In case you hadn’t noticed, there were a LOT of new gins at Imbibe Live this year. You may not have had a chance to run around them all, so we’ve rounded up some of the standout products for you. We’re nice like that…
The Surrey Copper Distillery, Copperfield London Dry Gin
The Copperfield London Dry Gin is the first expression from Dr Christopher and Professor Katherine Smart, who are the former head of brewing services at Camden BRI and former global chief brewer at SABMiller, respectively.
The gin is based on a recipe found in the Complete Distiller by Ambrose Cooper, published in 1757. It contains 10 botanicals – juniper, cardamon, cubeb, angelica, caraway, coriander, liquorice, orris, lemon peel and elderflower.
The husband and wife duo added the elderflower and cubeb, which has slight citrus and lavender notes, to the original recipe to give it a floral lift and counteract the slight heaviness of the spice.
‘It’s incredibly juniper rich, but the lemon peel brings it into line, so you can actually taste the floral notes,’ explained Professor Smart. ‘The combination of the liquorice, orris and elderflower creates a real smoothness. They marry together to give that smooth end point and mouthfeel, and that makes it very sippable.’
£42/70cl, 45% abv, The Surry Copper Distillery
Copper Head, The Gibson Edition
The Gibson Edition is a recent collaboration between Belgian Distiller Copper Head and Marian Beke, founder of The Gibson in Old Street, London.
It was inspired by the Gibson Martini, the bar’s signature drink, which is served with a pickled onion. Beke told Imbibe that he spent a year searching for a suitable savoury gin for the drink, before teaming up with Copper Head.
They researched the types of botanicals and spices used in Europe for pickling vegetables, and 19 of these (including allspice, bay leaf, cassia, dill seeds, fennel, ginger, mace and pepper) were used for the gin.
Beke describes the gin as perfect for the Gibson Martini, as well as for savoury cocktails using sherry or saké or a Bloody Mary.
£37.50/70cl, 40% abv, Copper Head, firstname.lastname@example.org
Manchester Gin, Wild Spirit
While the whole range has been rebranded with a distinctive art deco bottle, the latest release from the award-winning gin distiller is Wild Spirit.
Similar to the company’s signature gin, it contains dandelion and burdock, which add a rich, earthy flavour. However, the new variant doesn’t contain citrus or cassia, which acts as as sweetener, and instead contains lemon thyme, lemon balm, silver birch, sage and orris. The gin is quite dry and full bodied, with a slight oiliness from the silver birch and creaminess from the sage.
‘These botanicals are sourced from Chawton Woods in South Manchester and it’s meant to smell as it would walking through the woods,’ said Manchester Gin’s James Stimson.
£35/50cl, 40% abv, Manchester Gin
Oslo Distillery Fjaera Rose Gin
Pretty in pink, this Norwegian gin has been rested in Bordeaux barrels for six weeks, which would explain the colour.
Made with 13 botanicals, including bog myrtle, rosehip, rhubarb root and a touch of raspberry, the nose has a fab perfumed character with decent spice (pink peppercorn, pine, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus).
The palate, meanwhile, is floral up front, with a fresh and zippy mid-palate, sticky hops, sea grass and even more pink peppercorn.
43% abv, Maverick Drinks, 01892 888443
Twelve Keys Dry Gin
The first gin from Twelve Keys has forgone citrus in favour of fig, quince and apricot, which creates a smooth, more rounded flavour that can be drunk on its own. Other botanicals include frankincense, orris, cinnamon, juniper, gentium and angelica.
‘We elected to have it at 46% abv, which means it lends itself really well to cocktails, and the botanicals come through really well if you add tonic,’ said founder Matthew Clifford.
‘We also do a signature serve this season with fig and coffee bean, which adds slight notes of smokiness and bitterness.’
£39.99, 46% abv, Twelve Keys Gin
Edward Savage & Co London Dry Gin
This gin brand was produced by Thames Distillers for the long-departed Peter Dominic off-licences before it was mothballed.
New Generation has brought it back to life in collaboration with Thames once more, recreating the same recipe (with focus mainly on the classic mix of juniper, coriander, angelica and orris) and using the same bottle design.
It’s simple, straightforward and delicious, with a fresh, bright, citrusy nose and a palate that ticks all those classic London dry boxes: piney juniper, bright citrus oils and a pleasing creamy mouthfeel.
£29.50/70cl, 43% abv, New Generation, 020 7928 7300
Elderwood English Gin
New Generation has teamed up with Michelin-star chef Mike Robinson to create this elegant gin for his soon-to-be-launched restaurant chain The Elder and the Woodsman.
Made by Langley, it’s a small-batch spirit with grapefruit, cardamom, lemon, elderberry, juniper and coriander among its botanicals. The grapefruit is the star of the show in this clean, light spirit.
Relatively sweet up front, some spicy hints come through in the form of dried chilli flakes and zippy pine needles with a smattering of grapefruit bitterness that carries through to the finish.
£33/50cl, 43% abv, New Generation, 020 7928 7300