If you’re a gin lover – or looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a gin drinker – it can be difficult to know where to start. The current boom in gin is great news for distillers, but it means that there are hundreds of brands for shoppers to choose from.
These include classic London Dry styles and characterful craft gins, as well as expressions made with exotic botanicals and flavoured gins. Nor is the gin craze confined to the UK. While there are plenty of great British gins, you’ll also find some cracking gins from Europe and around the world.
To make life easier, we’ve chosen our top six gins for Christmas below. From limited-edition seasonal specials to fruity sloe gins and barrel-aged expressions, there are plenty of reasons for gin lovers to discover new bottles at Christmas.
Christmas gins to try
Boatyard Sloe Boat Gin
This dangerously drinkable sloe gin is made by Boatyard Distillery in Northern Ireland, steeping its signature gin in wild-harvested sloe berries for six months to create a fruity gin with aromas of plum, cranberry and spice. Bright red berry fruit – strawberries and cranberries – plus plum and mellow spice on the palate. Enjoy it neat or in a Charlie Chaplin: shake 30ml Sloe Boat Gin, 30ml apricot brandy and 25ml fresh lime juice with ice and strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Alcohol 29.8%
Eden Mill Red Wine Cask Gin
Made in St Andrews, Scotland. Senior distiller Andrew Walker uses a base of Eden Mill Original Gin, which is aged in Amarone casks for 500 days. With a warm amber colour, this has a classic juniper nose, edged with brown spices and red berries. Creamy palate with mellow, earthy spices, ripe red berry notes and fresh juniper character. The peppery finish is laced with baking spices. Makes a distinctive G&T. Alc 42.5%
Edinburgh Gin Christmas Gin
Just like the three kings, this Scottish gin comes with frankincense and myrrh – botanicals that lend an exotic spiciness. They’re complemented by notes of sweet orange, ginger and baking spices (especially nutmeg), along with classic juniper. Garnish with a slice of orange for a festive G&T. The Edinburgh range also includes a Mulled Gin Liqueur (Alc 20%) that you can pair with orange juice and sparkling wine for a twist on a Christmas Day Bucks Fizz. Alc 43%
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin
Australian distiller Four Pillars makes a range of excellent products and this expression is based on its classic Rare Dry Gin, which has been steeped in local Shiraz grapes from Yarra Valley for eight weeks. With sweet red fruit notes, it’s one for fans of sloe gin (and red wine). Try it neat over ice with an orange slice or with bitter lemon in a long serve. Also look out for Four Pillars Spiced Negroni Gin (Alc 43.8%), with botanicals including ginger and cinnamon: perfect for your festive Negronis. Alc 37.8%
Silent Pool Albury Winter Gin
Made by top Surrey distiller Silent Pool, this seasonal gin features botanicals including tonka bean, chestnut flour, toasted ginger root and maple syrup. The nose is very aromatic, with Christmas spices, fruity cherry notes and freshly baked pastries. Layered, creamy and elegant palate, with notes of panettone, ginger and cherries, plus plenty of earthy depth and warming spice, along with a brisk juniper character. Alc 42%
Wild Fox The Holly & The Ivy
Lizzie and Rob Billington are fourth generation farmers from Lancashire, who launched Wild Fox Distillery in 2019 to produce a range of farm-to-bottle gins. Their copper still is called Ivy, so what better name for their festive special edition than The Holly & The Ivy? Seasonal botanicals include damsons from the farm’s fruit trees and clementine wheels dried in the farmhouse Aga, which provide plenty of mellow fruity notes, alongside warming spices. A really super gin for a festive G&T – and a great gift idea too. Alc 40%