First used in the middle ages as a herbal medicine, and initially distilled from Jenever. Gin is a Dutch liquor that became popular in Britain while King William III was on the throne (1689-1702). With the increase in independent distilleries, British small-batch gin has become more popular than ever.
Take a look the next time you are in your local bar. Observe the massive selection of gin. There are brands and varieties from all over the world made from every ingredient imaginable.
Let’s take a look at 9 of the small-batch British gins currently available.
Cuckoo Sunshine – Lancashire
The first of our British small-batch gin is made at the Brindle Distillery with natural honey. Instead of sugar to flavour the gin, the distillery uses Honey as a substitute. The honey creates a smooth sweet gin. The spirit is infused with raspberries and other botanicals. According to the Cuckoo Sunshine website, it provides a flavour like an ‘instant taste of sunshine’.
Brindle distills their gin in the traditional way. Using ingredients of juniper, lemon, almonds, vanilla, angelica, orris, cinnamon, and orange. It was the 2018 category winner of The Gin Guides Awards Flavored Gin.
Cuckoo Sunshine recommends serving the gin with lots of ice and tonic. Or with rose lemonade, fresh raspberries, lemon peel and a sprig of thyme.
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Makar Gin – Glasgow
Also a Gin Guides Awards category winner in the UK Regional category. The Makar gin is the first distilled in the City of Glasgow. A bold juniper led gin, Makar means ‘maker’ or ‘craftsman in the ancient Scottish language.
This gin is distilled by The Glasgow Distillery Company and boasts the use of the world’s finest juniper. A selection of 7 different botanicals infuse the gin, and a copper still named “Annie” distills the final product.
Makar has a 7 sided bottle to represent the number of botanicals used in the distilling process, The Glasgow Distillery also produces a cherry-infused variety of Makar. To suit the gin drinkers that like a sweeter taste.
The creators of Makar gin recommend serving it with tonic water, and a slice of mild green chili.
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Gorse Gin – Fife
This offering from Lundin Distilling is created using gorse petals which add a sweet, nutty, and slightly peppery flavor to the gin. During the process, 17 different botanicals are added to create the gin’s unique flavor. The ingredients include grapefruit, chamomile, elderflower, and cinnamon.
Artisan Still Design, Alabama, USA supplied the 500-litre copper steam jacketed still used to distill Gorse Gin. The botanicals are added to the still and the overall result is a syrupy mouth-feel gin. This British small-batch gin won the Silver Medal in the 2018 San Francisco International Spirits Competition.
Northern Dry Gin – Sunderland
A multi-award-winning small-batch British gin is from The Poetic License Distillery in Sunderland. This gin promises a big punch of juniper and includes citrus and green cardamom which gives it a warm, spicy flavour.
Northern Dry Gin is Distilled from a 500-liter hybrid still named “Gracie”. It has undertones of lemon, eucalyptus, and Persian lime. Poetic License Distillery includes other botanicals during the process. But the details of those are kept a secret. Guess you will just have to try it!
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Dà Mhìle Seaweed Gin – Wales
An original Welsh gin made at the Dà Mhìle Distillery using specially selected seaweed from the coast of Western Wales. The distillery was visited earlier this year by HRH Prince Charles. As if that wasn’t enough, Dà Mhìle Distillery has been listed as one of the best UK craft distilleries.
The Seaweed Gin is a small batch gin. Its crafted with selected botanicals and infused with handpicked seaweed for 3 weeks. The gin goes through a 3-time filtering process, and the seaweed creates a pale green hue.
Brighton Gin – Brighton
Every bottle is individually hand made, hand labelled, and hand-dipped in wax. Without any machine factory production used. Brighton Gin has won multiple awards for its efforts. Including the 2018 Gold Award at the International Wine and Spirit Competition.
The folks that operate Brighton Gin have strong values and strive to be as sustainable as possible. Using fair trade, high-grade organic ingredients, recycled glass, and a recycled water system. There is even a ‘gin bike’ that delivers its products locally.
Brighton Gin supports Brighton Pride, the UK’s biggest Pride festival creating special bottles for the event. £2 from each bottle sold is donated to The Rainbow Fund, a local LGBT+ support group.
This British small-batch gin is super smooth and made with certified organic pure wheat spirit. It contains juniper, fresh orange, and lime peel, locally-grown coriander seed, and milk thistle. Serve with ice and a twist of orange. It also pairs nicely with tonic and an orange slice to bring out the citrus botanicals.
Rock Rose – Scotland
A small family distillery based in the most northern county of mainland Scotland. Dunnet Bay Distillery is located in Caithness and has won multiple awards for their products. Dunnet Bay distills their gin in a large traditional copper pot still; named “Elizabeth”.
The distillery keeps everything uniquely handcrafted and fills each individual bottle by hand on the premises. Before leaving the facility each bottle gets a number and its own signature.
Rock Rose gin took 55 attempts to get it just right. The spirit contains juniper berries from 2 different countries; Bulgaria and Italy. Other botanicals are roseroot, sea buckthorn, rowan berries, blaeberries, cardamom, coriander seed, and verbena.
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Seaglass Gin – Orkney
Winner of 5 separate awards in 2018 and operated by Stuart and Adelle Brown. The Deerness Distillery is a small family run business situated on the east mainland of Orkney. The production process of the gin is completely by hand. The staff fill every single bottle and label it on site. The public is permitted to tour of the facility and can participate in gin tasting events.
Seaglass Gin is prepared in a traditional copper pot still using pure Orcadian water. It contains juniper, lavender, lemon verbena, orange, and mint. Pair it with a quality tonic. Garnish with fresh coriander, kiwi, lemon and blueberries. Seaglass gin reflects the Orkney’s changing seascape.
Hull Dry Gin – Hull
I had to include this one not just because it’s from my home town, but because it really is a super British small-batch gin. I speak from experience! The Humber Street Distillery has a prohibition-style cocktail bar and distills its own gin on the premises. Located close to the River Humber and in the popular Fruit Market area. It is the only bar in Yorkshire with its own distillery. Hull Dry Gin’s flavour does not disappoint.
Hull Dry Gin is a small batch artisan citrus-led dry gin, that includes 11 different botanicals. It features cubeb berries, cassia bark, chamomile flowers, elderflower, and pink grapefruit peel. It is a smooth aromatic gin and is refreshing when served over ice with a Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic. Add some pink grapefruit and a sprig of rosemary and you’re in business.
Do not miss this one!
If you are a gin drinker like me this list should give a nice selection of British small-batch gin to try. With so many different flavours and varieties on the market there’s something to satisfy every palette. The gins featured on this page are all produced and distilled in the British Isles.
Feel free to leave any comments or CONTACT me directly.