If you’re a gin drinker, you’ll probably argue that your favourite tipple can be drunk all year round. And you’d be right. However one of the most appealing things about the gin category is the diversity of styles and flavours it offers.
Alongside the classic juniper, distillers can use a huge variety of botanicals to create a particular flavour profile in their gin. A botanical is anything derived from plants: herbs, spices, berries, leaves, bark, roots or flowers.
It means that as gin lovers, we’re regularly spoiled for choice when it comes to choosing a favourite bottle. But it’s also an ideal opportunity to explore different tastes and get creative – even with a simple serve like a Gin and Tonic.
Step into spring…
What makes a spring gin? For me, spring is a time of fresh starts and nature coming back to life after the dark days of winter. So I’m looking for drinks with freshness and vibrancy; bottles that are a wake-up call for your palate.
These could be refreshing citrus styles, using lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange botanicals. They could be gins that use locally foraged plant botanicals to conjure up a sense of place in a bottle. Or they could be bottles that use botanicals which can only be harvested in spring.
The selection below includes special seasonal editions, some old favourites and new releases. It includes a brand new luxury gin from top distiller Silent Pool, that uses rare black juniper from Bhutan.
Several distillers have put selected spring botanicals to good use in their gins – from rhubarb and coltsfoot to gorse flowers and vine flowers – to create a fresh seasonal serve. Other gins have a flavour profile that will always work well on bright spring days.
Spring gins: 12 bottles to try
Boatyard Double Gin
This Irish gin hails from the Boatyard Distillery on Lough Erne in County Fermanagh. Local boy Joe McGirr learned his trade in Scotch distilleries, before returning home to open his own distillery in a disused boatyard. I love the freshness of this gin, which makes it a great choice for spring – though really it deserves a permanent home on your drinks shelf. It’s made using double-contact distillation – meaning the juniper is introduced twice – hence the ‘double gin’ moniker. Lifted aromas with lots of citrus and fresh herbaceous notes. There’s a clean green edge to the palate too, alongside refreshing citrus and dry spice that lingers on the finish with some black pepper and vanilla. Equally happy in a Martini or a G&T. Alcohol 46%
Fossil Coast Lime Stone
Inspired by Dorset’s Jurassic Coast, there’s a breezy maritime freshness to this gin that calls to mind a springtime coastal walk and bracing sea air. It’s made with botanicals including chamomile, orris root and lime peel, creating a balanced citrus and spice palate, with crisp mineral bite on the finish. Clean, smooth and classic, it makes a very creamy G&T but also works nicely in a Martini. Alc 40%
Produced by Domaine des Tourelles winery in the Bekaa Valley, this deliciously distinctive gin features 14 Lebanese botanicals, including pomegranate seeds, rose petals and cassia bark. Rested in amphora for six months after distillation to round out the flavour and texture, it’s really creamy in the mouth. A solid base of piney juniper is cut through with crisp citrus and finishes with spicy, herbal lift. With its perfect balance of fruity, herbal and spice notes, this London Dry is a versatile addition to your spring drinks line-up. Alc 40%
With its distinctive green bottle, this French gin will brighten up your drinks shelf for spring. Made in the Cognac region with a base spirit distilled from Ugni Blanc grapes, and botanicals including vine flowers, it’s fruity and floral: think Easter bonnets and spring orchard blossom. Plenty of juniper and spice alongside fruity notes of ripe white grape and pear, plus herbaceous freshness. Try it in a Tom Collins (50ml gin, 25ml lemon juice, 25ml sugar syrup, 125ml chilled soda water) garnished with green grapes. Alc 40%
Height of Arrows
This beautifully rounded Martini gin belongs in your drinks cupboard all year round, but its pared-back style seems particularly suited to the fresh starts of spring. Made by Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh and inspired by the simplicity of whisky production, juniper is the focus here. Isle of Skye sea salt is added after distillation to amplify the flavour, along with natural beeswax for texture. Very creamy and smooth, with distinctively bright juniper aromas, it makes a superlative Gibson Martini. Alc 43%
