Gin still appears to be the nation’s favourite spirit, but with so many on the market we wanted to shine a light on some brand new releases. Whether you’re looking for a gift for the gin lover that’s already built up an enviable collection, or are just in the mood for trying something new, here is our pick of the best releases of the year.
Although all gins must legally contain juniper as one of their botanicals, there are no limits on what else can be used. When selecting your gin, think about whether you’d prefer a fruit-forward style, something spicy and warming or perhaps one which is more delicate and floral.
Alongside the obligatory juniper, you’ll find botanicals sourced from across the British Isles and, looking further afield, India, Australia and even the Amazon rainforest. With beautiful bottles and even better liquids, it’s well worth discovering something new, even if you have your standard trusty brand you turn to again and again.
When testing our gins we tried all of them neat and with a classic tonic. However, we’d also recommend using them in a gin martini or more complex cocktails – there really is a new gin for every occasion.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
No.3 London Dry Gin, 70cl, 46%: £36, Berry Bros & Rudd
Voted the world’s best gin for a fourth time and named best spirit at the Global Spirits Championship (the first gin ever to win this) – strictly speaking, No.3 isn’t a “new” gin, but it did have a total makeover this year so we thought it worthy of including.
The new hexagonal design reflects each of the six botanicals in the recipe – upfront juniper, sweet Spanish orange peel, zingy grapefruit peel, earthy angelica root, spicy coriander and warming cardamom seeds. Created by Berry Bros & Rudd – (aka, the UK’s oldest wine and spirits merchant), No.3 is quite simply the perfect example of a London dry gin – try it in a dry martini or a classic G&T.
Canaima Gin, 70cl, 47%: £33.95, The Whisky Exchange
Born in the Amazon and created by the team behind award-winning rum brand Diplomatico, this South American family works closely with the indigenous communities to cultivate botanicals. Tropical ingredients include acai berries, uve de palma (a red fruit harvested from the palm tree), copuazu (related to the cacao tree) and merey fruit (also known as a cashew).
Being careful to ensure it limits its environmental impact, 10 per cent of sales are also donated towards Tierra Viva Foundation and Saving the Amazon. Tangy and fruit-forward – think grapefruit and passion fruit – the brand recommends serving with a mix of tonic and grapefruit and garnishing with a slice of fresh grapefruit.
Martin Miller’s 9 Moons Solera Reserve, 35cl, 40%: £42.95, The Whiskey Exchange
Hot on the heels of Martin Miller’s 9 Moons single cask comes its latest release. For this barrel-aged gin, the brand has used French oak and introduced a new solera vat process (normally reserved for whisky maturing). This precise attention to blending two different batches leads to more complexity and thanks to the time in toasted oak you’ll detect vanilla and coconut notes, finishing with a super-smooth, creamy mouthfeel. For that reason, we’d recommend trying on the rocks.
Isle of Wight Distillery Mermaid Gin, 70cl, 42%: £49, Harvey Nichols
Call off the search – we’ve found the most beautiful gin bottle to ever grace our drinks cabinet. We’re clearly not the only ones to be enamoured with this fish-scaled beauty as it also picked up best bottle design at the International Wine and Spirits Awards 2019. The aquatic theme came about in response to the plastic pollution in our oceans. As such, it’s completely plastic-free with a wooden-stoppered bottle top and is made from sustainable, recyclable and biodegradable materials to boot.
Of course, all of this doesn’t matter much if the liquid isn’t up to scratch but the Isle of Wight Distillery has created a stunning London dry gin. Botanicals include salty rock samphire (appropriately also known as mermaid’s kiss), elderflower, organic citrus zest, spicy and earthy boadicea hops and English coriander among others. Refreshingly zesty yet earthy, pleasingly complex and smooth, this gin is way more than meets the eye.
Brewdog Zealots Heart Gin, 70cl, 44%: £30, Brewdog
Craft beer giant Brewdog has made its mark in the spirit-making process, releasing this small-batch gin just in time for the Christmas period. Alongside the juniper, it’s the citrus that really stands out, with Thai lemongrass, lemon peel, grapefruit and Makrut lime leaves carefully balanced with the spicy elements of mace, szechuan and sansho peppercorn. Rounding everything off are the more floral qualities of lavender, meadowsweet and orris root which makes for an extremely characterful gin, best tried with a light tonic or in a martini.
