1. Bertha’s Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin
While there are a few gins I really loved this year, the no. 1 spot was locked in early on, easily my favourite gin of 2017, Bertha’s Revenge Small Batch Irish Milk Gin. Justin Green and Antony Jackson established the Ballyvolane House Spirits Company in May 2015 with the distillery located on the grounds of Ballyvolane House in Co. Cork. Bertha, or ‘Big Bertha’ as she was known, was a famous cow from Co. Kerry who died in 1993 at the grand old age of 48.
Using whey alcohol from local dairy farms, together with natural well water and locally foraged and grown botanicals including orange, grapefruit, liquorice, orris, angelica, cardamom, cloves, cumin, almond. On the nose, lots of juniper, with the spice coming through, notes of cardamon and cumin, and then the citrus – lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit. A smooth and complex gin, a perfect blend of sweetness, herbs and pepper. Citrus flavours at first followed by strong spice flavours with the cardamom coming to the fore, making it quite different to other gins, it’s warming and almost creamy. Enjoy a Bertha’s Revenge Gin & Tonic, with a garnish of orange peel!
2. Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin
Guided by Geraldine Kavanagh from Wicklow Wild Foods, local botanicals, berries and fruit are foraged from Glenadalough and Wicklow to make Glendalough Distillery’s Wild Botanical Gin. They invested a lot of time to get the Wild Botanical Gin right, to give the sense and flavour of all the seasons, in order as you smell and taste.
Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin brings you through the seasons with fresh Spring notes of pine, juniper and citrus. It’s smooth and mellow at first, through to Summer floral and Autumn fruits and then leads into wintery warm spice. A long and balanced gin, fresh with just enough spice to linger after.
A premium gin at a great price point, in a busy marketplace of sometimes over priced spirits, this stands out.
They recommend garnishes of Mint & Orange or Basil & pink Grapefruit – both work very well and make for a very enjoyable Gin and tonic.
3. Monkey 47
Monkey 47, a cult gin with a massive following. From the Black Forest in Germany, made with 47 botanicals and to 47% ABV (hence the name). This is a botanically complex gin, smooth with woody pine, grassy, citrus, some sweetness and 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 the bottle is beautiful too.
Read more about German Gins including Monkey on Gin & Griddle.
4. Mór Irish Gin
An Irish gin that has been getting a lot of well deserved love in the last year – Mór Irish Gin. They released a limited edition bottle for Pride which I was delighted to add to my collection.
Mór is a handcrafted small batch distilled gin produced at the Arderin Distillery. Mór Irish gin’s botanicals include juniper, angelica, coriander, rosemary, honeysuckle and berries. It’s the berries – blackberries, raspberries and cranberries – that are the signature botanicals in this gin. Fresh and crisp, Mór is one of the best new craft distillery gins I’ve tried recently. It’s a standout gin, full of flavour.
Mór makes a great gin and tonic but choose your garnishes well. Raspberries, strawberries or blackberries, with a sprig of rosemary or basil, ice and a good tonic water. Their recommended serve is lime and raspberry.
5. Drumshanbo Gunpowder 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. and it makes for a perfect G&T with a chilli garnish.