is a very fresh and balanced gin, citrus, juniper and spice all in perfect harmony.

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