My Top 5 Gins plus a review of the Gin Festival

Guildford Gin Festival – a slick, well organised event – sold out I am told in that they added a 3rd evening.  Held nationwide, these Gin Festivals are organised by a couple from Yorkshire who also are obviously huge fans of this juniper based spirit and go mad for the garnish too!

There were 100 mainly artisan gins on offer divided into 3 sections – British, International and Fruit based eg Sloe, Damson etc.  The event was sponsored by Fevertree – not a Gordon’s and Schweppes in sight!

I was keen to stick with the British and as you can imagine, I did my research to ensure I selected gins I had never tried before and would potentially like.  The Gin Guidebook featured a good description and tasting notes for each gin, where it was from, which botanicals were used in the distillation and which garnish/tonic was recommended to accompany it.

So here goes, my Top 5 favourite gins:

1/ Sir Robin of Locksley Gin, Sheffield, Yorkshire, 40.5% – named after Robin Hood! Slightly sweeter than some with infusions of elderflower, pink grapefruit and dandelion….can be drunk neat but was recommended with the Mediterraean or Elderflower Fevertree Tonic.  A favourite with alot of people.   Locksley Distillers

2/ Rock Rose Gin, North Scotland, 41% – this one was extremely aromatic with strong juniper notes and tasted amazing with a fresh rosemary and orange garnish.  Check that combination out!

3/ Whittakers Gin, Harrogate, Yorkshire, 42% – mmm going to Harrogate soon, must get some!   Loving the rabbit label on this one!  You can smell the juniper and spice on the nose and a first for me, it was actually served with a couple of juniper berries and some thyme as the garnish.  Naturally light tonic of course.  Delicious.

4/  Bathtub Gin, from my county of birth, Kent, 43.4% – billed as an ‘exciting concoction’ and great with lime!  As well as the juniper, coriander, cloves and cardamom – this one contains sweet orange and comes in an orange bottle!

5/ Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin, North Devon, 42% – the Kaffir line, hibiscus, citrus, pepper, coriander drew me in.  A very clean gin and served with thyme and lime.  I can feel a theme coming on here….

Other gins worthy of mention – Surrey’s Silent Pool Gin which I blogged about following my visit to their distillery earlier this year.  Gaining momentum and should now be stocked in Majestic Stores nationwide.  Everyone talks about their sublime bottle.

Gin Mare from Guadalajara in Spain – loved this aromatic gin and have seen it in British supermarkets and wine merchants.

No 209 – I discovered this on a trip to the wine regions of California as it is made by the Rudd Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley and is available here in the UK.  All my friends said they enjoyed this one.

And finally, a gin cum whisky – served neat – and does what it says on the tin – Strathearn Oaked Highland Gin.  A great way to finish off the evening…..

For more information, visit Gin Festival 

Can you recommend any amazing gins?