10 best gifting gins for Christmas 2018
Find the perfect gift for the gin-lover in your life, our favourites are quirky but exquisite in taste
The great heatwave of 2018 feels like a true thing of the past, and as mornings get colder and the commute home gets darker, we’re turning our thoughts towards Christmas. The first thing to organise? Presents, of course.
Just because the weather is getting colder doesn’t mean we need to neglect our favourite refreshing G&T. Boozy gifts are always a hit, and the gin craze shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. In fact what better time than the festive season to branch out into some new fancy gins to spice up our Christmas cocktail recipes.
We, very selflessly, tried some of the fanciest and quirkiest gins on the market to find the perfect gift for the gin lover in your life.
Kew Organic Gin: £29, Waitrose & Partners
An easy winner of IndyBest, everything about the Kew Organic Gin is special. With a decidedly London theme, this gin was distilled at Tower Bridge and features 42 botanicals including seasonal flora harvested from Kew Gardens themselves. Even the packaging is beautiful, with artwork inspired by plant drawings from the archives at Kew.
Alongside the traditional juniper gin contains a plethora of delicate flavours such as lavender flower, rosemary, orris root and nutmeg. The result is fresh, floral, and the perfect gift for any gin-lover in your life this Christmas. Smooth enough to drink alone over ice, or try with tonic and a slice of grapefruit to bring out citrus notes.
Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur: £39.99, firebox.com
The Unicorn Tears Gin Liqueur is easily the most fabulous spirit on our list. Created in a secret location, Firebox’s free range Unicorn herd are apparently force fed citrus fruits and other gin botanicals like a sort of “fantasy foie gras”. The resulting unicorn tears in this gin give it an iridescent, glittery appearance, the perfect festive gift.
Far from being a one trick pony (Pony-corn?), the Unicorn Tears gin also tastes great. It’s, smooth and sweet, and perfect with a slice of lime. Who says we can’t have it all? We recommend mixing this gin to add some sparkle to your cocktails.
Caorunn Gin: £28, Waitrose & Partners
Although better known for its Whiskey, Scotland actually produces 70 per cent of gin consumed in the UK and the small batch, artisanal Caorunn is about as Scottish as a drink can get. Overseen by Gin Master Simon Buley, it’s vaporised in a unique Copper Berry Chamber in one of the oldest distilleries in the Highlands. Even the name Caorunn has ancient roots – it’s Celtic for rowan berry, one of the gin’s key ingredients.
As well as traditional gin botanicals, Caorunn includes five foraged locally in the Highlands: rowan berry, bog myrtle, heather, coul blush apple and dandelion leaf, which give this gin its distinctive taste. All these things mean Caorunn is wonderfully unusual, it would be a standout in any gin collection. Try with cold tonic and a slice of red apple.
Pothecary Gin: £39.95, masterofmalt.com
One of our favourite gins of all time, Pothecary was created by Martin Jennings and Lukasz Dwornik. The two friends share a passion for organic, handcrafted produce and their gin is no exception. Rather unusually in Pothecary each botanical is distilled separately, then later blended which its makers say optimises the scents and flavours. Whatever they’re doing it works. The result is an aromatic gin with fresh florals and a sweeter finish than most, which would complement any gin collection. Try neat with a garnish of grapefruit or rosemary and look out for notes of lavender, citrus and honey-like tilia flower.
Sharish Blue Magic Gin: £23.91, uvinum.co.uk
First unicorns and now magic? It’s almost as if gin drinkers tend to be a tiny bit eccentric. The Sharish Blue Magic Gin actually changes colour from its usual indigo hue to a lilac or pink shade when you add tonic. Unbelievably, the drink is totally natural with no artificial additives, relying on the change in pH levels to give the appearance of magic. Tastewise, Sharish is fresh and fruity with hints of berries and citrus. Add strawberries or raspberries to this gin to make the best of its unusual flavours.
Silent Pool Gin: £33.85, 31dover.com
Distilled in the Surrey Hills next to its namesake – the beautiful Silent Pool with its accompanying myth of a drowned maiden – Silent Pool Gin has harnessed the local landscape to create spirit equally whimsical. Harvesting local ingredients such as elderflower, chamomile, pear and honey; the gin is sweet and floral to smell but has an edge of spice to taste. It’s a unique and delicious drink and an even more excellent gift because of its exquisite blue bottle with copper leaf design. This gin goes nicely with a slice of orange, but if you’re feeling extra fancy trying adding rose petals or violets to bring out floral aromas.
Zymurgorium Marmalade Manchester Gin: £32.95, houseofmalt.co.uk
In its slightly steampunk bottle, Zymurgorium’s Marmalade Manchester Gin is the funkiest spirit on our list. Made in collaboration with Manchester’s very own preserve company Duerr’s, this gin incorporates most citrus flavours you can imagine. As well as the obvious orange, Zyurgorium add lemon, lime, tangerine and bergamot, before dragging the mixture over sweet orange peel for a final touch. The result is a big citrus bang, finishing with spicier vanilla and juniper notes. A fun alternative to the more traditional gins. Our tester recommends trying this gin in cocktails for a sweet, sharp, marmalade twist.
Old Curiosity Lavender and Echinacea Gin: £33.99, drinkfinder.co.uk
The brainchild of a former wine merchant turned herbologist, Old Curiosity is the second Scottish gin on our list based in a botanical nursery just outside of Edinburgh. All of their herbs are grown in their secret herb garden before being picked, dried and infused by hand so they are 100 per cent natural.
Old Curiosity distils with fresh flowers from their nursery and the result is a gin that is virtually medicinal, with floral aromas including the calming lavender and healing echinacea for which this spirit takes its name. This gin has a delicate flavour, so would be an excellent choice for those looking to try juniper juice for the first time.
Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin: £44.95, masterofmalt.com
Although not widely considered as an alcohol exporter, Japan has been quietly producing some exceptional spirits for years now. Japanese whiskey in particular has been having something of a moment, then in 2016 the country’s very first artisanal gin Ki No Bi, meaning the beauty of the seasons, was created by The Kyoto Distillery.
Ki No Bi is a traditional dry gin but with a distinctly Japanese edge, featuring botanicals such as yellow yuzu, Japanese cypress, bamboo, gyokuro tea and Japanese peppercorn berries. It also utilises a rice wine base, which the creators say adds a softness and sweetness to the final product. Try neat or with yuzu to make the most of the citrussy yellow yuzu which dominates the scent and flavour.
Blind Tiger Imperial Secrets: £35.95, masterofmalt.com
Although it’s made in a hidden Belgian distillery, Blind Tiger gin is actually an homage to the prohibition era in the US. Its name refers to the facade which gin lovers would buy tickets for, a blind tiger, when in reality they were sipping on G&Ts in a secret backroom. Our tester particularly recommends this gin for its unusual flavour. It’s infused with three different black teas, assam, cashmere and yunnan, with grains of paradise, bitter almond and coriander also featuring strongly.
The result is similar to a warming spiced rum but on a distinctly gin base of juniper and citrus, making Blind Tiger a totally unique spirit which gin aficionados should make it their mission to try. Garnish with ginger or coriander to emphasise the spice palate.
The Verdict: Best gifting gins for Christmas 2018
Kew’s Organic Gin won our top spot because it really is special. The attention to detail which has been invested in the making the flavours and packaging come together to result in an unforgettable gift. And of course, it tastes phenomenal.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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