Book review: 'The World Atlas of Gin', by Joel Harrison & Neil Ridley

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

28 October 2019

There’s been a spate of gin book releases recently, with Sip from the Sipsmith team and Dave Broom’s Classic Ki No Bi Cocktails, but the latest, from Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison, is a wide-ranging romp through the spirits category that provides plenty of information for gin newbies and aficionados alike.

The beautifully designed tome is unapologetically thorough in its exploration of the category, whilst also being hugely accessible and user-friendly.

From a look at the global styles of gin (incorporating those such as wacholder and steinhäger in Germany and boroviçka in Slovakia, alongside the more well-known compound, distilled and London dry categories, to name a few) to an exploration of the types of still that can be used complete with clear illustrations, this is a useful book that any self-respecting bartender should have on their shelves.

Ridley and Harrison admit that producing an exhaustive encyclopaedia of the gin brands out there would now be an impossible task, and so they’ve taken the step of omitting all but the biggest contract-distilled brands from the book.

Despite this decision, The World Atlas of Gin still explores the companies of over 50 countries, taking the reader on a well-edited journey across the global gin landscape.

If there was to be any criticism of the book, it is the relative lack of tasting notes for the products. Distillery profiles focus on history, ethos and production techniques, with the odd tasting note added in for good measure, but these aren’t signposted and are relatively few and far between.

Well written and stylish, all in all, this atlas is a useful book to have on hand for those who would like a reference point for the huge plethora of distilleries out there.

The World Atlas of Gin, RRP £25, Octopus.

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