These days, gin bars are offering much more than the chance to run into an old flame, and instead are reaping the benefits of a renewed global interest in the spirit.
Countries like Japan and Australia, too, are witnessing a rise in gin’s popularity, with distilleries focusing on production of the spirit garnering more and more attention.
Gin distillers around the world are drawing inspiration from their own backyards to give their spirits a local flavour. Regional botanicals and native ingredients are given pride of place in gins distilled in Scotland, Japan and Australia, and in America, it is the cocktail hour itself that is honoured.
In this spirit of jubilation, then, here are a selection of gin joints around the world that are giving thirsty customers something to celebrate.
Scottish botanicals are the star of Caorunn’s small-batch gin
Scottish gin draws on the country’s abundant botanicals to rival the popularity of its more famous alcoholic cousin, whisky.
Caorunn’s gin master Simon Buley personally crafts every bottle at the Balmenach Distillery, in the Cairngorm National Park. Using 11 botanical ingredients, five of which are locally foraged, the spirit is not steeped but vaporised, in small batches, through the only working copper berry chamber in the world.
Gins across America
The trend for smaller batches, leading to higher quality control, continues across the Atlantic, where small distilleries are making a big splash.
Brooklyn Gin’s Emil Jättne and Joe Santos have committed to remaining small, producing batches of 300 bottles.
Unable to build a distillery of their own in the wake of 2008’s global financial crisis, the pair partnered with the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery in Warwick, New York, to produce their American gin, one that is handmade using fresh citrus peels.
While Brooklyn Gin celebrates the American tradition of the cocktail hour across the country, around the corner from San Francisco’s AT&T Park, Distillery No. 209 takes its inspiration from Old World techniques.
Throwing in some innovation, and willing to take a few risks, master distiller Arne Hillesland carries out his work by hand, sourcing ingredients locally when he can. He is adamant that “the only changes I make are to keep each batch exactly the same”.
A unique distillation process sets Kyoto Distillery’s gin apart from the rest
Japanese flavours like yuzu, sakura flowers, green tea, and the peppery sansho lend Japanese gins a singular taste. The Kyoto Distillery, the first in Japan dedicated to gin, sources local botanicals when possible, with yellow yuzu, hinoki wood chips, gyokuro tea, bamboo, and green sansho berries used in its signature KI NO BI gin.
Separated into six distinct categories, the botanicals are steeped in rice spirit, distilled individually, and blended to create an inimitable spirit.
London’s The Distillery gives the term ‘gin palace’ a contemporary update
The appetite for gin has reached a fever pitch in the UK’s capital, with gin distilleries now such big business that some are starting to offer much more than the steadfast spirit.
The appetite for gin has reached a fever pitch in London.
The Distillery spreads over four floors on the colourful Portobello Road, housing a working distillery, two bars, a dining room, and even lodgings for guests.
The Ginstitute occupies the basement, offering people a chance to create their own gin blends after taking a deep dive into the history of the spirit.
The Distillery’s Portobello Road Gin incorporates a blend of nine natural botanicals sourced from all over the world, among them Tuscan juniper berries, Moroccan bitter orange peels and Indonesian nutmeg.
Apples and ants in Australia
Sydney’s first dedicated gin distillery, Poor Toms is known for its flagship offering, Sydney Dry Gin. Ten botanicals, including chamomile, green apple, and native strawberry gum leaf, are steeped in Australian wheat spirit before being distilled in a copper still.
Poor Toms Gin Hall in Marrickville, New South Wales offers a pared-back, relaxed environment in which to enjoy a tipple or two.
And finally, for the slightly more adventurous, Something Wild Beverages is offering a spirit containing a bit of bush tucker: the Australian green ant gin. With the ants harvested in the Northern Territory, and the gin distilled in the Adelaide Hills, this spirit is truly the spirit of Australia.
If whisky is more up your alley, spend five minutes with Diageo whisky ambassador Simon McGoram, or visit The Doss House to sample its extensive list of the brown spirit.