Savile Row Gin, 70cl, 42%: £35, Savile Row Gin
Normally associated with British tailoring, Savile Row is now also home to this recently launched London dry gin, made in collaboration with model David Gandy. It’s a blend of 12 botanicals, the most notable of which is bittersweet kumquat which adds a twist on the classic citrus element found in most gins. Smooth, refined, with freshly cracked black pepper on the finish, we couldn’t help thinking this has been designed with one particularly suave gentleman in mind.
Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin, 70cl, 46%: £39.90, Hedonism
Although a firm favourite with fans in Australia, Brookie’s only launched here in the UK in May. The distillery is based in New South Wales’ Byron Bay, a part of the country surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest, and home to 18 of the 26 botanicals found in each bottle. With exotic Byron sunrise finger lime, river mint, pine shoots, raspberry and macadamia notes on the ingredients list, we’d recommend trying this in a gin martini to allow the more unusual flavour profile to shine through.
Ginti Gin, 70cl, 41.3%: £37.50, Craft Bottle Shop
Made on a family farm in Stirlingshire, the main ingredient to flavour this gin is black tea leaves. Using biomass renewable energy and polytunnels, the leaves are handpicked and combined with Scottish spring water which results in a very clean, crisp flavour. Just as you might drink your tea with a slice of lemon, this spirit is best paired with a sliver of lemon peel, ice and tonic.
Tobermory Hebridean Gin, 70cl, 43.3%: £34, Tobermory Gin
It seems Scotland is having a moment when it comes to gin. Launched in August this year, the distillery utilises local botanicals including fragrant elderflower, delicate tea and wild heather. Whisky fans will be interested to know a splash of the brand’s whisky also makes its way into the mix for added spicy complexity.
Hayman’s Small Gin, 20cl, 43%: £24.75, The Whisky Exchange
Piggy-backing on the move towards low- or no-alcohol spirits, Hayman’s have created this teeny tiny bottle of gin which promise to deliver all the flavour of a regular G&T with just one thimble (or 5ml) of the spirit. Why would you want to do that, we hear you cry? Well, the benefit of using less gin means you’re drinking less alcohol and consuming fewer calories as a result (there are just 15 calories per 5ml serving).
Designed for working lunches and midweek lubrication, it’s intensely flavoured with stronger botanicals then you’d normally find, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out or watering down your regular G&T.
Harvey Nichols Small Batch Gin, 50cl, 42%: £37.50, Harvey Nichols
Inspired by the locations of its eight stores, Harvey Nichols has produced its very own gin. A love letter to Great Britain, it combines Dublin’s clover with Edinburgh’s heather, rose for Leeds and grains of paradise – a gingery spice which used to be shipped to Bristol for use in gin, among other botanicals.
We were particularly impressed with the fragrant coriander seeds and cardamom pods (representing Birmingham’s thriving curry scene) and the tart lemon notes which pair perfectly with tonic water or in a martini. The elegant design would make a cracking gift for the gin lover in your life, particularly if they’re from one of the Harvey Nichols locations.
Stranger & Sons Gin, 70cl, 42.8%: £34.95, Master of Malt
Celebrating the diverse ingredients available across India and Goa in particular, Stranger & Sons gin is a rich, spicy explosion of botanicals, most of which are sourced from the region itself. Replacing the standard citrus notes you may have come to expect in your G&T, here they use Gondhoraj limes which are actually a cross between a lime and a mandarin orange. Add to that the spicy warmth of black pepper, nutmeg and cassia bark and you have a complex, inviting gin which leaves an impression, long after the last sip.
Villa Ascenti Gin, 70cl, 41%: £31.49, Amazon
We love a herbaceous savoury gin and this little Italian number ticks all those boxes. Made with botanicals grown on the hills of Piemonte, juniper is complemented with mint, thyme, sage, bitter tansy, liquorice-like achillea and subtly sweet moscato grapes. Super fresh and deliciously smooth, try replacing your tonic with prosecco, a splash of soda water and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary for a truly authentic serving.
The verdict: New gins
OK, so it’s not technically brand new, but with its refreshed look and design, Berry Bros & Rudd’s No.3 London Dry Gin has won our best buy. If you’re looking for a perfect example of a London dry-style gin, look no further.
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.