I saw something recently that said if you’re one of those people that thinks they don’t like gin, it’s probably because you’ve had a bad G&T with a substandard tonic. And it’s so true. For years I was firmly on the vodka and coke train, the idea of gin knocked me sick.
Then at some point (to be precise a slightly questionable student garden party in Cambridge), I had gin & lemonade and realised I could actually drink the stuff, and from there my education began.
It’s safe to say I’ve now joined the rest of my household in being a big gin fan – in light of it being World Gin Day, here’s a couple of my current favourite gins for the summer weather, and how best to garnish them.
You can get most of these gins & tonics in your local supermarket, but I’ll add a link at the bottom of this article to my Amazon List so you can shop them online.
Just The Tonic
Before I kick off with the spirits themselves, let me emphasise how important the tonic is. Along with the garnish, it really can make or break it. I don’t really consider myself a massive brand snob with most food and drinks, and I’m perfectly happy with Aldi’s own fizzy pop most of the time. But you’ve just got to do some things properly.
We’ve always got some nice basic Schweppes in the fridge, the others I’d recommend are Fever-Tree (especially the Mediterranean) and Fentimans. I’ve also recently been introduced to Lamb & Watt – all these brands do a range of flavours, some go better with some gins and garnishes than others. Play around, find what you like and go from there.
Larios Rose 🍓
I’m kicking the list off with a bit of a Spanish flavour, purely because my parents have just got back from Madrid bringing a fresh bottle of Larios Rose back with them! It’s nice and fruity – serve it with a nice tonic and some frozen raspberries and strawberries to make you feel fancy!
Whitley Neill 🍋
I was very excited to have been given some Whitley Neill miniatures at the Halewood International event I attended the other night at Alma De Cuba. I actually haven’t tried their original gin yet, I was introduced to them at a gin festival I went to last year – they do a Rhubarb & Ginger Gin that is incredible mixed with Ginger Ale. These two are new to me – the official website recommends you serve the Raspberry Gin with lemon and raspberries, and the Blood Orange Gin with a slice of orange (crazy, I know!)
You can never go wrong with a Hendricks – when I first started drinking G&T’s I was at a bar in Manchester and mentioned to the barman that I didn’t really know the difference between gins – what followed was a several hours long education that if I’m honest, I don’t remember much of #drinkresponsiblykids.
Anyway, this was one of the first ‘classier’ gins I tried – you’ve got to do this one with cucumber for the perfect serve -and then eat it after! 🍸
Manchester Gin 🐝
This one’s a Northern beauty – the 12 botanicals in it include Dandelion & Burdock Root. Plus I’m a bit of a packaging nerd so I love the foiled design with the iconic Manchester Bee. Manchester Gin have four spirits to choose from but I’ve only had the original so far – try it with a slice of orange and a bit of fresh rosemary for the best serve!
Liverpool Gin 🍉
I don’t have a pretty garden picture for this one because we’ve run out, so thanks to Liverpool Gin for sending this picture over! I’m finishing this blog off with this other Northern gem from my nearest city, basically because I think it might be my favourite gin ever. If you’re ever struggling to get me a birthday present, now you know!
They’ve got an Original one which they recommend you serve with Watermelon, but I reckon it’s nice with a slice of orange. They’ve also got a heavenly Valencian Orange gin – now that one they do recommend you serve with oranges! I’ve also heard whisperings of a Rose Petal gin that I’m going to have to track down.
Where to stock up
You can get most of these in your local supermarkets, but I’ve put together a list on Amazon for you to shop from, plus there’s some fun little bits on there that make great presents, or if you just fancy treating yourself. Full disclosure, it’s an affiliate link, so while there’s no extra cost for you I get a very small percentage towards my blogging and gin habit!
Need more of a gin education?
Not sure where to start on your journey to loving a good G&T? Or just want to try something new without committing to a full bottle? Well good news – the UK’s original touring Gin Festival is heading back to Liverpool this July. The Lutyens Crypt will play host to the Festival, which brings with it over 100 gins, cocktails and masterclasses from industry experts!
Tickets are on sale now, and your entry includes your own copa glass (because you need a proper glass for the perfect serve!) and a pocket brochure which will be your bible to guide you through the choice available. There’s going to be all sorts on offer, from small craft distilleries with local botanicals, to some really contemporary gins with fantastical flavours.
I’ve been to these events before and they’re always a lot of fun – you’ll get your gins served in the best way as well – the mixers on offer this year include the new Schweppes 1783 premium range. So you’ll be getting some great quality G&T’s are from just £5 each, with cocktails are £10.
Get your tickets online at GinFestival.com before they all sell out!