After years in the shadow of vodka, gin is enjoying a deserved renaissance.
It’s the tipple of choice across London, from Mishkins in Covent Garden to aqua shard's dedicated gin menu, and is served with a vintage twist by cocktail connoisseurs at the Experimental Cocktail Club.
And, if you needed any further proof, in 2012 sales shot up by 33 per cent in Waitrose. Here, we asked some of the most skilled bartenders in London to share their top gins and how you can drink them.
(Clockwise from left)
1. Both’s Old Tom by award-winning barman Tony Conigliaro
Hugely popular in the 18th century, Old Tom is a precursor to the gin we’re now all used to. “It’s sweeter and maltier than London Dry,” Tony Conigliaro says. “This version from Both’s has a really high ABV of 47 per cent, which helps to reinforce its violet and lavender botanicals.”
2. Sipsmith by Manuel Soro, Head bartender of aqua group
Sipsmith is definitely one of my favourite gins on the market. I think it’s the perfect London dry style gin, not only because of the location where it’s distilled, but also because of its elegant, classic and very distinctive taste which surely make it very unique.
3. Hendrick’s by Carlos Santos, Bar Manager at The Light Bar at St Martin's Lane Hotel
Its smooth flavour and particular character proves that the idea of a compound gin being bad is not always true... Not great for your traditional martini however fantastic in cocktails - try a Hendricks and Chili old fashioned...
4. Beefeater 24 by award-winning barman Tony Conigliaro
You’ve probably had Beefeater before, but this is a very different beast. Steeped for 24 hours and infused with green and sencha teas and grapefruit rind, the end result is a clean, astringent spirit. “It’s one of my favourites,” says Conigliaro. Try mixing into a gimlet.
5. Tanqueray No Ten by Manuel Soro, Head bartender of aqua group
I truly love Tanqueray 10. I believe that the way it’s produced and its strong citrus notes, together with its package and presentation, definitely give over an air of sophistication to any gin-love
6. Bols Genever
Created in Holland in the 16th century, genever is the grandaddy of modern gins. It’s the sweetest going, with a finish more akin to a fine whisky than a slug of Gordon’s. Try a Bols chaser with an ice-cold beer. It’s a potent combo — the Dutch don’t call it “the headbutt” for nothing.
7. Monkey 47 by Flavio Carenzi, Head bartender at Nobu Berkeley ST
This is a gin which comes from one of my favourite places in the world, the aroma conjures pine trees and an earthy, forest smell. The apothecary style bottle is very beautiful, helping it stand out on any back bar, whilst the softer, aromatic essences are well balanced with the cirtussy oils lingering for longer than expected when tasted.