BY PALOMA LACY
In a few weeks’ time the ‘rule of six’ will be back in place and entertaining in home gardens will once again be allowed.
What could be better than catching up with family and friends, gin & tonic in hand?
All that’s needed now is for the weather to get its act together – a little sunshine would be most welcome.
The popularity of gin as the go-to year-round tipple continues to grow.
Look no further than South London for gin-spiration for some of the best in class of its kind. There are no so many producers based here.
Here are our top three: Balham-based and family run, Hayman’s makes its gin using a 150-year-old recipe, which uses the finest botanicals available, combined with the two-day gin making process.
Botanicals are infused in English wheat spirit for a day allowing the full natural flavours to develop.
Such a traditional process is rare in the modern age of gin distillation, but current owners James (a Hayman family member) and Miranda believe this approach is the reason the brand continues to win awards.
In recent years some of its innovations have included Hayman’s Gently Rested, Hayman’s Hopped Gin and Hayman’s Small Gin, the most impressive innovation in gin for more than 100 years.
With many looking to cut alcohol consumption, Hayman’s Small Gin, with 80% less alcohol and fewer calories is a breath of fresh air.
The company says: “A thimbleful is all you need – just pour over ice and top up with tonic.”
Available for purchase from all major supermarkets and from the company itself at www.haymansgin.com
The back story of a brand is hugely interesting and important to consumers.
From conception to shelf – most sit in awe of those who make their dream, reality.
One such woman is gin lover Victoria Christie, who in 2013 said: “Making gin would be my dream job.”
A year later, she received her own 5L copper still – making five bottles a time in her kitchen at home.
In 2015, the first batch of Graveney Gin was created, with the Tooting Broadway gas lamp as its logo.
In 2016, she quit her day job and a successful crowdfunding campaign enabled the purchase of a 30L still and she launched the first 200 bottles at Tootopia.
That same year the business moved to Merton Abbey Mills.
Figges Marsh Gin is inspired Victoria’s love of figs and community projects. Combining a love of an Old Tom and sipping gin, this very juniper lead gin is left to macerate with sweet organic figs for two weeks and distilled with honey in a nano distillery.
Go to www.gravneygin.co.uk
For the past five years, the popularity of gin has continued to grow, with new producers entering the market annually.
So much so that it seemed unlikely any could come along with botanical infusions not yet available.
However, Tourer Gin has managed it with a watermelon and mint infusion that’s making even the most knowledgeable gin drinkers sit up and take notice.
The brainchild of Sussex dweller, Mikki Patel, it’s difficult to pinpoint its heritage to one location.
Conceived with thoughts of Asian flavours in mind, much of the design work was done in Sussex, and produced at a small batch distillery in Wales, making it a truly global spirit.
Mikki’s mission was to create a truly refreshing premium gin with a smooth finish, which he’s managed to do combining these botanicals: juniper, coriander seed, angelica, orris root, lemon zest, kaffir lime leaves, pink peppercorn, fresh watermelon and fresh mint.
Tourer Gin uses only natural ingredients that are free of artificial flavours, vegan friendly and ethically sourced. www.tourergin.co.uk
There was a time when tonic water drinkers were split into two groups, those insistent on supporting the main big brand and those favouring supermarket options but that’s all changed.
Now, the choice of tonic is endless, with so many too choose from, dependent on the gin botanicals you’re looking to highlight and compliment.
Here are a couple of favourites, taking the market by storm.
Franklin & Sons is known for its tonics and mixers, soft drinks and sparkling sodas.
Established in the late 1800s, this range ensures the flavours are well balanced and bring out the flavours in spirits, such as gin, using natural flavours and no preservatives.
Another premium tonic producer is London Essence, with its range of versatile, citrus-centric tonic water, providing the ideal accompaniment to spirits, not just gin.
It uses what it describes as “an intricate distillation process and the thoughtful layering of flavours,” creating light and low-calorie tonics in five innovative flavour pairings, including grapefruit and rosemary and pomelo and pink pepper, alongside original Indian tonic water.
Both tonic ranges are available at Tesco.
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