11 Cotswold gin producers every gin lover should know about
PUBLISHED: 16:58 02 September 2019
The UK is home to some of the best gin brands - and we’re lucky that many of them hail from here, in the Cotswolds! We pick 11 local gin producers you need to know about (if you didn’t already)
We've come a long way from the dark days of 'mother's ruin' and the bleak Hogarthian images of 'Gin Lane'.
In these refreshingly enlightened times, the drink is a sophisticated creature which has become synonymous with the best kind of British culture. Now produced using a wide range of botanicals in varying flavours and qualities - as varied and characterful as the people who create them - the common denominator is the humble juniper berry (Juniperus communis).
A good gin is perhaps best enjoyed in a large-bowled stemmed glass with a good quality tonic water… ah, but these days, heaven knows, anything goes!
Taking its name from the Worcestershire village where owners Elaine and Richard Meredith - and son Duncan - live, this premium gin is created from botanicals which are, where possible, both locally sourced and fair trade.
Botanicals are dried and ground to increase the flavour during distillation, and no flavourings or sweeteners are added after distillation. Their London dry gins have a wonderfully smooth texture which is, in part, down to the traditional alembic copper stills from Portugal used.
Hussingtree Gin is now a sponsor of Worcestershire County Cricket Club, with its stocked in all the corporate and member bars.
Gins on offer: The four dry gins on offer are Juneberry, Spiced Plum, Bumbleberry, and - new for 2019 - Asparagus. The Asparagus Dry Gin was launched to coincide with the British Asparagus Festival and is made from spears sourced from Worcestershire-based Revills Farm, enhanced with local brine from Churchfields Saltworks.
Other products: Various gin-tasting experiences, and personalised miniatures.
This small team of six not only source and supply their products locally (fresh fruit is collected from around the Cotswolds and Oxfordshire), but they also make house gins for local companies, hotels and bars in the area, including The Queen's Hotel in Cheltenham, Broadway Wine Company, the Cheltenham Gin and Barnsley House, to name but a few.
Currently, due to popular demand, they are steeping a flavoursome plum & damson, and a black & red cherry gin, and are preparing Christmas stock!
Gins on offer: Cucumber & Dill, Colonial and Pumpkin Spice, as well as a Cardamom & Plum Vodka. Also, a Christmas edition named '12 Gins for Christmas' will include Christmas Pudding, Mince Pie, Turkish Delight, Sloe and Plum, Pumpkin Spice, Gingerbread and more Christmassy flavours. Find them at the Gloucester Victorian market this year.
Other products: Gin making - and tasting - experiences are a popular choice, and you can buy gift vouchers for gin-loving friends and family. Something definitely worth checking out is their Black Cat Gin Club where you can taste gins specially made for the club and not on sale anywhere else. Ooh!
This sustainable gin and whisky business has proven so popular among the public that they have received £1.5 million to develop their business. This includes a new store in Broadway, as well as a new café, master classes and guided tours of the distilling process seven days a week. Their Single Malt Whisky won Gold at the World Whisky Awards this year, as well as 2 gold stars in the renowned Great Taste Awards. It's supplied nationally and globally among retailers such as Waitrose, Majestic Wine, Harrods and more. In addition, their Cotswolds Dry Gin won a Gold Outstanding Award at the 2017 Wine and Spirits competition.
Gins on offer: If we're talking gin, then the Cotswolds Dry is a sure-fire winner, as are the 1616 Barrel-Aged, the Bharat and the Ginger… but they've plenty more to tempt the palate in their well-stocked store.
Other products: As mentioned earlier, the new café, master classes and guided tours allow you to further enjoy the Cotswolds experience, and the café boasts locally-sourced produce, including lunch platters, cakes and pastries and tea and coffee. The master classes include an in-depth history of gin and whiskey, and even a shot at having a go at the distillation process.
Having been brought up in the picturesque Cotswolds, founder of Capreolus Barney Wilczak began pursuing his passion for the natural world and biology as a photographer. It wasn't long before he drifted into the world of fermentation and biological processes, as well as finding the crème de la crème of individual species which would provide the most luxurious tastes possible for his gin, all from the comfort of his home, Garden Swift. In addition, his eaux de vie - of which there are seven varieties - has been supplied in three starred Michelin restaurants, and used in the heart of fruit distilling - France, Italy and Switzerland.
Gins on offer: Garden Swift dry gin, plus a new mulberry barrel aged version of Garden Swift, known as Hart & Dart, adds sweetness, floral notes, spice and discreet tannins.
Other products: As mentioned, Barney's seven eaux de vie are worth sampling, and include some never produced in the UK before.
William Chase grew up in Herefordshire and, having moved on from potato farming, he veered towards the creation of Tyrrells Crisps and then onto his now-famous potato-based vodka.
His distilling journey began when he stumbled across a potato vodka distillery in the US, and soon fell in love with the process once he realised just how exciting it could be. He wanted a premium quality yet locally-sourced company and, after years of harvesting, was so proud of his potato vodka he created the name Chase Distillery.
