10 of the best East Anglian gins for Ginuary
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Whether you like your spirits brash with juniper, floral or citrussy, East Anglia’s gin distillers have all bases covered.
Gin was once considered the root of all evil. It was practically outlawed by the infamous Gin Tax of 1751 and driven underground, with Hogarth’s Gin Lane famously depicting the rot and madness the spirit could bring.
Hogarth’s print is most aptly described by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who said: “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
Roll forward a few centuries and gin remains the spirit du jour, and this shows no signs of waning – although we’re more likely to be sipping the drink from a fancy glass with a fancy tonic water and a fancy garnish than causing raucous on the back streets of London these days.
Here are 10 of the best to sample from East Anglia this Ginuary.
Handmade and hand sealed in Norwich, one of the most magnificent things about this gin is its rustic pottery bottle- which you obviously have to keep and use as a vase. The gin itself is excellent for those who don’t like strong juniper overtones. It’s citrusy and a little floral with a heady top note of cardamom – like eating a Swedish bun.
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A London Dry Gin made in batches of just 80 bottles, infusing orris root, American oak chips, coriander seeds, French angelica root, almond powder, Spanish lemon and orange peel, juniper and cardamom. Wonderful with a sliver of orange zest.
Black Shuck Gin
The makers of this gin pride themselves on using local ingredients, incorporating Norfolk lavender with the botanicals of bitter orange, juniper and coriander. The addition of sea buckthorn gives it a Scandinavian twist. If you’re into pink, try the limited edition blush version made with a fresh fruit infusion.
55 Above Orange Gin
Essex-based 55 Above made a name for itself for its small batch artisan vodkas in flavours such as pineapple, but the most recent launch for the brand is a gorgeously bottled Orange Gin.
It’s incredibly zesty, being distilled with tangerine, Seville orange, lemon, coriander, bay leaves and macadamia nuts.
Award-winning John McCarthy distils this London Dry Gin, inspired by the elements of the Suffolk coast, being made with rare and long-forgotten seashore herbs and botanicals, chosen by Oxford educated botanist James Firth. Using East Anglian barley as a base for the spirit, infusions include spignel, rock samphire, wooed avens and bog myrtle.
St Giles Gin
Simon Melton’s travels around the world for work have seen him drink many incantations of his favourite drink (gin obviously). Wanting to bring fantastic gin home, and working with an expert distiller, Simon created St Giles Gin. Smooth and ideal for sipping without tonic, the blend of 11 botanicals includes lemongrass, rose petals and grains of paradise, giving a citrusy, gently peppery floral flavour.
Bullards Norwich Dry Gin
An instant classic, and winner of Best London Dry Gin in the World Gin Awards last year. Nine secret botanicals infuse the spirit, with a heady dose of tonka beans, which impart an almost creamy, smoothness and gentle vanilla flavour to the drink. Try with a dash of vanilla syrup and a twist of lemon peel.
Adnams Copper House Dry Gin
Adnams was rightly proud when its gin was voted the world’s best in 2013. And the awards just keep rolling in for this Southwold-made spirit. Botanicals include a whack of juniper, orris root, coriander, cardamom, orange peel and hibiscus flower, which gives a bittersweet floral finish.
The Tiny Tipple Company Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
Ooh this one’s a juicy little cracker, made by infusing real rhubarb and stem ginger into pure grain spirit. It’s very tasty indeed on its own. Or pair it with your favourite tonic for a long, fruity drink.
DJ Wines Sweet Sloe Gin
A nip of this honeyed aromatic liqueur will keep those winter chills at bay. It’s fantastic alongside a cheeseboard or sloshed in gravy to accompany venison, duck or beef. There’s a dry sloe gin in the artisanal range too.