Helen Browning’s Organic Gin
As the countryside blossoms back to life in spring, spare a thought for the UK’s farmers hard at work. Helen Browning runs an organic farm in Wiltshire; she’s also chief executive of the Soil Association and was awarded an OBE in 1998 for services to farming. Her organic and sustainable gin is made with botanicals including sea buckthorn and perry pears sourced from the farm’s agroforestry project. It’s clean, crisp and creamy, with a baseline of piney juniper and rosemary that linger on the herbal finish. The tang of sea buckthorn mingles with sweet orange and crisp lemon citrus, light floral notes, a touch of honey and gentle spice: lovely! Eco-pouches can be used to refill your bottle. Alc 40%
Henley Gin, Rhubarb & Orange
The first fruit to come into season, sweet-and-sour rhubarb is a harbinger of spring. And Henley’s rhubarb gin is one of the best you’ll find. A newcomer to the UK’s distilling scene, Henley Distillery was launched in 2021 by head distiller Jacob Wilson, one of the youngest Master Distillers in the country. His pink Rhubarb & Orange gin is layered with fresh orange zest and tart rhubarb to create a zesty, fruity, fresh and elegant flavour. Notes of rhubarb and orange (as you’d expect) are joined by aromas of raspberry, fresh blackcurrant and Parma violet that carry through to the palate, where they join with a satisfying juniper hit and spice notes. An assured debut. Alc 42%
Rock Rose Spring Edition
Made by Dunnet Bay Distillers in northern Scotland, the Spring Edition of their Rock Rose gin uses botanicals foraged locally in spring, including coltsfoot, gorse flowers and dandelion. Very leafy, fresh and herbal – like a vibrant green explosion of plants bursting into leaf in spring – with berry sweetness, punchy citrus and liquorice spice notes that linger on the finish. With plenty of classic juniper character and a nice creaminess to the texture, it makes a great G&T. Alc 41.5%
Salcombe Start Point
If spring is a time of fresh starts, what better bottle of gin to choose than Start Point? This bright, citrus-led gin hails from the reliably good Salcombe Distilling Co in Devon. It’s named after Start Point lighthouse, which marked the beginning of voyages for the 19th century fruit schooners, which sailed from Salcombe, trading exotic fruit and spices from the West Indies and Azores. Grapefruit, lemon and lime add refreshing citrus notes to the classic juniper palate, which also shows fiery spice. Perfect for a G&T. Alc 44%
Silent Pool Black Juniper
One for connoisseurs, this luxury release from top distiller Silent Pool features rare smoked black juniper from Bhutan. Inspired by the Himalayan Puja ritual – a blessing ceremony for climbers – the botanical blend also includes rare Himalayan black tea and Nepalese cherry blossom. These plants grow more slowly at altitude, which intensifies their flavours. Musky perfumed aromas lead to a silky palate with impressive intensity and persistence, layered with smoky pepper, chamomile, cherries, floral notes, black tea and exotic spices. Designed for sipping; or try it in a delicate Sakura Martinez (45ml Black Juniper Gin, 35ml Sakura Mancino Vermouth and 7ml Maraschino Liqueur stirred over ice). Alc 43%
Made in the Yorkshire village of Kettlesing by family distillers, this grape-based gin is inspired by the local countryside. Alongside the usual botanicals such as juniper and citrus peel, botanicals include mint and flax, a historic Yorkshire crop, which is grown by the Thompson family. With plenty of fresh citrus notes, plus warming spice and herbal freshness on the finish, it’s like a brisk country walk over the Yorkshire Dales on a fresh spring day. Alc 40%
Vitoria Regia Organic Citrus Gin
This range of organic Brazilian gin is named after a giant Amazonian lily pad discovered by Victorian explorers. Expressions include original London Dry, Rosé and Tropical, but this Citrus bottling is a vibrant wake-up call for spring. Botanicals including lime and pomelo give zesty citrus aromas, with hints of lemon verbena and lemongrass. Lemon and lime notes are balanced by cardamom spice on the creamy juniper-led palate, with grapefruit pith bitterness on the super-crisp finish. A good choice for a refreshing spring Collins. Alc 44%