Gins on offer: Chase GB Extra Dry Gin, Williams Elegant 48 Gin, Chase Pink Grapefruit and Pomelo Gin, Chase Seville Marmalade Gin, and Oak Aged Sloe and Mulberry Gin
Other products: Chase's Original Potato Vodka won Best Tasting Vodka at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Phil and Julie are a gin-loving husband and wife combination from Worcester who enjoy working with local businesses to sell their gin. It boasts a unique flavour, blended with four carefully selected botanicals and was based on traditional 1930s London-style gin.
Gins on offer: The favourite, Casino Blend, takes inspiration from classic casino cocktails. It has a smooth finish, along with a burst of cherry, wood and spice flavours. It won a Silver medal at the 2019 London Spirits Competition.
Named after Mr Harry Hobbs, the founder was renowned for his party spirit and flamboyant beard, often seen along the River Thames, enjoying a glass of his gin. Formerly known as Hobbs and Sons, this gin is brought to you by the family boating business, Hobbs of Henley.
Mr Hobbs Gin is a 45% distilled gin with strength and flavour. The mix of traditional and local botanicals creates a distinctive taste reminiscent of old style 'Export' Strength Gins, and the introduction of orange peel brings out the citrus notes to give a complex and smooth finish.
Gins on offer: As well as the original gin, fruity gin liquers are available in Raspberry & Elderflower and Rhubarb & Ginger, made with British ingredients. These are perfectly paired with prosecco or something sparkling for a refreshing summertime drink.
Other products: Mr Hobbs Gin Truffles (£7.95 100g bag; £17.95 200g box) are the perfect accompaniment to one of Harry's glorious gins.
Created in Worcestershire in 2018, along the banks of the River Severn, the backdrop of engineering and mechanics helps inspire Piston Distillery's mixture of 14 botanicals, delivering a unique taste...so good that they won Gold, Silver and Bronze at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition!
Gins on offer: London Dry Gin; limited-edition Douglas Fir Infused Dry Gin; Strawberry & Hibiscus Gin; Oak Aged Dry Gin; Coffee Infused Gin.
Other products: Their Gin School offers a three-hour distillery in-depth learning experience: lessons in the history and art of distillation, two gin cocktails and light snacks, an opportunity to make your own gin recipe and your own bottle of gin to take home.
Founded in 2016 and based in rural Gloucestershire, this family-owned business is run by polo player Richard Hine. Being proudly British, 100% organic, vegan-friendly, gluten-free and hand crafted, this award-winning gin is one of the most flavoursome and smooth gins on the market.
British Polo Gin continues to lead the way in both organic spirits and the craft drinks revolution in Britain, distilled in the heart of the Cotswolds. They stock in polo clubs across Britain and Europe, at locations such as Beaufort, Cirencester, Cheshire, Berkshire, and Zurich in Germany, as well as wine merchants such as Majestic Wine.
Their leading Botanical Gin achieved three stars at the Great Taste Awards 2018, a feat which no other gin achieved in 2018. The board announced that the gin had "floral notes and woody hints, a very nice delicate mouthfeel, subtle sweetness and smoothness leads laced with spicy juniper, floral woody notes."
British Polo Gin are now operating the clubhouse at Cirencester Park Polo Club where they will be also creating a bespoke limited-run London Dry Gin to commemorate the 125th Anniversary of the Polo Club.
Gins on offer: The original British Polo Gin, Jaguar Enthusiasts' Club gin, Bentley Drivers' Club gin, Sloe gin, and soon-to-be-available British Eventing Gin.
Other products: A limited-edition strawberry and rose gin was released for World Gin Day in June to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first polo match played in the UK at Hounslow Heath in 1869! Strictly limited to 1,000 bottles for 2019, be sure to pick up a bottle from Gloucester Services on the M5!
Sibling Distillery was founded in 2014 by Cheltenham-based siblings Felix (then 22), Clarice (2), Cicely (18) and Digby (15). The Elliott-Berrys grew up in the drinks industry, watching (and eventually helping) their parents, Roland and Stephanie, run Battledown Brewery. Inspired by their upbringing, the siblings knew that they wanted to run their own alcohol company one day, and made the decision to make a gin while on a family holiday in 2013.
Having moved in to a converted barn-distillery just outside Cheltenham, Sibling Distillery brings a taste of summer to the Cotswolds.
Gins on offer: Together with the original Sibling Gin - a vanilla-rich drink with a decidedly 21st-century feel - there are also seasonal versions available. Their brand-new Negroni-inspired gin is perfect for a summer pick-me-up, inspiring tastes of Italy.
Other products: Distillery tours are available at a very reasonable £25 per person, and entitle you to 10% off everything in the shop!
Emma, MD of the Cotswold Brewing Company and wife of brewer Rick, began researching her passion for gin in 2010, determined to have it evoke the spirit of the Cotswolds. As a nod to her brewing heritage, Emma decided to trial low alpha hops - being less bitter - with the addition of juniper, coriander, oris root, verbena, hawthorn, lavender and rose.
Gins on offer: The original Cotswolds Gin is inspired by the flavours of the fields, gardens and hedgerows around the brewery so, quite literally a taste of the Cotswolds!
Other products: Cotswolds Vodka is distilled five times to enrich its flavour and make it really smooth.