Guy Warner: High spirits for Cotswold gin
- Credit: Archant
Sales of gin have soared to record levels in the UK with a number of Cotswold distilleries leading the way
When did you last order a G&T in your local? I did the other week and boy what a shock! At one time, a gin and tonic would have been a five-second job – standard measure of gin in a standard glass with a standard mixer served on the side, a slice of lemon and an ice cube if you were lucky.
Well, it ain’t like that no more! Now you’re presented with a gin menu (or in my case, blackboard), with over 10 different gins to choose from. Plus a choice of mixers – Fever-Tree or Fentiman’s, flavoured or straight, (not a Schweppes in sight) plus a choice of garnish – cucumber strips, lime wedge, pinch of mint, sprig of lavender. All of which leads me to declare, people, we’re in the middle of a ginvolution!
The last time gin was this popular was during the 18th century, in a period known as The Gin Craze. In a case of history repeating itself, British drinkers have once again been quaffing gin in record amounts. Brits spent £40million on bottles of gin last year, enough to make 1.12 billion G&Ts, and causing the drinks industry to declare 2016 ‘the year of gin’. Last year, Gloucester played host to the annual Gin Festival with sell-out tickets, and in June, millions of people celebrated World Gin Day with a classic martini or gin and tonic.
It’s undoubtedly an exciting time for gin – in 2010, there were only 116 distilleries in the UK, but about 100 have opened in the past two years alone, each offering a gin that varies in flavour, style and spirit to the next. And we’ve got plenty to be excited about here in the Cotswolds...
Cotswolds Dry Gin, crafted by Cotswolds Distillery, is a London-style dry gin, infused with a blend of nine botanicals, voted the ‘Best London Dry Gin’ in the World Gin Awards. Another local award-winner, Six O’Clock Gin, with its vibrant Bristol blue glass bottle, is a ‘strikingly smooth’ gin that flows from a custom-built copper still to produce a spirit with a fine balance of botanicals and clean flavour. The award-winning Sibling Gin is the brainchild of four siblings based in Cheltenham, and is distinctive for its stunning harlequin, art deco-style bottle and triple-distilled spirit.
Now I love a cheeky G&T, but I’m told the hip way to drink gin in 2017 is neat – that way you can really savour the blend of botanicals, from eucalyptus and coriander to elderflower and angelica root, that makes each gin unique. So, this month, I’m going to put aside my usual security blanket of tonic, ice and slice and see what all the fuss is about. Readers, I’m joining the ginvolution!