If you get to know me much at all, you’ll quickly learn that gin is my favorite alcohol for all manner of cocktails. I love how each one can be so different from the next. So when I have the chance to sample new gins – especially unusual local varieties – I eagerly accept.
Luckily, the ladies of Trust Heart, Venture Forth include a number of other gin drinkers, who brought a lovely assortment to our weekend house party. I knew there was a reason I fit into this group so well.
Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin tasted like a delicious rhubarb custard, sweet and floral. It was a little too sweet for an everyday gin, but something I would happily drink in the summer or after dinner. The bright plum of the bottle was striking. It’s the color I strongly associated with this trip and kept seeing everywhere, so it was the first bottle I was drawn towards. They also make a quince gin, which sounds like a match made in heaven.
Elephant Gin also came in a unique bottle, decorated with vintage style labels, wrapped with string, and stoppered with a cork. It wasn’t just clever ploy, because the gin inside the bottle was just as interesting. It was fresh and crisp, with a number of unique African botanicals in the mix. It also contains elderflower, which is one of my favorite gin pairings, and worked well with Elderflower Tonic Water*. They donate 15% of every bottle to two wildlife conservation groups in Africa, which is another great reason to pick up a bottle.
It was a night of beautiful bottles, and Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin did not disappoint. Besides which, how could I resist gin and tea in the same bottle? The tea and botanicals made for a bright and flavorful gin with a clean palette. This gin had an amazing complexity, and was my hands down favorite of the evening. I sampled a sip neat, as well as with different tonics, and it was good in every combination.
We also sampled the end of a bottle of Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin that had been hand-carried all the way from Australia by one of our group. It was quite different – delicious, fruity, and great as a cocktail, but without the crisp, herbal flavors I associate with gin. The bottle was gone by the time I thought to take a photo, but as you can see in the distillery’s product photo, the color is just gorgeous.
Do you have a favorite English gin? Please share your recommendations in the comments.